“Happily Ever After” Doesn’t Require a Significant Other

Anyone who knows me, knows I love the holiday season. But, like everything else, there’s parts of it I don’t like, such as the onslaught of cheesy romantic comedies. If I had to guess why we see so many of these films during the holidays, I would say it’s because of a little something called “Christmas spirit”—you know, that thing that magically makes horrible people act good for a day and helps others find love and joy? We like watching random characters find happiness so we can live vicariously through them.

But the problem with most of these movies is not the holiday aspect; it’s the fact that most of these films always end with a girl and a guy “finding” each other and going off to live their “happily ever after.” But we cry happy tears for them anyways because it’s the holidays! And who wants to spend the holidays alone?

Still, there’s multiple issues with this trope, and the one I personally hate the most is the suggestion that in order for anyone to have a happily ever after, they require a significant other—specifically for the females in the narrative.

The female life story is almost always described as something like this: girl has a dream, girl tries to reach dream, girl either fails or still isn’t happy, girl meets man (it’s always a man), girl is happy, couple lives happily ever after. Cue the credits.

Major Spoiler Alerts Ahead

In Christmas Wedding Planner (2017), Kelsey (Jocelyn Hudon) is working on planning her cousin Emily’s (Rebecca Dalton) wedding, while Connor (Stephen Huszar), a private detective, plans on exposing Emily’s fiancé and stopping the wedding. The two have only known each other for a couple of weeks, but when Emily’s wedding is called off, Kelsey and Connor are the ones waltzing to the altar.

And, if you haven’t heard of this film, I’m sure you’ve seen something on Netflix about A Christmas Prince (2017), where Amber (Rose McIver) goes as a struggling undercover reporter to Prince Richard’s (Ben Lamb) castle in Aldovia. While there, she meets the prince—who turns out to be a relatively good guy, rather than the “total flake and scandalous socialite” she was told he would be—and they fall in love. The film ends with Amber accepting a proposal from Richard after knowing him for two weeks.

Sure, a film like this here or there is okay. But when every single holiday rom-com—and not only the holiday ones—end in the same way, I start to get annoyed.

No matter what, the female characters always sport a flaw: they lie about something, they work too much—it’s always something.

But thankfully there’s a beautiful, talented, successful man—preferably a prince—hiding around the corner ready to help fix those flaws.

Rarely do we find a film that represents a successful female character, and even when we do, she always ends up in a relationship. I was rooting for successful small business owner Stacy (Vanessa Hudgens) in The Princess Switch (2018), and I enjoyed watching the relationships between her and Edward (Sam Palladio), and Margaret (Vanessa Hudgens) and Kevin (Nick Sager) unfold. That being said, it annoyed me that the culmination of the stories of both female leads are brought about by the start of their respective relationships.

Not only are women allowed to be happy without a significant other, but they are also able to do so. It’s possible, folks. This is important to remember, especially this time of year. After all, it’s almost December and everyone’s about to be bombarded with questions concerning their current relationships.

But, no matter how many family members ask you about your relationship status and no matter how many holiday events you need to attend alone, remember this: you are enough. You do not need anyone on your arm this holiday season, or ever. Your happiness depends on yourself. It’s okay to go to holiday events alone; it’s okay to not attend them at all and read a book or snuggle your cat instead—as long as you’re happy.

It’s also completely understandable that you want to sit down this cold winter with a cozy blanket, a warm mug of hot chocolate and a “feel-good” film. Trust me. I’ve watched way too many of these, and you can bet I’m also watching A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018) which came out on November 30. But as I watch many more holiday rom-coms in the next few weeks, I will be reminding myself that the ideals these films may promote are not necessary to my individual happiness—or yours.

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