So you were in a relationship at one time or another, but for some reason you have been having difficulty finding the 'one'. Although we may become pros at blaming the other person (people) saying things like, 'She wasn't my type anyway.', 'He was such a loser.', we may need to take a moment and take a really good look at ourselves. Many of you may feel as if you have taken enough time to 'be alone' or 'take a look at your true self' . However, are you asking the right questions? Are you truly open and ready for a new relationship? Have you let go of everything that may be holding you back? Here, we will talk about the top 3 reasons you may be single and how you can avoid these mistakes and move forward.

1. Holding on to ghosts of relationships past.

You may have read quite a few dating articles and heard the same advice. Never talk about exes on the first or second date. However, have you thought about why you may feel the urge to talk about that ex? Could it be that the pain is still there? Could the memories of what that person did still haunt you on each date? These may be the reasons why we feel we should mention what they did. You may want to give the new person a ‘warning’ or tell them ‘What not to do when dating me’. These can be red flags for potential mates and scare them away.

What should I do?

Do what you can to let go of the past. I like to use a quilting reference when discussing past relationships. When you make a quilt out of old T-shirts, you cut out the most important or meaningful part of the T-shirt to place it into a quilt. The quilt is made up of all of the meaningful, important parts of your past and it also serves a function. Treat your past relationships the same. Take a good look at them and cut out the most meaningful parts or the lessons learned. Hold them close. Throw away the meaningless parts and move forward.

2. Same person, Different faces.

Do you find yourself saying, ‘This person reminds me of my ex’? Do you find all of your relationships ending the same way? You may feel as if these people keep finding you, but you may be overlooking the common denominator: YOU. Unless you change what you will accept, you cannot change what you get. Are you a self-professed lover of ‘bad boys’ or a self-proclaimed sugar daddy? Do not be surprised when you attract dead beats and gold diggers.

What should I do?

Until you can trust your compass, resist it. Most relationships have red flags that go up in the beginning. We train ourselves to ignore them and keep marching forward. Sit down and analyze the traits of the people you may have loved in the past. Which of their traits were great, which of their traits were hurtful. (Ex: She was an outgoing, fun-loving person, but she always cheated on me.) When you meet a girl with a roving eye, or someone who says, ‘I have cheated or been accused of cheating in all of my past relationships.’ RUN. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. No matter how much you feel they are perfect, resist the urge to date the same person with a different face. Keep moving forward.

3. Live life in the middle.

Are you a person with a long list of rules or someone who will take anything that comes your way? These are called extremes of behavior. Sometimes when we have been hurt so many times in the past, we will move toward extreme behavior. We hide behind a long list of rules, or accept anything that comes our way because we fear that no one will want us. Extremes in behavior or thought would be what Aaron T. Beck would call ‘Dysfunctional Thoughts or Behaviors’. Life is not a game of all or nothing. Your list will keep you lonely, however accepting anything will cause you to waste time with losers, leaving no time for the right person.

What should I do?

If you have a long list of rules, review the rules and analyze which rules are in place to prevent you from being hurt and which rules serve a true function. (Ex: A rule stating I will only date a guy with 4 freckles on each cheek with reddish brown hair, does not serve a function. However, choosing to date people of your faith serves a specific function). If you accept anything, you should set boundaries. A great example of setting boundaries is determining what you will not accept in a relationship and sticking to your guns. Outline your deal breakers. Some potential deal breakers may be infidelity, any type of abuse, or staying in a relationship in which love is not being reciprocated.

These are some of the reasons you may find yourself struggling to find a meaningful relationship. Learning to let go of old hurts, recognizing how you may be dating the same type of person, and setting appropriate boundaries can put you on the path to finding a great person. Learn from the past, stay in the present, and remain hopeful for the future.

Author's Bio: 

Seria Chatters is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Tampa, Florida. Seria specializes in counseling couples, families, adolescents, and adults. Seria is currently the President of the Florida Association of Marriage and Family Counseling and the President-Elect of the Florida Association of Counselor Education and Supervision. Seria teaches courses in Mental Disorders, Consultation, Assessment and Appraisal, and Human Sexuality and Development at the University of South Florida. Seria has been invited to present at conferences for the American Counseling Association, Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, the Florida Counseling Association, and the New York Mental Health Counselors' Association.