Oh god this is a loaded question, isn’t it? I’m going to talk about this solely on a personal level, as opposed to the grand scheme of the storyline. There’s a lot to be said as to what Gale and Peeta represent as metaphors as opposed to people, but that’s a whole other conversation, I think.
I don’t actually consider Gale a romantic option for her at all. I also don’t think that invalidates the depth or importance of their relationship. The two of them depended on each other for survival, not just their own, but their entire families as well. Katniss’ father may have introduced her to the techniques that helped her survive in the arena, but it was with Gale that she honed them. They loved each other, but I think it was closer to the love siblings share than romantic partners. Honestly, it makes me sad for them both that they may have lost that as adults because she was unable to let go of Prim’s death. While it’s never stated in canon, I’d like to think the two of them made amends and repaired their relationship in some way. I want those toastbabies to have an uncle Gale.
I think Peeta would have been where she ended up one way or another. She had no idea of how closely she kept track of Peeta after he threw her that bread, but it’s all there in the text. It just would have taken longer for their paths to cross without the Games pushing them toward each other. Peeta was what she needed from the beginning. He is level headed and openly compassionate, where she is quick tempered and plays her feelings close to the chest. They balance each other out perfectly.
As confused as Katniss may have been throughout the books, I think her decision to spend her life with Peeta was one she made with as little bias as possible, given the circumstances. They didn’t just hop in the sack when he got back to Twelve. “Peeta and I grow back together” is such a loaded statement and can be interpreted so many ways, but I’d like to think that in spite of the struggles he faced with his recovery from the hijacking and everything she struggled with her PTSD and depression and everything else, they were able to have something like a normal relationship. Tell me there is anything more heartbreakingly sweet than Peeta truly wooing her after everything they went through together and I will fucking cut you for lying to me like that.
I might be biased but I see no cons to her decision. I don’t consider the mental health battles they fought after the war to be cons, though I’m sure some people likely would. Those things may never really have gone away, and the tragedy of them may have haunted her, but the glimpse into their life that we get is a beautiful one. A rebuilt home free of the tyranny of the Games, a successful life together, two happy children.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m just going to go drown in my feels for a while.