10 Toxic Dating Habits I Had To Break To Find Real Love

After a disastrous relationship that made me realize I was a magnet for toxic men, I realized that if I ever wanted to find real love, I’d have to change my horrible dating habits. Here are 10 that had to be thrown out before they kept me stuck dating the same loser over and over again.

  1. I had to deal with my fears. After spending time with a guy who wanted to hang out but not date (ugh), I told him I wanted more and he said that he didn’t. I asked him why I always ended up with guys who were afraid of commitment and he replied, “Maybe you’re really afraid of it.” It made me realize that I did have fears related to commitment and they were making me choose guys who wanted nothing serious.
  2. I had to change my type. Easier said than done because it’s not possible to control who you’re attracted to, but it felt like more than that. I had to stop choosing guys who were so-called sexy bad boys but were really manipulators who wasted my time.
  3. I had to be what i wanted to attract. You can’t go out there and try to find a guy who ticks all your boxes if you don’t have those boxes filled either. That’s something my best friend told me when I was complaining to her about the losers I was dating, and it really hit home. I had to work on myself and that would help me to attract the right guy for me.
  4. I had to stop expecting “The One.” I would always have loads of expectations when meeting someone for the first time, but that was crazy because I was putting all this pressure on the person and thinking we had to start dating seriously when we knew nothing about each other. When I started to be more open and flexible and approach first dates and meeting new guys with curiosity, it made me see them for who they really were, not who I thought they had to be.
  5. I had to stop the blame game. When things didn’t work out, I’d internalize everything. I’d blame myself, thinking, “Maybe if I had been smarter/prettier/extroverted, things would have worked out.” That just made me feel like I had to change myself, which made me continue attracting guys who didn’t appreciate me for who I was and all the great things I brought to the table.
  6. I had to be my own best friend. Enough with putting myself down! It was a game-changer when I finally started replacing negative self-talk with kind words. It was a way of giving myself self-love in the dating game and it helped me to focus on my self-worth so I stopped stooping down to the losers’ level.
  7. I had to quit believing the “pop” dating method. POP, or Perfect On Paper, used to be my whole mantra. If someone ticked all my boxes and seemed to have a lot in common with me, I’d think they were worth fighting for. But being perfect on paper doesn’t mean that someone will be great in an actual relationship, make me happy, or be compatible with who I am!
  8. I had to take those red flags to heart. I always tried to give the benefit of the doubt when dating. If there was a red flag on my date, I’d try to ignore it, thinking that I was being too controlling/negative/fussy. Meanwhile, those red flags were presenting themselves to me for a reason! If I hadn’t tried to ignore them for so long, I wouldn’t have ended up in toxic relationships.
  9. I had to lose the baggage. My dating baggage took the form of me thinking that the guys I dated would be cheats/liars/toxic men just like previous exes. This was unfair on them and it also turned me into someone who came across as jaded, highly critical, and a self-saboteur because I never trusted happiness. It was sad, so I knew I had to stop doing that. I couldn’t view all men as the same or else I’d always push away the good guys.
  10. I had to be comfortable with being alone. This was a biggie for me and not an easy habit to break. I always thought I had to be in a relationship in order to be worthy, but that’s total BS. I was worthy and complete on my own, without anyone standing by my side. When I realized that and chose to be single instead of being in relationships, it made me see that I could make myself happy. I was in control of having a happy life. The bonus? This way of thinking made me a better girlfriend.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.