Hal 9000 said:
Their romantic relationship in TFA gives me the vibes of “predatory guy eventually may weaken female until she falls for him” but she resists and kicks his ass, while at the same time maybe “protesting too much.”
Personally, I always saw that as “schoolyard bully trying to pick on another kid, but underestimates how tough they are.”
In TLJ Rey’s passionate hatred gives way to compassion and a naïve sense of being able to fix him while Kylo feels like he can pursue his deep, needy desires for her through manipulation. They each make themselves vulnerable to the other before Rey rejects his hand.
My read on that wasn’t that they were romantically interested in one another. I saw it as Rey felt abandoned by her parents; Kylo felt abandoned by his. Luke failed them both. It was two people feeling completely alone, bonding with someone who had had a similar experience. Honestly, I didn’t interpret their emotional states as even being capable of romance at that point, let alone of feeling romantically towards one another.
In TROS they each redouble their outer shells to protect their vulnerability and feelings for the other, fighting and fighting until they eventually give in.
I just thought that was them still wanting to be friends, but not thinking the other person would ever see their perspective. “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy.”
And then they kissed.
I’m definitely not saying your interpretation was wrong, but hopefully you can see why other people were a bit blindsided by them kissing in the end. I do agree that romance has always been in the fabric of Star Wars, right down to John Williams’s lush, romantic score. I just don’t think it was developed at all in the Sequels, or at least, not developed very clearly.