20 Most Iconic Elena Gilbert Moments

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11. Breaking up with Stefan (2.06)

Love doesn’t conquer all, and sometimes, it was bigger than love – that was a hard lesson for Elena, but one that she learned in season 2 when Katherine was threatening everyone she loved – including Stefan, who Katherine wanted back desperately. After scheming to make Katherine think they had broken up, Katherine reveals that she had compelled Jenna to give her the real details – and she knew they were playing her, and she wasn’t happy. Jenna stabs herself in the middle of the kitchen as Katherine reveals this information to Elena over the phone.

While Jenna narrowly survives the ordeal, Elena and Stefan’s romance briefly doesn’t.

Because Elena Gilbert is selfless above all else, and she will never put her heart before her loved ones, before what is right. Even if it killed her to do it, she broke up with Stefan to protect her family, and anyone else Katherine was willing to hurt because she was jealous of their love.

"“We were stupid, sneaking around thinking we weren’t gonna get caught. We did this. Stefan, Jenna is in the hospital and Jeremy could be next – all because we didn’t listen to her. Because we’re together. Stefan – “ “I know what you’re going to say.” “Then let me say it. I’ve been so selfish because I love you so much, and I know how much you love me. But it’s over. Stefan, it has to be. It has to be.”"