Happily ever after…

When I was young, all the love stories I watched/read ended with “…and they lived happily ever after.”  It was obvious that they would; they loved each other and were perfect for each other, despite sometimes having only met that day.  Why wouldn’t they?

What I find interesting is that these days, the love stories that I like most don’t end that way.  I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I do know of at least one friend who likes the stories where the man dies, because the woman shouldn’t die, and you know that if he dies then their story ends while they’re madly in love, but if they stayed together it wouldn’t be quite as good as it was in that moment.  So, I’m thinking maybe other people feel the same way.

I’m assuming the difference between what I/we believed then vs now is that we know relationships are actually pretty difficult and complicated, and no one just lives “happily ever after”.  People can remain together, happily, but it’s work, and not nearly as romantic and passionate as we would like it to be.  So we like the love stories where they can’t be together, but at least they will forever treasure the time that they had together.  I’m sure I could name a huge list of movies that end like this, but I think you could do that on your own.

The endings are very upsetting, because I want them to be together!!  I mean they’re heart-wrenching.  I sob.  I cry frequently in movies, actually.  But I am literally sobbing at the end of the movies where the couple doesn’t end up together.  It’s absolutely terrible!!  But at the same time, I find those stories to be beautiful.  They’re my favorite.  I get really mad at first, but then I develop fond feelings for them.  I’m not sure if this is as a result of watching/reading all these stories with endings like this, but I have the same sort of thinking when it comes to life now, too.  I treasure the experiences I have, and am a big fan of “it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” 

Actually, writing this, I realized that there are people who believe that, and people that don’t, and I’m guessing the former might have the same opinion on love story endings as I do, and the latter may not.  Thoughts…?

I’m still not sure if this is a good philosophy or not.  I guess maybe it depends on whether a person is the type that has regrets or not.  I don’t really.  I don’t see the point in having regrets.  You can’t change things.  I value the people that come into my life, whether they stay or leave, and I treasure the time that we have.  So I think that the love stories that we watch/read, we like the endings where they can’t be together because it ends at the climax, and they will have nothing but fond memories.  Terribly sad memories, but nothing can corrupt their memories because nothing bad can happen afterwards.  I mean other than the fact that it can never be…

Actually, I think maybe that’s just it.  It ends at the climax.  You can’t ever get better than the climax, so how else do you end it rather than to just cut it off?  This post was not planned in advance, so I’m kind-of rambling, and figuring things out as I write… When we were young, we thought that staying together and living “happily ever after” meant everything was just going to continue to be ridiculously amazing.  But now, we know that it’s more complicated than that, and it won’t continue to be ridiculously amazing, so the best moment is that time that they’re completely crazy about each other, however it is portrayed by the book/movie/etc, so in order for it to be perfect, that has to be the end.

Terribly depressing, but wonderfully romantic and passionate and beautiful and…sigh.


11 thoughts on “Happily ever after…

  1. While reading this I immidietely thought of the movies Atonement and Days of Heaven. Have you seen either? I found them very interesting because they both ended on a very tragic note. I was actually surprised with Atonement’s ending because the two lovers spent the whole movie paying the price of a naive misunderstanding and I figured that the two, after suffering for so long, would eventually get some sort of reward for all of their time spent apart, but it turns out that the universe is mysterious in that their tragedy was really just a means of shaping the main character. In Days of Heaven I was expecting little mercy after seeing a couple of other Terrance Mallick films because he is the type of director that gives the viewer a blunt look at just how bleak life can be. It was the story of two poor folks in love during the great depression and the man in the relationship gets the woman to instead pose as his sister so that she can go seduce a farm owner who is ill and does not have long to live and therefore inheriting all of his assets once he does finally die. As the story progresses, the girl becomes conflicted with what she is doing…not only because it is wrong to use someone for their wealth, but she also gets to know the farm owner as more than just some rich guy and they start to see that special something about eachother. The man who put her up to it however is never quite conflicted and we as the audience start to see the greed in his heart, we start to feel less sympathy about him being poor. So the characters all become multi-dimensional, all having their redeeming and condemning sides and you do not know who you want to have the happy ending, because one of the characters must lose and as it turns out, they all lose by the end. I find that these are the kind of films that stick with me the most though because they are almost a direct reflection of life. The world is capable of both rewarding values and unforgiving compromises. As far as love goes, yes, it has a whole different meaning once you grow up and realize that like life, love is a whole lot of give and take. It can be the greatest, most uplifting thing at one moment and then turn around and scar you the next. But I think that because of that it becomes more interesting and worth knowing, where the happily ever after point of view is too idealistic and therefore possibly unattainable. Besides, it takes things like tragedy and loss for you to appreciate the beautiful sides of love and this also leads to self-discovery (finding out unconscious needs and wants) and the discovery of a true human counterpart (flaws and all).

    • You like to write essays on my posts…hahaha 😛 I like what you write though 🙂

      I have seen Atonement but not the other movie you mentioned. Atonement was one of the ones I was thinking of specifically when I wrote this post, especially when I wrote the part about being mad at first, but then liking them. I HATED Atonement when I first saw it. I was SO angry lol. But then the more I thought about it, the more I decided it was an excellent movie, even though it does suck. And now I own it. 🙂

      But yes, I agree with all that you said. I don’t really have anything to add. 🙂

  2. hi there, I know I’m about to oversimplify things a whole bunch, but I can see the breathtaking qualities in fiery passion / tragic endings and unrequited love. On the other hand, I love the ebb and flow of consistent, happy, humorous love that has its lows but also has bouts of that passion intermixed within. I also don’t like happy-go-lucky romance stories with perfect little endings though… it’s never as simple as they make it seem; love is a lot messier than that.

  3. I never really cared for either kind of movies – happily ever after romances or tragic romances. I tend to like goofy, raunchy comedies – usually the ones that have some heart. I think you probably make your life into what you like. I like my relationship now *way* better than on our wedding day. That was so not the climax (climax, haha! see? comedy.) I like life the way I like movies – real, dirty, hilarious, and endearing 🙂

    P.S. It does not mean that I don’t have very deep feelings.
    P.S.S. I also love horror movies. Thus far my life hasn’t been that. Thus far…

  4. Great post. I love Romantic movies and usually get very upset no matter what the outcome is. Notebook, Titanic, A Walk To Remember are a few that touched my heart ( even though Rose lets go of Jack at the end). I always cheer for the couples to remain together in the end. I want the best for everyone and even if my relationships in the past didn’t end this way, I find it heartwarming to see the couples happy.

  5. Pingback: Reflections on Love

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