YR Brytni Sarpy
Credit: Image: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Plus, why she says Devon “isn’t helping matters any.”

As the October 2 episode of The Young and the Restless drew to a close, we all saw it coming. The way Nate and Elena were looking at one another had us begging them not to do what we knew they were about to. However, our pleas fell on deaf ears as the two of them were drawn into a steamy kiss. “She’s her own worst enemy,” sighs Brytni Sarpy of her alter ego’s moment of weakness. At the same time, however, the actress admits, “I can relate to that.”

Not that real-life beau Bryton James (Devon) has to worry about a similar scenario unfolding! Rather, what Sarpy means is that she can “relate to falling down a web of your own fears and insecurities that are not necessarily grounded in anything real.” In this case, Elena has spent weeks trapped within her own head, allowing herself to imagine a scenario in which Devon is inexorably drawn to the woman who happens to look exactly like his late wife.

Sarpy James timeline

“She has reason to be fearful,” insists the actress. “In some ways, she has PTSD from the things that happened at the very beginning of their relationship,” when Devon was feeling guilty about moving on from his late wife and practically being haunted by her memory. “That almost ended their relationship,” Sarpy reminds us. “Then fast-forward, and you’re in a good place, but she has these fears that things are going to go back to where they were. Unfortunately, she’s not trusting that the words Devon is saying to her are actually how he feels.”

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Not surprisingly, those fears all circle back to the woman Elena never actually knew. “There were a lot of times in the beginning when Devon was having feelings about Hilary that he wasn’t expressing. Instead, he was telling Elena that everything was fine,” Sarpy notes. “Now she feels like that history is repeating itself, and that’s where the cracks in her trust come out.”

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Although Devon is trying to be as open and honest with his partner as he can, Sarpy says with a laugh, “He isn’t helping matters any when she has to walk in and hear him saying, ‘I loved Hilary more than anything in the world.’ It’s little things that justify her feelings. Are they taken out of context? Are they not as big as she thinks, as he explained later? Yes. But for her, the circumstantial situations play on her insecurities.”

Not that Sarpy believes Devon is to blame for her character smooching pal Nate. “This is another place — outside of just Elena having her own fears — where the character has faults. It’s fun to play that Elena doesn’t confide in her partner, she confides in her friend, Nate. And we can all understand that, because you don’t want your partner to necessarily see your faults. You want them to see you as the most beautiful, put-together, strong companion that there is.

“Because she’s gotten so used to keeping things from Devon about how she really feels,” she continues, “leaning on Nate has put her in another situation where she’s subject to this emotionally charged moment.”

YR Elena Devon Clinic

Now that Elena and Nate have kissed, is he a threat to her relationship with Devon? “Subconsciously, yes,” admits Sarpy. “Being able to express your full emotions with someone, the way she has with Nate, opens you up to the possibility of other things happening. It opens doors that maybe shouldn’t be opened. And any person that you fully open up to is a threat to your relationship if you’re not fully opening up to your partner.”

When asked what viewers should expect to see next, Sarpy — like any well-trained soap actor — refuses to give much in the way of spoilers. “It’s going to get intense,” she admits, adding that what Elena might really need right now is a true friend (and one she’s not making out with). “What’s happened is going to have a ripple effect,” she previews. “Elena will be a little bit alienated, so she might find herself in need of a friend and a support system.” 

Just how big a threat do you think Nate is to Elena and Devon’s relationship? Share your thoughts (and we know you have some strong ones) in the comments. Then visit the gallery below to relive every beat of Elena and Devon’s relationship, from their first meeting to realizing it was true love. And be sure to stay in the know when it comes to your favorite storylines and stars by signing up for the free Soaps.com newsletter here.