There are some movies I see through different eyes now that I’m older and a little more experienced. All of them are relationship movies.
I stumbled on “High Fidelity” again the other day and have very different feelings about it than when I first saw it.
I used to identify so much with Rob. I understood what it felt like to be dumped. And of course, saw his appeal as someone of the opposite sex. DJ at the Double Door? Yes. Owner of a cool record store on Milwaukee Avenue? Yep. Opinionated about music in a passionate way? Uh huh.
I was annoyed by Laura who doesn’t come clean about her feelings or her burgeoning new relationship. I hate how she keeps calling and showing up to get her things, always seeming to leave the door open in a way. And how on Earth does she end up with someone like Ian/Ray anyway?
I related to Rob wanting to figure out what had gone wrong in his past relationships, as if this were the answer to his problems. It made sense that he was insanely jealous of Ian/Ray and fixated on whether or not Laura had slept with him. In general, it did feel as though he truly missed her and mourned their relationship.
But the other day, I saw him as an annoying, immature guy in his 30’s, a mirror image of many of the guys I’ve gone out with. Emotionally immature, walking around like he’s completely blameless. Someone aloof, who was hurt in the past and uses that as an excuse to not commit, always keeping you at arm’s length. Someone with a bruised ego who isn’t upfront about the pretty legitimate reasons for why he was dumped, like the fact that he’d cheated on her and owed her a lot of money.
The only part that made sense to me was the end, when Rob finally figures it out. These other girls? They’re just a fantasy. One in which everything is going perfectly. But reality doesn’t work that way. And if reality is that he gets to end up with someone like Laura, he should be trying to lock that shit down.
I don’t want to assign gender to this because I have no idea what it’s like to date me or what it would be like for me to date a woman. But I will say that this “ah ha” moment from Rob is one that Laura already had, probably from the very beginning. She even says so herself when he wonders aloud why she’d live in his dump of an apartment when she’s making good money by responding that she wanted to be there because she wanted to be with him.
And that’s all it really is. Wanting to be with one another and doing whatever it takes to make that happen. Leaving space for things to go wrong, because sometimes they will. Knowing there will be good days and bad and today is nothing like yesterday. There are so many outside factors that go into relationships that we sometimes forget about all of the things we have no control over.
Two imperfect people trying to make the most of being together…because we hope and want to believe it’s worth it.
I think the notion of “not being right for one another” is really coming to a place where you realize there is a complete breakdown in communication that can’t be fixed. It’s when you are unable to understand one another. You have to exhaust every option to really know for certain this shouldn’t be and that has to be after a mutual effort. And you both have to have some accountability and self reflection.
(Sidenote: A huge, selfish asshole is not “right” for anyone. If you want to get married and have babies and your partner does not, they are not “right” for you. If your partner is abusing you, they are not “right” for you.)
I think sometimes it’s easier to give up.
But then you’re just left starting at square one again. The work is never going to end so long as you’re with someone. So maybe instead of jumping ship thinking there’s a better match out there, try a little harder with the one you were lucky enough to find in the first place, especially if they’re already willing to do that for you.