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Carrie Bradshaw Almost Screwed Up Relationships for Me

Typical Carrie.

06.06.16
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Image via HBO

It is a truth worth acknowledging that there still exists a panoply of women who model their relationships after Carrie and Big’s.

The model rarely changes. She is emotionally confused; he is hot, cold, lukewarm, hot again, then cold before he’s gone like a Sour Patch Kid that couldn’t handle its own sweetness. And because in Sex and the City‘s penultimate moment, Carrie ends up with Big, it gets worse. This panoply of women genuinely believe that anxiety, frustration, question marks and turmoil make up what relationships are supposed to look like.

Observe the following paraphrased scene from the second season of the show: Carrie is sitting cross-legged in a comfortable chair looking out a window from her apartment, martini glass in one hand, portable landline in the other. She looks calm, but once she starts pounding on buttons, the martini glass flies and boom! She’s shouting into Big’s ear at 5 a.m., “I am a wo-man — a wo-man.”

This was in relation to his decision to leave to Paris for six months without explicitly telling her or providing her with an opportunity to weigh in on the decision, which is super fucked up, yes, and good on her for defending herself, but what red flag beams so loudly as the one that reveals that your partner is crossing continents incognito? Lest we forget this happened again in season five when, post-Aidan (her most sound decision) and affair (why, Carrie! Why!), Big went to Napa and left behind a shady ticket for her to come visit. On it read, “For when I get lonely.” She smirked like it was cute but, I don’t know, Carrie. You’re not a prostitute?

Aidan brings me to another interesting point. There are two finite schools of fandom among Sex and the City viewers: those who cheered for Big and those who cheered for Aidan. Those who cheered for Aidan, I have realized, respect themselves far more than those who did for Big.

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Admittedly, I was a big Big fan. I am inclined toward the manipulation of a script and a show’s directorial pursuits, and the sauce! The drama! The steam that Big brought, it made for much better television than Aidan’s fried chicken and cherry wood love seats. Those two were always talking to each other in rhyme, he in his slightly Southern accent of unknown origin and she as his “booth bitch.” It was corny and kind of annoying but the man offered to sand her floors. He wanted to introduce her to his parents and took all the familiar question marks that arise in the early stages of a relationship and gave them answers. He carved a chair from a big block of wood and turned it into a wedding gift for Carrie’s friend! That’s so real. But also, I guess, kind of boring.

Of course, television isn’t life and in your personal narrative — the one where you end up in love, first and far more importantly with yourself and then sometimes maybe, also, with someone else — it should feel like smooth sailing down the g-dang Suez Canal, not a tango through Niagara Falls. In life, boring is good. It’s not actually boring. Do people understand this?

I, for one, did not. I married an Aidan, yes, but that’s because I got lucky. Originally, I thought he was a Big. This is chiefly because he broke up with me before I was ready for that to happen and as a result, I experienced the fluctuation of Big doubts and tangled emotions. But these were self-imposed, I now realize. My husband was always very explicit about his impetus and even three-years post separation — a time during which we still had plenty of sex — when we got back together, he laid on the table that he was 25 and could not imagine that this reunion would be “it.”

I did not tell him this at the time, but I knew that if it wasn’t, I would never recover and thus have to murder him. But once volume two of our relationship got going, I felt like something was missing. I told my girlfriends that the spark had died. I even considered breaking up with him, but that would have been foolish.

It wasn’t a “spark” that was gone. It was the neurotic stories that I fed to myself during the previous three years. Back together, I always knew where he was. I never wondered when he might next reach out. I didn’t question what he was doing on his phone when he used it and I didn’t have to ask how he felt about me. I knew! All the hard stuff became quite simple and I almost disposed of it because I briefly mistook his Aidan for an absence of Big passion.

There is a piece of intel that is not often shared about companionship and when you know a relationship is right: when it is, everything feels easier. There are no question marks because the answers are in. The drama is null, the sauce is reliable (like pesto! Never not delicious) and the steam? Still there when you take hot showers.

Images via HBO

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  • LalaN

    i dated a big, and he ruined my life. i swore off relationships completely, and my aidan came into my life. i was always a fan of big too, but i think it was a crazy love. i wish carrie’d ended up alone.

    • Laura Cuell

      I wish she had too, or at least found a better match than either of them were. by the end of the TV series, i was ok with her and big ending up together. but the movies completely ruined it. since they were both kind of a**holes in the show, they kind of deserved eachother, and it was even a bit cute when he chased her down in paris. but his not showing up for their wedding was going too far. i like to pretend the movies never happened.

    • Ashli Molina

      how long after Big did Aidan come along?

  • mary

    Thank you for writing this. I think about this a lot–this idea that, in life, boring is good. Because in the past I’ve failed to understand this. I’ve worried that it’s a bad sign that there isn’t more drama in my relationship. Like, I’m worried about not being worried all the time. Which sounds absurd as I write it.

    But I think you’re totally on to something here: when we try to understand our own lives, there’s this dominant narrative in the background that privileges drama, men who are indirect/emotionally unavailable, playing hard to get, etc. etc. Which makes for good TV, I guess. But this dominant narrative also distorts our own views of ourselves, and it distorts our understanding of the world, I think, too.

    You know that Norwegian TV show that’s literally just footage of a cozy fireplace and burning firewood? For hours and hours on end? That’s about as interesting as a boring-but-good relationship would be on TV.

