Sex Education: Why Eric & Adam Break-up At The End Of Season 3

Warning: this post contains spoilers for Sex Education season 3.

Eric and Adam had one of the strongest relationships in season 3 of Sex Education and there was a lot of growth for both characters, so why did they break up in the season finale? Eric and Adam officially got together at the end of Sex Education season 2, with Eric breaking up with Rahim to be with Adam. While the majority of season 3 sees the couple exploring new things together, they don’t make it to the end of the season unscathed. 

On paper, Eric and Adam may not have worked, but Sex Education season 3 handles their relationship with depth and care. While Adam still struggles with his emotions, he tries to get out of his comfort zone. Meanwhile, Eric is very patient with Adam on his journey, and the two obviously care for each other a lot. However, their relationship takes a turn when Eric kisses another boy, Oba, while visiting his family in Nigeria. The kiss, and Eric’s confession to Adam about what happened, is what ultimately breaks up the couple. But while it’s the impetus for their separation, the reasons for it have been bubbling beneath the surface all throughout season 3 of Sex Education.

Related: Sex Education Season 3 Ending Explained: Do Otis & Maeve Get Back Together?

Eric and Adam’s relationship, as nice as it was while it lasted, was primarily driven by Adam’s comfort, as well as his mental and emotional state regarding his identity, being public with the couple’s relationship, and being open with regards to his feelings. Eric felt like he was being held back in some ways and wanted to be free to explore his identity on his own terms. It makes sense that Eric felt like he couldn’t be free with Adam considering they were both headed in different directions. Eric and Adam were ultimately not in the same place — for every major step Adam took on his journey to be comfortable with his identity and sexuality, Eric was already several steps ahead of him. Eric kissing Oba in Nigeria was merely the catalyst for the pair addressing their issues, with Eric realizing his personality was somewhat stifled for a while before he officially broke things off with Adam. 

Eric wanted to feel free to kiss other people and to unabashedly be himself in public; Adam, however, wasn’t quite there yet even though he’d come a long way throughout the season. Of course, Adam did put in a lot of effort on that front, writing him poetry (with Rahim's help) despite hating it at the end of Sex Education season 3. While Eric wanted to be with Adam and was willing to be there for him as he navigated his journey throughout season 3, Eric also wanted a partner who wasn’t still trying to find himself, especially since Adam relied heavily on Eric for guidance and that was draining. It’s because of these reasons that Eric is the one who initiates the break-up, whereas Adam hoped they could just forget about it and move on. The latter approach is another example of the pair’s differences — Eric wanted to talk about everything while Adam wanted to shut down. 

Despite the fact that they loved each other, their break-up isn’t disingenuous to their journey throughout Sex Education season 3. And even though it was painful to part ways, there is hope that they could at least get to a place where they can further talk through their emotions in a potential season 4. For now, Eric and Adam’s break-up in season 3 could be a good thing for the both of them, allowing each to grow and explore their identities without being beholden to one another.  

Next: Sex Education: Who Plays Moordale’s New Headteacher

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