5 lessons for a lifetime in love from Sex and the City

I’ve been a Sex and the City fan for many years now.  All through college my roommate and I would hold Sex and the City and cheap champagne marathons and we would sit on the couch all day eating ramen noodles (I added chili and lime to mine of course) and getting drunk.  Our only objective for that day was to vicariously participate in Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha’s every day search for love in the city.

At that point in our lives, my roommate, a recent college graduate, and I, still enrolled in college in a small city in West Texas, could not imagine owning a pair of Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals.  To us, a pair of “mythological” shoes like these belonged only in the feet of hip NY women.  Especially in West Texas where the mall did not have any luxury department stores.

Looking back, I now realize that I also felt incredibly identified with Carrie Bradshaw’s character and her super spicy (for lack of a better word) relationship with Mr. Big.  I did have a “Mr. Big” in my life after all, and watching Carrie’s struggles in their relationship gave me hope that my Big would come to me in Paris one day and confess in a gesture of true love how he finally realized I was the one.  It was a beautiful fantasy.  One that I was soon to find out would never come true.

But all of that happened over six years ago.  My roommate is long gone to another city, I now live in Houston, TX where Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals can be bought at the 8th largest mall in the U.S. for a small fee, and cheap champagne gives me a headache now.  That is why, for old times’ sake, I make it a point to watch Sex and the City every change that I get.  And that is exactly what I did Saturday night.  This time, in company of my boyfriend.

In true “Carrie Bradshaw” fashion, I got to thinking about what Sex and the City has taught me about my life.  More specifically my love life and the relationships in my life.  So here are 5 lessons for a lifetime in love that I learned from watching Sex and the City.

1.  “I am an emotional cutter”.

If you have watched the first Sex and the City movie, then you may remember this quote when Miranda asks Carrie why she would read the Vogue magazine in which she is featured wearing designer wedding dresses prior to her wedding fiasco.  Honestly, this quote reminds me of a song by the band Chevelle:  “I like having hurt”.

Think about it.  This quote is a confession, almost like an introductory statement to an “emotional pain addicts anonymous” meeting:  “Hello, my name is Carrie Bradshaw and I like having hurt.”  Like Carrie, I put myself through hell for a boy I thought I liked, so I can totally relate to this statement.  Carrie’s entire relationship with Mr. Big is one masochistic circus all in the name of “butterflies”.  And there’s nothing wrong with this.

Unless, that is, you want to have healthy, meaningful relationships.

Like I said, been there, done that.  But somewhere along the way I realized how unnecessary it all was to enter into relationships with unavailable men.  In the end, it certainly took a lot of courage and inner-work to transform my self-hatred into self-love.  And it paid off.

2.  An unrealistic love story.

The whole idea of being an emotional cutter makes me wonder if Sex and the City was all about glorifying the relationship between Carrie and Mr. Big, or if it was about saying “HEY! WOMEN out there!! Whatever you do, DO NOT fall for THIS kind of man!!”

Ultimately, 6 seasons and two movies later, I am going to have to take a guess and say Sex and the City is all about glorifying the delicious pain of a relationship with an unavailable man.  Many of us have been there and can relate after all.  And maybe, just maybe, that is why the show was so popular.

…But is that idea of a relationship realistic?

Yes, but only because you have not learned to love and respect yourself.

3.  Relationships are mirrors.

I realized that Carrie put her desire to love and be loved by Mr. Big before her own love of self.  She doesn’t know her own worth because she hasn’t taken the time to look within for the love that she seeks so desperately.  Unfortunately, Carrie’s story is the story of many girls and women out there who have been lied to by the media that tells them “you are not pretty, you are not worthy.”

Once I learned to love myself my relationships changed accordingly.  That is when I realized that my relationships are a direct reflection of my self-esteem.  Another way to look at this situation is by asking yourself:  does this relationship I am in bring me joy, or does it bring me down?  Your answer may surprise you.

4.  I love you but I love me more.

Ok, so I still think that the reason Sex and the City was so freaking “Big” (see what I did there?) was because most, if not all of the people who watched the show could relate to Carrie and her trials and tribulations.  But, if there is a person in the show who, despite her inflated sense of self, loved herself and had a healthy relationship with herself, it is Samantha.  Yes ladies and gentleman, Samantha Jones.

Samantha understood that it is not selfish to love yourself even though selfishness is typically thought of as a no-no in our society.  More importantly, she understood that it is when she came from a place of self-love that she could love others more.

Of course, this doesn’t mean to love yourself only.  It just means to always do what is right for you when the situation calls for it.

5.  Life is better with “the girls.”

To me, the most important lesson learned from Sex and the City is that friendship is sacred.  Despite the many men Carrie dated throughout the show, there was always a constant in her life–“the girls.”  They were there to listen without judgement, to call her out when she got out of line, and to laugh and cry with her.

Whether you have someone to share a day full of Sex and the City with, a shoulder to lean on, or an ear to listen, life is better when you have a close group of friends who are there with you through thick and thin.  So love them with all you’ve got (even after they block you on Facebook).

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  1. terrific lessons observed, victoria. all boiling down to one major theme: love yourself. i wasn’t a big “sex and the city” watcher, but i can relate to so many of your points. i just spent a wonderful evening last night with 5 of my best friends in the world. we’ve laughed and cried and conquered the world together. priceless.

    • Thanks for stopping by April. I love what you wrote about your friends. “We’ve laughed and cried and conquered the world together.”

  2. I agree wholly with aprilml – also never a big SATC watcher, I often could “relate” to the trails and tribulations of Carrie (even if it drove me a bit nuts) but mostly LOVED the fierce friendships with the women and themselves. That was the coolest part to watch!

  3. I am so grateful to be married, so I don’t have to go through this anymore! But I am ever grateful to have “fluff” like Sex & the City to watch from time to time. When I was going through my most challenging relationship years, I relied far to much on my boyfriend at the time for my sense of security and definitely didn’t have as many gal pals. I’m so grateful now to have these ladies in my life. And I would tell any woman looking for love to take care of self and friends first, for sure!

    • Yeah, quite honestly I’ve been there, done that too… but I think that’s another reason I like SATC so much–it teaches you it is a learning process and the best thing you can do is to simply love yourself.

  4. Lovely! I must admit I’ve never watched much of Sex and the City but with this perspective on it, I think I might just sit down and see if it’s on Netflix tonight!

    What a wonderful way to express the importance of self-love. Thanks for sharing your story with us! Keep at it!

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