You’ve tried dating apps, meeting people in the old-fashioned way IRL, and even your friends and family have tried to set you up. And yet, despite all your efforts, you wonder: “Why am I single?”

Here’s why — There are certain common mistakes people make in dating that prevent them from finding — and maintaining — real, lasting connections.

You may not realize that some of your behaviors are sabotaging your love life, but the first step toward positive change is to acknowledge what you’re doing wrong, and take responsibility for the role you play. Here’s a slew of possible reasons why you might still be single — and some guidance on how to change your ways.

Your standards are unrealistic.

Look, standards are important. That said, if you’re not going to settle until you find a guy who’s 6’4, independently wealthy, loves to travel and wants kids, you’re going to be looking for a long time. And if you’ve convinced yourself that you have a very particular “type,” in all honesty, you’re probably writing people off for all the wrong reasons.

So, it’s time to think about your priorities, because it’s unlikely that any single person you meet is going to fit this hyper-specific picture you’ve painted for your ideal partner. What’s more important to you? Someone who’s tall, or someone who’s reliable? Someone who’s blonde, or someone who’s as adventurous as you? Once you figure that out, you’ll have an easier time sussing out who’s a good match.

You have zero confidence.

Humans can detect confidence the way a dog can sniff out a bomb. And let’s be real: confidence is the sexiest thing in the world. So, if you’re lacking it, that can be a major turnoff on dates.

So if you have insecurity issues, you need to work on your self-esteem. Start saying positive affirmations each morning, surround yourself with people who build you up, and delve into hobbies and activities that make you feel capable and sure of yourself. Whatever you can do to boost your confidence will go a long way — because your dates will be able to tell.

You have unhealthy defense mechanisms

You may have trust issues or have become unknowingly pessimistic or paranoid. And as a result, you may have also developed certain defense mechanisms that are actually ruining your chances at getting close to someone.

Regardless of what your defense mechanism is, at the root of it is a fear of vulnerability. But without vulnerability, you’ll never have intimacy — you’ll be left with a shell of a connection that never actually grows into anything meaningful or long-lasting. In order to break out of these tendencies, you’ll need to do some deep digging into why you’re so afraid of getting close to someone. When and how did this fear originate? And what is your defense mechanism in place to protect you from?

You’re drawn to people who can’t give you what you want.

If you keep choosing partners who aren’t emotionally available, or who can’t meet your needs, it’s time to consider why you’re falling into this trap again and again. Maybe deep down, you don’t think you deserve better. Or, maybe you’re subconsciously drawn to someone you can “fix,” because you’ve been expected to rescue other people since childhood. Until you’ve done some serious soul-searching by identifying your negative pattern and how it developed, you’ll just keep ending up with dead-end relationships.

Your insecurities are causing you to get clingy.

Do you find yourself actively looking for signs that something’s wrong in every dating scenario? Do you feel like you need constant reassurance from your partner about their feelings and commitment to you? Does it trigger a wave of worry and fear when someone doesn’t text you back within a certain amount of time? If dating tends to bring up this kind of stress for you, then you might have an anxious attachment style. It’s not your fault — and likely stems way back to the unpredictability of your caregivers’ love and affection from a young age. Still, it’s something worth exploring and working on, because it can definitely make it difficult to sustain relationships.

You’re not allowing yourself to experience real intimacy.

If you run for the hills any time someone gets a little too close, then you may be what’s called “avoidant.” You think you want a relationship, but as soon as someone expects a certain level of emotional intimacy with you or a certain amount of quality time, you feel suffocated and swiftly make an exit. But guess what? Relationships are only worthwhile if they force you out of your comfort zone a little bit. So, you might want to start thinking about what it is that turns you off or scares you about someone needing you or depending on you. Because the reality is, you can’t really have your cake and eat it, too: in other words, remain totally independent while also having a committed partner.

You’re not really putting yourself out there.

It’s time to be honest with yourself. How much effort are you really making to meet new people? Life is not a fairytale, and your dream guy or girl isn’t just going to magically appear right in front of you.

What you need to do is start making dating a priority. Set some intentions for your love life and figure out what your goals are. 

Let friends and family know you’re open to meeting new people. Try going to different places for drinks after work you wouldn’t normally go to. Take up a new hobby. And lastly, consider working with a matchmaker who can introduce you to people who are ready for love, so you don’t have to waste your time on lackluster connections that aren’t leading anywhere. My philosophy is all about quality over quantity. You don’t need to go on 50 dates to find “The One.” You just need a few dates with someone who’s actually looking for the same thing.

There’s nothing wrong with being single. But if you feel ready and eager for a serious relationship, you’ll need to start making 

some changes in your own beliefs, habits, and behaviors. It can be hard to achieve this on your own — especially given that so many of these destructive beliefs, habits, and behaviors are so deeply ingrained). As a matchmaker who’s worked with many people who struggle with each and every one of these issues (along with others), I can help.

Remember: finding love requires patience. But it also requires the right mindset. You have to make sure that when you do meet someone who compliments your personality, aligns with your values, and who you can genuinely see a future with, you’re open and prepared to recognize the potential and cultivate genuine love.