    • Summer

      I’m so with you on this. When I met my boyfriend, it seemed too easy and I realized that through so many unhealthy flings and infatuations, I’d come to equate nervousness with actually having feelings for the other person. But really, there was just nothing to be anxious about because it’s an actual healthy relationship. Also, I offer this video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS-ErOKpO4E&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DLS-ErOKpO4E&has_verified=1. Nick Offerman, a bottle of scotch and a roaring fireplace= the perfect relationship

      • mary

        Yes! “I’d come to equate nervousness with actually having feelings for the other person.” Me too.

      • Greer Clarke

        Oh my god I was literally waiting so long for him to say something

        • Greer Clarke

          But I mean I’m also still listening to the crackling fire and staring into his eyes

    • little c

      Hey, we have that show here in Canada too. The Yule Log, it used to be on just at Christmas but now it’s on often thru the winter too.

    • Sandra Grauschopf

      It depends. There are some shows with couples with solid relationships, where the drama comes from other things in their lives. “Modern Family,” for example, has a bunch of different relationships, but all of the characters are good to each other, those in romantic relationships and those with blood relationships. It’s one of the few television shows about families where they really seem to love each other, consistently. And it’s also consistently funny.

      Even in SATC, drama was created by romantic relationships, but the love that the friends had for each other rarely wavered. It wasn’t boring that there was very little interpersonal drama among the characters. Why would it have to be boring to have people in a romantic relationship who do things that are normal in real life, like give each other the benefit of the doubt, or show some consideration for one another?

  • So definitely a Miranda

    I finally came to grips with this piece of advice – if you can’t tell what’s going on with him, nothing is going on with him.

  • Lauren

    So a Big can turn into Aidan? Or is a Big inherently “Big” and an Aidan inherently “Aidan” … asking for a friend :/

    • good question..

    • Steph Hudziak

      This depends on the friend. A Big is a Big. Really, Big turned into John, who was something different and more direct and caring. But if he remained Big, than Carrie would have ended up alone.

      Bigs are men who do not want to be committed, but enjoy what is easy. So they will play with a woman’s emotions because they want to keep her enticed so she will stick around. This will include referring to her as his girlfriend, when it is convenient for him, telling her he loves her, etc. It looks like he will be committed, but his actions suggest otherwise. He isn’t responsive to a text, he doesn’t answer his phone, you never really know where he is or who he is with. The point is that the relationship will feel like it is hanging on by a thread. That it is slightly awkward, you have to be on your best behavior because if you don’t, you fear you may never hear from him again. It is fraught with unknown after unknown.

      Aidens… Aidens are amazing. They are what you look forward too. They are who you think about and smile, and keep smiling because you know that if you wanted to get in touch, it would be a text away. They consider your feelings, they put you first and they are honest. They want to be with you because they are genuine and truly care about you as a human being… Aiden was different than Carrie and had other interests, but he cared for her and wanted to show her those interests. He wanted her to be a part of his life. He was inclusive and I think Big was exclusive.

      Really, Big was a sociopath and Aiden was in love. So for your friend, no, sociopath’s do not become Aiden’s. They will be what you think they want you to be and then when they no longer want you or get distracted by something else, they are off and moving on.

      • Tania

        PREACHHHHHHH.

      • Big became a John. That shit is so deep.

      • Lisa

        My Big turned into an Aiden/Steve combo. I think I just got extremely lucky though since that doesn’t seem to be the common result.

    • little c

      I’m in my forties now, so have a bit of experience to draw on here … I say once a Big is always a Big, don’t waste your time hoping he’ll change into an Aidan.

  • Lindsey

    THANK YOU. I adore Carrie (I think in every conversation that comes up of “which SATC character are you?” everyone wants to be Carrie), but it drove me crazy how she treated Aiden. She really treated him like shit, multiple times.

    I’ve loved a Big and the turmoil and rollercoaster of emotions felt normal at the time, but actually really did a number on me, and my friends were begging me to get over him. Now I’m married to an Aiden and it is incredible. What comes off as “boring” on television is healthy and stable in real life, and the thing that makes for a fantastic, long, and healthy relationship. Why isn’t it good television to show a healthy relationship? Any healthy relationships we usually see have already been established and been long-term; we never really get to see the making of such a relationship. Aiden is such a great character, and such a great example (not the be all end all) of what can be.

    • grace b

      Have you watched Friday Night Lights? Best depiction of relationship/marriage on tv in my opinion can be found in Coach and Mrs. Taylor. Ignore the football, both Kyle Chandler and Connie britton kill it in those roles.

    • Basil

      I always thought Aiden was too good for Carrie, but then I’d been in love with the actor since he was in northern exposure.

      I suppose a good way to think about it is – if your friend was choosing between someone like Big (emotionally unavailable, flaky) and Aidan (sweet, devoted), who would you advise her to be with? Yes, drama and emotional angst can ce exciting and is repeatedly sold to us as a romantic ideal, but it’s hard and you end up alone

    • Laura Cuell

      I agree, except for the part about everyone wanting to be Carrie. I actually think she was the worst of the 4 characters. That said, I probably do identify with her the most (even though I don’t necessarily want to) because I’m pretty neurotic and emotional.

      That’s a good point about what makes for good television not translating to healthy real-life relationships. i’ll try to remember that.

  • I love learning new words. I promise to use “penultimate” & “panoply” in conversation today.

