After We Collided: Why Tessa and Hardin Aren't Actually Good For Each Other

We really didn't need another After movie. Based on the bestselling book series by Anna Todd — which actually began as One Direction fan fiction — the first film introduces us to the all-consuming, rollercoaster romance of college students Tessa (Josephine Langford) and Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin), and in After We Collided, not much has changed. It is very easy to get swept up in the bad-boy-meets-good-girl love story (I know many of us can probably relate — I know I can), and we were initially rooting for Tessa and Hardin to get back together, but if you take a step back and really look at their relationship, especially in After We Collided, you'll see that Tessa and Hardin aren't good for each other at all.

For starters, Tessa and Hardin simply bring out the worst in each other. Given that both Tessa and Hardin are two young college students and are still in the beginning stages of their relationship, this should be a time of pure bliss, where they are going out on dates, taking trips together, and just enjoying each other's company. But seeing as how their relationship did start off as a bet between Hardin and his friends, instead, they're constantly fighting (even throwing lamps across the room), lying to people (aka Hardin's mom) about their relationship status, and don't even get me started on their jealousy issues. Neither Hardin nor Tessa can talk to somebody of the opposite sex without the other one throwing a fit. It's like they say: a relationship without trust is like a car with no gas. The only time they're truly on good terms is when they're having sex, which leads me in to my next point.

"In any healthy relationship, open communication is key to dealing with conflict and building a better foundation."

Tessa and Hardin's relationship is mostly based on sex and their physical attraction for each other. Even though they are broken up at the start of the film, he still shows up to Tessa's hotel room and has sex with her, despite the fact that they still haven't talked about their issues, and even after they hook up, they still don't. While Hardin would argue that he is always looking out for Tessa and has her best interests at heart, his selfish actions prove otherwise. For example, when Tessa and Hardin lie to his mom about their relationship status and end up sleeping in the same bed together, Tessa makes it clear that she doesn't want anything to happen between them, but in true Hardin fashion, he ignores her request and makes a move, to which Tessa eventually gives in. This form of manipulation is nothing new for Hardin, as evidenced in After, but you would think he would have grown up a little after the first film. I guess that was too much to ask.

AFTER WE COLLIDED, from left: Josephine Langford, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, 2020.  Voltage Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
Everett Collection

"Tessa and Hardin should accept the relationship for what it was and move on."

It also doesn't help that Tessa and Hardin just don't know how to communicate with each other. Whenever Hardin disagrees with something, rather than talking things out like a normal person would do, he immediately gets angry and storms off. And even when they aren't arguing, Tessa and Hardin prefer to keep important news to themselves rather than excitedly share it with each other in fear of making the other person upset — you know, like Hardin deciding to move to England after graduation, and Tessa getting a job offer in Seattle. How are Tessa and Hardin supposed to move forward if there is no communication? I'm not saying this means they should always agree with each other, but in any healthy relationship, open communication is key to dealing with conflict and building a better foundation.

Tessa and Hardin should go their separate ways. They both have issues of their own they need to resolve before they can even think about being in a relationship, and even then, I think too much damage has already been done to ever repair. Tessa and Hardin should accept the relationship for what it was and move on.