There has never been a couple more deserving of the "It's Complicated" Facebook status than Rey and Kylo Ren after The Last Jedi. The ups and downs of their relationship in the most recent Star Wars installment were impossible to keep up with, so much so that fans left the theater asking themselves: does Rey love Kylo Ren? Only Rey (and writer-director of Episode IX J.J. Abrams) can know what's in her own mind, but as fans continue to dissect The Last Jedi for any sign the Reylo ship becoming canon, it's only fair we all get our say before Episode IX puts an end to any fan theory hopes.
The nature of Rey's feelings for Kylo at the beginning of The Last Jedi are perfectly clear: she thinks he's a monster. In fact, during their first Force connection chat, she actually calls him a monster to his face before trying to shoot him with her blaster. Let's call this the disastrous first date after which Rey swears she'll never answer another one of Kylo's Force calls ever again. But then there's the second date, and Rey can't deny that something is bringing them together. It's the classic dilemma: girl meets boy, determines that boy is bad for her, tries to stay away, but keeps coming back for more. There's just something about the way Kylo broods that keeps Rey intrigued. (That, and his shirtless physique.)
As their connection grows, so do Rey's positive feelings towards Kylo. She reaches out to him, both literally and figuratively, and she wants to learn more about him and his past. She's willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, specifically when it comes to his complicated past with his uncle Luke. But, before Reylo shippers take this leap of faith as proof that Rey does love Kylo, know that there's a huge difference between hearing someone out and actively falling in love. Consider it a reluctant third date. But here is where the Reylo relationship shifts: the hand holding.
A typically romantic gesture, the hand holding between Rey and Kylo in The Last Jedi marked a huge turning point in their relationship. For one thing, it was their first physical touch that wasn't driven by animosity, unlike their previous encounters in The Force Awakens where any contact was essentially the result of violent fighting. But most importantly, the hand touch represents a significant change in how Rey views Kylo. Before he was a monster she wanted to punish, but now he's a fellow lost soul searching for his place in the Force. If there ever was a moment Reylo fans could point to as the exact second Rey fell in love with Kylo, it would be this one. That said, the reason for her new affection towards Kylo is something everyone recognizes as a sign of a potential toxic relationship: the desire to save.
For shippers, Rey's decision to surrender herself to the First Order after touching hands with Kylo in an attempt to get him to switch over to the Light is proof of love. But, it's worth pointing out that Rey falls into one of the most classic tropes in romantic drama: girl foolishly believes she can change the bad boy. It's nice to see her action as evidence of someone risking it all for love, but it's also ill-advised and, in the end, relatively fruitless.
So, does Rey love Kylo? Considering the fact that she ended The Last Jedi closing the door on Kylo both figuratively and literally, I'm going to say it's a no on this one. Rey clearly has feelings for Kylo — whether romantic or platonic remains to be seen — but love is something that needs to be earned. Yes, Rey spends all of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi searching for love, for her own family, but at the end of Episode VIII it's clear that she's found it. Her heart and her family is not with Kylo, it's with the Resistance. At least, it is for now.