As the HBO hit show “Sex and the City” turns 20 this week, we asked our readers to share personal breakup stories that rival those of our favorite Manhattan foursome. Read on for our top five responses, edited for length and clarity, that give Carrie Bradshaw and Jack Berger’s epic ending a run for the money.
For the uninitiated, Ron Livingston’s Berger broke it off with Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie via a Post-it note. The message read, “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.”
Gretchen, reminding us of when Mr. Big left Carrie at the alter, sparking our own Charlotte-level rage.
City, state: Portland, Ore.
Age: 31; 29 at the time of the split
I’d met my boyfriend while living in China. We both worked for the Walt Disney Co. (different locations in the same city) and met at an annual Halloween party for all the employees. For the first three months, he’s ask me out nearly every time we saw each other, but I always said no.
In February, I’d gone on a solo vacation to Seoul. While texting, I mentioned to him after the first day that it was kind of lonely wandering around the city alone. He got on a flight and surprised me in Seoul the next day. We started dating and eventually moved in together.
After living in China for a year, I started to miss living in the West. So after months of discussing options, we decided that when our contracts were up at Disney, instead of renewing, we would move together to Vancouver, Canada. There, he’d work at a family law firm and I would teach preschool at a Montessori school.
When the time came, I gave my notice to Disney and my boyfriend and I went on a two-week trip to Thailand. The plan was to get in a nice beach vacation before flying to Canada. We got a private bungalow on the beach on one of the islands. It was beautiful. On the last day while packing up to head to the airport, my boyfriend announced that he never put his notice in at work. He hadn’t put in the notice on our apartment, and he was going to stay in China. He wasn’t actually even booked on the same flight as me. He had never intended to move with me and waited until the last minute to say anything about it.
I got dumped in that beautiful beach bungalow in Thailand. At the airport, I had to cancel my original flight plans and book a last-minute flight back to my hometown of Portland, Ore. It took me nearly 36 hours of airport layover flights to get home.
Sarah, with what sounds like a Miranda and Steve date gone wrong.
City, state: Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Age: Now she is in her words “old”; at the time 25
I had not been living in L.A. long. I moved there right out of college, working at a glamorous Carson/Roberts Avenue spot. I met a “great guy.” We dated passionately for a few weeks, including seeing Elvis in Las Vegas! I was head over heels.
At some point, I knew he was having thoughts about a former girlfriend, but he called to take me to Madame Wu’s, which I loved, so I thought all was well. Ha!! After the moo goo gai pan and sweet and sour shrimp arrived, out of the clear blue, he announced he was going back to the girlfriend. I was hysterical. He was perplexed. He said, “But you LOVE Madame Wu’s!!!” I have not been able to eat Cantonese since, and Madame Wu’s was soon out of business.
Lauren already has an episode title for this one, “The Great Escape”
City: El Paso
Age: 28 now; 24 at the time
My fiancé and partner of three years broke up with me in public as we were waiting for valet service.
We were living at an extended-stay Marriott hotel one summer a few years back. It happened on the day we were scheduled to check out of the hotel. I call it “The Great Escape.” We woke up fighting that morning and were forced to request a later check-out time due to all the arguing. Imagine fighting and having to pack quickly at the same time.
We finally managed to check out of the room on time and were waiting for the valet to bring back our separate cars. We stood outside on the curb with tears in our eyes when he said it was over. I would’ve stalled that last goodbye forever. It didn’t matter that we were in public or that we were holding up valet service.
The urgent problem that required us to pull away? Our impatient cat was stuffed inside her carrier, about to endure an hour-long drive back to our apartment. She had no time for dramatic exchanges. So... we parted ways. I drove to my parents’ house and he to our place. Moral of the story: Don’t break up in the presence of cats (or dogs for that matter) or even friendly valet guys.
The “S” in the name of our reader “S deVera” must stand for Samantha.
Age: The relationship began for them at age 24 and 33 and continues at 55 and 63
At 24, I was dating a doctor nine years my senior, a rebound from a bad breakup. I found out (after overhearing a conversation between two co-workers) he was sleeping with another colleague whom I had introduced him to! The co-workers were saying he would never marry her because she had a kid out of wedlock. No one knew he and I were dating because “we work together and it would be awkward if anyone knew or something happened,” he said. I confronted him and he had the nerve to say he was married anyway. I broke it off ... but then kept in touch for professional consult.
Our secret is, however, 30 years later we still have a rendezvous once every few years... for the best sex ever!!!
Meanwhile, Isabelle is all of us — dreaming of Carrie’s “real love.”
City, state: Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Age: 23 at the time
We met at a wireless company. I was 23 turning 24 and I was clueless about life still. He was my manager and he was wonderful to work with. He taught me sales. He helped me to heal and grow after an abusive relationship with my ex. He asked me to be his girlfriend and I fell in love with him.
The problem is two and a half years later, it’s now May 2018 and I’m the only one in love. He doesn’t love me back. He won’t share his key or move in. He won’t plan his future with me. He won’t say, “I love you.” So, we broke up on a Carnival cruise two weeks ago, when I realized I wanted the real love Carrie describes in the Season 6 finale.
The captain of the ship was called to our room because of the noise. We had to share the room the rest of the trip. I was trapped onboard. Now, a part of me hopes he’s my Mr. Big and he needs to lose me first to realize I’m the one.
Good luck to more “Sex and the City” fans out there on the pursuit of love, and comment below with your own stories ahead of Wednesday’s anniversary.