TV & Movies

Here’s What Needs to Change For Carrie and Aidan to Actually Work Out This Time

sex and the city"
sex and the city
Source: Max
Source: Max

Thank God Aidan is back was the first thought that ran through my mind as I saw his earnest, lovely face grace the screen toward the end of season three of Sex and the City. Sure, Carrie may have cheated on him, broken his heart, and moved on, but as soon as I saw their adorably awkward conversation outside of Steve’s bar, I had to root for them again. And throughout their rekindled romance, Aidan’s proposal, and even his unexpected return in the Sex and the City 2 movie, I held out hope that Carrie would kick Big to the curb. To put it frankly, I’m not sure who was more heartbroken when my favorite couple never ended up together: Aidan or the tissue-grabbing Mr. Big Hater taking over my body.

With each rewatch, I’m still devastated Carrie passed on Aidan twice in favor of the wall-building, altar-fearing Big. Putting Carrie’s somewhat questionable taste aside, Aidan was the most perfect man out of any of the guys the Sex and the City characters dated. (Even though the was low—I’ll never not look at someone hanging up a poster and be reminded of the time Samantha sought revenge on two-timing Richard—but I digress.) Aidan brought the heart and depth that Big always lacked, but in the end, he was just too good for Carrie.

So, imagine my surprise as an aged-up version of the furniture-building, farm-loving sweetheart actually met up with Carrie in season two of And Just Like That. I mean, I know onscreen divorcees have trouble getting over their exes, but even I thought Aidan would realize Carrie was the one who threw him away and actually move on. But as a rom-com enthusiast and degree-holding graduate from the University of All Things Sex and the City, I think I can pinpoint the things that need to change between Carrie and Aidan in order for the couple to work out this time.


Carrie Needs to Learn to Prioritize Someone Other Than Herself

During the couple’s season four breakup, Carrie exclaims, “I am yours, there is nobody else.” I believe what she actually meant to say is, “There is nobody else right now.” Time and time again, she prioritized her own feelings for Big above Aidan. As if cheating with the office-goer wasn’t bad enough, she still brought him into her and Aidan’s relationship when they got back together. If you ask me, Aidan’s request for Carrie to cut her ex-lover out of her life was more than warranted. Sure, I can see Carrie’s frustration, but the regular phone calls and invitation for Big to come to Aidan’s cabin in season four definitely crossed a line.

If we look back at Carrie and Aidan’s relationship from the beginning, you can tell she mainly worried about herself. What seemed like a sweet relationship that just turned sour with time suddenly flew many red flags when I watched the series for the second time. From the start, Carrie had a hard time with commitment. Remember when she really didn’t seem too keen on meeting Aidan’s parents or forming a connection with his dog? Then, she cheated (showing that she truly wasn’t committed and instead put her own feelings above Aidan’s), and when they got back together, she never completely corrected her behavior. She wouldn’t even wear her engagement ring on her finger, for crying out loud! Even though her feelings for him grew the second time, she fell back into the habit of only worrying about what was best for her and not taking his feelings to heart.

Of course, your relationship shouldn’t revolve solely around another person—but that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t consider the other person’s feelings and think about how to best communicate what you’re feeling and why. If Carrie would’ve told Aidan that her wearing an engagement ring as a necklace meant that she wasn’t ready to commit, it would’ve saved the pair a ton of heartbreak.

Here’s the lesson in all of this: Even if you identify as a Carrie, her treatment of Aidan is nothing to look to for guidance in your own love life. Instead, be honest with your partner, and if you’re not crazy about them from the get-go (i.e. the first time you tried to date), then it might be time to move on.


They Need to Realize Their Relationship Isn’t an Escape

When Carrie breezed over her past with Aidan as she confided in her friends about her undying wish to reconnect with him, little was mentioned of their Abu Dhabi kissgate from the Sex and the City 2 movie. In case you need a refresher: Carrie, now married to seemingly distant Big, spotted Aidan at a souk on vacation, and the two agreed to meet for dinner. Despite her friends’ best efforts to warn her not to play with fire, Carrie decided to make Charlotte feel bad about her own marriage and—who would’ve thought—ended up kissing Aidan at what was supposed to be a dinner between friends. Feeling confused and helpless, the two agreed the kiss was a mistake and guilt-ridden, and Carrie told Big what went down.

