All 4 ‘Sex and the City’ Characters Were Guilty of Committing This Cardinal Sin of Dating

In the Sex and the City pilot, Carrie Bradshaw refers to herself as a sexual anthropologist. While she may have been considered an expert in sex in Manhattan, she wasn’t the dating guru that she was initially presented to be. Carrie’s dating life was messy and complicated. If you think about it, Miranda Hobbes, Samantha Jones, and Charlotte York all had messy dating histories, too. In the end, all for pals were guilty of committing one of the cardinal sins of dating. They all fell victim to the backslide.

What is backsliding

Backsliding, in dating, is the act of returning to former lovers even when you know things probably won’t work out. The act of backsliding is, generally speaking, a response to loneliness and fear. Seeking a familiar face for validation and comfort makes sense, but dating experts warn against backsliding.

Kim Cattrall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis pose for a portrait in an undated photo on the set of the HBO series 'Sex and the City'
The cast of ‘Sex and the City’ | HBO/Getty Images

According to Psychology Today, between 33% and 50% of people will experience an on-again-off-again relationship at some point in their dating life. Backsliders typically don’t have a lot to look forward to, though. According to research, most people who attempt to rekindle things with an ex, ussually of misplaced loneliness or fear, have negative things to say about the relationship. In short, the result of backsliding is rarely a happy ending. Still, Carrie and all three of her pals – yes, even Samantha – were guilty of backsliding.

Carrie Bradshaw was a major backslider

Carrie had a hard time making up her mind about the men in her life. She ran back to Mr. Big the second things didn’t seem to be working out with other men, and played with Aidan Shaw’s feelings, too. Hints of her backsliding tendencies were obvious from season 1, long before things got serious with Mr. Big. Carrie first backslid in the show’s pilot when she slept with her ex, Kurt Harrington, and was surprised when he didn’t immediately fall in love with her.

Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw and Chris Noth as Mr. Big
Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw and Chris Noth as Mr. Big | Paramount Pictures

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Later, she backslides with Mr. Big in season 2, then again in season 3 when they launched their affair. In season 4, she fought to win Aidan back, only to find that returning to a former flame doesn’t excise the ghost of relationships past but rather brings them back into the harsh light of day. Carrie might have ended up with Mr. Big in the end, but that doesn’t excuse all of her other backsliding behavior.

Carrie’s Sex and the City pals backslid, too

While Carrie was somewhat notorious for backsliding, Miranda, Charlotte, and even Samantha were guilty of it, too. Samantha was guilty of backsliding twice during the show’s six-season run. In Season 2, Episode 11, Samantha ends up in bed with her ex, Dominic, with hopes of breaking his heart the way he broke hers. That isn’t what ended up happening, though. Instead, Dominic left Samantha for the same woman, again leaving her feeling dejected and used. She didn’t learn her lesson then, though. Later, she took back Richard Wright after she caught him cheating and discovered that it’s impossible to act like the past never happened.

Sex and the City cast
Kirsten Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kim Cattrall Richard | Corkery/NY Daily News Archive

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Charlotte, the group member who was desperate to make any relationship work, only backslide once during Sex and the City’s initial run. In season 4, she left Trey McDougal when their intimacy problems showed no signs of getting any better. Charlotte backslid right into Trey’s arms after he showed up at her doorstep. Eventually, she moved back in, but the pair’s marriage was doomed from the start. Charlotte’s relationship with Trey wasn’t exactly useless, though. It did lead her to her one true love, once she realized her perfect man didn’t have to look like he was chiseled out of stone.

Most fans would suggest that Miranda didn’t backslide because she ended up with Steve Brady. Still, if you look at the term in its purest form, that’s exactly what she did with Steve. In fact, one can argue that Miranda and Steve’s son, Brady Hobbes, is the result of the backslide. Steve and Miranda conceived Brady when Miranda slept with Steve after his testicular cancer diagnosis.