By the end of Pygmalion, Eliza Doolittle has come into her own. After helping Higgins win his bet, she becomes frustrated and hurt by his refusal to properly appreciate her efforts. After a heated conversation with him shows he is unwilling to change, Eliza leaves Higgins and is unlikely to return. Before leaving, Eliza makes it clear that she no longer needs Higgins and that she plans on marrying Freddy. Higgins gives her a list of errands to run as she leaves for her father's wedding, certain that she will carry them out, but the play ends inconclusively. It is heavily implied that Eliza will not return to Higgins, an implication which flies in the face of audience expectations that the male and female protagonists of a story must be romantically involved.
George Bernard Shaw insisted that it not be implied that Eliza marries Higgins in the end, as that would compromise her character development as an emancipated woman. Three years after Pygmalion was first performed, Shaw published "What Happened Afterwards," a "sequel" detailing the fates of the play's characters. The text confirms that Eliza marries Freddy. The two struggle financially for a time, since Freddy has "no money and no occupation," but Eliza manages to open up a flower shop, just as she once dreamed.