Bad bachelor habits to kick

THERE is a certain luxurious freedom that comes with being single; you are free to do whatever you like, come and go as please, and you answer to no one

But indulging in that independence for too long can change a man, and usually not for the better. Bad bachelor habits can quickly become second nature. Being single for too long is a downward spiral that can leave a guy sad, lonely and celibate.

Let's look at the signs that might mean you've been single a little too long. If some of them hit close to home, it's time to re-evaluate. Unless, of course, a future filled with long, lonely nights eating slap chips while watching scrambled porn with your obese cat sounds good.

You Google old flames

Thanks to the Internet, a quick little snapshot of just about anyone's life can be found simply by Googling their name. So if you find yourself up late at night typing an ex-girlfriend's name into the search box, wondering what she's been up to and hoping maybe you two could work out your decade-old differences, stop immediately and take a long, cold shower.

You consider your mother's dating advice

You shouldn't completely ignore this rich source. Give your mom a list of attributes you look for in a girl and let her use that to judge her extended network.

You play too many video games

Putting in endless hours of Wii antics at night is bad for your body, your brain and your chances of ever getting laid again. It's also easy for bachelors to fall into the boozing, sports-watching, golfing-any-time-you-want lifestyle that drives girls crazy.

You look at female friends as potential girlfriends

Your friends like you enough to hang out once in a while, so is it such a stretch to take it to the next level? In most cases, yes. She probably looks at you more like a brother than a potential bed buddy. Not only that, but chances are you haven't been on your best behaviour around her in the past, so all that farting, sexist humour and whoring around gives you quite a bit of baggage to start off with.

You surf mail-order bride sites "out of curiosity"

Envisioning a lonely, solitary future can drive some men to take very desperate measures like ordering a bride off the Internet rather than facing the prospect of cooking and cleaning for themselves forever.

You get a cat

It's perfectly reasonable for anyone forced to go without companionship for a long stretch of time to seek friendship in a pet.

But before you go running off to the pet store in search of camaraderie, there is one immutable fact you need to consider: Girls think that guys who own cats are weird.

Your dating standards plummet

It would seem that going without action for too long lets certain chemicals build up in a man's brain.

Soon even the dumpy girl down at the video store or the 45-year-old sweetie at your local pub start to look pretty damn good.

You develop bad eating habits

It takes a lot of effort to cook for one, and falling into the age-old trap of eating like a bachelor is easy. It's also really unhealthy.

If your cupboards are filled with food that can be cooked in less than five minutes, you've probably been on your own for too long.

Now head to the grocery store and shop for rice and pasta, pick up a spice rack and invest in cookbooks.

You assume you repulse all women

When a girl walks by and smiles, most guys take it as a compliment. But being single for too long can start to wear on your confidence. You think these flirtatious glances are really smirks at your expense, probably aimed at your hair or bad outfit.

Losing confidence often happens when you are out of the game for too long, and attracting anyone (let alone someone you are actually interested in) will be difficult.