Things rarely resolve neatly.
Sex and the City illustrated many prominent issues that women sometimes encounter in their relationships: fertility struggles, unease about out-earning a boyfriend, being attracted to "toxic bachelors," and wanting to pursue "sex like a man," among others.
While not every woman desires the unattached sex that Samantha pursues, Sex and the City shined light on a phenomenon that nearly every woman deals with at one point or another: clashing with a friend's love interest.
Mr. Big continually treats Carrie like crap: never wanting to commit, marrying another woman yet expecting Carrie to happily continue as "the other woman," and (spoiler alert!) eventually leaving Carrie at the altar at the Bradshaw-Preston wedding. But Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda are always there to clean up the mess Big made.
Needless to say, the girlfriends develop a major grudge. Charlotte even confesses that she practiced what she would say if she bumped into Mr. Big on the street: "I curse the day you were born!"
However, Sex and the City isn't always known for portraying reality, and this case is no exception. Like Carrie's fabulous lifestyle magically afforded by a journalist's salary and Samantha's puzzling evasion of death by venereal disease, the image of Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha shrieking with delight when Carrie and Big are finally married isn't realistic.
In real life, when the friends don't get along with the boyfriend, things rarely resolve so neatly.
Allison, 23, says, "I have over time disliked a friend's choice of men many times. I felt like she often chose men who were selfish, destructive, patriarchal, and lacking depth. We often clashed because when her boyfriends would hurt her I would get in full defense mode."
Unfortunately, even as Allison helped her friend through her romance hardships, their friendship fizzled because of her friend's less-than-gallant boyfriends. However, it's a two-way street, and Allison reports that sometimes her friends aren't so crazy about her boyfriends, either.
"Friends have oftentimes disliked my boyfriends. And now with perspective I can say they rightfully did. I have been connected with less-than-perfect characters in my past. I often didn't see who these people really were as soon as my friends did because I was blinded by the glitter."
Allison illustrates an important point: struck by Cupid's arrow, many women see their beaus in a forgiving light and overlook their faults, even while their friends' intuitive senses scream, "Dump this guy!"
Jennifer Kelton, author of the relationship book Don't Use My Sweater Like a Towel, says women's occasional blindness to a guy's toxic bachelor status could actually be chemistry.
"Why people are attracted to someone is kind of deep on a physiological level. Often times, when women are sticking with these boyfriends, [their] chemistry is bonding with someone, not [their] heads. The woman could almost be like, 'This is the most fabulous man ever!' when he's cheating on her. There are all kinds of levels of why people stay with those who aren't right for them, and one major one is that people get chemically attached."
Leah, 27, has been having problems with her best friend's boyfriend for a while, although her friend hasn't noticed.
"Girls can be oblivious to how their romantic relationships negatively impact other aspects of their lives, or others period, because they're of the mentality, Well if everything's going so well, of course there's nothing wrong." Leah has tried talking to her friend about the situation, but her friend hasn't been receptive.
Tara, 29, has a best friend with a boyfriend who drilled in her friend's head that she should diet (despite already being thin), and that she should get regular Brazilian waxes (even though she really didn't want to). His influence became too much for Tara, and she felt she needed to start saying something.
"You just try to drill it in her head that you think she should have a greater sense of self-worth and not be with this guy. Boyfriends are supposed to make you feel like the best person in the world, not the worst person."
Tara told her friend repeatedly that she should ditch the guy but the friend stayed with the guy anyway.
"My friend would casually mention something rude that her boyfriend said or did, and I would become so mad at him that I almost felt inclined to leave our lunches early. He was influencing the friendship when he wasn't even there."
However, Jennifer Kelton has a pointed take on such a situation: If friends tell someone that they think her guy is bad news and she stays with him, she loses the right to vent about him at lunch or during girls' night out.
"If you know that your friends don't like him, then you're wasting their time talking about him. You should say nothing, because you're just a big whiner at this point," Kelton says.
Kate, 24, says, "If a girl's boyfriend has done something that makes her friends angry at him, he probably did something really stupid. But I think there's a way to make it up and the boyfriend can somehow restore his impression with her friends."
So what are women supposed to do with the grudges that develop? Kate's best friend just swallows it.
"My best friend hates my sort-of-boyfriend. But whenever she sees him she acts like she's his best friend, because she knows it will make me comfortable," says Kate.
Allison possesses a similar, laissez-faire approach to her friends' relationship choices, even though she's been burned before.
"I ultimately think that it's up to us to know who we are and what works best for us, which is why even with friends whose choices I disagree with, I recognize that it's about what they need or what they're attracted to. And it's none of my business unless they're in danger in some way."
And so it went in Sex and the City: The Movie. Despite their dislike of Mr. Big, Carrie's friends support her choice. After all, it's hard to dislike a man who builds you a shoe closet.