February 15, 2013

Congratulations, everyone! We’ve made it through Valentine’s Day. No matter what you were feeling yesterday, it’s over now. If you were really sad, you can go back to being happy. If you were really happy, you can go back to being regular. Good work.

In our post-Valentine’s haze, let’s take some time to think seriously about the ultimate Valentine’s accessory: rom coms. Rom coms all have one thing in common: happy endings, yo. However, the happy ending often is really a beginning; after two hours of missed connections and/or outwardly hating each other while inwardly being in love, the couple finally gets together!

I gotta call bullshit. The savvy among us know that the beginning of a new relationship is hardly a happy ending; it’s actually a really precarious situation. Statistically, one in five ecstatic new couples break up within five months (I made that statistic up but I STAND BY IT). Let’s take a look at 5 of our favorite Rom Com Couples, re-visited one year later.

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days


Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) and Benjamin Barry (Matthew McConaughey) have been together ever since he needlessly chased her to the airport rather than just calling her (she wasn’t moving, just popping away for the weekend for an interview). The gesture was so romantic that it caused her to reveal her true feelings, and for the two of them to take a cab back to his place, solidifying their couple status as official and absolute.

Where are they now? Oh, still together! Andie moved into Ben’s place that very weekend, and for one month they just had a bunch of sex and hardly spoke at all! Slowly, though, they started to have conversations, and it became clear that neither had really forgiven the other for the way the relationship began: with lies. The two decided to put the issue aside, which they managed for three tense months, but Andie and Ben eventually sought couples counseling, which they now attend twice weekly. The stress of their situation has caused them both to put on a fair amount of weight.

Reality Bites


It was the classic post-college tale: Lelaina (Winona Ryder) and Troy (Ethan Hawke) spent four years fighting, play-wrestling, and generally denying their feelings for each other. After graduation, they continued the ruse, until they finally gave in to their passion on the kitchen floor on a steamy summer night. But that wasn’t the end of it; they still had to get rid of Ben Stiller, and deal with all of Troy’s anger.

Finally, though, they got their happy ending: Troy showed up at Lelaina’s door just as she was leaving to look for him, and less than three minutes later they could somehow afford their own place and were spending all of their time laughing and kissing. All of the pain was worth it!

One year after Lelaina and Troy signed the lease on that first, joyously shared apartment, things are not so bright. Being so young, they’ve watched other college couples break up and each of them secretly wonders if they should experiment more before committing to the other. These anxieties are compounded by professional woes: Lelaina, having given up her chance to put her work on TV, has again lost her drive and is working at a coffee shop (she still seems proud that it’s not the Gap). Troy, who had no drive to begin with, loses jobs by the week. Their sex is not as great as it was that night in the kitchen, and Lelaina will never forget that Troy left her alone on that morning over a year ago. In other words, it’s not stable. Who knows where they’ll be next year.

You’ve Got Mail


Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) met – listen to this – on the internet! The year was 1998, and the place was an “over 30″ chat room. Their virtual chemistry was immediate, despite the fact that in real life, Joe was systematically and ruthlessly destroying Kathleen’s adorable and beloved small business. Still, when they eventually revealed their identities on a summer day in Central Park, all was forgotten, and they became the kind of couple who would never fight about which video to rent on a Saturday night.

The pair, being mature adults in their mid-30s, took things slow. Kathleen maintained her gorgeous apartment while Joe stayed on his Dad’s boat, and he didn’t formally move in until they were sure it was right (it was two months; he moved in on August 1st). They were still getting to know each other as lovers IRL, and Kathleen had some trouble letting her pixie-cutted guard down. But by September, they were all in: in love, big time.

Unfortunately, the following spring – one year after that fateful day in the park – the book Kathleen spent all year writing was published to negative reviews and poor sales. This caused her to re-live her failure with The Shop Around the Corner, and to then remember her anger at Joe. She let it fester until it burst at one of Joe’s family functions. Words were screamed; glass vases were thrown and broken. Both Joe and Kathleen are currently single.

While You Were Sleeping


Lucy (Sandra Bullock) and Jack (Bill Pullman) came together as if in a fairytale. First, Lucy saved the life of Peter, Jack’s brother. Then, she pretended to be Peter’s fiancé while Peter was in a coma. Then, she became best friends with Peter’s whole family, and that’s when she fell right into the arms of Jack, her soulmate. They were married right away, and headed straight to Florence for a dream honeymoon. Magic!

When we caught up with Lucy and Jack a year after their wedding, things seemed, on the surface, to be fine. However, once Jack left the room to go work on building a chair, Lucy revealed that they were actually in a deep financial hole: after all, Lucy is just a toll collector, and Jack left his father’s successful business to strike out on his own as a chair-maker. Lucy admitted that she often falls asleep at the kitchen table with her head in a pile of bills, trying to find a way to make ends meet. She said that Jack is reluctant to talk honestly about what’s going on – he’s too proud (he’s also too proud to accept help from his family). Lucy claimed to still be in love with Jack, but her eyes were far away.

Drive Me Crazy


Nicole (Melissa Joan Hart) and Chase (Adrian Grenier) have a PRETTY unique “how we met” story: you see, they were next-door neighbors! They were best buds as kids, but they grew apart in middle school, and it took a crazy bet and a full makeover sequence to get them back together again. PLUS, Nicole lived with her single mom and Chase lived with his single dad and, well… their parents fell in love too. I know, right?

Chase and Nicole finally admitted their feelings for each other at the end of their senior year of high school. They spent all summer hooking up in the tree house, and they totally didn’t even care what their friends thought! They put all that petty high school stuff behind them and just hung out with each other, and honestly, it felt pretty great. It felt like love.

That fall, they tearfully went away to college, promising to stay true. But, despite her lazy eye, Nicole quickly met another guy (he made fun of her hat selection in an Urban Outfitters – she was floored). When she admitted this to Chase via text, he told her he’d already slept with four girls on his floor. They called it quits (their parents, though, moved in together, so Thanksgiving was awkward).

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