Is Monogamy Too Much To Expect?

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Frosted Rings
Sex and the Psychological City: what the girls taught us about being monogamous.

Samantha does not "believe in monogamy, even when it comes to real estate agents." She spends the episode cheating on her current real estate agent by viewing apartments and hooking up with her agent's competitor. Charlotte, not surprisingly, "embraces fidelity" with the "perfect" guy, only to break up with him due to their differing views about the importance of oral sex. Miranda gets jealous when she sees her ex, Skipper, arm and arm with Allison, a fabulous executive at Vogue. She calls Skipper to eagerly suggest getting together, he dumps Allison on the spot, they hook up and only then does Miranda express her discomfort with monogamy. Devastated and furious, Skipper says he is NOT her "private stud horse" and calls Miranda some harsh expletives. Last but not least, Carrie's go-to gay friend Stanford shares his monogamy philosophy:

"Monogamy is on its way out again. It had a brief comeback in the nineties, but as the millennium approaches, people are leaving their options open ... I can't even commit to a long distance carrier!"

(Given the extent to which phones have evolved since Stanford compared monogamy to phone service, his comment is especially dated, and yet oh so current!)

Stanford then helps distract Carrie by introducing her to Jared, the sexy, racy, best-selling author, recently named one of the 30 coolest new yorkers under 30. Intrigued, Jared invites Carrie to a chic night club party and confesses, "I'm, like, in love with you!" Carrie is furious with herself because she cannot summon any interest in Jared and only has eyes for Big:

"I felt like a fool. I had gone so far out on a limb with my feelings, I hadn't realized I was standing out there alone."

And therein lies the most important aspect of Carrie's struggle with monogamy. She and Big had never discussed whether they were exclusive. Carrie was too busy racing a million miles an hour on her own trajectory with little sense about how Big's perspective would fit in. Can Women Have Sex Like Men?

My advice? A monogamous relationship is the right move for many, but not for everyone. The decision to be exclusive should be made when both partners are ready for it. If you want a monogamous relationship, take things at a reasonable pace! What's the rush? Whatever you do, don't be someone who quickly loses track of your friends the minute you meet someone who excites you romantically. Never, ever make the pathetic and offensive mistake of telling a friend that you are free to make plans with them because your romantic interest happens to be busy. If you make more time for the rest of your life while you take time to really get to know someone, you are less likely to get ahead of yourself and make unrealistic assumptions about the status of your relationship.

Keep in mind that once Carrie is more direct with Big about her feelings and expectations, they gain more clarity about each other and the relationship. Big seems hesitant and uncomfortable with exclusivity, while Carrie admits:

"In a city of infinite possibilities, sometimes there's no better option than knowing you only have one!" 

As the episode ends, we realize that Carrie and Big may have something special, but he is not ready to give her what she needs, and she is not ready to face this reality. 5 Tips for Going from ‘It’s Complicated’ to Monogamy

Sex and the City fun trivia fact: The actor who plays Jared, one of the 30 coolest New Yorkers under 30, is none other than current tabloid fixture Justin Theroux who somewhat recently celebrated his 40th birthday with girlfriend Jennifer Aniston! Seeing Theroux look very much under 30 in the show when stories about his real life 40th recently penetrated the media reminds us how much has changed since the show aired. And yet, the question of monogamy remains as current and complicated as ever.  

Connect with me at www.elisabethlamotte.com and follow @elisjoy

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Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Elisabeth LaMotte

Counselor/Therapist

Social worker, psychotherapist, blogger and author of "Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce"

Location: Washington, DC
Credentials: LICSW, MFT, MSW
Specialties: Communication Problems, Dating/Being Single Support, Divorce/Divorce Prevention
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