Happily-ever-after doesn’t always have to end in marriage! Many of our film and TV stories show a romantic union as the ultimate happy ending. And there’s often a feeling that successful relationships are rewards given to characters who’ve “done their time” as single ladies. But it’s also important to highlight examples of characters who stay single – to remind us that relationships aren’t the be all and end all, and that fulfillment can come from within.
Rebecca Bunch in Crazy Ex Girlfriend at first seems determined to live out a rom-com fantasy, traveling across the country in pursuit of her dream man. But as we get to know her, the story becomes less about that and more about her mental health, and so her staying single by the end feels like a necessary, honest, and important step in her journey toward recovery. Spinster explicitly deals with our latent fear around being single and older — in this case 39, so not even that old — but the film challenges that fear, with its heroine Gaby deciding not to pursue a relationship, and to instead pursue her dream of opening a restaurant.
Staying single isn’t some big tragedy, and it also doesn’t always have to be a defiant, anti-monogamous statement. Sometimes, it can just be the right thing to do for you.