Carrie and Big (sorry, John) are the central relationship of Sex and the City. From the beginning, their on-again, off-again love story is the biggest part of Carrie’s life, and no one was really surprised when they ended up being endgame. By the end of the series, they are happily in love, finally in a committed relationship. By the end of the first film, they are married and more in love than ever. And by the end of the second movie, their marriage has managed to find its way through stagnation to something wonderful again.
Now, with a revival on the way, Carrie and Big are back – and it’s easy to see them as a loving, wonderful couple… but they weren’t always quite so happy. In fact, throughout the franchise, there have been times where they seemed more like the perfect example of a toxic relationship, and less like #relationshipgoals.
10 Toxic: Game Playing
Both Carrie and Big were guilty of game playing – and throughout their relationships. Carrie has a habit of expecting her partners to intuit what she wants without actually telling them, and she often creates little ‘tests’ for them. Big, meanwhile, is all about game playing. He leaves Carrie on the hook, he’s terrible at calling or following through, and then he’ll pop up with a charming smile and something to make it up to her. It’s not a healthy way of communicating or respecting each other at all.
9 Perfect: Passion
Passion may not be enough to keep a couple together, but it’s definitely important for romantic relationships where sex is involved… and Big and Carrie have it in spades. Throughout the series, they struggle to keep their hands off each other, and often fall passionately into each others’ arms in closets, on balconies… wherever they get a chance. Sadly, this passion is often paired with the unavailability of Big, and is even compared to addiction, which isn’t phenomenally healthy, but a great sex life certainly is!
8 Toxic: Cheating
The flip side of that passion is that Carrie and Big let it overwhelm them, to the point that they have a full-on affair when Big is married to Natasha. This can be perceived as part of why they are ‘meant to be’, that even when in other relationships, they couldn’t resist.
However, that simply romanticizes something inexcusable: cheating. Both Carrie and Big cheat on their partners, and it’s absolutely not ok, especially as it becomes an extended affair.
7 Perfect: Always Having Fun Together
When not in the midst of some drama, one of the best things about Carrie and Big is that they are always having fun. They are always laughing and teasing each other, they enjoy the same things – they match. While Carrie failed with Aidan because they were too different (and he was far too outdoorsy), failed with Berger because it was too serious, and failed with Alexander because she felt completely out of place in his world, she and Big always have fun and enjoy each other’s company.
6 Toxic: Commitment-Phobia
Neither Big nor Carrie are particularly good with commitment, although Carrie would definitely claim that this is all on Big’s side. Admittedly, he is much more commitment-phobic than she is, and even leaves her at the altar in the first film (ouch), but she has her own issues with settling down (and never ends up selling her own, private, apartment).
5 Perfect: Big Gestures
When both people are into them, there is little more romantic than the grand gesture – and there’s no gesture grander than flying from New York to Paris to declare your love! The moment that Big and Carrie finally got together was so phenomenally romantic that it seemed a little too much even for Sex and the City (and that’s saying something), but that’s not the only big gesture Big makes.
He buys them a penthouse apartment to make her happy, builds her a closet, shows up with a limo and balloons, trades a TV for an engagement ring… he is the King of big gestures, and Carrie has proven that she is someone who really, really wants this kind of big moment to feel loved.
4 Toxic: On-Again, Off-Again
Hand in hand with game playing and commitment phobia is the on-again, off-again nature of the relationship. They continually ‘break up’, but neither truly moves on – something that is unfair to both of them, and also to the other people that they date. They are constantly calling it quits, and then getting back together (even to the point of canceling a wedding and then later getting married…), and it just seems exhausting.
3 Perfect: Comfortable As A Couple
Especially later in the series, and in the movies, it’s clear that Big and Carrie have found a fantastic level of comfort. They are always there for each other, and Big is there for Carrie’s friends, too. Whether they are joking around apartment hunting, cooking dinner together, reading together, or spending time with friends, they are clearly in sync, and that’s something anyone would want. Admittedly, in the second film, this drifts into stagnation a little, but they are still able to bring things back on track.
2 Toxic: Brought Out The Worst In Each Other
These two are definitely similar, but in many ways, that meant that they amplified each other’s worst traits, including a tendency to drama. Carrie played into Big’s games (and vice versa), whereas someone with no time for drama may have simply called the other one out and moved on. Instead, they worked each other up, convinced each other that game playing, cheating, and all the other toxic traits were ok, and thrived on the conflict.
1 Perfect: Grew And Learned Together
Despite the fact that they have some seriously toxic traits, one of the best things about this relationship is that it evolves from a significantly more problematic one into something that looks pretty healthy. As time goes on, Big and Carrie learn how to communicate better, how to ask for what they want and set boundaries, and how to respect their partner – and they learn that together.
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