    This is well written. aiden is boring as shit but I hate what carrie did to him. As a self described carrie-miranda hybrid I always favored steve, but aiden reminds me of my guy friends. I felt like I might be the girl that has to clean up after a carrie.

    I think this experience is common because it’s exciting. Like FItz and Olivia on scandal. How is it that a gender that love action movies with explosions and gun fights and choreographed brawls can’t understand a girl’s desire for a little action? Give me a little Micheal Bay, a little Jerry brockhiemer.

  • I don’t have a Big and I don’t have an Aidan (I was/am forever and always def team Aidan tho) but I do have a Garret (man, not attic) and this morning when I cried because SATC ruined FRIENDSHIPS for me (It’s really hard making/keeping friends) he offered to dress like a woman three times a week to make up for my absence of girl time. Going into our fourth year of love and friendship. More than happy to not be dating a Big or Aidan.

  • Vickee

    Me and my girlfriends talk about this ALL the time! We LOVE SATC, and basically know every line, but it’s also mind boggling to look back at some of these episodes and think these are grown women, still making foolish decisions when it comes to dating. There were some great lessons about love to takeaway from SATC, but there are also a ton of things I know NOT to do based off some of Carrie’s actions. I think people want that drama in order to feel like the relationship has passion, but I’d choose an Aiden over a Big any day.

    • Melanie

      I agree. I now see how Carrie was legit ridiculous.

  • Gaiana Bagdasaryan

    you know, this is probably the best article about SATC that I’ve ever read 🙂 Especially the first few paragraphs. I too married an Aidan, I realized I was actually looking for Aidan, even though I imagined that I was looking for Big and was always rooting for Big on the show. But that’s just a show. In real life, a Wall Street asshole with commitment issues doesn’t stand a chance in my book against a guy who appreciates monogamy, wants to have children and family, always has your back, AND can make gorgeous furniture with his own hands! And here’s another little piece of wisdom that I would like to share: the phrase “in love” should never be used to describe the first few months and actually years of a relationship. You fall in lust, you become infatuated. It takes years and years to actually fall in love.

    • I love the part where you say ” It takes years and years to actually fall in love”

      I recently got married and I totally believe that time and experiences bring two people together and eventually more in love.

      🙂

    • Martine

      Thats you. You realize that not everyone wants some damn foodie carpenter who couldn’t surprise you if they tried. Not everyone wants to have children. And seeing how I have been married for twelve years, and actually learned to really get into the world of the Stock Market through my husband, I wonder; How long have you been married?

      • Katrina Lee

        This is hilarious

        • i’m laughing at this but it’s also a concerned laugh?

          • Katrina Lee

            Exactly!

      • Flavia Flavinha

        Hey Martine, tks to bringh a different view. I agree with you mostly (with some exceptions here and there). I would add that calling Carrie a prostitute was very judgemental from the writer. To me it shows that the writer is inexperience, to say the least.

  • Kirsten

    Aidan was a better man all around, but he wasn’t right for Carrie. She liked going out, he wanted to stay in with a bucket of chicken. She wanted to smoke, he wouldn’t tolerate it. He wanted to spend his weekends in the countryside, she hated it. They had nothing in common. I’m not saying Big was a healthy relationship, obviously it wasn’t, but Aidan wasn’t the right man for her.

    • I really never understood why they dated — you’re right they never had anything in common. I’m actually surprised a guy like Aidan ever even lived in NYC. He should have been somewhere in Montana.

      • There are plenty of men like Aidan in NYC – they just live in Brooklyn

        • Sacharissa Cripslock

          Ha!

        • Heidi Segelke

          Ha!

      • Holly Laine Mascaro

        I think she knew the idea of someone like Aiden was positive compared to Big especially, but obviously just wasn’t right. Tried to force the fit.

    • Aul74

      But the “going out” phase dies off, either because you age or get married and/or have kids (unless you are a RHONY hehehe). And maybe she was too shallow, the countryside she liked was the Hamptons. Big got heart problems I doubt he didn’t quit smoking and get bothered by her smoke too. Many times what women call “butterflies” is the anxiety generated by a guy when he is not reliable (he doesn’t always call, he doesn’t want to commit, he sees more than one girl at the time, known for only dating models, etc etc).

      • Kirsten

        Is not liking the countryside of sign of being shallow then? Aiden was wrong for her, they wanted different things, and they wouldn’t have been happy.

      • Martine

        No actually the going out stage never dies out, you just go out in a different way. You don’t go to nightclubs, you go to wine tasting events with two other couples, or to the Hamptons, or to the kentucky derby, or just out to the new restaurant that opened up. You throw parties at home, and get hammered, and a lot of your friends are other couples.

      • Martine

        Actually the “butterflies” is a sign of chemistry. Your adrenaline is kicking in because you are around someone your body thinks you should mate with.

  • Lilly

    I wholeheartedly agree. Coming out of a “Big” relationship last year, I couldn’t believe the budding relationship that started earlier this year could be serious (let alone “it”) as there was a fundamental lack of drama. Everything felt “easy”, natural and safe from the beginning. Fast forward and I have finally accepted that as a good thing. No – a fantastic thing. We are moving in together soon and I am beyond happy that for once, the only drama happens on my Netflix account..

