I just watched a screening of a very good movie, (500) Days of Summer, which I highly recommend seeing. It’s a relationships movie, and a surprisingly accurate one – sometimes painfully so. I saw the ghosts of my own dating history in more than one scene.
[Please note: I will try to write the following without giving away too much plot, but if you’re one of those people who absolutely hates even the hint of spoilers and might want to see this movie, don’t keep reading. But do go see it – it’s good!]
It’s funny: I loved the movie, but I also kind of hated it for that accuracy, and at the end I felt sad. I suppose it wasn’t a movie that helped along my desire to believe in happy endings, the way I want my romantic comedies to do (but I also at the same time hate them for giving me hopes that are never matched by reality). I didn’t want to be reminded of my relationship misfires, and to wonder even now if I’m in another one but I just haven’t had that moment of realization yet. There is a message intertwined in the movie about how right it is when you know you found the one … but I think I’d feel much better about that message if I was already sitting in that place of certainty.
I couldn’t help but think of all the men I’ve dated in my life, most of whom have found life partners – ironically, those are the ones who squashed my heart like a pancake. It’s not that I wished them evil, or an eternity without finding happiness in love (at least, not after I sufficiently recovered from the heartbreak); but I certainly didn’t want them to find it before me. It seems unfair somehow that they should go so quickly – sometimes directly – from my misery to their destined mate, while I am still left wondering.
It also kind of made me want to have a “future” conversation with my boyfriend, which I had just gotten comfortable with the idea of not having for a while. If we already know that we have major differences in some of the things we believe and want, should I cut my losses before I get even more invested than I already am? Can I still manage to get out without getting hurt? Our relationship seems so good right now, and has always felt open and honest and comfortable and peaceful and consistently enjoyable and pretty matched in caring – not like my others – but I am a) historically prone to ignoring big red flashing signals that say “Turn back from this relationship!” and b) used to having the rug pulled out from under me just when I think a relationship is making good progress.
I think I’ve been pretty cautious this time, and I don’t think I have my rose-colored glasses on; but that doesn’t mean I’m not still waiting to find out exactly how and when this will end. While I try not t be such a downer in my daily interactions, I feel somewhere in the back of my mind that the best I can hope for I that the end doesn’t totally suck, and that I get over it fast. Much like one of the characters in the movie, I am pretty sure that this soulmates/true love/find your life partner nonsense is a big pile of stinky poopy. I do have friends whose marriages seem to suggest otherwise … but I think I am not destined to share their happy fate.
Gee whiz – from my description, you’d think this was a terribly depressing movie! It’s not, though … it’s very cute and funny and smart and you should absolutely go see it; despite my mournful reflections, I truly enjoyed the film. And my dire prophecies probably have much more to do with fear of the past than any particular prediction of future behavior. While I don’t know how long my boyfriend and I will be together, I am thoroughly thankful for the wonderful time that we’ve had so far, and I plan to enjoy all the good times that remain for us. I do hope that one day I can let go of that bad history, that it will lose its power to rise up, remind me, and run me over all over again.