I have just endured, for no particular reason, yet another crappy romcom. I was only watching it because ‘yet another Friday night in’. Happy ever afters are bullshit. Do you know why? Because the film only show you what happens up to the perfect moment, not what happens afterwards.
Pretty Woman might get her millionaire and Twenty Seven Dresses whatshername might bag that cute guy who I only recognise from Westworld where he ends up shooting himself through the head because (spoiler) he’s so miserable with what reality has become, but you know that given a few years, maybe ten, the cracks will begin to show. How they get through that depends entirely on how much shit they are willing to put up with from each other and how much of a sacrifice it is worth to let go the rest of their lives. That’s not a happy end, that’s life.
I don’t really have any happy ever after stories in my family. We are a relatively normal family. My parents have been married 49 years, my brother is married with two kids and his own house. But turn the page and…. my mother regrets her life choices, I have a sister who died before I was born that noone knows I know about and my brother doesn’t even know existed, my bestfriend endures her relationship because her game plan was kids with whoever, my brother and his wife raise their two children under continuous stress and strain which is only survivable because of the daily help they get from both sets of parents.
And thanks to my multiple failed relationships (entirely my own fault of course – I am a bad choice maker, but I was also very self destructive in my younger years), the only way I won’t end up dying in abject poverty is if I marry rich, or my parents die without having spent any of their modest but not amazing wealth on care in their much older years.
I am aware of this. I face it head on because I know that the only reason I face that as my potential future is because of the life choices I have made in the past, present and will probably continue to make in the future. Marrying that millionaire and into the right kind of relationship that suits that arrangement (hopefully open and amicable), is pretty much my only get out of jail card. And I am seriously considering it as a potential. There was a time when most marriages were business arrangements. I am ALMOST at that point.
I am not money minded, it isn’t my drive. Well, okay, I am but not to that extent. I am careful with my money. Aware of the painful situations caused by debt, going without and hiding from baliffs. The fact is that I am just fully aware that my career and relationship decisions have meant managing money to the last penny is now inescapable. Singledom, a career without money that gives me so much satisfaction in so many other ways, comes with a price, as discussed. And when I look at the people around me, the Mikes of this world and the dudes crawling around on sites like Seeking Arrangement, I realise I could still be getting the better end of the deal in my later years. I am not staying with someone purely for the financial safety net and because it’s too much hassle to leave. There are many many couples in the world together purely because they think it’s the safer option.
I am not a cynic. I am not a party pooper. I don’t expect perfect. I am a realist. But I’ve made enough life changing decisions to know we don’t always get our lucky break and we probably won’t get that Hollywood happy ending. I don’t expect to suddenly win the lottery or become the next J K Rowling.
I counteract this by being the best person I can be for myself with the skills I have. I aim to be the most grounded, realistic, fair person I possibly can for myself without damaging the hopes and dreams of anyone who mistakenly walks into my path and takes up the challenge.
This is why I am happy being single but a stronger single me. I wouldn’t say I am marked. I certainly wouldn’t consider myself an unlucky person, in many ways I have been very fortunate, but I never ever expect a romcom ending. I suspect at least three more failures will come and go and they will will simply be yet more lessons I needed to learn, or needed reaffirming to me.
There is no standard upbringing for someone who is unlucky in love, for someone who becomes a cheater, for someone who becomes the cheated, for someone who stays single, wants kids, doesn’t want kids. These do not mark your life. Your experiences can send you either way. How you are hard wired can send you either way. Perfect children become murderers, kids from the gutter can become their country’s leader.
You have to make your choices, accept the outcome and face it like a boss.