In 2024, it’s not a stretch to say that the dating pool is rancid.
It seems like no one is having fun, but we continue to participate anyway. As the designated single girl of my friend group, I can’t lie, I’m guilty of this too. I don’t know if it’s subconscious or not, but I’ve always had my “taxi light” on: whether I’m talking to a cute guy on a night out, having a proximity crush at work, or passively participating in dating apps because I’m bored, consistently dating has always been the default. Even when I did take breaks from dating, the occasional ex has tried to come back into my life. Dating in my 20s started to feel like work, when really, it should be fun.
With all this in mind, and following the mess that was my last relationship, I realized it might be better to go “boy sober.”
Being boy sober is an intentional dating cleanse. It’s abstaining from all aspects of dating. That means no dates, talking stages, situationships, hookups, and everything in between. I am not entertaining men in any way outside of platonic relationships.
I’ll end the cleanse on my 25th birthday at the end of the year. I think it’s poetic and logistically wise for me to reenter the dating pool once my brain has fully developed, if you subscribe to the science on brain maturity.
You might be thinking, “Well, what if you meet someone great before then?” Honestly, that is a bridge I don’t plan on crossing. I’m not putting myself in any situation where I’d entertain a romantic relationship or even focus on that right now. If a man tries to pursue me, he’ll need to meet (or exceed) my criteria or patiently wait for my journey to be over — because, at the end of the day, I’m not just doing this as an exercise.
For the time being, I’m turning my taxi light off so that I can focus on getting to my next destination.
Before I hit this next milestone, I want to make a conscious effort to put myself first in every facet of my life. I’m planning to focus on the things that bring me the most joy, whether that’s writing, traveling, or just spending time with my friends and family. I also want to actively work toward the goals I’ve set for the 25-year-old version of myself, and if we’re all being honest, dating is a distraction for even the most focused people. I love the idea of love and partnership as much as the next person, but for the time being, I’m turning my taxi light off so that I can focus on getting to my next destination.
I think taking this time to focus on myself will make the dating world seem more appealing because I would’ve changed how I approach it. Before and during my last relationship, I spent a lot of time working on my communication skills, triggers, and overall bad dating habits. But through my boy-sober journey, I hope to elevate what’s required in exchange for romantic access to me.
I feel like a lot of us do things “for the plot” or because we’re lonely, but as the late and great Whitney Houston sang, “I’d rather be alone than unhappy.” When I really think about it, I’m already dating myself better than the average man could: I take myself on unique dates; treat myself to flowers, massages, and my favorite foods. I genuinely love spending time with myself. For someone to even be considered, they need to meet my standards and interest me enough to be worth spending time away from the peace and solitude I have created for myself.
Dating has become this game where everyone hides their feelings and doesn’t want to be seen trying. At the end of the day, I’m a romantic at heart, but if I’m going to incorporate someone into my already busy life, I want it to be intentional on both parts. When it’s time for me to start dating again, I’m going to have my blinders up to anything that does not serve me. I’m not dealing with nonchalant attitudes, disrespect, or any type of confusion.
For now, I’m going to continue building my dream life alongside my favorite people. And when my time comes to reenter the ever-changing dating pool, I hope it’ll have been cleaned. Regardless, I’ll be well-equipped to navigate it with an open mind while always protecting my peace and heart.