Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder as Elena and Damon in Vampire Diaries

It looks like 2012 might be a good year for Damon on The Vampire Diaries because Stefan has other things on his mind, and Elena has to have someone to get romantically involved with, so why not the rude, crude, and morally questionable Damon Salvatore?

Stefan might not be following Klaus around like a puppy dog on a leash anymore but Klaus is still a big priority in his life, and his previous actions prove that he’s not the good guy Elena originally thought he was, so who does Elena hook up with now? Nobody, because she decides she can be self-reliant and doesn’t need a man in her life. Ha! Not on a CW show. According to TVGuide, Elena will finally start to accept that feelings for Damon do exist, and executive producer Julie Plec admits that exploring if Elena loves Damon “is going to be very much a part of the season.”

Of course, The Vampire Diaries can’t be all about emotional angst over who one really loves, so Elena will also have to deal with a certain Original sister that’s just a little pissed about having a dagger slammed into her, and she also starts to realize that a person doesn’t need fangs in order to make the dark choices, understanding that it’s better to act like Katherine when it comes to defending herself or protecting the people she cares about.

“She’s clearly not the girl-next-door do-gooder,” says Plec. “She never has been.”

The Vampire Diaries returns Thursday, January 5 at 8/7c on The CW.