Happily Ever After…

Recently I was on a date with a guy who told me that ideally he would like ten children but that realistically he would settle for five. I just blinked at him for a moment while mentally I was running for the hills.( If you think you’re getting ten kids from this chick you’ve got another thing coming!) My mother is one of ten children and I am one of five. I know what it’s like to be raised in a big family and sometimes it’s awesome and sometimes it stinks. (I don’t think my mother has had a moment alone since 1981.) I would NEVER want that many kids but that guy did because that was his version of Happily Ever After.

Everybody loves a happily ever after. It’s the reason we love romance novels. We read those lovely little epilogues and usually find the hero and heroine married with a couple of kids or a baby on the way and everybody is happy. Of course real life isn’t so neat but it still got me wondering about real Happily Ever Afters. I belive that people do achieve them. But are Happily Ever Afters the same for everybody?

I was having a conversation with a married woman who for whatever reason decided not to have children. She told me that people often looked at her with pity because of this, like there was something wrong with her. Society likes a nuclear family with the husband, wife, two kids and a dog but she didn’t want that. She said that people didn’t realize that she is extremely happy. That while her friends are struggling to put their kids through college she and her husband were taking trips to Europe and going golfing and having more fun in the forties than they did in their twenties. I truly belive she is living her version of Happily Ever After.

Happily Ever After

Donny Deutsch recently said that people biologically aren’t meant to have just one partner. That ideally(secretly) people did want the children and the dog and even the spouse but the spouse should live in a separate house down the block. This way both partners could have the stability of the marriage and the freedom to do whatever. He might be right. For some people that might be the perfect situation.

There are a lot of people who say there is no such thing as Happily Ever After. Personally I don’t know what my version of Happily Ever After is. I know that right now I’m happy. I have good friends, a quiet apartment, a job I like and the ability to buy as many shoes as I want without having to explain myself to anybody. :) Will that make me happy in a few years? Who knows?

I hope you are all finding some kind of happiness in whatever you are doing. Share with us. What do you think about Happily Ever Afters? Do they change? Do they really exist? What’s your version? Think I’m full of baloney? I’d love to know what you think.

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19 thoughts on “Happily Ever After…”

  1. Great post Jamie!. I don’t know if there is a happily ever after because no one can be happy all the time. But I do think you can have happiness over the long haul. I guess it boils down to taking the good with the bad (in both relationships and life).

  2. Hey Jamie, this is a wonderful post. Life comes in stages, as in Gail Sheehy’s 1974, 1976 and renewed in 2004 “Passages.” My wise first mother-in-law said to me when in my 20′s. “As your life changes, your values change.” Having experienced several more decades since told that truthful little itty bitty, my idea of “happily ever after” has changed. Right now i am in a wonderful place. What say you?

  3. Wicha on the ten kids, Jamie. <>

    My father had five siblings but he was the only one who had children. I was the youngest of three and, although our home life was good, I had three uncles with long, happy childless marriages and two aunts who never were married or had children, who also had full lives with lot of travel and friends. So I had a lot of different models for Happily Ever After to choose from. I still haven’t decided on one. :)

  4. At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, I think happiness has nothing to do with your circumstances and everything to do with your mindset. I have two friends who are cancer survivors: one views herself as the most kick-ass human to walk the earth, just oozes confidence, is hilariously funny, a total hoot. Personally, she’s divorced, no kids, was unemployed for a year. The other is married, great job, healthy kids, nice hubby….but she views herself as cursed. One is happy, one is not. So maybe the happily ever after isn’t a situation. I know in my own books, there’s usually a moment when the heroine faces life without the hero and says to herself, “You know what? Life’s still pretty good. I like myself, I like what I’m doing, and that’s enough.” So the relationship is just the cherry on top; but her own life, that’s the actual sundae.

    I see I have rambled extensively, but I really enjoyed thinking about this, Jamie! Thanks! This blog is getting to be my new morning addiction.

  5. I agree with Kristan. I think you draw your happiness from within. You choose to be happy. I think as you grow older your needs change and the demands on your life change also which allows you the time to do what you enjoy doing. I’m currently unemployed and in a horrid financial situation due to that and the economy, yet I am happy and at peace because it allows me to do something I love …. write. I think you will always find what you look for, whether it be happiness or otherwise. And yet, because life often throws us a curve ball and places us in unhappy situations, picking up a romance novel can take us away from our problems, even if only momentarily, and give us the HEA ending we crave in our own lives. Great post.

  6. I am all about the mind set and making your own happiness. No person, including my spouse, is put on this earth to make me happy. My kids whinned once that they were bored, I looked right at them and said back, “Only boring people get bored. And don’t look to me to make you happy. That is not what I was created for.” A little harsh, yes, but I’ve never heard them say it again. When I wish people a great day, I don’t say, “I hope you have a great day.” I say, “Make it a great day.”

  7. Sometimes we let ourselves be convinced that we are supposed to like a politically correct, stereotypical version of happily ever after. If we’re lucky, in those quiet moments we admit to ourselves that it just doesn’t fit–That we are not as happy as we are supposed to be.

    Moreover, what you believe to be your ‘happily ever after’ when you are sixteen might not make you happy when you are 40, or 50, or 60. Unfortunately, we often make choices when we are young that we cannot undo. The lesson may be to listen to your heart and soul and spirit in those quiet moments, and be open to making the changes that keep you on course to happiness.

  8. Everybody here has expressed my sentiments beautifully. I too believe that we are each responsible for our own happiness and that our definition of happiness changes over time. Today, I’m feeling especially aware of my own happiness and how fortunate I am in so many respects.

  9. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!! I wish we could get the romance-reading public to come to grips with this very fact’ that HEA does not always equal an engagement ring, a white dress and/or a wedding. And children are not a necessary by-product for loving marriage!!!
    Neanderthal thinking!

  10. Love it! I really do because I am tired of the assumption that im not happy or complete because I am single. I tell people all the time, I am too busy and too selfish to be in a relationship. And it’s true. I am also happy. I can’t tell you I don’t have moments but they are generally few and far between. Also I love kids. Love them. I teach 8 2-year olds every day and I love them from 830-6 and then I give them back. Even babysitting on free nights is great and I laugh when people tell me I’ll be such a good mom, because honestly, I am ok without being a mom. I want to be the crazy aunt. My life is crazy sometimes but ultimately, I am living in my ‘for this moment in time” happily ever after.

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