You've been single for a long time, haven't you?
You're starting to wonder if there's something wrong with you. If only you were better looking, smarter, funnier, more this, less that -- you'd have landed your soulmate by now, right?
Whenever our love life fails, we're quick to criticize ourselves. We can't help but wonder if our quirks, our personalities and our flaws will ever really, truly be accepted and loved by anyone.
We don't know if somebody will ever be able to make us happy forever. We convince ourselves that we're doomed to die alone, buried in our cats and our One Direction posters.
It's normal to look inward when examining what's wrong with your love life. It's normal to criticize yourself. But you shouldn't be doing that -- instead, you should be trying to understand yourself.
Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
And, well, your love life is a mess because you keep going after the same kind of person, over and over again, and expecting a different result.
You keep trying to date your "type," and you hope he or she will be different this time around. I'm here to tell you it's not working.
Get to know yourself.
In order to break free from this cycle of dating your type, you need to fully get to know yourself.
It sounds cheesy, but it's true. Start by examining your past. Have you encountered any trauma that involved an environment or a system that was out of your control?
Maybe you've had a significant loss in your life. Maybe your parents treated you in a way that made you feel unloved, or maybe you grew up poor.
If your past isn't that traumatic, dig deep into your more individual self. Do you have any particularly strong or defining personality traits? Do your friends inform you of any habits that you weren't aware of?
Personally, I'm drawn to guys who have eclectic media taste because I don't think my media taste is that sophisticated, and I've always wanted someone to help me explore it.
I'm also drawn to calmer, slightly cynical men because I get emotional and overexcited easily, and I want someone to level me out.
If you get to know yourself fully, you'll be able to see all the connections between your personality and your behavior.
Fully recognizing these connections is the first step toward breaking free from your dangerous dating habits.
My relationships with men who possess those aforementioned traits haven't always ended successfully, and that's okay -- I'm aware of the kind of person I am and the kind of people I attract as a result of that person, which is important in and of itself.
The next time you're in the middle of a conversation with someone new and you start to feel a crazy sexual attraction to him or her, ask yourself the following: Are you feeling aroused because you really feel attracted to this person, or does he or she just remind you of someone else?
Think about your "type." Aren't his qualities just a mixture of guys you've seen on TV and men you've dated in real life?
Look, I'm willing to admit that one of the reasons why I like dark-haired, scruffy men is because they remind me of my ex, who is dark-haired and scruffy.
I also like how dark-haired, scruffy dudes are characterized in the media -- funny and slightly unmotivated, but whip-smart deep down.
This isn't inherently bad, but it is bad if these people make you feel like sh*t.
A visceral sexual attraction should be taken as a warning sign. When you're attracted to someone so quickly, it's not just an attraction -- it's a reaction to something you're already familiar with.
And since you keep going after the same kind of guy who makes you feel like sh*t, it is at this point in your flirtatious conversation that you should stop flirting and start thinking.
Think about what you actually want.
Is this "type" of person really who you want, or is he or she just a response to some deeper need that you've been yearning to fulfill?
If you've felt neglected as a child, for example, you've probably been subconsciously searching for people who can protect and nurture you.
But if that hasn't been working, why not focus on another one of your needs instead? Maybe you're also a really shy person who could benefit from someone who could bring more adventure to your life.
Often, your "type" is not defined by you -- it's defined by a plethora of different circumstances and situations that led you into thinking that one kind of person is ideal and everyone else is sh*t in comparison.
The truth is you need to open your heart to other kinds of people -- people who can offer you something different, something that you didn't realize you needed, too. Only then can you truly find love.