Relationships: When It's Over, Is It Really Over?

500 Days of Bummer

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Relationships: When It’s Over, Is It Really Over?

500 Days of Bummer

-Carrie Seim

500 Days of SummerWhen exactly is a relationship over?

Is it during the official break-up conversation? When he finally flips his Facebook status back to “single”? During the sorrowful return of his old sweatshirt in exchange for your overnight toothbrush?

Or – if you’re brave enough to be honest with yourself – does it really end long before all that?

The other night I watched the new film 500 Days of Summer. As the deep-voiced narrator ominously announces in the opening frames – it’s a story about a boy and a girl. But definitely not a love story.

Instead of beginning with a meet-cute, 500 days starts with an end-sad. We hopscotch through time – watching and re-watching those subtle moments when a relationship begins to unravel. A downward glance, a retracted hand, a hesitating sigh.

It reminded me of a lyric from an old John Prine country song, “Far From Me”:

“Why we used to laugh together. And we’d dance to any old song. Well ya know, she still laughs with me. But she waits just a second too long.”

Whoa, boy. Who hasn’t been on the losing end of that long second?

Back to the film. It has its fair share of funny and a hefty serving of romance. It also features one of the most uplifting musical dance breaks in memory, set to Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams.” But on an existential level, it’s pretty depressing. (Of course on an existential level, what isn’t depressing?) The film’s message seems to be that relationships turn us into fools, blind to the moment when love slides from unrelenting to unrequited.

After the movie, I felt unsettled. More accurately, I felt like I wanted to barf.

Should I be more watchful for signs that things aren’t working in a relationship? Should I seek out those hidden red flags like an explosives specialist hunting for IEDs?

It took me many days – and one romantic lunch – to decide I should start searching. But not for signs of trouble. For signs of good.

All too often we fail to acknowledge those subtle moments of caring. Maybe he sent you a sweet text. Maybe he unloaded the dishwasher when it wasn’t even his night. Maybe he overlooked the fact that you were a hormonal nightmare last night and gave you a fresh start in the morning, no questions asked.

It’s not that I think we should enter love blindly or ignore red flags. But neither should we go looking for trouble when it isn’t there.

If you’re in a relationship with someone great, it doesn’t matter how day 500 turns out. What really matters is that you pour your heart and soul into days 1 to 499.

Read Carrie’s last blog post: Finding an Old Love on Facebook: Part 2

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12 thoughts on “Relationships: When It's Over, Is It Really Over?

  1. I loved the movie…it was nice to get a guy’s perspective for a change. Relationships are messy and not all of them get wrapped up with a fairy tale ending. This one makes you realize that we can all fall for the wrong one, but we all have a chance for finding the right one…when we least expect it!! Go see it everyone!

  2. That is SO true! I recently broke up with someone, and I continue to blame myself because of how much I was holding back. He’d just gotten out of a relationship. Guess I should have paid more attention to days 1 to 499.

  3. The aspect of holding back, and giving your all is very tricky in a relationship. It seems like the small things looks so small while the opposite is true for the big things. Im so bitter sweet since my relationship is driving me crazy! It seems trivial but you know what Ill see how it turns out

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