photo: Breonna Rodriguez

Looking back into my relationship closet, I can see a very clear pattern amongst my choices. I mean, who can’t? The more loves you add into the mix, the more your taste stands out. For me, it’s always someone taller. Successful. Nerdy. Creative. Someone I can really look up to and who will choose wings over club-hopping every single time.

But along with the good stuff in our closet comes the evidence of our bad choices. Like dating those who are completely unavailable. Or people who long to accomplish large-scale dreams (but never get started). The former flames with serious communication issues, or those who are flat-out insecure (and therefore flat out unfaithful). 

Related From Vivala: Here's How I'm Manifesting My Soulmate

The love wardrobe is your mirror — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Looking into my own has recently shown me why, after almost 20 years of dating, I am no closer to finding the one than when I first started. And it has nothing to do with the weight I’ve gained or the successes I’ve had. It’s not that I’m too old, or too opinionated or something’s wrong with me. The fact is, I keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again, expecting a totally different result. It’s madness, and if I really do want to find a love that’s on my level, these four bad dating habits have GOT to go:

1

Stop Picking Fools That Need to Be Saved

My life is not a Jewel song. So why the hell am I trying to save so many souls? But I’ll own it; my heart is so set on making the world a better place that sometimes I mix business with pleasure. I find a mate I think I can help change and make their dreams come true, and that shit never, ever works out. It’s no bueno. I’d rather my life be like a Mary J. Blige song — where I’m doing me and the love of my life only enhances my life’s work, not becomes my life’s work.

2

Emotionally Unavailable Need Not Apply

In the past, I had loves who told me up front that they were emotionally unavailable. But did I listen? No. I put some good love on that boy and got his head confused just long enough to make him think he wanted to be emotionally available. So months go by, and parents are introduced, and everything feels like it’s going to go my way. But that’s exactly the point when the scared get shaken up and destroy your relationship. Again, no bueno. If someone tells you upfront that they aren’t ready for love, make sure you hear them loud and clear. I might toss you the kitty every now and then when she gets hungry, but there’s no need for us to proceed any further. Because they just run away every time.    

3

Order an Uber for Him and His Baggage

I used to have great elasticity for people in difficult places. So long as you didn't eff with my grind or my mind, I was totally capable of giving lovers the space to get on with healing their lives. But here’s the thing: If they haven’t started the process before they met you, you just become a rest stop for the work they have yet to do. And that eventually messes with everything else you’re trying to do. I am not a layover destination — are you? We deserve to receive someone who’s packing light, and thoughtfully, with a cute butt and a cocktail in hand. Not a mess in a dress with three carry-ons and five checked bags worth of unresolved shit in their life. Seriously, next time a dude comes along with a ton of baggage, just send him home immediately — preferably in an Uber XL, and congratulate yourself for knowing how to separate from the bad ones. 

Related From Vivala: Guide to Dating a Latina

4

No More Starting From the Bottom Again

A dreamer knows how to hook you. They tell you of the project they are chasing or the company they are starting. Or maybe it's the new job conversations they are having and the house they just looked into buying. If they are on their first big break, that’s great — but call me after the second or third success, boo. Because, as it so often happens when it comes to dating, people are really just putting their best foot forward, making you the safe place to dream of that new fresh start. Which is all good if that fresh start is on also on your level. But I’ve already been to the bottom, and if your name ain’t Drake, I’m not trying to start there again when it comes to finding big love. I’d rather find someone on my level and build our dreams from there.    

By eliminating those four mistakes from my dating life — picking the novice dreamers, the emotionally unavailable, the baggage carriers, and the hot messes — I might be shooting myself in the foot a little. In fact, my phone might turn silent for a few weeks as I weed out the losers, turn off the Tinders, and really focus on attracting guys with good vibes. But that’s much better than adding another drama queen to my closet that only wreaks havoc on my mind and in my heart.

What about you? What bad habits in dating have been holding you back from love? I aired mine out — now share yours!

Breonna Rodriguez is a Founding Creator and love and relationships blogger. When she's not writing for Vivala.com, you can find her at zenfulie.com.