Now you might be asking yourself why I’m bringing this up, but I stand by it being a crucial flashback as it refers to their reconnection in the spinoff. They last saw each other years ago, in another country, which must seem to them that this negative interaction was worlds away and not anything rational to be concerned about. Plus, throughout their little Valentine’s Day date, I thought they did a pretty good job of moving on (until they got to Carrie’s apartment—yes, the very space Aidan spent hours remodeling as Carrie lay in bed with Big in season three). Unable to verbalize and face what that apartment meant to them, the two carry on with their romance in the luxe hotels of NYC, and when that got too expensive, Carrie begged Che to let the couple spend some nights in their apartment.



With all that said, their relationship couldn’t have been farther from reality; however, in a recent episode of And Just Like That... Carrie decided to sell her apartment after meeting Aidan’s children in Virginia. I might regret saying it later, but it seems like they’ve finally realized their current relationship is not an escape from their past.

Though it’d be the last thing I’d advise, if getting back together with your ex seems like the right path, address what went wrong and why before doing so. Think about how the relationship can realistically work (for example, will one person, similar to Aidan, need to travel to see the other?) and figure out how that will work. Similarly, discuss what needs to be different this time in order to see the relationship through, because if nothing changes, you’ll fall back into the same old habits and risk breaking each other’s hearts again.


Aidan—Yes, Mr. Perfect—Needs to Grow a Backbone

Sure, the Sex and the City fandom, myself included, loves to hype Aidan up as the perfect man, but let’s not forget that he’s oftentimes portrayed as the victim. For example, I’ll never get over season 4, episode 7, when an injured Miranda, fresh out of the shower and naked, enlists the help of Carrie, only for her to send an unassuming Aidan over to tend to Miranda. Sure, Carrie had a meeting that conflicted with Miranda’s neck injury, but since when did Carrie ever care about making the best impression in any episode prior? This whole episode was an example of how Carrie prioritized her own plans and feelings and only paid attention to Aidan when she felt like she needed him.

But let’s be clear: Aidan isn’t innocent either. From the get-go, he knew Carrie had another man in her life and that she felt that he was more important than her own boyfriend. And even after voicing his frustration over Big continuing to call Carrie after their affair, Aidan’s concerns were still dismissed. In a way, Carrie is Aidan’s Big. Just as Carrie fell victim to Big putting other people and his own interests above her, she always put Big above Aidan. And now, as the two have reunited, I can’t help but wonder, will Aidan act differently if Carrie displays similar red flags? Or will he continue letting her poor treatment of him stand?

Throughout their first go-around, Aidan lived with the consequences of letting himself be put second. This time, I hope he realizes his self-worth and pushes back if Carrie still can’t fully commit to him. A relationship in which one partner always feels like a second choice just isn’t going to be a happy relationship. Sure, it’s only natural to want to do what you want to do, but if someone repeatedly reveals that they don’t have your best interest in mind, you can’t stay in a relationship like that. Because duh, you deserve more (and so does Aidan)! A partner who cares for you will do their best to uplift you and prioritize you, not repeat their inconsiderate behavior.


Final Thoughts on Their Rekindling

Let me point out the elephant in the room—or rather, the elephant in Carrie’s apartment. Their past is a M-E-S-S. The two clearly don’t like to talk about their previous romance because it was full of pain, but in order to move on, Carrie has to treat Aidan better, and Aidan needs to communicate his dealbreakers. Given that one of their biggest obstacles (ahem, Big) is now firmly out of the picture and Carrie is reflecting on her past and wondering if Big was a mistake, she and Aidan might have a fighting chance. But, if they really want their relationship to work this time, their old habits have got to die hard. Dare I say that I may even be rooting for them again??