  • lily

    Strictly speaking for the show, Big was WAY better than Aidan. Aidan was so annoying? But life wise shouldn’t we all aim for a Steve? Steve is honestly the sweetest, most patient and considerate character. He doesn’t play games with Miranda. He’s honest and open and so dedicated. Plus he’s hot as hell (I am such a David Eigenberg fan omg)

    • Jay Jay Haskins

      But Steve cheated. That forever made me against Steve.

      • Hanne

        just in the movie. what counts is the tv show, the movie is just desperately scripted…

        • Trini Clau

          No, actually, I think that was meant to happen, I realy liked the first movie.

          • Laura Cuell

            I agree with lily in the context of the show itself. and i HATED the movies! why did steve have to cheat? why did aiden kiss carrie in the second movie? both of those things were completely out of character for those guys, and were just thrown in to add drama to a boring plot. that said, my pick would be harry goldenblatt. 🙂

      • Sanna Wege

        Only once. Not the end of the world.

        • Trini Clau

          Have you ever been in that situation? It IS the end of the world.

      • Melanie

        Steve cheated out of feeling isolated from Miranda. He didn’t want to cheat. I only say this because my dad cheated on my mom and he and I spoke about it. And one thing he told me was that it’s really hard to deal, in a 20+ something year marriage, when your partner doesn’t even look at you. THAT changed my entire perspective on his infidelity. And essentially made me really research why people honestly cheat.

  • Alessandra

    Yes, we can compare the two main men in Carrie’s life but it almost seems like Carrie herself deserves a close examination. With Big, it’s almost like she was secure with being insecure. But with Aiden, she was insecure with the security he brought to their relationship.

    • Martine

      She was bored.

  • shelly45840

    Aiden was definitely too good for Carrie. She was narcissistic, neurotic and totally lacking in empathy. Aside from the disappearing act, Carrie was the female Big!

    • I totally agree with you.

    • Holly Laine Mascaro

      YES Carrie was a PSYCHO most of the time!! I realize more and more as I rewatch and get older. She was crazy to Big also.

  • Trini Clau

    Boring is not good. I married someone who was supposed to be an Aidan, cheated on me, and there he is, running around chasing girls like he is 20 again. He cheated on me cuz he got bored, while I was too busy being a good wife. No, boring is not good, I definitely should have chosen a Big, at least it would have been fun.

    • Sanna Wege

      I’m so sorry for you. And yes, that happens. In fact I’ve heard it happen so often in my social circle recently (first wave of divorces…) that I start wondering if good guys (or women for that matter) really exist.

      • Trini Clau

        Thank you for your understanding. I honestly don´t know what to think about relationships anymore, I thought if I did things right, everything would be fine, well, it asn´t, and I feel as if I was taken by a fool. I´d say have fun while it lasts.

  • Cris Morisson

    I don’t think it’s about the guys, it’s about how she felt.

    It’s a good example of how you cannot control or choose who you fall for: she tried to avoid Big, she knew he was not treating her well and that’s what was so frustrating. She gave a chance to Aidan, but could never get herself to fall for him as much as she tried – she couldn’t wear the wedding ring on her hand and used as a necklace, and she had an anxiety attack when he knocked her apartment wall.
    Those are all symptoms of how we try to make it seem “right” even though it’s not in our heart (as lame as that sounds).

    It’s quite unfair to blame Carrie for breaking Aidan’s heart, she just couldn’t choose, she loved Big.

    It’s all about the belly butterflies (which we cannot control) and we all know it.

  • Amy Bondeson

    You….you…you are on to something here. I remember those anxious, neurotic relationships….does he like me….does he love me….he does, doesn’t he? When I met my Aidan I kid you not, told my best friend the next day this is the one I’m going to marry. It was SO easy, relaxed and felt so right. That “rightness” is so hard to explain to people and I think that until you feel it (kind of like childbirth) it is hard to know. I have been happily married for almost 10 years now. I thought all that angst was par for the course, until it wasn’t. I have a friend who is experiencing this rightness for the first after a couple marriages and at at 60….it is a beautiful thing to watch.

  • voss

    Eh, I guess I’m the only one that found Aiden supremely annoying? Big was a douche but so was Carrie imo. And I might get burned for this but i’m of the opinion that Big never pretended to be anything other than the selfish asshole he was (still love him tbh, and Carrie) and idk Big has Aiden beat on style alone, Aiden was like plain toast, boring af. i And the cutesy way he talked to Carrie? UGH lol. In all seriousness, as much as I love the show, I would never want to be in any kind of relationship with any of the characters, including the women lol.

  • Carolina

    You don’t even need to come back to real life. In the series, this issue actually affects Charlotte, who thinks that something must be wrong with her life, or that something bad would happen to her life since her life is so perfect (or boring).

  • Sarah

    I’m happily married to an Aiden, but I’m still team Big – marrying an Aiden you’re just not that into isn’t a very good idea, either. I agree with your point about women thinking love means getting treated the way Big treated Carrie, but rooting for Big is less about my self-respect (I have lots! Really!) and more about the way the show and characters evolved over its six seasons. That said, I’m basically exclusively Team Harry and have little affection left for the rest of them.

    • Erin

      Harry <3<3<3<3

    • Laura Cuell

      Totes agree.

