10 Things You Do That Are Keeping You Single

bad date

By Paul Carrick Brunson

If you are single, but would rather not be, I am sure you have given significant thought about why. I know what you're thinking: Why is it that you don't have a man yet certain people around you seem to hop (sometimes effortlessly) from one relationship to another? Well, one answer is it may not be your season. For many, it is as simple as that. However, for others, it's actually the right time but they're practicing the wrong behaviors and essentially standing in their own way. (Now, before you get upset with me, just listen.) Here are 10 things I have personally witnessed my single female clients and friends do that keep them single. Are you guilty too?

1. You hold on to someone who isn't available

There are many reasons someone may not be available to date. Is he separated or married? Perhaps he is living with his girlfriend? If you hold on to such a person, fully knowing you are shared with someone else, you illustrate the lowest form of self-love and that won't get you where you want to go.

2. You don't believe him when he tells you the truth 

Many times, men will directly tell you their outlook on the relationship. They'll say things like, "I'm not interested in anything serious" or "I don't see myself being married." If you hear anything similar, don't think you're the one person who can and will change his perspective. Trust me, you can't; you won't. Moreover, you'll just end up wasting your time and resources. You only have power to change yourself.

3. Being a toxic date

 Toxic dates are the ones who complain all the time. They are the ones who always blame you. They may always turn things around to make it someone else's fault. They overreact to bad events. If all of this sounds familiar, "they" could be you. Toxic people are a huge energy drain. No matter how outwardly attractive or successful someone is, toxicity just ain't sexy.

4. You don't believe in love

If you truly think you are destined to live life alone or you are of the thought that Michelle Obama married the "last good man on earth," you'll be right. Why? Because our belief is our reality.

5. You do nothing differenly

My favorite question to ask prospective clients is: "How many dates have you gone on in the last two years?" Most answer "zero." (FYI - The average single in the U.S. has not been on one date in the last two years). Then my second question is always, "Are you happy with your number?" Most say no. My final question is always, "What are you doing differently to change it?" Most say "nothing." The bottom line is that in every aspect of our life (dating included) we can't do the same old thing and expect different results.

6. You take bad advice from friends and family

I have written a full chapter on this in my book. Your friends are not relationship experts. Your loved ones often give bad advice. It's well meaning, but awful, dating advice because they aren't objective. Plus, they aren't therapists or dating experts.

7. You commit too soon

A top dating mistake that I see my clients make often is going from casually dating someone to exclusively dating that someone within a short period of time. This is a widespread issue. In 2012, the average U.S. couple became exclusive within just five dates. This is much too soon. Why, because it takes time to observe their values and it you also don't know someone until you have witnessed them in a time of adversity.

8. You're lowering your standards to compete

If you are concerned that because there are "so many women" vying for the man you are interested in you must "compete" and do things not within your value structure (like have sex earlier than planned), stop it. The moment you bend on your boundaries is the moment you begin to bully yourself.

9. You're adhering to ultimatums

Love is not selfish. Love doesn't come with strings attached. If you have to give in to get him, get out.

10. Being list obsessed

Do you chase after preferences? (You know, like he must be 6-foot tall and have perfect teeth?) We all have preferences and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The problem is when we don’t secure our own needs first. These are what I call in my book, "your relationship vitals" (values, personality type, non-starters, and attraction traits) and become obsessed with them opposed to what's on a list of frills.

This article was originally published at Essence. Reprinted with permission from the author.