12/07/2011 02:28 EST | Updated 02/06/2012 05:12 EST

5 Reasons You're Still Single

Alamy: Emely

As a singles and dating expert, I've seen a lot when it comes to relationships. I've also been privy to some startlingly candid confessions (trust me when I tell you my business card sparks dialog at cocktail parties), which has offered me a rare window into serial daters with their tell-tale patterns and can't-miss archetypes.

From the self-sabotaging bachelorette to the cranky commitment-phobe, heaps of otherwise sane and lovely people are walking around convinced their love lives will never improve and destiny has it in for them.

And that's a pity because the other thing I know as a so-called dating expert is that most frustrated singles are simply stuck in ruts. You can't do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. Einstein defined this as insanity. I refer to this as the fail-safe formula for remaining perpetually unattached.

The common denominator in all your failed relationships is you, but that's actually good news. Tweak your expectations, modify your behaviour and you just might get the relationship of your dreams.

With the dreaded couples-centric holiday season looming, there's no time like the present to try a few fixes. Here are the top five reasons you are still single, as identified by the dating expert lady. Spot your mistakes, fix them, and I guarantee you'll be on the fast track to love... or at least well-positioned to receive it when it arrives.

Reason #1: You have unrealistic "requirements" that you "need" in a partner, such as height or body size or education level. Here's the truth: you may prefer dating someone who is six-feet-tall, but Mr. 5'8" could be the funniest guy ever, and a tiger in the sack. The solution is to focus on core values and deal-breakers (religion, children) and forget the superficial stuff. You will have a much larger variety of potential mates and more importantly, an open mind and heart.

Reason #2: You're waiting for fate to deliver your ideal partner. You didn't wait for fate to deliver good grades in college -- you studied. You didn't wait for fate to firm up your butt -- you did squats. Recognize a pattern here? Be proactive. Ditch the bar scene and meet someone online. Not only is online dating cheaper than a martini, it's open 24/7, has no dress code and contains a critical mass of people with pictures and life "resumes" that you can browse and cherry-pick at your leisure. You can't filter people at bars by faith or hobby, but you can online.

Reason #3: You can't get over your ex. Yeah, this one's a toughie, but here's a question: if the relationship was so great, why is she your ex? Was Lauren Bacall Humphrey Bogart's ex? Was Yoko John's ex? No. People who are meant to be together are together. Scrap the mementos, buck up and get back out into the world of dating.

Reason #4:You are letting the past dictate the future. Many of us did not have parents who provided an ideal role model for a great relationship, and we ourselves may have had past relationships that were less than ideal. We may have even held onto relationships too long thinking they were "as good as it gets." Just because you've never had the relationship you wanted before does not mean you cannot create it in the future. The solution is to review lessons learned and areas of needed growth to help you create a new and better relationship. Know thyself and strive to do things differently.

Reason #5: You don't really believe "love" will happen for you. As corny as it sounds, a little positive thinking goes a long way. Athletes routinely visualize scoring the goal, getting the hit, etc. You need to do the same. And while you're at it, practice plugging back into the world around you. Stop laser-focusing on the iPod when you're walking down the street. Look around, make eye contact, smile. Be approachable. Sit in a café across town with a book and see what happens. Ask for opinions at the grocery store... whatever. Just try to be present. You might find people will respond in kind.

Once you've identified your dating pitfalls and made some changes, you can then begin the quest. Half the battle is realizing what you have done wrong and fixing it. The other is taking charge. Do it. Good luck.