The would-be wedding scene of the Sex And The City movie where Big leaves Carrie at the altar sinks my heart deep into my chest every single time I see it. Even years later. You'd truly have to be a fan of the series to understand the complexity of their relationship and get why his cowardly act felt especially cruel.
Long story short, Carrie often visited the blistering corners of hell with Big and returned with more than a few burns. Yet, she not only found a way to forgive him, she loved him a little bit harder each time. Her devotion to him was relentless.
Though (*spoiler alert*) she ultimately winds up marrying Big, I can't help but wonder (to use a Carrie phrase) why she ignored all the signs she should've ended the relationship for good. Or, more introspectively, why do so many of us stay with a partner we know we have no business being with?
A guy my friend was recently involved with told her that women are so desperate for a man they're willing to accept anything and anyone. Needless to say, it angered me. But as badly as I wanted to yell "BULLSHIT!" at the top of my lungs, a tiny part of me was curious to know if his outrageous assertion had any merit. I wondered if his thoughts could partially explain why we hang on to situations longer than we need to.
"We author our own playbooks, and get so deeply engrossed, we sometimes miss the signs we should hit the road"
Women have sort of been inoculated with this idea that we have to be patient and forgiving to no end. The indiscretions of the men in our lives infuriate us, yet society is always ready to offer up the same old tired excuses, "Well, he's a man, what do you expect?" or "Men just mature a lot slower than women. He'll get it together some day."
When you're constantly bombarded with these words, it eventually begins to wear on you. You begin to think you should be more understanding and not so quick to quit.
To add fuel to the fire, women tend to love extremely hard, and at times think we can nurture his flaws away. Our logic, "No one's perfect. Why not ride it out with this man who claims to love me? He'll get his shit together one day, right?" It then becomes a waiting game, and we find ourselves being far more forgiving than we've ever imagined. That unwavering ability to turn the other cheek time and time again runs painfully deep.
So sure, we do put up with a lot of crap. But I won't say that I, my friends, or other women I know are simply settling for whatever morsel of affection our partners offer. Because there isn't an overarching set of rules for love, we author our own playbooks, and get so deeply engrossed, we sometimes miss the signs we should hit the road. It happens.
The real task is being able to decipher what's worth fighting for and what's not. And as with everything else in life, it starts at home. Make sure you love yourself first. That seems like common sense, but a lot of times we put ourselves second to the people we're deeply attached to.
By doing that, it becomes extra difficult to see when we're being wronged. A friend of mine once told me, "When you know your worth, you never give discounts." I haven't forgotten those words since. You see, a lot of women are under the impression that "unconditional love" means sticking it through no matter what. That can be unhealthy. What about self preservation?
I'm not saying we should book it to the exit at the first hint of trouble. Trust me, I know relationships go through ups and downs. Instead, we should really examine if we and our partners are ultimately heading for a better place. We should ask ourselves the following questions:
- Do the pros heavily outweigh the cons?
- Is there mutual respect?
- Do you feel good about your relationship?
- Do you feel emotionally safe?
- Do you feel physically safe?
- Are you still IN love?
- Can you really see a future with this person?
- Are you both working TOGETHER to be better?
- Is the relationship actually improving?
Sometimes relationships can work out the kinks. But we should make sure it's on our terms. We shouldn't just author our playbooks, we should author our happy endings as well.
P.S. I'll never forgive Big for leaving Carrie on their wedding day while she was engulfed in that larger than life Vivienne Westwood dress. But I'm petty and #TeamAidan.
This article was written by Cliché. Follow her @CalamityCliche.