Romance has been a cornerstone of Spider-Man stories for decades, with the character having numerous romantic interests in the comics. Many of them came and went, such as Betty Brant, but some, like Gwen Stacy, latched onto Peter Parker's heart like a vice. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Holland's Peter Parker had his first failure in love with Laura Harrier's Liz Toomes in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Peter was thankfully able to find love with Zendaya's Michelle "MJ" Jones in the sequel and, while Peter's identity as Spider-Man was compromised in Spider-Man: No Way Home, they still made it work. Sadly, it ended in heartbreak when MJ and everyone else in Peter Parker's life were forced to forget he existed. The last time the audience sees Parker is him all alone in his new apartment, studying for his GED, and taking one final swing as Spider-Man.
Despite how this trilogy ended, fans shouldn't expect Spider-Man to be loveless forever, and fans were left to wonder who Peter Parker's love interest would be next.
Mary Jane Watson
It's doubtful that Marvel Studios will ever adapt Mary Jane Watson into the MCU when it has been firmly established, especially by Spider-Man: No Way Home, that Zendaya's Michelle Jones is the MCU's MJ. So, certain fans will continue being disappointed when the "real" MJ isn't introduced into the MCU.
Not to mention that Holland's Spider-Man heard Tobey Maguire's Parker talk about his own MJ, meaning that Holland's Parker will likely steer clear of anyone with those initials. After all, Peter wasn't even willing to begin his relationship with his own MJ again, so he certainly wouldn't start a relationship with another.
While Gwen Stacy is the next logical love interest and has yet to appear in the MCU, it's uncertain that Peter's first true love from the comics will ever reach this cinematic universe for three big reasons.
Fans should already know that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige dislikes repeating what has already been done, especially if it's already been done well. Aside from Andrew Garfield himself, Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy was widely praised by fans as one of the bright spots of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise. So, it's believable to imagine that Feige wouldn't attempt to repeat that relationship again in the MCU.
Additionally, similar to Holland's Peter ever hooking up with anyone with the initials of MJ other than his own MJ, he'd most definitely avoid dating anyone named Gwen at all costs since Garfield's Spider-Man mentioned how he failed to save her. Peter would obviously want to avoid another heartache by falling in love with someone potentially predestined to die.
Finally, it seemed like Marvel Studios made it clear that they would never adapt Gwen Stacy back in Spider-Man: Homecoming when they had Angourie Rice's Betty Brant look almost identical to the blonde-haired love interest.
Michelle "MJ" Jones
Would this cheapen the heartbreaking conclusion of No Way Home? Absolutely, but it's not like it would be the first time the MCU would have done something like this with Holland's Spider-Man.
After all, Homecoming set up a confrontation between him and Aunt May finding out his secret—something pivotal in the comics. However, that was resolved entirely off-screen by the time Far From Home happened with Aunt May being exuberant at the fact that Peter became a superhero. Additionally, Peter being framed for the murder of Mysterio at the end of that same sequel was swept under the rug within the first 20 minutes of No Way Home.
So, it's still possible that Peter Parker could get back together with MJ by the start of the next trilogy, despite the tragic setup of No Way Home. But, ideally, that won't happen again, and the story will begin with Peter continuing to be loveless with MJ still in Boston studying at MIT with Ned.
Cissy Ironwood, Jill Stacy, and More...
Spider-Man has had many girlfriends in the comics over the decades, but they've never lasted long. Many of them, unfortunately, fit into the same box in Spider-Man stories as the temporary romantic lead until Peter rekindles his relationship with Mary Jane Watson or she stops being (supposedly) dead.
Past girlfriends like Cissy Ironwood, Caryn Earle, Carlie Ellen Cooper, Michele Gonzales, and even Gwen Stacy's cousin, Jill Stacy, fit into this box. All of them could safely fit into the one film love interest role before Zendaya's MJ comes back into Peter's life.
Sadly, many of Peter's love interests don't leave nearly as much of an impression as his more iconic romantic partners, making them pretty interchangeable. However, one that stands out among them is Debra Whitman, but not for the reasons one would expect.
In the comics, Peter Parker famously spent his college years at Empire State University, where Tom Holland's Parker will likely end up enrolled in the next trilogy. While there, Peter met multiple mainstay characters, like Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy, and Debra Whitman, who was a secretary in the biophysics department at the university.
Whitman stood out among Peter's love interests because she was a doormat, unlike Peter's more confrontational girlfriends, willing and ready to call Peter out on his many mistakes and shortcomings as a partner. To put it simply, Peter Parker was a terrible boyfriend to Whitman and probably the worst he's ever treated any of his love interests.
Peter constantly ducked out of dates with Whitman or ended them abruptly to perform superheroism as Spider-Man. He'd put her in danger numerous times due to his other life, and, finally, she had nearly driven herself into a breakdown over her belief that Peter Parker was Spider-Man before they finally broke up.
No Way Home dealt with Strange casting a spell to cause everyone to forget, not only that Peter Parker was Spider-Man, but Parker entirely. But what if Strange's spell didn't work fully on everyone or its effects were fading? It'd be interesting to see if the spell had any other potential repercussions or even simply Peter dealing with a girlfriend getting closer to his secret until he regretfully breaks it off.
After Debra Whitman left New York and Peter's life in the comics, he became entangled with a particular naughty cat.
With the path the MCU is taking for Spider-Man, there is no better time for the criminal Black Cat to make her proper live-action debut than as Tom Holland's next love interest.
Not only was Peter Parker last seen at rock bottom with him losing all his loved ones, but the post-credits scene heavily implied that he would eventually run into the symbiote and gain his iconic black suit. A suit that he often wore when he was together with the infamous cat burglar.
Felicia Hardy was unique among Peter's love interests because she was never in love with the man, Peter Parker, but the superhero, Spider-Man. When Peter attempted to foster a deeper connection with Felicia by revealing his secret identity to her, she literally yelled at him to put the mask back on.
Of course, in the comics, Hardy's mindset would soften over time, and she would begin to fall in love with Peter Parker too. However, she would still find Peter's secret life far more appealing, especially with Black Cat living as extraordinary a life as her own.
However, after everything Peter had lost, he'd more than welcome a romantic partner who didn't care about his secret identity. Someone with whom he didn't need to keep secrets. Someone who could keep herself (relatively) safe from the dangers of his superhero life.
At least, until Peter would want something more from Felicia, which she might not be so willing to give. But, that would be the appeal of having Black Cat be this trilogy's romantic lead, as Peter slowly tries to break down her many barriers.
For now, all fans can do is wait and see which lucky (or unlucky) lady crosses paths with Peter Parker in Spider-Man 4.