I'll start when you say, “Now, I grant you, much of Edward's suffering was due to his personality, and therefore largely self-inflicted, but there's no doubt he still suffered a lot.”
I kindly say, this is exactly my point, when I say, [“Therefore, when I said “Nobody gets done more dirty than my poor beloved mongrel”. I’m NOT saying Leah’s situation was a piece of cake. I’m just saying, Jacob suffered romantically MORE than anybody else in this fairy tale, including Leah.”]
When I say, “suffered romantically MORE than anybody else in this fairy tale”, I mean, suffered MORE at the hands of their respective beloved. Not, at their own hands, as you have pointed out in your respective 1/15/12 post.
Now, when it comes to self-inflicting sufferings, IMO, you are right, no one suffers more in this department than Edward. Rosalie comes close, but not quite. She finds somewhat relief two years after being a vampire in Emmett, and even after she herself has arranged to have Emmett changed. (I see Rosalie as the female version of Edward and Leah as the female version of Jacob.) Jasper also comes to mind, but for Jasper his happiness is Alice, his sufferings are second to the happiness he feels with and because of Alice.
Though, Edward has to wait for as he says in the movie, “what seems like forever”, and then when he first gets a torturous whiff of his potential HEA, his HEA seems bittersweet at first. Thankfully, though, for Edward, the wait and sufferings were well worth it all. Edward’s remarkable HEA is more than he dreamed it would be and he finally accepts the fact that he too deserves happiness and unimaginable happiness at that, as we and SM have mentioned in the past. But, IMO, Edward’s sufferings and even his HEA are VERY different than Jacob’s. Bella always gave her love to Edward, even in her pit-of-hell depression, (that Edward himself unintentionally caused, granted for a good reason).
Also, when you say, “Did Jacob really suffer romantically more than anyone else? There is one person, who I think suffered equally, if not more, and that is Edward himself.” I would like to point out that Bella NEVER rejects Edward romantically in any way shape or form. At one point I thought she would reject Edward towards the end of NM Ch23 when she says, “Don’t promise me anything”, I whispered”. then Edward says, “You think I’m lying to you now?” Then Bella says, “No—not lying.” I shook my head, trying to think it through coherently. To examine the hypothesis that he did love me, while staying objective, clinical, so I wouldn’t fall into the trap of hoping. “You could mean it . . . now. But what about tomorrow, when you think about all the reasons you left in the first place? Or next month, when Jasper takes a snap at me?” But, here Bella is just trying to understand Edward’s motives for reconciliation.
However, Bella ALWAYS rejects Jacob, even against her own human-type-intuition’s better judgment. And this is clearly illustrated when Bella, in EC Ch26, (in the heart to heart breakup type conversation) says,
“The worst part is that I saw the whole thing—our whole life. And I want it bad, Jake, I want it all. I want to stay right here and never move. I want to love you and make you happy. And I can’t and it’s killing me. It’s like Sam and Emily, Jake—I never had a choice. I always knew nothing would change. Maybe that’s why I was fighting against you so hard”.
And then the last words between them was, “I leaned in and kissed his face softly, “Love you, Jacob.” He laughed lightly. “love you more.”
Again, IMO, this is just one of the many examples of why, IMO, no one suffers romantically more than Jacob does at the hands of their respective beloved. And this is just the beginning of the painful tears her, and mine, beloved mongrel will shed because of Bella's rejection and choices.
Lastly, when you say, “Then, finally, he receives her, in the same form as himself, and finds that she excels in that life.”
This line had me thinking for a while. Well actually the word “receives” had me thinking for a while. I somewhat agree with this line. Though, I think Edward subconsciously (maybe consciously) received Bella being a veggie-vampire long before she ever was one. I think it happened the moment he decided to romantically pursue her in Twilight. I think that’s why his self-inflicting struggles were amplified once he started to convince himself, his family, Bella and even Jacob, of all the reasons why he should NOT want what he really desires the most and that is, understandably, for Bella to be like him forever. (I’m not sure if I got this idea from the old archive threads or current ones, or if I mixed part of my own opinion in this statement). I think before Bella, he did struggle with who he was but, not to the degree that he does when Bella walks into his life. Which is the main (though, not all) cause of the emotional pain in the Bella & Edward relationship. Edward’s self-inflicting struggles of what he thinks he is and who he thinks he is and Edward’s self-inflicting trials made by his choices (whether intentional or otherwise) is where the majority of the drama and action come into play. Which thankfully, Edward has fully overcome by the end of the fairy tale.