Everything I've Learned About Love (So Far)

Alexis Ren Is In Love, But You'll Never See Her Boyfriend On Instagram

Still, she gave us the scoop on how she met her ~ mystery man. ~

Photo by Jon Kopaloff/WireImage

In 2015, Alexis Ren rose to fame when she and her then-boyfriend Jay Alvarrez, a travel influencer and surfer, blew up on Instagram. Their photos together were impossibly gorgeous, always on some golden beach or lush forest, looking smitten. After they split in 2016, she continued to have headline-making relationships: In 2018, she dated her Dancing with the Stars partner, Alan Bersten, and the next year, she had a relationship with actor Noah Centineo. But shortly after experiencing major heartbreak in early 2020, she joined a quarantine bubble in Hawaii, where she had a quiet period out of the public eye. It’s also where she met her current partner, a man she refers to as R., and realized she’s much happier keeping her personal life offline.

She and R. hit it off as friends first. “I just wanted to hang out with him all the time. We were the two people that everyone would sit with and laugh for hours,” she says. That electric chemistry made her see him in a new light. “I was like, oh, there’s something there.” Their romance escalated slowly. “It felt maybe boring, maybe too safe. And I was like, well, is this me settling? But you should always feel safe.”

More than two years later, it’s clear — she’s not settling, she’s thriving. In 2020, she founded We Are Warriors, a wellness community, and on Sept. 23, she’ll make her acting debut in the noir thriller The Enforcer.

In Elite Daily’s Q&A series Everything I’ve Learned About Love (So Far), celebrities share their most heartfelt and heartbreaking lessons about dating, relationships, and breakups, and offer their best advice. This time, Ren opens up about how a devastating split changed her life, the biggest misconception people have about her love life, and why she’s no longer interested in sharing her relationship with fans.

I used to have such public relationships because I love fans looking up to us.

What’s your best piece of breakup advice?

I think you learn the most about who you are when love is ripped away from you. That’s truly when you can see how strong you are. When my last relationship ended, it was heart-wrenching. He did exactly what my gut knew he was going to do. I actually sent him a thank-you letter. I said “thank you” many times. We even had a phone call. Like, even though you ripped my heart out, I’m coming from a place of love because I want to be love. This is just who I want to be. Period.

Find the strength it takes to be soft, especially in moments when all you want to do is tighten up and get hard and get cold. When I could do that, that told me I was ready for real intimacy and a real partner.

What's one misconception people might have about your love life?

I look like I have it all, like I’m this person who’s accomplished everything. But I’m just getting wrinkly and dying like the rest of us. I used to have such public relationships because I love fans looking up to us, like, “Wow, look, so perfect, blah blah blah.” But that's literally gotten me nowhere.

The more safe and real my relationship with R. felt, the less I wanted to showcase it to the world. I’m hypocritical, of course, because in Hollywood, we all want to know who’s f*cking who. But I just hope my fans will continue looking up to me and supporting me — which, by the way, thank you — and respect the realness of it. I’m looking for someone who will be a good father and a good life partner beyond my “highlight years.”

At heart, I’m kind of a bro, which people wouldn’t really guess from the image that I’ve created on social media. R. let me be that more chilled, laidback version of myself. I didn’t feel like I had to put on a pretty dress and heels to make him fall in love with me.

What’s your strength as a partner? What’s one thing you want to work on?

I’m a self-aware person. I can instantly look at things from an observer perspective and be like, “This is what you’re pressing and this is why I’m reacting in this way.”

I’m working on remembering to do tiny little things. That’s what builds trust. In my last relationship, it was all about huge gestures, like, “I’m going to take you on a jet.” But real intimacy is not being swooped away. It’s being vulnerable with someone in a normal, dirty house, and you’re going through sh*t, and you’re on your period. Grand romantic gestures sometimes — but not always — distract you from someone not really being there.

R. is so good at the little things. For Valentine’s Day, he got bagels and wrote me a love letter on a napkin while waiting in line. The foundation’s there, so there’s no need to prove it with any grand gesture.

What's a fear you used to have about dating or relationships that you've overcome?

I used to want to prove so badly that I was lovable. I chased butterflies for a long time. We think butterflies are what we should be searching for, but that’s actually your body going through fight-or-flight. This relationship was the complete opposite. I don’t need any proof because I’m just loved.

We’ve been sold on the idea of Disney princesses and finding your Prince Charming, but you have to look at it more from the perspective of: Is this person a good partner for me? Does this person elevate me? Do I feel competitive around this person? Nowadays, I focus on whether I like who I am around someone as opposed to proving to them that I’m worthy of love.

What does love mean to you?

Without pain, we can't have love. Without love, we can't have pain. We live in a paradoxical world, and in order to experience one, we have to experience the other.

Love is truth and it’s the only truth. Love has boundaries. Love has structure. Love has the most wisdom. I always have to go back to that. If something pisses me off or falls through, I’m just like, love is the answer. We’re on this weird, floating planet, and none of us really make sense. I have to go back to love because that’s the most true, innermost part of everyone.