Can’t Leave Him Alone: Have You Cut Your Exes Completely Off?
I’ve been watching and re-watching episodes of “Sex and the City,” infuriated. Like so many fans of the show, I saw the movies. I know, after years of being played, breakups and being stood up at the altar, Carrie Bradshaw ends up with Mr. Big. But I wasn’t entirely familiar with the path that got her there in the first place. So now, knowing how it all ends, watching her choices and relationships play out is frustrating to say the least. Is there any doubt in anyone else’s mind that Aidan was the better choice?
The more I watch the show, the more apparent it becomes to me. Also, crystal clear is the fact that Carrie never really wanted anyone but Big. We’ve all been there, wanting men who are ultimately not very good for us. Our family can see it. Our friends tell us. The universe is conspiring against the union. But the heart wants what it wants. And instead of us training our hearts to choose better, we make excuses for the reasons we just “Can’t Leave ‘Em Alone.” (Note: Even that song, complete with a video of Ciara rubbing and writhing on 50 Cent, is a clear sign that you absolutely should.)
In last night’s viewing party, my sister and I watched as Carrie tried to spend some time out in the country with Aidan. Y’all know Carrie. She wasn’t about that life. And that’s cool. I know you don’t have to like everything your man likes. But when she decided to leave the country, she not only ran right back to the city, but back into the arms of Big. Now, to be clear, she wasn’t sleeping with him, the two were just having dinner. But when I saw the two of them sitting at the table, laughing and ki-ki-ing in each others’ faces, my mouth literally flew open.
I don’t want this to turn into a recap of the series, but background is important for my ultimate point. In the episode before this one, Big called Carrie’s house and left a voice message as the two were making love. This is particularly awkward considering Carried cheated on Aidan with Big. And just as they were working on rekindling their relationship, in spite of the infidelity, they were confronted by his voice during one of their most intimate moments. instead of Carrie offering to change her number, tell Big to stop calling (especially so late at night), or cut off communication with him entirely, she tells Aidan that Big is a part of her life now, that she’ll never hurt him like that again and he’ll just have to forgive her.
Can you imagine? Your partner cheats on you and instead of cutting that person off, he or she tells you that the person is essential to their life. Aidan is a better man than I woman. Because that right there would have been my cue to bounce.
And this brings me to my point. Why is it that some of us have such a hard time cutting off our exes? I’m not talking about the exes where things ended amicably and y’all recognize you’re better off as friends. I’m talking about the type of people who’ve hurt you deeply, disrespected you repeatedly or just really didn’t know how to love and treat you properly.
I know Carrie’s drama with Big and Aidan frustrates me so much because that would have and could have been me, passing up the good and decent man for the one who I had history with, who sounded good in theory, but would ultimately never work out. Thank God(!!!) I finally saw the light and exercised the “cut off” skills I’d been honing since middle school. My mother told me that when I was done, I’d be done. And she was so right.
Still, once you’ve learned and mastered a lesson, it’s hard to watch your friends and loved ones struggle with the same concept. And I’m not talking about Carrie Bradshaw. I’m talking about my friends and the women like them. Women who, instead of cutting off that Bigs in their lives, hang on, wishing, hoping, thinking and praying that things will get better.
My best friend has this problem. There is not one Big in her life. There are several. She refuses to let any of them go, choosing instead to have a readily available, constant stream of entertainment and attention at her fingertips.
The other day she texted me, asking if she should cut one of them off/end their friendship via email. On the surface the answer was obviously yes. He had lied to her, disrespected her and was never, ever going to be what she needed him to be as a friend or anything else for that matter. But I told her there was no point in sending that e-mail if she were just going to start talking to him again in a couple of months. Then her word would never be taken seriously. She didn’t send the e-mail.
My best friend is not the only one. There are so many friends and friends of friends who can’t seem to leave the Bigs alone, no matter how much God is trying to tell them something. People are literally popping up with pregnancy scares, secret criminal proclivities and entirely new relationships and these women can’t seem to do themselves the favor of kindly escorting these men all the way out of their lives.
Again, I’m not judging. I can’t. I’ve been there and was there for far too long. But again, it’s maddening to watch people, fictional characters and real life women alike dishonor themselves over and over again, chasing after men who don’t even deserve half of what they have to offer. What I’m learning, the older I become is that you can’t rush people’s development. They’ll get there when they get there. But when they finally decide to be done, I’ll be more than happy to hand these women, my friends and friends of friends, the scissors.