This is in the idea stage, but I was wondering...
In stories involving multiple protagonists (4 or more) that make and end relationships, date each other, etc. during the course of the story, the typical happy ending happens when everyone has found someone else.
It does seem to be the case that until everyone is tied up, the story appears incomplete.
Are there examples where this does not happen? And if so, how is the incompleteness impression avoided? How, specifically, can I guide the reader so that he is not dissatisfied if the "typical" ending does not occur?
The ending is still supposed to be happy, for all protagonists.
Clarification: I'm talking about stories where the relationships of the characters are an essential part. Maybe not the main point, but at least important. Of course there are lots and lots of stories where the relationship status of the characters doesn't matter much.