  • Sanna Wege

    Well actually, by the second movie (which I hardly ever speak of because how awful it was) Big had become an Aidan (sort of) and Carrie was bored, and almost cheated with Aidan (who was also married at the time). So everyone is a horrible person sometimes I guess.
    Btw I used to be on Team Aidan, but by the end of season 4 I thought they didn’t belong together. They want different things out of life. Next time we see Aidan after their second break-up, he has a kid, while she is still unsure if she wants kids (later she decides she doesn’t, he ends up with 3). So, while Big’s personality was sometimes poisonous, his lifestyle and lifegoals matched hers better than Aidan’s did.

  • Princess Nal

    This is a really good article. I hope young girls will read this knowledge. I learned that sex and the city is a “what not to do”. Especially for young teens, treat each episode as a cautionary tale, like the character lived through this relationship mistake so you don’t have to. Use it as your own dating experience. Now I’m happily married ten years to an Aidan.

  • Kerryn Le Cordeur

    After having dated a few “Bigs” in the sense of them sometimes treating me like shit, or it just being complicated, I’m now with an Aidan. And while I enjoy the boring, I sometimes feel like it’s too good to be true – like I’m waiting for his “Big” tendencies to appear. It takes some getting used to, this easy relationship.

  • Athena Politou

    I was def Team Aidan because I always thought what sane woman wouldn´t want to keep a guy as caring and as loving as Aidan? I completely agree that TV and film sometimes lead us to believe that if there isn’t angst and pain and wild passion 24/7 the relationship is dull and that it’s only a filler-story until the sexy bad boy comes along. But that stuff isn’t as poetic in real life. If you find a person that makes you happy without the drama, keep them. Life’s too short to waste it on people who will never be what we want them to.

  • Giulia

    Beautiful, super true article!! I ve always thought Big was an asshole, why Carrie is happy when he comes back after he feels lonely? I LOVED your snaps in real time when you were watching the series. You should make a post out of it.

  • Silvia

    In real life Bigs never end up with Carries, beacause the only thing he kept proving over and over is appart from his insecurities about himself, his insecurities about her, becasue simply as one Sex and the City epsisode claims “he si not that into you”(Carrie). At start in every relationship you can find some doubts and maybe need some adjustments in order to make it work somoother, but usually if he (or she) always needs to think about it too much, means it’s a no. Looks like poop, smells like poop, it’s poop! 😀 It’s like in friendships, when thing click you don’t have to make big efforts for bidg things to happens, just go with the flow and then work to keep it rolling as long as the love lasts (hopefully forever!).

  • florence

    i feel this article is really great and very true. my only problem with it is that in leandra’s case, the aidan turned into a big. and it seems leandra just waited patiently until he did. so how is one to know when one shouldn’t put up with the drama/commitment fears, etc, anymore out of self-respect or when it’s something worth sticking with?

  • I used to date Bigs, but I’ve been with an Aidan for almost 5 years now and he makes me embarrassed to have dated all those Bigs. But yeah, Bigs are great for TV!

  • This may be blasphemy here, but I kind of hated SATC and hated myself when I decided to watch all the seasons when I was laid off from a job and had nothing else to do. What was so hot about Big anyway? He was rich? Because he wasn’t actually attractive (to me anyway). And he was an ass. A Big Selfish Ass. Of course Carrie ended up with him, because that’s the fantasy (turn a big selfish ass into a devoted guy) and that’s what the show was. But she really should have stuck by Aidan. And I agree that women who loved Big and thought Aidan was boring (I’m sorry how is having the talent and skill and dedication to carve a freakin’ CHAIR “boring”?) didn’t respect themselves.

    • pennyjenny

      I mean, Carrie’s sort of selfish, too. So…

  • Polly Daszkiewicz

    A thousand clap hand emojis for this! A massive cliche but when I read ‘He’s just not that into you’ it made me realise that neuroses about ‘Big’ type men did not make for a stable mental state. I’m engaged to be married to an Aidan and I’ve never been happier!

    http://www.thepolway.com

  • I love the sentence where you say when a relationship is right everything is easier. That is something in adulthood no one really says. It’s usually “when it feels right” or “when you think you could see spending the rest of your life with them.” these statements I can’t argue aren’t true, but they seem like such a defining proclamation that is hard to say when you have doubts or aren’t the best at trusting your intuition in relationships. When everything is easier though, that it much more digestible and lighthearted enough for me to wrap my naive head around.
    theinnerlining.com

  • heather

    My mom always told me that relationships should be easy. I never understood this until I dated my husband. My prior relationship was totally neurotic. When I look back at it, I’m like who was that girl? Who did I allow myself to become? Why did I allow him to make me behave that way? And then I dated my husband and everything was…easy. And now we are married and happily boring together…Yes, boring is good.

    <3
    heather
    fashionistanygirl.com

  • grace b

    My fiance and I have been fighting for weeks about next apartment decision (gotta find somewhere by July 3rd!) that’s both in our budget and in a not-kill-me location and this post has me fighting back tears. I Know he’s an Aidan but I am acting like a Big right now.

  • sweetness

    Simon not Erlend (KLD) is the mantra in our house.

  • M. Pz

    I seriously don’t get it, maybe it’s because I started watching SATC when I was older (around 24-i’m 28 now), but i never thought of Big as “the guy”, Aidan was always the best and he truly loved her and he showed it.
    Big good for a fling, but Aidan was the real deal, right?

  • kforkarli

    I love this. I’m so glad Abie is your Aiden.

