Credit: Derek Johnson/ABC

Will Meredith find romance in the new year?

Though Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) seemed on track to finally lean into her romance with Riggs (Martin Henderson), Grey’s Anatomy surprisingly and swiftly brought that story to an end this fall as Nathan got his happy ending with his formerly presumed dead fiancé. Still, Grey’s boss Krista Vernoff is hopeful that Meredith will find romance in the future.

“What is next for Meredith in terms of a love life remains to be seen,” Vernoff tells EW. “I believe that romance and love are always a possibility, especially after we’ve lost the loves of our life. We have to evolve out of our immediate grief. I believe that immediate grief takes more than a couple of years. I don’t want to ever short-shrift the people who have gone through the death of a spouse and say you just move on, or you just move on with the first person.”

Following Derek’s shocking death, Meredith had a brief (and disastrous) one night stand with Dr. Thorpe (Scott Elrod), before eventually beginning a casual romance out of shared grief with Riggs. “I believe that Nathan served a beautiful purpose in Meredith’s life, which was to open her heart again and show her that she could care about someone again,” Vernoff says. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean that person is your person for life. One of the things that I love that we do on the show is show this very human journey.”

With all that said, Vernoff also notes that the Harper Avery Award-winning doctor isn’t defined by the men in her life, so romance can wait. “Love is possible for Meredith 100 percent,” she says, “but it’s not her focal point.”

Grey’s Anatomy returns Thursday, Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Grey's Anatomy

Meredith. Alex. Bailey. The doctors are definitely in on Shonda Rhimes' hospital melodrama.

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