That’s right. Not getting your happily ever after with the one you long and pine for or imagine yourself to be deeply in love with has tremendous ROI.
Let’s take Romeo&Juliet as an example. Too bad they really haven’t found the Fountain of Youth else Will Shakespeare would have been a very rich bugger indeed, reaping benefits from all the royalty he’d have been getting from this one play he wrote. And it’s not even that a good one mind you. It lacks the depth of a Macbeth, the twists of a Midsummer Night’s Dream or and you don’t really feel the love. I know I don’t. I mean take a look at this- 2 teenagers (it could only be teenagers being this impulsive and stubborn) decide that they have a crush on people their families find unsuitable. Families turn into big baddies to keep them apart and teenagers manage to muddle through it till they both end up dead. Yay…have fun making out in the afterlife nerds.
This tragedy of WS has been made into operas, movies, music videos, reenacted as a play and reread as a book and continues to persist even now. Why? Because a never after means the story can persist at least in your own head. A happily ever after means it’s over and done and you have no further role to play in it.
Everyone who has gone through unrequited “love” or has “love&lost” will forever be marked with the touch of that “what-if”. They may not moan and groan throughout their lives about it but they’ll wonder and they’ll hark back to that person or the people who “got back”, “could have been” etc etc. When you get the one you wanted, it turns into marriage, babies, mortgages and the story becomes dull at some point for sure. Happiness might still play a part in it but the depths to which your mind can run when it unleashes the potential of the unknown is massive! And I think it’s fun for people to do from time to time to wander off on this particular path.
Unrequited love has spawned an entire era of work in English Litt from sonnets to prose to modern-day stalkers who have transitioned into very successful serial killers and creeps in the movies. The Never after leads to illicit forays onto Facebook profiles of people you don’t have access to anymore while you take in their lives as they pose for selfies or check into some minuscule coffee shop on social media or tweet about the time they last sneezed.
You don’t check out the happily ever afters…they got their happy ending and started a predictable new story of their own…where’s the mystery in that?!
I remember going back again and again to read Love Story. Sad as shit but she died so beautifully on film and the way Oliver contemplated his life post Jenny dying…man! a man happy with his life doesn’t have half that appeal!
We like a little bit of the unknown in our lives. The places we could have gone, the things we should have done, the lives we would have led…it’s a fun exercise on it’s own and doesn’t hurt anyone. As long as you know you got exactly what you wanted- alive, hale and hearty and not swooning and dying or spouting nonsense from balconies…your very own happily never after!
But going back to R&J, ever think what might have happened if they had ended up together?