  • lms

    As SATC is television, and real life relationships are a lot more nuanced, I think the Big vs. Aidan debate really depicts two dichotomous sides of a coin. Go for the neurotic, selfish, dramatic, emotionally unavailable guy or the one who is extremely available but leaves you feeling devoid of passion or inspiration, so that you feel like you will definitely be “settling” or, even worse, come to resent or lose interest in that person.
    I have dated, and been miserable, with both. And after being patient to the point of accepting I might always be single, found the middle ground in a man who took me what seemed like eons to find. Someone who matches your soul and makes your guts flip and your intellect hum and your sides split from laughter but who can also be loving and respectful and loyal and kind. We know we all have the capacity to be both for someone, and there are men in the world who also have this capacity. It just can be a very frustrating search to find him and a test in patience and communication to build all of the necessary elements in a relationship that might not exist at the beginning. But I think it is a mistake to assume that men will be one or the other and you have to decide and make that compromise.

  • Sdh

    I LOVED this post, as I’ve just re-binged the whole series, but I think it’s way more than the traits of the guy – either it’s mutual or it’s not, and it took me my entire teens and early 20s for that to sink in. My Big of 6 years ended up being my good friend’s Aiden – they live one mile from me with two lovely children and have been married for 16 years. I eventually ended up with my own Aiden (and we’ve been married for 14 years now) but I should have taken the advice of “he’s just not that into you” and “stop trying to make fetch happen” waayyyy sooner ? Btw, love your work, Leandra (even as a 39 year old suburban woman who defeatedly wears khaki shorts, pastel polos, and minimal jewelry every day of her life).

  • well, i just learnt something about myself, i respect myself because i have always been team aiden and i can’t watch the affair scenes without having this knowing sick feeling rise up in my throat. this statement that i have just made makes me sound very very lame but that’s because i really don’t think i do respect myself when it comess to guys, i know what they’re do and i just let them carry right on. BUT saying that i have always found the “for when i get lonely” note cute so maybe not. i think whilst on screen i may have been cheering for aiden irl i always for the bigs and dismiss the aidens of the world. and ps you take a nappa you don’t go to nappa haha i love carrie so much

  • Michaela Williams

    Isn’t it strange how we can become completely addicted to the drama of a relationship and not know it? I married my Aidan, not my Big, and am thankful for that EVERY DAY. Drama is exhausting!

  • Melanie

    I completely agree. For the longest my friends were obsessed with Big and I always said “you should want an Aiden or Steve”. But of course, the allure of Big and Carrie was just sexier to them. At 28, I can say that I’ve become “bored” with the guy I’ve started seeing. Why? Because he follows through with his word, calls when he says he will and essentially, is pretty straight forward about what he wants. But, I’m learning to change the way I date. I love this article. And I love that we can now acknowledge that Big and Carrie (esp Carrie) were ridiculous and shouldn’t be modeled after in regard to relationships. They were fun to watch though!

  • Bakary

    This reminds me of the Emily Thorne situation. Surely Daniel Grayson was the only man for her?

  • Marta Hernández

    <3

  • Sayraht

    Adian was controlling there were some very disappointing points of writing in that show that ticked me off. When he yelled at her to calm down when she had every right to be VERY MAD at his BS with the chick from the bar? His way he handled her smoking? His inability to talk about her reluctance about marriage? Instead trying to force her into it? Her having to lie to him about her abortion? There are many more but it was not a good relationship and in the end only Big allowed her to be her. Adian wanted her to change far too much in far too many ways that weren’t true to her.

    • rachel

      Yes!! People always say “oh Aidan was perfect” and okay he was better than Baryshnikov, but he had his issues too. Really they all did, and I think thats maybe the intended lesson: you have to find someone whose faults you can live with. That said, I could never have married or even dated Big or Aidan. Or really any of the guys… then again, I am a Miranda. Though I also don’t love Steve… okay, I am a Rachel. I’ll stick with that 😉

  • rachel

    There is a part in the second season of Parks and Rec where Mark says something like “Our relationship was great! We never fought!” and Ann says “thats’s not a good sign, you’re supposed to fight!” From that moment on I just realized I didn’t get Ann or any of the other TV heroine’s that feel this way. Look, passion is great but I want to marry someone that I get along with and that I can work with, rather than scream at. Honestly being level headed and “all in” no matter what is way more important to me than passion, because in the end you’re not looking for a life long hookup, you’re looking for a partner. At least, I am.

  • Elisa Rondón

    Thank youuuuuu.. This is all i needed to read

  • So true! Somewhere subliminal in my mind, I feel like I’m supposed to go for Big, but I always end up dating Aiden. I like Aiden. He’s so stable and supportive.
    Likely By Sea

  • Lisa

    This is a masterpiece!

  • Robyn Leveridge

    It’s absolutely true that women and men mistake the ease of a relationship with a lack of passion. I found my Aiden, someone who loves me who regularly stays home to have kfc on Saturdays when my young mind wants to enjoy her youthful nights. We got together when we were really young, b4 my SATC love and I’m glad we did. I had my thoughts on the relationship before Carrie influenced me with her obsessive love for drama as she said angrily to her friends… is she a masochist? and they all sat, wondering the same for her loving the drama. My boyfriend and I have been together 9 yrs this year, we’ve been together since I was 14 and it’s felt good the whole time. We always know where each other is and we don’t sweat the small stuff, i’ve left more than a few things at his place with ease and better yet welcome. I never mistook a smooth relationship with a lack of passion, I actually prefer it. Great post! https://leveridgedlives.wordpress.com/

  • Kerriacakes

    So, this is an old article but it spoke to me on so many levels so I had to write a comment. I was an Aiden hater but I always knew that Carrie should’ve chosen him. I hated Big at times too but loved how much Carrie loved him. The ending made me think of a song/poem I love dearly called “Free” by Skye Townsend. If you’ve never heard it, give it a listen 🙂

  • Breaking quite some facts….so right that this is just a flick. And you don’t get people out there who run with you. You need stability not madness or running along in a relationship.

