Every so often I feel inspired to re-watch Sex and the City. Each time I revisit Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha, I find the show increasingly relatable as my own dating experiences accumulate with every passing year. While the main characters might boast unrealistic lifestyles, the highs and lows of being single and dating ring true.
At the end of second season, Big tells Carrie he is engaged to Natasha and by the third season Charlotte stumbles upon a featured article about the ensuing ceremony in the Times Wedding Section. When Charlotte reads the details to Carrie, she breaks down at the mention of the ever-so-Big gesture of a saxophone accompanying the bride down the aisle, crying,
“She’s shiny hair, style section Vera Wang and I’m the sex column they run next to ads for penile implants.”
No matter how logical an uncoupling and how unlikely the damage can be pieced together again, there is something undeniably painful about the rejection of a break-up and the discovery of your ex’s inevitable next girlfriend. The evolution of a relationship can be terrifying, especially when showing vulnerability comes at the cost of losing power. When the relationship comes to an end, you’re left exposed, wallowing in your vulnerabilities and questioning what went wrong. The insecurity that follows a bad break-up can be crushing.
Logically, I knew the Canadian and I were incompatible from our first date. We met outside my office on a mild Friday evening in December and walked to catch the E line from Park Street. He was taking me to a screening of Hitchcock’s Stranger on a Train at the MFA and I was smitten. We talked over wine and cheese outside the museum’s auditorium and after the film finished, strolled to The Mission for dinner.
At 6’5”, the Canadian towered over my 5’2” frame; I relished the moments I could rest my head on his chest and be encompassed in his hugs. He was eight years my senior, but seemed light years ahead of me in his career and his life. He had lived across the globe and was outgoing enough to wrangle a group of glamorous and worldly friends who made me feel small and unaccomplished. All of my achievements, my successes and ambitions, my entire sense of self, was lost to his overbearing and blunt personality.
But even acknowledging our differences and difficulties communicating, there was a physical and emotional connection that drew us together. No matter how unhappy I became with our frequent arguments and the disappointment of his unwillingness to move forward with our relationship, we still kept coming back to one another. On weeknights, we would listen to the news while he made dinner and I sat at his bar drinking wine and watching him work. When I think back to these moments, I remember how truly unhappy he was. He hated Boston, hated his job, and constantly wallowed in the negativity of current events.
I tried to diffuse his pessimism with my optimism, but his lows were too low. I wanted my love to comfort him, but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough.
After we broke up and he moved away, I would be startled awake by unsettling dreams where the Canadian would tell me that he made a mistake and wanted me back in his life. Even in my dreams, I knew we were too incompatible to ever try a relationship again, but the thought that he wanted me back was comforting.
Is it possible I was more hurt by his rejection than the loss of him from my life? I’d like to think we were more than a physical connection and a fun time. I’d like to think I was special to him, even if we don’t have a future together. But I don’t think I’ll ever know what I truly meant to him and I have to accept the fact that he’s bound to move on with someone he finds more special than me. I will always remember the love I felt for the Canadian, and I can only hope to find someone special to share my time with in the future.