Human nature varies from person to person. Actions and reactions to emotional change are different, and this difference, studied widely in various aspects of relationships, shows the emotional response of humans during creation or ending of a relation. Social psychologists and sociologists have studied the effect on human nature due to creation or break-up of a romantic relationship.
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Different people perceive creation and breaking up of romantic relationship differently. Foundation of a romantic relationship follows a certain path while in case of a break-up it elicits a different set of reactions.
This essay studies the emotions, interactions, communication styles, and love styles of individuals or couples who engage or break up a romantic relationship, taking examples from two popular movies – Annie Hall and You’ve Got Mail. Annie Hall is chosen as an example of breaking of relationships as writer-director-actor Woody Allen presents the complexities of relationship between a man and woman in modern city.
Allen presents the difficulty of perpetuating friendship, and more importantly love-relationship in a city in the movie. On the other hand, You’ve Got Mail, set again in New York City, shows how relationships bloom from the most hostile and unlikely situations. The two contrasting plots of the movies help delineate the way people react to creation and breaking of relationships.
Relationships and break-ups in romantic relationships have been widely researched by academicians. Attachment, secured through a romantic relationship through love, trust, support, stability, and satisfaction, is important in a relationship.
Relationships, which have higher level of security among partners usually, have a greater chance of disclosure of feelings, speak more to each other, and engage in mutual discussion. On the other hand, when a relationship lacks security, it shows lack of self-confidence and reduces the level of commitment, passion, and intimacy among partners.
Emotional expression of love and communication style is often based on the discourse ingrained by society and culture. Often love differ based the degree of attachment, trust, passion, and attitude towards the whole institution of love.
Hence, what an individual believes to be love also creates great influence on the kind of romantic relationship he/she will have with the partner. The degree of attachment will depend on what an individual believes love to be. Presence of passion, closeness, incongruity, and connection among partners generates higher degree of love in a relationship.
Satisfaction in a relationship is a very important quotient that sociologists believe important for a sustained relationship. Therefore, the pertinent question that arises is what is satisfaction. Satisfaction is a perceived notion or judgment of the partners regarding their relationship. It is an important measure to gauge the relationship as it indicates the degree of marital or relational quality.
Satisfaction if often associated to happiness by psychologists, and therefore, often helps to gauge how happy an individual is in a relation depending on the degree of his/her satisfaction.
However, closeness may not always depict satisfaction. Partners may be extremely close, but they may not be satisfied with their relationship. Apparently, such partners do not have any problems, for they end up creating cushions in relationship to avoid confrontation, and create an emotional barrier to prevent closeness.
Break-ups cause great mental and emotional drain among individuals. Such incidents may cause depression and at times generate dysfunctional behavior among few like stalking or physical abuse. Psychological or health problems are common in post-breakup situations.
Often people have shown symptoms of anxiety regarding attachment and loss of identity due to breakups. Sometimes, breakups make people confine themselves in a cocoon, disassociating themselves from all attachments, and indulging in self-blame and/or blaming the partner.
People react differently to romantic breakups. People sometimes feel joy and relief on breakups and at other times plunge into disillusioned depression, sadness, and anger. Further, men and women react differently to ending of relationships.
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The general discourse of gender and sexuality suggests that women are more emotionally involved than men are; hence, the discursive belief is that women will tend to experience higher level of anxiety and sadness on breakups. However, men show greater signs of emotional damage after breakups.
Further, it has also been found that there is a difference in the coping mechanism adopted by men and women during stressful and painful times of life. Often people indulge in self-blaming when their relationship ends, and think that it must have been the cause of some deficiency in them –like physical appearance, personality, or social skills.
At other times, people tend to blame their partners by calling them emotionally unstable or abusive, incompetent, and so on. Usually women tend to blame themselves for problems in a relationship while men blame their partners. The essay now presents examples from the chosen films to delineate these characters in creation and breaking of relationships.
You’ve Got Mail presents a classic love tale in a new package where two people almost at war in real life engages in an emotional bondage virtually through the Internet. However, eventually Kathleen Kelley and Joe Fox fall in love in reality. Joe loves Kathleen, knowing that she is the same person whom he adores online, and Kathleen falls in love unknowingly.
In the end of the movie, when the climax is set, and Kathleen meets Joe in the park, and realizes this is the man she had been having a relationship with online, says, “I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly” . This shows that she had realized her love for Joe a long time back before she even knew that the person she loved was Joe.
Joe on the other hand, had realized that he was in love with Kathleen a long time back and told her, “If I hadn’t been Fox Books, and you hadn’t been the Shop Around the Corner” , a clear demonstration of how he felt for her. The movie shows the classic tale of how two people set apart due to practical situation, reasons out of practicality to fall in love, especially when both of them were committed to a relationship.
However, their relationship lacked a zing that they found in each other. Kathleen’s relationship with her boyfriend was loveless which she confesses to him. Joe too shouts out “I love Patricia” strongly to express his unfelt love . The movie shows that unsatisfied love does not stay and breakup from them only helps one to find happiness.
Annie Hall on the other hand is a story of unfulfilled love of a neurotic who fails at most intimate relationships. The movie begins with an outright expression of failure of the courtship story: “Annie and I broke up – where did the screw-up come? A year ago we were in love” . The protagonist Alvy Singer, Annie’s ex-lover narrates the story and helps to see what a man feels after a breakup.
After the breakup, Alvy confesses of his absorption with Annie and her thoughts. As the viewers listen to Alvy’s story and they realize that, this man wants them to be sympathetic towards him due to his breakup with Annie. Alvy is one of those men swings into depression and confines himself to dissolution when he breaks up with Annie.
Alvy is one of those men who have an ideal of a woman in their mind but when in company of a real woman, the ideal does not match up to it. The male instinct to blame the partner when the breakup occurs is apparent in Alvy’s narration: “I always went for the wrong women.” However, he does not realize that all women with whom he had a relationship immediately became the “wrong women”.
The rollercoaster of a relationship between Annie and Alvy demonstrates many instances when they show lack of passion and uneasiness in sharing things with each other. On the other hand, in the classic love-tale You’ve Got Mail Kathleen and Joe find unconventional ease in being with each other, in sharing ideas, likings, and life. The attachment that Kathleen and Joe show is completely missing from the relationship of Annie and Alvy.
The essay studies the process of creation and breaking of a relationship. The essay exfoliated the varied facets of a relationship and what helps in creating a loving relationship. On the other hand, it also discussed the post-math of a breakup and the reasons for which a breakup occurs.
The examples from the two films discussed show that mutual liking is accentuated by ease and comfort of sharing and satisfaction in being with each other. On the other hand, taking the partner too flimsily or emotional disassociation results in breakups. Further, the analysis also shows that the men react by blaming the partner.
Anny Hall. Ex. Prod. Woody Allen. Allen, Woody and Keaton, Diane.: Rollins-Joffe Productions. 1977. DVD.
You’ve Got Mail. Ex. Prod. Nora Ephron. Perf. Hanks, Tom and Ryan, Meg.: Warner Bros. 1998. DVD.