  • Komal Basith

    I’ve been scrolling through the comments to see if anyone else has asked this question, but – Leandra, I read your book and it really did feel like Abie IS your Big. Maybe it’s just how the book reads (which I loved, btw) but the only thing that didn’t sit well with me was that it consistently seemed like your husband didn’t want to be with you and kept telling you so while hooking up with you. If I remember correctly you even had to convince him to sleep with you the first time. I remember wondering why he even decided to get married eventually since it really seemed like a classic case of he’s just not that into you. What am I missing?

  • Michelle Li

    This article resonates so much with me right now. I just started Sex and the City because I realized I was missing out on conversations because I haven’t seen it. By season 3 I noticed that I was becoming more anxious about my relationship and insecure and have finally been able to attribute all of that to Sex and the City. I’m officially quitting after tonight.

  • Erin Khandjian

    I keep coming back to this – it’s so good

  • Aul74

    And also the show made so many non-rich women crave high end goods. Made them think that it’s ok to spend money buying them instead of saving for a house, or investment, or for retirement. The show also set a bad example for living beyond your means. Not everybody gets a rich banker/or friend to back your bad financial decisions. But I love the show nonetheless!! And I watch re-run episodes when available.

  • Angie

    Amazing article~

  • Molly Pettis

    Leandra! You are such a wonderful writer. I thoroughly enjoy everything you write.

  • Heidi Segelke

    Totally shared on Facebook. Yes, yes and yes. I rooted for Big because, frankly, he was just more debonair. If he had acted like Aidan, there would have never been a show. Nonetheless, point taken.

  • Alexandria

    Wowowow so thoughtful and insightful. I’ve never thought of it that way. I’ve had men in my life who were bigs and men in my life who were aidens and I found myself thinking the exact same things about the aidens that you said. I have a new perspective now.

  • Ashli Molina

    My best friend dropped this article on my lap (actually via whatsapp) because she knew I needed it. My Big (who I met in Budapest, went to Croatia with, lives in England [the SAUCE]) broke up with me. I’ve known an Aidan for a while now, and I was really into him when he met, but he wasn’t into me at the time. A few months ago he let me know he was interested…I didn’t care because I was with Big. Fastforward to the present. My Aidan is smart and sexy in Clark Kent kinda way, cooks shirtless, and ranks among the most thoughtful people I know. It would be easy with him because he’s honest about his feelings. So here I am visiting him in Berlin (also here for a festival), and to my surprise….I don’t like Aidan as much as I used to. But nothing has changed!?!? He is the same person, if not better than before. Plus, Big lives in England and Aidan lives in Paris (he took 3 months to live in Berlin and is here now). I’m pissed for wanting Aidan to be more like Big (exciting, wildly fun, and kind of an asshole). :(((

  • While I generally enjoyed the article, I have to disagree.

    Not because I would choose Big over Aidan, but simply because I really dislike Carrie. Yes, the first time I watched SATC at the age of 14, I thought she was oh so cool with such fabulous clothes. And yes- Aidan was ‘the one’ in my mind back then. But as I started rewatching the series closer to the age of 20 my opinion on the dynamics in the TV show changed dramatically. Quite frankly, I think Carrie is narcissistic, passive aggressive, overly dramatic, needy as fuck, obnoxious and just so ANNOYING.

    But coming back to the guys.

    Is Big an easy type of guy? Hell to the no. But really, what exactly is wrong with him? It was Carrie who broke it of with him before Paris and ended their affair. Oh sure, he was leaving the continent and didn’t ask her to come with him, but seriously?! He was going for 6 months to WORK, not moving permanently. And he was worried that the only reason she was going is to be with him. Isn’t it just too much pressure on the poor guy? If it didn’t work out in Paris, she would of given up her life in NY (such a martyr) and he would have been left feeling like an ass. Yes, he did not ask her to come, but quite frankly her reaction was one of a crazy person. Every fight they ever had was caused by her, simply because she was not getting exactly what she expected and imagined in her crazy little head. And while Big had shit lots of issues, he also had a right to live his own life how he saw fit, not change his entire personality (bad or good) just to fit her fantasies.

    As for Aidan.. I am sorry, but this man is a WIMP. There were so many moments in the show when I thought of him as infuriating. For example, when he was trying to force Carrie to marry him (I don’t think lack of trust is the best reason to get married). Or the fact that he allowed Big to come to his cabin in the woods. Yeah they fought, but a) he let him in and b)one fight does not make it ok. The man was fucking your gf! Like WTF?! Quite frankly, the fact that he didn’t dump Carrie on the spot after she invited Big in is an insult to entire human race. Men and woman can be friends, noone can tell me otherwise. But you should NOT be friends with the man you have cheating on your boyfriend with. At the very least if you are still with that boyfriend. The fact that he was allowing this… Well, am man is a little bitch.

