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The day I realized I had no one but myself to blame for the jerks I kept dating is the day my dating life did a complete 180. The douchebags and jerks became a thing of the past when I searched deep within myself and started to make some much-needed changes. Here’s how I was finally able to find quality guys:

1. I STARTED LISTENING TO THE PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT ME.
During my jerk dating phase, I didn’t pay attention to the advice given to me from anyone around me. I thought I had life all figured out but in reality, I was swimming in a cesspool of toxic dudes who disrespected me and didn’t see our relationship going any further than the bedroom. Once I opened myself up to receive help from the ones who really cared about me, I was able to gain a different perspective about my love life. Nothing beats gaining some wisdom from someone who has your best interests at heart, whether it be a family member or a BFF.

2. I REMEMBERED MY ‘MUST-HAVE’ LIST.
Whenever I meet someone new, I instantly run his personality characteristics through my mental must-have list. This may seem a bit extreme, but trust me, it works. By being mindful of what I’m really looking for in a partner, jackasses and players don’t even make it past the “hello” stage.

3. I DRESSED TO IMPRESS.
They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but I have to disagree. My wardrobe played a huge role in the types of guys I was attracting. Don’t get me wrong, I love to wear a little mini and a pair of sky-high stilettos from time to time, but I realized the caliber of guys who approached me in that state were the lowest of the low. Once I changed my style to include classier and more elegant pieces, the quality guy floodgates magically opened.

4. I RAISED MY STANDARDS.
If a guy was good looking but he had the tendency to always keep me waiting on our dates, I walked away. If he had a good job and a great head on his shoulders but couldn’t find the strength to cut off contact with his “crazy” ex-girlfriend, I took a hard pass. I stopped accepting the bare minimum from the guys in my life and that allowed the quality men to step up to the plate. When I started demanding the best, the jerks didn’t stand a chance.

5. I PUT MY EMOTIONS IN CHECK.
I finally realized my emotions were getting the best of me in the dating world. When I was feeling needy, desperate, or clingy, I sent out a low vibration that made the jerks flock to me like flies to a pile of poo. They could smell my insecurities from a mile away and I was their perfect target. I had to get rid of all the bad emotions and negative feelings that were holding me back from finding happiness. You know what happened? I stopped attracting a bunch of losers.

6. I BEGAN PUTTING GUYS THROUGH THE RINGER.
Before I realized my dating life was on a downward spiral, I gave any and every guy a free pass to the forefront of my life. As I’m sure you can imagine, about 99.9 percent of these bastards didn’t even deserve to breathe the same air as me. Once I started to really vet the guys I was dating and put them through the ringer before I allowed them into my life, the crappy guys slowly faded to black. All that was left were the quality guys I’d been searching for.

7. I EMBRACED MY SINGLE STATUS.
When I felt down and in the dumps about being single, I clung to any guy who even looked my way. Again, this attracted all the wrong men who couldn’t give a damn about me even if they tried. Being single sucks, don’t get me wrong, but I learned to embrace my freedom and the independence that came along with being out on my own. Once I learned to accept my relationship status, I was less likely to just allow any old jerks into my world.

8. I DROWNED IN SELF-HELP.
It took me awhile to pick up a few self-help books. However, once I finally embraced the fact that I needed some help in my dating life, these books literally saved my life. From books about how to be confident to titles about increasing your self-esteem, there’s something out there no matter what insecurities your battling. I applied many of these tools I learned into my real life, and almost instantly, my newfound confidence helped me attract just what I was looking for.

9. I STOPPED GOING TO DOUCHEBAG HANGOUT SPOTS.
Let’s face it—toxic dudes are everywhere, but there are certain hangout spots they like to frequent in droves. Nightclubs are definitely jerk, U.S.A., and if you really want to add a jerk to your dating rotation, look no further than any place that serves alcohol late until the night. Sure, there was always a slight chance that I could meet a decent, normal guy at a local dive bar. But I knew I would have much better luck finding a suitable mate if I switched up my hangout spots. Changing my routine and the places I frequented opened my life up to a whole new set of guys who were far from being jerks.

10. I LET MY INTUITION TAKE THE LEAD.
My inner voice is loud AF, but I still managed to disregard it and completely ignore it throughout the years. When it tried to save me from the jerks who was living a double life, I brushed it off and kept seeing him even though I knew things would eventually turn to crap. It wasn’t until I let my intuition take the lead that the quality of my dating prospects changed dramatically. No longer was I stressing out over a bum who couldn’t even text me back. I was way too busy dating good guys who were on the same page as me.

By Stassi Dean for Bolde

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