“For me, the focus for this summer is getting in touch with myself and healing old dating patterns,” said Ms. Dy, who is based in Los Angeles. “Prepandemic, I was constantly in relationships back to back to back. I was scared to be alone and couldn’t handle my own insecurities. I used relationships to bandage the wound instead of healing it.”
Ms. Dy, 27, is hopeful that she can both continue to share her healing journey and date with a newfound sense of purpose. After coming out as bisexual during the pandemic, she is easing back into dating with a list of 11 reminders (“no person can bring you happiness” and “give attention to your inner child so you don’t lose yourself in a relationship” are among them).
This ability to date while working on your inner growth is something Rachel Wright, a psychotherapist based in New York, wants to emphasize in the “hot girl summer” versus “healing girl summer” dialogue. She views the sex-positive messaging of “hot girl summer” as good, as long as those engaging also have a strong sense of self.
“I think that so often we create an ‘either-or' situation without realizing it can be an ‘and’ situation,” said Ms. Wright. “Our brains are separating self-care with dating when the wonderful narrative would be both. It’s healing and hot girl summer which is taking care of yourself, which also means sexually through solo sex practice or somebody else.”
Mikaela Berry, a 25-year-old restorative justice coordinator based in Brooklyn, has been working to find this balance while casually dating for the first time, after coming out of a two-year relationship recently where they “rushed into things.”