The suddenness of love

Summer: “One day I woke up and I just knew.”
Tom: “Knew what?”
Summer: “What I was never sure of when I was with you.”

This heart-wrenching scene from the indy hit 500 Days of Summer truly delivers the crushing honesty of love: it is sudden, both in its arrival and its departure. We’re meant to feel sorry for Tom, who has been head over heels for Summer, the girl who said that she didn’t want anything serious. Yet when she ends up married to someone else, her initial demands of being casual seem like a slap in the face. How could she have lied to him in that way?

The truth that this film so brilliantly captures is that we cannot predict love, we cannot control love. We think that we have life all figured out and we know exactly how we want, or will allow, someone else to fit within the architecture we’ve already laid out. And then that someone appears out of nowhere one day and we’re thrown for a loop. This isn’t the way it was supposed to happen and certainly not the way you had planned. Yet it feels good, perfect.

Everything happens just as suddenly as depicted in the film. One day you wake up and there’s a person there that you seem to have known forever. But you haven’t, and you’re continuing to learn more and more about each other every day. The whole experience is a joyous, wild ride that you can’t possibly imagine ending.

Another day you wake up and don’t recognize that person anymore. The light switch that was so quickly flipped on is just as quick flipped off, and the relationship is over. No one has any idea why or how this happens, and for those of us who have experienced it, the whole situation is disconcerting. You try to figure out what’s wrong but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Just as you couldn’t say what was so right when the relationship started, you also can’t identify why it’s over. It literally is just a feeling you had when you woke up.

The suddenness of love is what makes it so wonderful and so terrible all at the same time. It’s a wild, wild ride and we’re all just hanging on for dear life. The more time we spend pondering the suddenness, the more easily we may miss new opportunities that are right in front of us, as captured in one of the movies final scenes with a new girl.

500 Days of Summer DVD
Girl: Have I seen you before?
Tom: Me? I don’t think so.
Girl: Do you ever go to Angela’s Plaza?
Tom: Yes… That’s like my favorite spot in the city.
Girl: Yeah, except for the parking lots.
Tom: Yeah, yeah I agree.
Girl: Yeah, yeah I think I’ve seen you there.
Tom: Really?
Girl: Yeah…
Tom: I haven’t seen you?
Girl: You must not have been looking…

3 thoughts on “The suddenness of love”

  1. i LOVED this movie, actually just watched it (i heart Netflix!)… i think that Summer was right-on the whole time she dated Tom, she was always up front with the relationship status or lack thereof… the reason why we want to hate her (maybe even say she lied to him) is because we wanted the couple to fall madly in love so stinkin bad!! BUT if he would have stayed with her then the whole 500 days of Autumn would never started, which I think everyone will agree is a woman well suited for our beloved Mr. Tom….

  2. ooops — the convo that you quoted at the tail end of your blog ….

    Girl: Have I seen you before?
    Tom: Me? I don’t think so.
    Girl: Do you ever go to Angela’s Plaza?
    Tom: Yes… That’s like my favorite spot in the city.
    Girl: Yeah, except for the parking lots.
    Tom: Yeah, yeah I agree.
    Girl: Yeah, yeah I think I’ve seen you there.
    Tom: Really?
    Girl: Yeah…
    Tom: I haven’t seen you?
    Girl: You must not have been looking…

    the [[GIRL]] is actuall Autumn … that is her name in the movie … hence me saying the 500 days of Autumn ….

    which brings up another good point … she had noticed him yet he didn’t notice her… the right person could very well be under our nose but if we are focused on the wrong thing we don’t notice!! sooo glad dating is so easy!! lol.

  3. I have to disagree with you on this particular post about love being sudden. I believe it’s quite the opposite. Love is a buildup of getting to know the other person’s true character, which more often than not, takes a considerable amount of time to achieve. Most people present the best facets of their personality upfront. When we first date someone new, we’re on our best behavior right? And that euphoria of someone new in your life mixed in with intense sexual attraction is outright addictive. To get past the initial parts of dating, then you’ll need to build the relationship which takes a lot time and effort. In my mind, love is when you’ve witnessed another person’s most ugliest state, the things that make this person tick, their insecurities, etc, that you can then truly accept them for who they are and say with honesty that you truly love this person. My parents have been married for more than 30 years, I seen nasty fights, and some so bad that my mom looked into getting a divorce lawyer because she thought she couldn’t stand another argument. But they’re still a couple, and I’m proud to say they’re a happily married couple. And I think many people nowadays need to realize that nurturing those relationships and marriages take a lot of work than the bull hollywood tries to sell to us. I firmly believe that successful relationships and marriages are due to the couples’ resolve to work on themselves and the relationship, building a strong foundation for trust and love. Unfortunately it does not happen overnight, but fortunately for us it does not collapse overnight either.

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