Updated: August 17, 2022
- Candace Bushnell, the writer behind the TV series“Sex and the City,”has a new book, “Is There Still Sex in the City?” inspired by her experiences reentering the dating scene in middle age.
- Bushnell told INSIDER what she’d learned aboutrelationships, including that being in good ones was a skill set.
- She also said that being good at using dating apps was not the same as being good at relationships and that investing time in relationships was most important.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Candace Bushnell has dated in her 20s and swiped right (and left) in her 50s, gotten married and been divorced, detailed her sexual escapades in a New York Observer column and embraced celibacy.
The author, best known for chronicling her dating escapades in a newspaper column that inspired the “Sex and the City” books and TV series, is back with her ninth book,“Is There Still Sex in the City?”
Released Tuesday, the novel is based heavily on her experience reentering the modern dating scene in what she calls “the new middle age.”
Bushnell told INSIDER what she’d learned about relationships along the way.
Bushnell says having good relationships is a ‘skill set’
Divulging vulnerabilities, sharing finances and children, having difficult conversations, constantly considering another’s wants and needs, problem-solving as a team — these aren’t exactly inborn traits, nor are they easily taught, Bushnell said.
“We don’t tell anybody how to have [a good relationship,] and that’s really the problem,” she said. “It’s not necessarily that it’s a lot of work, but it certainly is a lot of understanding and empathy, and I think there’s a magic to them.”
It’s also a skill to be able to be alone, Bushnell said.
While she’s since moved back to New York City, Bushnell was single and living in Connecticut for a few years after her divorce in 2012. “The key is to be able to, if you’re on your own, look after yourself and be fine on your own,” she said.
That ability can serve you if and when you enter a relationship, too, added Bushnell, who’s nowtwo years into a relationshipwith Jim Coleman, a real-estate adviser and consultant. “To be able to bring that to a relationship, to have the psychic ability to make room for the other person” is important, she said.
“The [relationships] that seem to be successful are the ones where people seem to be able to be whole,” she said.
Experience watching porn and swiping isn’t helping you be a better partner
Building good relationship skills takes time and experience. A lot of people don’t have the patience for it anymore, Bushnell said.
“I think it would be good people if invested more time into learning how to be in a relationship and maybe less time just looking at porn,” she told INSIDER. “If your experience of relationships is lying on a bed watching Netflix and then occasionally having sex, that’s not going to help you that much.”
Bushnell also said that whileusing dating apps required certain skills— she learned, for example, that lowering her desired age range for a partner yielded more results — it doesn’t necessarily translate to a real-life relationship.
“You can be really good on the dating app, but you haven’t developed the skill set to get to the next level,” she said. Instead, she added, you just “get to the next ‘bot.'”