I haven’t had real TV in years, and then a few months back, in a fit of financial flexing, I got rid of Netflix and Amazon Prime as well. I thought this might make me a richer, more well-read person but mostly it’s made me a bored person. And that is why I lugged out my DVDs of Sex and the City and watched the whole thing again.
When I watched the entire show the first time, in the early 2000s, I remember actually forming the thought, “Carrie Bradshaw is really healthy. Look at how she says what she needs in a relationship.”
The fact that I had that PREPOSTEROUS THOUGHT kind of makes me feel smug now, and incredibly healthy about relationships, even though I am not in one. I can’t wait to be 70 looking back at my current preposterousness.
Because since the early 2000s I’ve learned many things, chief among them that there are three types of love relationships out there: There are the secure attachers (who smugly wondered why I didn’t “just leave” my last relationship and never look back).
There are love avoidants, who think they want to be with someone and then once they are have affairs, or emotional affairs, or they work too much or play too much golf or look at porn or ANYTHING but be present in the relationship. There’s always some outside intrigue. I remember when I waited tables in the ’80s, and a dad brought a portable radio to dinner to listen to some sporting event while the family ate. That there was a love avoidant.
Love avoidants are always drawn to anxious attachers, which I finally figured out I am. I was married to a secure attacher, and as a result felt (A) secure but (B) became something of a love avoidant, which can happen. I always had something else to do, mostly read and then when I started doing this, blog.
Secures stay secure and meet other secure attachers, but love avoidants and anxious attachers are pretty much two sides of the same coin, and you can flip back and forth being one or the other.
Basically I’m screwed.
So having learned all this, I tuned back in to Sex and the City, and wow, Carrie Bradshaw. You should have stuck with Dr. G, the therapist you saw three times and gave the whole self-satisfied “I’m a solve your own problems gal” speech to.
New flash: You didn’t solve your own problems.
First she dated Mr. Big, which if you never saw the show, I need to offer the clarification that his name had nothing to do with penis size. That name was, in fact, the reason I refused to watch the show at first, because it rankled. Big was a classic love avoidant, coming on strong at first and then suddenly appearing at a restaurant with another woman like it was no big deal, even though he and Carrie spent weeks together having sex and talking.
The entire relationship, Carrie Bradshaw was nervous. Can I leave a toothbrush at his place? Why won’t he say I’m “the one”? Why can’t I meet his mother? Will he say “I love you”?
They broke up, and she did nothing but obsess about the next 20 men. She dated a bisexual man she was nervous about. “If you saw a hot guy, which of us would you pick?”
Then there was a steady-seeming man whose stuff she went through the minute he left her alone in his place.
Then she picks the guy early in recovery (and she says terribly insensitive things to him, such as, “I hope to be an alcoholic myself one day”), which is the perfect love avoidant person to pick. Eleven months into sobriety? Oh, sure! He can focus on you!
Finally she meets Aiden, who is clearly a secure attacher and perfect and we all love Aiden, and what does Carrie do? She becomes a love avoidant. She starts sleeping with Mr. Big, who is cheating on his wife because HE’S A LOVE AVOIDANT and that is what they do.
I am fairly certain the people who wrote this show didn’t know about attachment theory. They were probably writing from their own life experiences as anxious attachers/love avoidants. I can’t imagine that secure attachers make good romance screenwriters. “They met at 19, they fell in love. They married and one of them died at 86. The end.”
Carrie Bradshaw is constantly being scared of what terrible thing is going to happen next in her relationships, or if certain things mean he doesn’t really love her. It’s exhausting to watch once you know what’s up. You just wanna tell her to get her mind on something else and stop obsessing.
And in case you watched the show and wonder about Petrovsky, he did the same love avoidant behavior: come on strong at the beginning, and then get obsessed with his work and ignore her. And she’s just waiting around in $20,000 dresses for him to notice her. My entire youth was me waiting around in $20 sundresses from The Limited, but it’s the same idea.
So that’s my observation for today. I couldn’t help but wonder what Carrie and Big are up to now, as middle-aged love avoidant/anxious attachers.