By Jane Hoskyn
Make some positive changes. Ditch the bad habits that are stopping you finding happiness in your love life.
1. You’re desperate
Desperation is a grade-A turn-off and a vicious circle. Once it gets you, it grows like a stinky fungus. The more desperate you are, the more desperate you’ll seem, and the less sexy you’ll be.
Here’s how it works. One minute you’re feeling a bit insecure because you’ve not had sex for four months. Next minute, you’re gazing with romantic longing at anything with a face. Man, woman, animal, potato.
Break this wheel of misfortune by acting like you’re not desperate at all. Fake the body language of a confident person. Lift back your shoulders, stop scratching, and maintain eye contact.
If you can fake confidence, you’ll start to act and feel more confident, and the opposite sex will be all over you again.
2. You always date the same type
Some people are continually drawn to obvious wrong’uns, such as their bosses, their married next-door neighbours or to partners who treat them like dirt.
Most type-dating patterns are less obviously harmful. For example you may be drawn to emotionally cold types, or people who are much older than you. These patterns can be just as destructive if they keep ending in tears.
Make a point of going on dates with people who break your pattern. You might even like them. Get a free beer out of them, at the very least.
3. You can’t tell lust from love
So you’ve met someone new and your cheeks are glowing so pink they’re visible from space. It must be love! Really?
If you’ve met in the last few weeks, you’re in lust. Love takes months to develop. Savour the flames and have a great time, but don’t make any commitments until you’re at least six months into a relationship.
Running off to Vegas with your latest infatuation takes you a step closer to being Peaches Geldof. Is that really what you want?
4. You say “yes” to anyone who asks
It’s good to give people a chance. But stop accepting dates with everyone who asks. If you don’t fancy them, don’t date them.
You’re probably just being indiscriminate because you’re too insecure to think that you could do better. That’s sweet, but it’s no excuse. Say “no” to the losers, and stop wasting everyone’s time.
5. You say “no” to anyone who asks
You’re so fixated on finding Mr or Ms Perfect that no mere mortal can match up. It’s good to hold out for someone you like, but if you’re after perfection you’ll be waiting a long time.
Nobody’s perfect, even yourself. If someone makes you laugh and turns you on, that’s enough to be going on with. If things don’t work out, you’ve given them a fair chance.
6. You’re a serial dating addict
You’re so into the thrill of the chase that none of your relationships has lasted beyond breakfast. To ditch this habit, you need to find someone who’s as thrill-seeking and independent as you are.
Your ideal lover will enjoy vigorous occasional weekends with you, but will need a lot of space in between. That way, you’ll always feel as though you’re chasing them – and the spark will last much longer.
7. You avoid rejection
We all fear rejection. The problems start when you fear it so much that it stops you taking risks, such as asking someone out. You’re left with lots of nights in, with the biscuit tin and your navel for company.
You have to risk rejection on the path to true love. Whether you’re posting a dating profile or suggesting a new bedroom trick with your lover, you get nowhere without making a move.
What’s the worst that can happen? A knock-back leaves you free to try something or someone else, and the sting of rejection never lasts as long as you expect.
8. You avoid confrontation
Only a sadist (or masochist) would enjoy arguing with their loved one. But it’s impossible to avoid all arguments in a relationship, unless you’re so scared of confrontation that you never stand up for yourself.
Couples who never argue are, in fact, festering cauldrons of untapped rage and resentment. Prod them, and they will explode.
Learn to speak up. Your other half is not telepathic, and they’re probably not an expert in body language. Don’t go quiet and expect them to “get” what’s wrong. Say what’s on your mind, deal with it and move on.
9. You don’t listen
Most human beings could do with talking less and listening more. If you’re on the dating scene or in a relationship, improved listening habits will serve you especially well.
When your date or partner is talking, be an active listener. You don’t have to offer answers, just nod and say “uh-huh” and “really?” at appropriate moments.
The simple acts of talking less and nodding more will make you seem like a better listener, even if your mind is consumed by whether you left the gas on.
10. You keep rebounding
Didn’t you learn last time? Stop going back to your exes. If you broke up, there was a reason. Whether it was their roving eye, your roving eye or the fact that you didn’t have sex any more, that reason probably hasn’t gone away.
Don’t dive into ex-land because you’re feeling lonely, or because you miss being in a couple. Look forward, not back. Only consider a reconciliation if you’ve dated a few people in the meantime and none has matched your ex – and they feel the same.