I know that ‘unrequited love’ plotline is not exactly new. But most people do read to escape, and by escape they are inclined to choose a happy sort of feeling in stories rather than a hard slap in the face realistic approach (as such this romantic plot angle implies). At least to me, I gravitate more on series that I knew is fun or happy rather than one that will make me sad. I do occasionally seek reads like these but I don’t want another reason to dampen my spirit further.
I read a web comic/toon before called By Chance, We… And… (우리는 우연히 그리고). It’s about a guy who accidentally met his ex-girlfriend after all these years. The thing is their break-up wasn’t very smooth. There were lots of things that weren’t clear out when the girl broke up and left. And the guy was guilty that he did have a major fault on why the relationship fell apart. The story was a narration of their past: from the moment they met to the last time they talked. It was all kinds of sad and I the hopeful person that I am thought that they’ll have a second chance! I mean aren’t we all rooting for true love?! Now spoiler caution: (please highlight the text if you don’t mind getting spoiled—but you already have a hint as to what happened to them, now do you?) – they didn’t end up together.
I’m hopeless romantic despite my misgiving to RL relationships/romance. And I’m type of reader who easily swoon over cutesy kind of relationship. I’m a self-confessed notorious shoujo/josei reader, hell I ship couples in series that originally has no romance or dedicates just small percentage to it! So unrequited love, usually not my thing but I applauded authors who do this well. I mean not everyone who falls in love get reciprocated.
Honestly I rarely read romance that they didn’t end up together. And not because the partner is unavailable, like the guy/girl died. No, not that. I mean he/she didn’t fall in love with the story’s lead. Or they chose not to continue the relationship, those types—more so the former. If I factored in the number of second leads who were unsuccessful in love, yeah most of them have that but that was because their main role was hurdle to the main couple (harsher truth, I know! ). But I have rarely read that characters didn’t end up together because they weren’t just in love with the MCs! I think it’s a great exposition, but hardly expressed.
Well now I know the answer. It does mean something. The meaning was right here.”
— Takemoto Yuuta (Honey & Clover; Chapter 64, Vol. 10)
I think this is one of the reason why I so loved Honey and Clover 「ハチミツとクローバー」 by Chica Umino. It was how she weaved these characters’ love lives and ultimately none of them have prosperous relationship to the person they originally fell in love with. Takemoto was in love with Hagu but Hagu liked Morita. Morita did like Hagu but she chose her uncle to accompany her during her long rehabilitation. Ayu loved Mayama but Mayama liked Rika (who was a widow and has unclear relationship with Hagu’s uncle). See? All of ‘em were sort of entangled in this weird web of romance! Falling in love, as Takemoto said it easily happened to him. But the girl falling in love back…yeah, he knew. Even Ayu who was hopelessly in love with Mayama had hard time letting go, because to her denying the fact the she fell in love, although he didn’t return it will mean that her feeling was just lie. And she couldn’t accept that her feelings weren’t true if she decided to move on from him. Yeah, these fellas are complicated. But that’s the beauty of Honey & Clover, how skillfully humor and drama were intertwined. Based Umino-sensei’s writing! *bows down*
I still prefer HEA than sad ones but I think a dosage of realism once a while isn’t bad. I for one think that there’s still sliver of hope in these kinds of stories. It might not be reciprocated but from the bunch I read, none of them regret falling in love despite the outcome; that itself is something positive!
How about you? Do you occasionally want an unrequited love ending? Do you also believe in saying that “it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?” Share your opinion with me!