How often does the Pride and Prejudice arc play out in real life?

You know the drill. In chapter 1, the female prot says “Oh, I’m soooo not interested in him, even though he’s devoted and my parents want us to get together!” Final chapter: “Oh, he’s soooo wonderful; why didn’t I ever see it before!” Happened in P&P, Bridget Jones, another book I just finished reading, another other book I read years ago, and probably numerous others that I don’t remember or didn’t read (or see if they were movies), and it might even predate P&P.

But how often does it happen IRL? The thing is, I think this arc is often based on the heroine being frivolous and not knowing what’s best for her until she’s gone through a maturing process and had her heart kicked around a bit. Not that it never happens, of course, but sometimes people really do know what they want, and changes to themselves don’t alter that.

(And I can think of one exception to this: Waiting to Exhale. It wasn’t emphasized in the movie, but in the book, the bad-boy magnet Robin rejects the “lying, sneaking, whorish” guy she’s been hooked on for years, even though he’s the father of her child, but she also rejects her Darcy, even though he makes the ultimate gentlemanly offer of marrying her so she doesn’t have to be a single mom. Which kind of made me feel bad for him, but having Robin change her mind about him at that point would have been too abrupt and inconsistent.)

The course of true love never did run smooth. Yes, it predates Jane Austen, by many, many years. Happens all the time in real life, too.

Bridget Jones’ Diary, by the way, was in part a retelling of Pride and Prejudice (the movie, at least; haven’t read the book). You may have noticed that Colin Firth’s character was named Darcy. (Since Mr. Firth also played Mr. Darcy in the excellent miniseries of Pride and Prejudice a few years ago, maybe he’d have some insights.)

Well, yeah, I know about the P&P/BJD connection! Although I had to have it pointed out to me, not having read P&P until afterwards and because of BJD. And since then, I’ve become attuned to this arc, which is why, while reading this latest book, I sighed when one of the female characters said “But I just don’t like him, even though he did bring me chicken soup after I lied and said I couldn’t go out with him because I was sick!” And of course, by the end of the book, she’s been jerked around by several other guys, and when the first guy does something wonderful, she’s all, “We’re going out on Saturday…What? What are you guys laughing at?”

Just wondering how many fictional parallels there are, and how many real-life parallels.