15 Dating Tactics That Just Don’t Work

By eHarmony Staff

Finding a great relationship can be a challenge. If you’ve had a string of romances fall to pieces, you might want to examine our list of off-putting behavior. Are you doing something to cause these heartbreaks, or are you just a victim of circumstance?

Keep a Long and Exacting List of the Perfect Person for You

How long is your list? And are you describing a person that doesn't exist? eHarmony has a system of 10 Must-Haves and 10 Can't-Stands and we say if your list is longer than that -- you're just chasing a ghost.

Do Nothing to Make Yourself a Better Mate/Roommate

Football coaches are fond of saying, "You're either getting worse or getting better." When it comes to your role as a mate, which direction are you going in? You may not have a relationship right now, but you can be thinking, reading, discussing and working on your flaws as a partner. If that seems difficult, focus on the area of relationships that is one of the greatest sources of discord -- the home. Find ways to be easier to live with.

Refuse to Compromise

Compromising on issues you don't care about doesn't count. REAL compromise has to hurt a little, and there is an art to it. If you're a person that feels like you're sacrificing your personal integrity by giving in on the tiniest issues in to order to accommodate another person, perhaps a serious relationship isn't for you. It is a two-way street, but as the saying goes, you should be prepared to give 80% of the time and receive 20% of the time. When both people take that mentality it is magical.

Become a Constant Critic

Some people feel that after a period of time in a relationship they've earned the right to be critical. They are wrong. As you invest more and more of yourself and your good will in a relationship you do earn the right to lovingly share your thoughts, but go forth with caution. Criticism can only be given with the greatest discretion and tender love. We all move in the direction of people that make us feel good about ourselves, and away from those who don't. Are there times when honest criticism is important? Yes. But becoming the constant critic tells your partner, "I don't like you very much," and is likely to result in a breakup.

Do Nothing About Your Addictions

It certainly isn't that people with addictions aren't capable of being loved. They are. It's just that a person who is looking for a new relationship will probably be quite good at picking up these kinds of significant issues, and avoiding a deeper relationship. Certainly major issues, like addiction, don't "get better" overnight, and in many cases you never stop being an addict. But whatever your addiction -- alcohol, narcotics, food -- a romantic interest is going to want to know that you've taken steps to overcome it.

Be Rude in the Guise of Being "Honest"

Years ago some author wrote a book that convinced people that being "honest" was the highest value in a relationship. Clearly, without a bond of trust and honesty no relationship can exist, but there's honest and there's rude. If your date takes you to a restaurant and the food wasn't so great, is it really your job to explain in detail why you hated the place? Is it really wise to express every negative thought you have? It isn't, of course, and over time people tend to pull away from such behavior.

Refuse to Listen to Your Dates

If he says, "I don't think I want to have children." He means...NO CHILDREN FOR ME. He doesn't mean, "If someone worked on me for 5 years, nagging and pleading, then I might change my mind." Countless hours of grief and pain are inflicted in this world because we don't listen to the clear words our dates say. If you don't listen, you're virtually assuring a blow-up down the road.

Wait for the World to Beat a Path to Your Door

It's always hard to understand why people who want a relationship do nothing to create the circumstances by which they might get a relationship. Sure, it can be expensive, time-consuming, tedious, painful, and confusing to search for love, but it's worth it.

Date Without Regard for Who You Can Attract

On some level, most of us have a sense of what kinds of people we can attract. Those who ignore this fact do so at their own peril. Sure, there are 25-year-old women who want to be with 65-year-old men. But does it really make sense for a senior guy to spend all of his time and resources looking for that one woman? If you date without a good sense of who is likely to be attracted to you, you'll suffer needless rejection and have a poor sense of your value.

Cross Off Past "Types" of People

So, you dated a physician once and he was always too busy for you, so no more physicians. You dated a lawyer once and she was argumentative, so no more lawyers. The landscaper was too dirty, so no more landscapers. The teacher talked about her students all the time, so no more teachers. This cycle of crossing off types because your relationship didn't work is a perfect way to end up alone. Twenty years of dating and crossing off types will leave you with very few options. Just come to terms with the fact that people can be different. The fact that your lawyer girlfriend was argumentative says nothing about the next lawyer you meet. Keep an open mind!

Appear Desperate and Needy

It's one of the hardest lessons for daters to learn, and one of the most important. Sitting by the phone and always being available sends a romantic candidate the wrong signals in the earliest stages of dating. For better or worse, to a significant degree, your dating attractiveness is determined by how many nights you are seen to be sitting at home alone waiting for someone to call and take you out. The solution? Don't jump at last minute invitations like a desperate soul. There is a big difference between "spontaneous" and "always available".

Appear to be Slightly Unhinged with Passion for a Cause

The fact that you are a passionate Tea Party/Move On/Sierra Club/John Birch Society devotee should make you more interesting to your dates. But there is a line between passion and fanaticism. If you can remember one or more occasions where your date looked frightened, confused or horrified as you banged on about your protest weekend, beware.

Decide That Your Appearance Doesn't Matter

Of course, we all want to find someone who loves us for who we are on the inside. That's a very reachable goal for most people, IF they make sure that the outside is clean, pleasantly dressed, and reasonably attractive.

Refuse to Accept Any Blame for Your Relationship Failures

It takes two to tango, and all your past relationships had one thing in common -- you. It's important that you grow enough emotionally to acknowledge that, to some degree, you played a part in your past failures. At the very least, you chose your partner.

Subscribe to the Gender Stereotypes

Most women are just after your money, right? And men, they love to lead you on, with dreams of a relationship, and then dump you when you fall for them. We could go on and on with the negative stereotypes. Unfortunately, there is no one less attractive than a date with a chip on his/her shoulder. So, work to let go of the prejudices that creep into your relationship attitudes.

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