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‘Sex and the City’: We’ve Been Debating Carrie Bradshaw’s Boyfriends for Decades, and for Good Reason

'Sex and the City' was a truly provocative show back in the late 1990s, but it was all about romance at its core. The romantic life of Carrie Bradshaw has been debated for years. Now, it seems pretty obvious that none of her love interests, even the one she married, was truly right for her.

Sex and the City went off the air in 2004. It has amassed new fans since, and the announcement of its reboot, And Just Like That…, has ignited new fervor. Even before the reboot announcement, fans of the original series took to the internet to discuss various aspects of the show. The global lockdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) had fans rushing back to relive the series, and an age-old debate was reignited. Fans have spent years discussing Carrie Bradshaw’s boyfriends, and there is a good reason for it. None of her beaus were exactly right for her, but is there someone perfect for the free-spirited sex columnist?  

Carrie and Mr. Big is considered the endgame relationship of ‘Sex and the City’ 

Mr. Big was Carrie’s endgame. Fans ‘shipped the two early on in the series, and they were given exactly what they wanted. The end of their story, in the original series, wasn’t how the show was actually supposed to end, though. Mr. Big chasing Carrie down in Paris was a way of satisfying the show’s fandom, but it was far from realistic. In a Kindle Singles interview, Darren Star even suggested that the show betrayed itself by forcing Carrie and Mr. Big together in the end.

Sex and the City: Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker stand on the street
Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker | Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

So, why wasn’t Mr. Big right for Carrie? Fans against the pairing argue that Big was cold and distant. He didn’t understand Carrie at a core level, and her big emotions often scared him off. His standoffishness and lack of emotion often sent Carrie spiraling into feelings of self-doubt. None of that changed after the finale. The same theme is carried through in both of the franchise’s movies. It looks plausible that the same struggles will be seen in And Just Like That…the upcoming HBO Max reboot, too. 

Aidan Shaw was comfortable and dependable but mind-numbingly dull 

Aidan Shaw, Carrie’s boyfriend in season 3 of Sex and the City, was the antithesis of Mr. Big. As far as Carrie Bradshaw’s boyfriends went, he was the most dependable. He was the love interest that never kept Carrie guessing. Aidan was so comfortable, though, that he was mind-numbingly dull. 

Aidan Shaw and Carrie Bradshaw are seen kissing on the steps of Carrie's apartment. Aidan was one of Carrie Bradshaw's boyfriends that fans either love or hate
Aidan Shaw and Carrie Bradshaw | Paramount Pictures/Newsmakers

Fans weren’t the only ones to recognize that Aidan’s dependable nature, while a positive attribute, didn’t gel with Carrie’s slightly wilder nature. She recognized it, too. Carrie and Aidan had very little in common, didn’t enjoy the same things, and didn’t want the same type of life. They were doomed before their relationship even got off the ground. Traditional Aidan was the perfect guy for someone, but not the ideal man for the free-thinking Carrie. 

Jack Berger was too moody for Carrie Bradshaw 

Jack Berger is probably best known for breaking up with Carrie on a Post-It note. That instantly makes him one of Carrie Bradshaw’s worst boyfriends, but a lot led up to that moment. Berger’s behavior was never particularly great, and it’s hard to ascertain exactly what Carrie ever saw in him. 

Ron Livingston Visit SiriusXM. Livingston portrayed Jack Berger in 'Sex and the City' during the show's sixth season. He was one of Carrie Bradshaw's boyfriends.
Ron Livingston | Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

While Carrie and Berger weren’t together for long, their short relationship proved that Carrie was never meant to be with a man less self-assured than she was. Berger was threatened by Carrie’s success, couldn’t take criticism, even when it was bookended by compliments, and brought more baggage into the relationship than anyone else she had ever dated. Berger, simply put, was an awful choice for Carrie. 

Aleksandr Petrovsky was too dark, too serious, and too global for everyone’s favorite New York City girl 

Some people might think that an artist, like Aleksandr Petrovsky, and a writer, like Carrie Bradshaw, would be perfect together. Two creatives working in different mediums should, in theory, be able to appreciate each other. That’s not what happened with Carrie and her older “lover” in season six. While Carrie desperately wanted to make it work with Alek, he was just too much of everything for Carrie. 

Sarah Jessica Parker and Mikhail Baryshnikov film a scene for 'Sex and the City' in Central Park. Alek serverd as one of Carrie Bradshaw's boyfriends during the show's final season.
Carrie Bradshaw and Aleksandr Petrovsky | Mark Mainz/Getty Images

Alek was too dark, global, and serious for the whimsical writer with a deep affinity for New York City. Their relationship was stable enough in New York when Carrie had her other big loves to fall back on (her friends and her town) but it imploded when placed in a new environment. Alek was too self-centered to recognize exactly what Carrie needed, and she was too unsettled to advocate for herself. 

Were any of Carrie Bradshaw’s boyfriend right for her in the long run? 

While many fans agree that Mr. Big and Carrie’s love was special, it doesn’t mean the duo were actually right for each other. At the very least, their romance was never effortless and can often be described as downright toxic. The other men weren’t quite right for her either. Aidan was a bit too dull, and Berger was too insecure to deal with Carrie, especially during the height of her success. As for Alek, while fans largely hate him, he wasn’t an inherently bad choice. His life and Carrie’s life simply didn’t intersect. So, was anyone right for Carrie? No, actually, and that might very well be the point.

Sarah Jessica Parker hurries down the street while on the set of 'Sex and the City' in 2002. Carrie Bradshaw's hair is the shorrtest it has ever been in the series during season 5
Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaws | James Devaney/WireImage

If you look at Sex and the City as an ode to friendship, a different narrative emerges. In the end, Carrie settled for the man who, while her heart’s desire, wasn’t inherently good for her. He was never right for her because no man was necessarily her perfect compliment. Like Charlotte York once suggested, maybe the four ladies were each other’s soulmates.