I have too many clothes. For the longest time, I couldn’t wash all of my clothes at once because even with more closet space than most New York apartments, all of the clothes could not fit. My friends teased me about it and so, for my birthday, I decided I would clean out my closets by giving away the great majority of the things I don’t wear. Most of it I was keeping just in case I decided to wear it “one day.” We have no problem doing a little spring-cleaning in our homes, but many of us may need to do the same with our dating closets, and throw out the lingering relationships in our lives that aren’t going anywhere.

One of my sister-friends is approaching 40, and she hasn’t been in a significant relationship for over 10 years. She was married and divorced by 30. Since then, she’s kept a harem of guys around who come in and out of her life at different times, and for different reasons. She consistently complains that she wants to settle down and get married again, but I think her actions suggest otherwise.

Last week, we were at our neighborhood watering hole and she was on her usual diatribe about needing to find a man before she turns 40. First, I chastised her about making an age marker a relationship goal. It is a recipe for disaster. Then, I told her, “Maybe you should clean out your relationship closet to make room for that guy you’re seeking.” I went on to explain that by consistently keeping guys who she doesn’t really like on rotation for convenience, she could be blocking her energy from meeting the guy who is right for her.

I knew the main problem is that she doesn’t like to be alone, so having multiple guys on speed dial has helped her avoid the loneliness. However, the energy she puts into those dead end relationships could be saved for the relationship of her dreams. It is the truth that we attract what we put out, and although people may not be able to read energy on a conscious level, we all feel it. And, my sister-friend’s energy says I’m around for a good time.

We also discussed the possibility that some of her casual relationships could turn into more if she approaches them differently. I couldn’t remember the last time she’d been out on a real date with any of them. I applauded her for getting over the issues many women have about dating multiple guys and taking control of her love life. Yet, if she wants more then she is going to have to act like it and start cleaning out her Rolodex.

“I’m not sure I’m ready to give up my steady [sex],” she quipped. Sure, she has sexual needs, but her greater needs for companionship and love aren’t being fulfilled. Knowing my sister-friend, I knew that she wouldn’t take the appropriate steps on her own so I made her take out her phone. We wrote down the list of her “Steady Freddys” and then deleted them from her contacts. It was hard for her, but it was necessary.

Immediately, I saw a since of emptiness come over her and I knew that we’d done the right thing. She’s been using these guys as a crutch and now, she is freed from that and slowly able to open up her spirit and seek out the type of relationship she is looking for long-term. It gave her a bit of tough love that I know will work.

Many of us are fortunate to have a steady”friend” (with benefits) that we can call on in our times of carnal need. It’s just like that sweater you keep in your closet in the event that you “might wear it one day” although you probably won’t. If you find yourself wanting more, and experiencing a block, maybe its time for you to clean out your dating closet.

Wishing you love and ceaseless joy! Follow @NathanHWilliams on Twitter.

Nathan’s Book INSPIRATION: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World is available now.