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7 Toxic dating habits you need to get rid of already

If you failed to see through your 2017 resolution to find a nice, admirable man who loves and respects you and gives you shoulder massages whenever you ask, it could be that you need to make a few more changes about yourself to make it happen.

Meeting someone can be hard enough, but then we go through the whole dating thing and many of us tend to make hasty, deluded assumptions about a person that will leave us dateless on a Friday night. And a lot of the time we aren't even aware of the bad dating habits that are holding us back from finding and keeping someone that we really click with. Here are 7 of the most toxic dating habits, and if you know what's good for you and the dark void that is your love life, you need to drop them pronto.

1. Stop obsessing about him "ticking all the boxes"

If you immediately strike off anyone who's not a financially stable executive who likes nature documentaries, has a tidy beard and is at least 6 inches taller than you – stop. I'm not saying you shouldn't have standards, but be open to the fact that people can surprise you. Even if they're not your textbook type, you could be perfect together.

2. If he's unavailable, he's unavailable

If he's married, says he doesn't do relationships or tells you he can't commit because he's constantly on business trips, don't try and make it work. Stop dating people like this, because even if you're hopeful, you'll probably always be disappointed in the end. Normal, non-flaky, available people are out there – believe me.

3. Moving too damn fast

If you're rushing into things and talking about moving in only a few weeks after meeting, then it's no surprise that even your exhaustively organised busybody of a mother can't keep track of who you're dating. Go slow, take the time to get to know someone, and you'll realise that it's actually less likely that he'll be running away from you already.

4. Trying too hard to impress

Being too nice or acting too cool isn't going to do you any favours. Be yourself and act as you would around your friends (plus some flirting, of course) and you'll save yourself the trouble of having to put up a facade for the course of your short relationship. And, you know, later having to come clean to your date about who you truly are and that no, you actually couldn't care less about football.

5. Daydreaming about your blissful future together

You need to stop fantasising about the two of you sprawled on a shaggy rug in front of a fireplace on your romantic ski holiday when in reality you're in a bar on your third date and he's paid for his drink and didn't even ask if you wanted anything. Be present, and don't delude yourself about the true grit of the situation by making stuff up in your head.

6. Saying "it's fiiine" to those big red flags

Related to the one above – don't ignore deal-breakers that are important to you like smoking or poo-pooing Beyoncé. You need to confront him with the things that trouble you STAT or you'll only be let down later when you realise that they don't just magically go away.

7. Being too guarded and cynical

Sure dating can suck and we've all had our share of people who've ghosted us, didn't turn up to the date or never bothered to make contact after your raunchy rendezvous. Be sensible and look out for yourself, but don't be too closed off or critical about a new date. Loosen up, give the guy a chance, and ditch the attitude that it's all going to be a failure before you've even met up.

Most of all, remember to trust your gut, be honest with yourself, and don't just settle for someone who doesn't deserve you. It's better to be dateless than seeing someone who has commitment issues and the personality of a potato.