So you’re dating this guy, but you’re just not quite sure about him. He’s amazing. He treats you like a queen. Everyone seems to love him.
He goes a little off.
He says or does something unexpectedly rude. Something you wouldn’t think him capable of. Normally, he’s such a gentleman.
Are you just being too sensitive? Or is there something there you need to watch out for?
Watch Out for These Guys
Psychologist Martha Stout believes that 1 in 25 people are so dangerous that you need to avoid any entanglement with them whatsoever.
Only one problem:
These folks are often the most charismatic, successful, charming people around.
They don’t look dangerous. They don’t act dangerous. No one would believe a word against them.
But these folks have a secret. They don’t feel anything. They don’t have the emotional bonds that you and I take for granted. They can’t love. It’s all pretense.
Whatever you want to call these people—narcissists, sociopaths—you want to steer clear. But how do you spot them?
Here are 3 tips.
#1. He Makes You Feel Sorry for Him
Most guys HATE being pitied. It’s the last thing they’d want.
But someone who has no moral compass wants you to feel sorry for him, because you can’t stay mad at someone you feel sorry for.
If a guy you’re dating tells you a sob story so you’ll let him off the hook for bad behavior, then that’s THE #1 dating red flag.
You want a guy who accepts responsibility and makes amends, not one who manipulates your heartstrings.
#2. He’s Not Close to Anyone—Except You
The best gauge of a man’s ability to love you is his ability to love others.
So even though it may feel incredible when he chooses you as only person special enough to confess his most intimate thoughts to, you might want to watch out.
A man with a generous heart will have close personal connections with friends and family as well as the woman he loves.
#3. You Owe Him
In the absence of love, there’s only a sticky web of mutual obligations. He does this for you; now he expects you to do something for him.
“You owe me” is a major red flag. No matter how much money he’s spent on you, no matter how much he’s gone out of his way for you, that doesn’t make you obligated to him.
In a healthy relationship, people do nice things for each other out of affection, not the expectation of getting something in return.
Have you dated a guy that displayed these traits? Let me know!
(And make sure to check out my interview with Dr. Rhoberta Shaler on how to deal with toxic people.)
I was married to a narcissist for 18 years. I didn’t realize what he had been doing to me over the years, he was also an alcoholic, so I blamed it on that, and I had hoped he’d change, but he just got worse. He was the life of the party wherever he went and everyone thought he was great, but he was a different man with me, especially when drunk. He’d always turn around things that I was mad at him for (which was mainly drinking and driving drunk) to be all my fault. Then after 2 years of being divorced, I dated a guy I met on a dating site and he was also a narcissist! He showed a few signs early on, but then other things happened as time progressed. I was with him for a year. I wish I knew about narcissism before, I didn’t find out until I started researching that I had been in a relationship with one. And it did alot of emotional damage to me, which also affected my physical health. I’m working on improving all that now. I love your dating advice and information Amy! Keep it coming!
Amy Waterman says
I’m so glad you finally recognized the signs! When we’re with narcissists, our sense of normal gets skewed. We’re also so willing to take the blame on ourselves. As women, we feel responsible for the relationship, so we tiptoe around his issues and try to make everything better.
But you’re not going to do that any longer. You’ve got boundaries now! A great guide to healing is Dr. Christiane Northrup’s book “Dodging Energy Vampires.” She believes that narcissists are attracted to empaths, highly sensitive people who are compassionate and understanding and unlikely to judge anyone, even a toxic person.
M Susie says
Yes, I’m in that relationship now. You hit the nail on the head with each ”red flag”. Our first date he told me the saddest story of him as a young boy and he started crying. He has a young child he never told me about, I found out accidentally. He isn’t in contact with her. He can’t love his child? He has come right out and told me I’m responsible for his happiness and his future. He does some things around the place and has never paid for one bag of groceries…one hotel room…NOTHING.
Amy Waterman says
Isn’t it interesting how you’re supposed to have compassion for HIM as a young child … when he doesn’t even have compassion for his own young child? We all suffered at one point or another during our childhood, but most of us grow and learn from our pain.
However, some folks get trapped in that stage of development. They remain that young child, wanting a female figure to look after them and make them happy. They don’t grow up and discover they can parent themselves.