It's finally here: Sex and the City 2! After two years of waiting, women everywhere are heading out in droves to take in cocktails and a screening of the ultimate chick flick sequel.
I've even noticed some die-hard fans in line at the box office sporting t-shirts proclaiming "I'm a Samantha," or "I'm a Charlotte."
Being a relationship writer and somewhat of a Carrie Bradshaw girl myself, I couldn't help but wonder ... since so many women love and identify with these characters, what are the best dating lessons we can learn from each of the fabulous four?
Date yourself first. The foundation of my dating advice for women is the concept of "dating yourself first." In other words, if you want a healthy relationship, strive for a full and satisfying life of your own and then seek a partner to share it with, rather than waiting to find your "other half" and expecting him to complete you.
Miranda Hobbes' character is an example of a woman who does just that: She pursues her career ambitions, making partner in a prestigious Manhattan law firm; enjoys reading, dining and taking in all the culture New York has to offer; and, of course, spends quality time with her favorite girlfriends. She doesn't look to her man to fulfill her every need.
Miranda sometimes takes her self-sufficiency a little too far, however, using her independence as a defense mechanism to keep the ones she loves at arm's distance. In a healthy relationship, you must welcome a balance of "me" time and couple time. It's important to let your partner in on your life, share what's important to you, and allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable. That's how closeness truly grows.
Confidence is irresistible. Like all women, the character Samantha Jones has her share of insecurities (her age and the size of her chest, for starters). But you'd never know it, especially when she's around an attractive man. She radiates self-esteem everywhere she goes, and men are drawn to her like a magnet. (Of course it may have something to do with her revealing outfits too...)
As the Buddhist saying goes, "you yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." In order to have a healthy, loving relationship with another person, we must first have a healthy opinion of - and love for - ourselves.
Of course Samantha could use some help in the "healthy relationship" department, since she tries to convince herself that sex is all she needs from a man. Emotional, in addition to physical, intimacy is ultimately the most rewarding connection we can have.
Forget your "type." After two decades of dating men who met the requirements on her list -- tall, dark, handsome and WASP-y - Charlotte found the fulfilling relationship she longed for in the most unexpected form: her short, hairy, bald, Jewish divorce attorney, Harry.
The lesson here: love doesn't always come to you in the way you expect, so keep an open mind and heart or you might just miss it.
Love is a rollercoaster. Enjoy the ride. Since we met Carrie Bradshaw's character over a decade ago, we've followed her romantic adventures through a series of relationships - most notably Berger, The Russian, Aidan and, of course, Mr. Big.
Her inquisitive mind is both her biggest asset (her witty banter makes her a masterful flirt) and her greatest liability (she over-thinks everything). Still, no matter how many times she's been hurt or disappointed in past relationships, Carrie gives all of her heart to the man she loves.
Most of us can't help but carry around some emotional baggage from the past. But why not take a cue from Ms. Bradshaw and decide that you don't need to drag a giant suitcase full of regret behind you, but instead take the pearls of wisdom you've gained from your experiences and carry them in an adorable (designer, of course) clutch, ready to apply to your very fabulous present.