    As for my choice of a husband, I didn’t go for either. I don’t like drama in the relationship, but I needed a man I could respect. So I found a third option. A man without commitment issues and with self-respect (among other wonderful qualities). Luckily, life is not a TV show. There are a lot more options out here :).

    Sorry for the rant

    xo
    Alyona

    http://www.7moreminutes.com

  • ApocalypsoFacto

    I’ve been married 17 years to an Aidan. My friends who married Bigs are all divorced. Here’s all I know:
    – Men say what they mean, and mean what they say. Also, when they show you who they are, believe them. A guy who disappears and reappears, doesn’t call when he says he’s going to, doesn’t want things to get “too serious” but on the other hand, doesn’t want you dating other guys, is a problem. A problem that cannot be fixed by you, and probably won’t get fixed at all.
    – Too many girls fix 99 percent of their attention on what they’re reading between the lines of the guy’s behavior, and only 1 percent on the behavior itself. It should be reversed.
    – When a guy really likes you and really genuinely wants to be with you, if he still has nagging doubts or fear of commitment or whatever, he deals with it on his own time, in his own way and does not let that get in the way of saying “I really want to be with you” and then acting in a way that shows he wants to be with you. All of my friends who are still married at the 12, 15, 18 year mark tell the same story: their husbands were interested and engaged from the jump; they had no qualms about being in a relationship or saying they were in a relationship; and they did not waffle or engage in the the oh-so-compelling breakup-makeup cycle.
    – If a guy is too much work, too much trouble, too much heartbreak – move on. People say love is hard – it shouldn’t be. If it is taking all your emotional strength and mental energy to be in a relationship with someone, that is the wrong relationship for you. There are other fish in the sea. Start swimming and find one. In real life, a girl like Carrie would have had more self-respect and dumped Big for good and for real after the first round of serious BS. The show is fictional and relationships like Carrie and Big’s are just that, fiction.

  • This is by far the best, most poignant article written about the impact of SATC on women’s self-perception and relationships!! I couldn’t agree more with every single point you’ve made (and simply adore how cleverly you’ve related SATC moments to your own life!)! I was a female Aiden at heart until I watched SATC ad nauseum in my early-mid 20s, which convinced me that a REAL modern woman was like the characters portrayed on this show… and in order to have that excitement and passion in life (love and otherwise), I had to emulate their behaviors. This somehow turned me into the female Mr. Big and I started being a bit of an a**hole to guys… and somehow convinced myself that this was perfectly normal and cool. I would actually love to do a psychological study on how this show has changed women and their relationships with themselves as well as men! Anyhow – I ended up marrying someone whom I thought was a Mr. Big type (a rock star musician in a famous band) recently, and he turned out to be a total Aiden and I couldn’t possibly be happier! He basically turned me back into my old self and I’ve never felt more confident, secure and happy in my life. My favorite thing to do on a Friday night now is to stay in, cook and argue with him over what we’re watching on Netflix 🙂 Thanks Leandra – keep up your amazing work and promoting a positive, realistic view of relationships, love and life!! xoxo Pari

  • Hecma Ortiz

    I love this article. I just think that even in real life there are lots of women having a BIG type of love. The manipulation, the hiding information, the up’s and downs. Some women think that’s love, that it is the norm, that guys are like that.

    But then comes Aidan. I married an Aidan, and I love him, but I accept Aidans are not for everyone. I don’t think he was a Carrie type of guy. She had a lot of sparkle and Aidan was more matte. I’m not saying Big was a better choice, but I don’t think Aidan was the one for her either…

  • Martine

    You know, as awful as that show was, this article is actually worse. What do you think relationships look like? You think that your partner is just going to do whatever it takes to make you feel secure? You think that they will let you weigh in on every decision? You think they are going to be what? A feminist? Well, in that case they are going to be an overweight hipster probably with pretentious facial hair and very likely Jewish. No thanks. I would rather have someone that has a mind of their own, not someone that went from listening to their mommy to listening to me. I expect my man to be many of the things Big is; A financial provider, attractive, and elusive, and thats exactly what my husband happens to be. I would never respect a man that did what I told him to do. And actually it takes weeks to pretty much know if you are going to fall in love or not. Years later, you are simply comfortable. The best you can hope for in a partner is someone that you actually look up to. With your attitude your always going to be the one carrying the relationship, and always going to be with someone that couldn’t do any better then you.

  • Ellie

    I keep coming back to this. I’m in an LDR with my Aidan and at first I was feeling all like Haley was in her first article re: her LDR – new independence within loving relationship woo! But now I’m feeling deflated and missing the turmoil of the previous Mr Bigs (and the Mr Bigs currently around me). Can I please come to the office and host a staff meeting about this? Love from London xo

  • Inaat

    I thought I was with an Aidan for years, but when we moved in together he was aidan for everyone else, and big for me. Even worse, putting me down and always making me feel bad. After getting out recently, i see that i always thought he was an Aidan, that I was wrong, stupid and irrational. But I see know that I had been in a cage, being forced to be that way because of his abusive behaviour. Now I am feeling good about being on my own for a while, but in the future I am hoping for a Harry.

  • Mae Copeland

    Honestly, sounds like you married a Big that come Sex and the City: The Movie 2 buys a flatscreen for the bedroom and would rather stay in tonight.