What Is So Wrong With “Happily Ever After”?

what is so wrong with happily ever after

Happily Ever After- it’s what we are looking for. We might scorn the idea, make fun of it, even not want to admit it- but, deep down, somewhere in you, if you are brutally honest with yourself- happily ever after is what you want. It might not look like what anyone elses will look like- and it’s probably not a romance’s idea of “happily ever after”- but, your idea- you and the man- living a life together, living a life that you want.

So, if we all desire the “happily ever after” why, oh why do we scorn the idea so much? Make fun of it?

I think a lot has to do with how easy it is to make fun of romance books/chick flicks. And don’t get me wrong- it is easy to make fun of those books/movies- the girl and the boy cutely meet- instant sparks/attraction. But something keeps them from being together- maybe it’s a boyfriend, or a bad past relationship. Maybe they want to make it in the big city before a relationship. But, like magnets, they keep being drawn together- until the romance happens and the happily ever after is in sight.

Some argue that this kind of scenario is setting people up for disappointment. Disappointment in relationships because no real life, flesh and blood man can live up to fictional book/movie man. Characters such as Mr. Darcy set a certain expectation- an expectation that can disappoint if you think the man in your life is going to be Mr. Darcy/the hot cowboy/the sexy millionaire.

Some would even argue that for single ladies, romance is setting us up for further disappointment- because the “cute meet” stories do not happen in real life (or at least not as how they are portrayed in the books). There isn’t going to be the sexy cop, the Army man with a past, the millionaire, the hot cowboy.  There’s not going to be the case of the gym Adonis who meets the ugly duckling and realizes she’s a swan. The sexy carpenter with the really good hands is not going to wind up at your house looking to fix anything that needs to be fixing, And one could argue that with each book read, the grip on reality of love situations gets a bit hazy.

Full disclosure: I am single. I am a few years past college age. I am a girl who is caught between two worlds- I’m really too old to be a party all night type of girl and I’m too young to be a stay in all night in my flannel pj’s type of lady. I’m caught between a rock and a hard place with friendships- the majority of my friends are at that stage in life where they are married, having babies, worrying about having kids, and focused on careers and the life they are building. My older friends have already done these things- and yet, I don’t completely fit in with them, either.

For me, I am aware that you don’t “cutely meet” the love of your life. The man of your dreams is not going to bump into you while you are rushing to a meeting carrying every file in the world and help you pick them up when you inevitably drop them. The millionaire with the heart of gold is not going to think I’m librarian-sexy when he sees me with my glasses on and the sexy doctor is going to give me a piece of paper with numbers on it- the bill, not his number.

But romance and the thrill of happily ever after appeals to me- as a way to escape the day to day life. The world is filled with hard truths- disappointments, let-downs, pains and hurts. So, is it really so bad to want to read a sweet book- whether it’s a romance or a cozy mystery- where there is some “happily ever after”?

I think not. As long as you keep your head in reality- enjoy the book- but do not think that the man in the book is how the men in real life are supposed to act. Prince Charming is not going to ride up on the horse to whisk you away. However, with a romance book- you can escape for a few hours- enjoy the glass of wine and just take a break.

For 2 different viewpoints on romance books- the good side and bad side- visit The Book Wheel’s “Why Romance Novels Ruin Romance” and Patience Bloom’s “10 Differences Between Finding Love In Real Life and a Romance Novel”. And while you are checking out links- an article I wrote last week “Why I Love (and Dislike) Valentine’s Day” might be worth a read.

Happily Ever After may not happen in real life, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying it via the book or the movie. Just keep it in perspective.

What do you think of Happily Ever After? Tell me in the comments!

Happy Reading and Bookishly Yours,

T @ Traveling With T

T Traveling With T pic sign off

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13 thoughts on “What Is So Wrong With “Happily Ever After”?

  1. Professor VJ Duke says:

    It’s an absolute must! What other options are there? I mean who wants sadly ever after anyway? No, the best ending is a happy one and Punchyish too right?

  2. Psh!!! Ok look…I don’t read romance novels but I am 100% in favor of happily ever after and you DO “cutely meet” people. I once dated a man I met while grocery shopping. He commented on my Claddagh ring (that he noticed while I was picking up apples) and showed me the Claddagh tattoo on his upper arm. We chatted about Irish heritage and dated for a year. I also once dated a man I met at the gas station. Apparently he was trying to get my attention while we were both pumping gas but I didn’t notice him. When I got in my car and turned out onto the highway he got in his car and started honking his horn while waving his arm for me to “come back.” I turned around (curiosity…you know) and parked next to him. He said he thought I was really pretty and just wanted to say hello. Lol. We dated for two years. I met my husband on Facebook. 😀

    • 🙂 I stand corrected. Maybe I should have phrased it “I don’t “cutely meet” people & just because I enjoy reading about “happily ever after” I don’t expect to “cutely meet” the love of my life” And I could write a series on THAT, but I’d rather not share those tales!

      I just think it’s so easy to beat up on the romance books. The easy reads. And why? Why? You can be all serious and respected and still like to enjoy some light, fluffy reading.

      • Of course you can. Every now and again even I indulge in light fluffy reading. I do it when my brain needs a break. The college courses and government work takes a toll on me sometimes and I need an easy book to relax with to settle down at night.

        I think a lot of people “cutely meet” people but just don’t see it all the way through. Like what if I had just thanked the claddagh guy and moved on or not turned my car around? There would be no story.

      • YES! Ever since I began reviewing- my book taste has expanded, but I still love curling up with that easy read book! Especially when stressed!

        Maybe so. 🙂 🙂 It’s a nice thought!

  3. What serendipitous timing! I was just writing a book review today and one of the things that I liked about the book was that it was a more realistic “happily ever after”, because I guess I’m a little skeptical. Then it made me laugh because “Skeptical about happy endings” sounds like an all girl metal band. Do you want to play drums? Tambourine?

    I think there’s definitely a place for happy endings, who doesn’t want to be happy?

    • I’m a total tambourine girl!
      Thank you! This post has been in my head for some time- bits and pieces and I finally just had enough time to put the fingers to the keyboard!

      I think it’s so easy to be skeptical (hello reality TV) and all this Facebook posing- so that is why I like the idea of the happily ever after- it’s what keeps me from turning super skeptical which is near the town of jaded and cynical.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Although I don’t read romance and I tend to read books that don’t end 100% happily, I still think a book can be “happily ever after” and be well written. In fact, for me, I think that’s the main point: If I enjoy the writing style and the plot, it’s OK if certain books might end in a way that isn’t extremely likely in real life. It is fiction and it is entertainment, after all. The most important thing is to enjoy what you read!

  5. I agree with Adrio completely! I mostly am not reading romance books, but I still love a nice, neatly tied up, happy ending. I’m not above admitting that my reading is slightly escapist and so I’m alright with it not being perfectly realistic all the time.

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