How Sex And The City's 'Cab Light Theory' Relationship Advice Can Save You Time, Energy, And Heartbreak

You might just find the light you were looking for.

Pink and purple backdrop; a woman is hailing a taxi; Miranda Hobbes from Sex and the City holding a glass. Chloe Valentine / Adobe Photoshop

In the era of smartphone thumbs, questionable podcasts with one-size-fits-all perspectives, and the dizzying abundance of dating apps with limitless possibilities, it is virtually impossible not to get caught in the abyss of distraction when it comes to modern love. 

More particularly, dating the modern man in hopes of one day settling down has in many ways proven to be a fruitless endeavor, which is likely due to one or more of the reasons listed above.


In search of solace, women have turned to the great pseudo-philosophers of the early 2000s for relationship advice, and where best to look if not from the comfort of your home watching “Sex And The City”?

People claim that the ‘cab light theory’ is dating advice that can save time, energy, and heartbreak.

A little over 20 years ago, an episode of “Sex And The City” aired, revealing one of the most iconic theories that people still live by today, called the “cab light theory.” 

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The theory was coined by Miranda Hobbes, the characteristically more sensible one of the couture-clad quartet, who says, “Men are like cabs: when they’re available, their light goes on. They wake up one day and they decide they’re ready t​​o settle down, have babies, whatever, and they turn their light on. The next woman they pick up — boom! That’s the woman they marry. It’s not fate. It’s dumb luck.”

The idea here stems from the general assumption that, for men, finding someone to settle down with is all about timing rather than commitment, or “fate.” Dana Kuritzkes posted a video on TikTok sharing this theory to her followers as the “best dating advice” she’s ever received.



Kuritzkes says, “What happens if you get into a cab and their light’s not on?” Her answer: you’ll be wasting a whole lot of time, money, and effort driving around in circles leading nowhere.


What this boils down to is, simply put: he’s just not ready. “It doesn’t matter who you are,” Kuritzkes says. “It doesn’t matter if you’re Kate Upton or you’re Hailey Bieber — it does not matter.” 

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Some aren’t sold on the theory’s one-sided portrayal of men.  

While men, of course, are not cabs, this notion has made its foothold on the dating scene since its debut back in 2000. Still, for the skeptics, the optimists, and the hopeless romantics out there, this theory is just that: a theory.

Under Kuritzkes’ video, one user wrote their own version of the iconic quote that read, “Men are like cabs: Don’t chase them because there are so many and 100% there’s another one coming soon.”


“Reminds me of ‘Don’t chase women or [buses], they’ll always leave you behind,’” another user commented.

A third user countered this theory by sharing her own experience. “I met my guy when his light wasn’t on, he went to therapy and worked on himself for me,” she said, adding, “[Now] we live together and are looking at rings.”

sex and the city cab light theoryPhoto: DW labs Incorporated / Shutterstock


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Is there any truth to the ‘cab light theory’?

With all that said, is there any semblance of truth to this idea? Some people seem to think so, and one high-profile celebrity couple might just be a prime example of it: Hailey and Justin Bieber.



Those who keep up to date with pop culture may know a thing or two about Justin Bieber's previous on-and-off relationship with ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez, lasting a hefty eight years.


Despite the gritty details of Gomez and Bieber’s tumultuous relationship, one laden with public scrutiny, bouts of infidelity, a lupus diagnosis, and so on, die-hard fans of “Jelena” held on to the hope that the couple would ultimately spend the rest of their lives together. 

Sadly, the pair finally decided to call it quits in 2018. Two months later, the famed “Baby” singer announced his engagement to Hailey Baldwin, and two months after that, the unforeseen match officially tied the knot. The question is, why? 

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People have searched far and wide to find the answer to this question, and by process of elimination, folks have settled on the rationale that it really just came down to the right timing.


On a podcast with Alexandra Cooper of "Call Her Daddy," Hailey Bieber explained that her husband had already “closed a chapter” with Gomez prior to their engagement. With this in mind, it seems likely that, in the end, the stars simply aligned for the Biebers to flip to a new page. 

justin bieber hailey bieber sex and the city cab light theoryPhoto: DFree / Shutterstock

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This 'dumb luck' Miranda Hobbes calls attention to is that finding 'the one' requires more than just ardent feelings of love — timing also plays an important role here.

Though there are exceptions to the rule, generally speaking, dating as a teenager often leads nowhere; emotions run wild, the future seems flooded with infinite possibilities and, most of all, you don't know what you want.

As we grow older, we accumulate a broader range of experiences that give us more insight about ourselves and what we want out of life and, if desired, out of a partner. 

In the end, timing — in reference to where we are in life, what our priorities are, and so on — may be the key to avoiding wasting time loitering in unsatisfying relationships and setting expectations on those who just aren’t ready to meet them; instead, the best thing you can do is to be open and stay true to your values.

Who knows? You might just find the light you were looking for.


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Xiomara Demarchi is a writer and frequent contributor to YourTango’s news and entertainment team. Keep up with them on Instagram