I was replying to a comment on my post I don't hate Rose Tyler....but Sarah Jane Smith trumps everyone, ever! and decided to make it into a new post.
While I'm not a psychologist, I think the Doctor has some codependent tendencies with Rose, as well as what TV Tropes would call Morality Chain or Living Emotional Crutch. That's not her fault--but in simple terms, I believe a romance should be between two emotional stable, mature people. The Doctor may be mature, but emotionally stable? Hardly. But I don't want to get into the characterizations of Ten.--meIf we're going there, River and Eleven are hardly emotionally stable either. I don't hold that against them or the ship (I've come to board that ship as well, thank you madis hartte). The Doctor is a damaged man. I wouldn't deny him love because of that, although I would say I don't think any of his relationships are totally healthy-Lostarial
She has a point, but....Eleven/River doesn't feel as mismatched as Rose/Ten. Let's see if I can sort out why I feel this way. Or this could just turn into a mass of Doctor/River feels. Either way, it should be interesting.
First of all, River's life has been intertwined with the Doctor's since birth. I feel a bithypocritical saying this when I brought up the age difference either, but in one sense, one of his big difficulties with a human relationship isn't there for River.
I don't age, I regenerate. But humans decay. You wither and you die. Imagine watching that happen to someone you--Tenth Doctor, School Reunion
Granted, he's already seen River's fate, which is equally horrible, but he won't see her grow old. Even with just the one life, she could have centuries of adventures with him. And because they don't experience a linear adventure, it's harder to define a beginning or end.
Secondly, they are certain bits of life that each of them "get" in a way very few others do. The Doctor committed genocide and has to live with that guilt every day, while River is imprisoned as his murder. (Side note: that's why I find his line in TWORS so heartwarming: "You are forgiven. Always and completely forgiven." Because what did he say when Amy said he wanted to be forgiven: "Don't we all?") They know about meeting people out of order, fixed points and the temptation to break them.
It's not that they're emotionally stable people. But the deep parts, the things they try to hide from others--those wounds match. And because of that, they understand each other in a way no one else can. As much as I love his companions, none of them can understand what it means to be the last and the only, someone utterly alien and so close to humanity. They may see some of his masks, and catch glimpses underneath, but it would take much longer than any of the new series companions have to start understanding. Maybe that's why Amy's increasingly accurate in her statements on him
"What if you were really old, and really kind and alone? Your whole race dead, no future. What couldn't you do then? If you were that old, and that kind, and the very last of your kind.... you couldn't just stand there and watch children cry."Beast Below, season fiveAmy:You want to be forgivenDoctor: Don't we all?--The Doctor's Wife, season sixThe Doctor: Today, I honor victims first; his, The Master's, the Daleks', all the people who died because of my mercy!Amy: See, this is what happens when you travel alone for too long.--A Town Called Mercy, season seven*