Last week, I started watching Sex and the City for possibly the 16th time. I had bought the DVDs in my first semester at UB, after my roommates got me addicted to it and I spent my first spring break holed up in my dorm room watching them over and over again. Room 213 of Red Jacket Quadrangle was alive every night with the sounds of a Sex and the City DVD. At that time, the final season was still going on, and we were devastated that after the Spring of 2004, we would have to just be contented with watching reruns.
To this day, it is my absolute favorite TV show. The humor was raw, the issues real, and the fashions ravishing. My ex-boyfriend hated it, and hated that I could relate to it; then again, he was a hypocritical, over-possessive, over-conservative control-freak who thrived on dictating how my life (and wardrobe) should be. But sometimes I think he may have been right to be upset, because watching the show, and having Carrie Bradshaw voice the concerns I had always had about relationships, have shaped my view of them over the last seven years, in more ways than I would like to admit.
I have been in a relationship for exactly two years and five months. It is, hands down, the longest relationship I’ve ever been in, and by far the most serious. The duration of this relationship, the circumstances that it has come to now, and our ages, have drawn what seems to be the most-asked question of my year thus far, to which I alternate between replying, “I don’t know,” and “Yes, maybe.” This ambivalence is brought on by my own uncertainty as to whether I would do it because I was destined to do it, or because I have come to a point where there is nothing else I can do.
Like most women, I always wanted to find a man whom I could call The One. Like Charlotte York of Sex and the City, I wanted that fairytale romance, the man who would sweep me off my feet and make me the only one in his life, and that happily ever after. Then like Miranda Hobbes, I realized that romance really was just a fairytale, that I would keep picking men who could never make me their only one, and that marriage was not happily ever after but the beginning of a new life that brought with it new challenges. And like Carrie herself, I sat down to write about it, hoping that if I thought hard enough to systematically put it all in black and white, I would make some sense of it and thus find some answers. Instead, all I got were more questions.
Did The One ever really exist (for me, at least)? There had been the two whom I had thought were The One(s), but both had proven to be aberrations where love was concerned. There was Julian, my high school sweetheart who taught me the meaning of “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”, and who made me wonder if a decade of leaving and coming back to each other was supposed to mean anything more than good — and bad — timing. Then there was Greg, so emotionally unavailable but so easily desirable that at one point I would have waited a lifetime for him, if only to hear him say that he wanted nothing to do with me; he was the love of my life (although I now realize it didn’t make much sense to think of him as such), but he loved himself far too much.*
And now there is Afham, who tried to show me that love is supposed to be effortless and free of drama, but instead showed me the realities of two people making a commitment to one another. It makes me wonder if that’s what The One is supposed to be — not the one who sweeps you off your feet and gives you butterflies, but the one who gives you an insight into what your life could be with them, and still make you feel as though you want it. On the other hand, it makes me wonder if The One is just that one person you meet and fall in love with when you are too young to be capable of getting it right.
* This is the first time that I am coming out in the open and dropping names. I figure I am past that point of having to be afraid of what anyone who reads this will think or feel.