In Exit West the main characters, Saeed and Nadia fall in love. In fact they “stay together” even through the most horrific events. We as readers see their relationship flex and fray throughout the story with them not sleeping together and not showing affection. We as readers also expect them to find their love again at the end of the story. This is because we’ve been taught that happy endings should result from this type of romance.
Instead, Nadia leaves Saeed. I like this ending because it is much more realistic to life. But I also like how It was still a happy ending; Nadia falls in love with the cook and Saeed falls in love with the preacher’s daughter. In each situation, they found something in their new relationship they realized they had lacked in their previous relationship.
You do not have only one shot at love, with each romance we have, we learn what makes us happy and change our expectations for the future.