5 Signs of Narcissists In Dating (2023)

Its not always easy to spot narcissists. They can be very charming and alluring at the onset, presenting a false mask to the outside world. Research indicates that narcissism is rising in the population, especially among the younger generation (Twenge and Campbell, 2009). With the rise of dating applications such as Bumble, Tinder, and OKCupid connecting us to people we wouldnt normally have access to, its even more likely that at some point you will encounter someone on the narcissistic spectrum.

Yet how can you tell in the early stages of dating that youve met someone toxic? Although there is no foolproof way to immediately confirm whether someone is a narcissist, therearered flags of toxic people that we often mistake for intimacy.

These myths can cause us to believe that our dating partner is the soulmate weve been looking for, when in reality, they can indicate someone who lacks empathy, exploits others and feels superior to those around him or her (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

(Video) These Are The Signs You're Dating A Narcissist

MYTH #1: Fast-forwarding intimacy is a sign that he or she is really, really interested in me.

Authentic, empathic dating partners arent interested in rushing the process of falling in love they want everything to unfold organically. They have a genuine interest in finding a partner who is compatible with them and have no interest in misleading or exploiting anyone.

Narcissists, on the other hand, want to fast-forward both emotional and physical intimacy as a way to win your trust and investment in them quickly. This is someone who, without even knowing you, professes their adoration with you early on. They contact you excessively, give you laser-focused attention and may even take you on extravagant romantic outings that seem too good to be true. This is known as love-bombing and its a quick way to win you over without investing long-term. Once youre hooked, theyll start to withdraw and reveal more of their true character, leaving you to pick up the pieces and do all the work.

Narcissistic dating partners are less interested in building a solid, authentic connection and far more interested in getting into your head (and possibly your bed).In modern romance where hookup culture is becoming more and more normalized, its easy to mistake a narcissist for someone whos simply following the cultural norms (Garcia, 2012).

Experts note that narcissists have a very high degree of entitlement – that’s why they feel entitled to your time, energy and investment even before you’ve gotten to know them (Goulston, 2012). So if you find yourself dealing with someone who persistently coerces you into sexual or romantic behavior that youre not comfortable with despite the assertion of your standards, youre not dealing with someone whos obsessed with you. Youre dealing with someone whos obsessed with controlling you and not at all interested in honoring your boundaries.

(Video) 12 Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist

MYTH #2: Bad behavior is the exception, not the rule thus we must give the benefit of the doubt.

Many of us approach dating with an excessive sense of generosity. We believe that certain red flags can be dismissed, when in fact, it is incredibly telling that these flags are appearing at all so early. Since people usually tend to be on their best behavior in the first few months of a relationship, you should especially be keeping track of outrageous behavior that seems out of place with the rest of someones projected persona.

Narcissists tend to test the boundaries of their victims by pulling stunts that are so shocking that victims have a difficult time processing their actions. Victims start to develop a sense of cognitive dissonance about what they’re experiencing because it challenges all the preconceived notions they had about this person. Narcissistic dating partners are constantly assessing their victims for what their vulnerabilities are to use these against them; according to research, the most sadistic and malignant of narcissists are rewarded by these manipulations(Wai & Tiliopoulos, 2012).

Rest assured: if you are dealing with a true narcissist, these are deliberately engineered to assess whether youd be willing to put up with their even more abrasive behavior later on. This could manifest in a number of different ways. Perhaps a usually polite and gentlemanly dating partner suddenly sends you explicit or obscene messages out of nowhere; maybe a female dating partner suddenly gives you the silent treatment, disappears, only to reappear again with no explanation as if nothing happened. Your partner could exhibit a sudden outburst of rage that seems absolutely shocking when considering their normally demure demeanor.

If you “pass” the test, your boundaries are slowly eroded and they move onto even more depraved behavior.These tiny tells can be fractures in a narcissists false mask that give away who they truly are. If spotted early on, these can save you a lifetimes worth of trauma.

(Video) Top 5 Abuse Tactics Used By The Female Narcissist

MYTH # 3: Its just a joke when they put me down.

Past research has shown that when female partners have their self-esteem temporarily lowered, they subconsciously tend to find the affection of potential matesmoreattractive and appealing (Walster, 1965). Pick-up artists know this and use techniques like negging (backhanded comments) to underhandedly undermine a womans sense of self so that she is driven to seek the culprits approval.

Narcissists enjoy covertly insulting their partners, even early on, to “train” their victims into taking more of the abuse they dole out over time. Theyll disguise these startling comments as a form of playful teasing or witty banter. However, thinly veiled insults, abrupt harsh jabs, excessive sarcasm and a condescending tone are tell-tale signs that you might be dealing with someone narcissistic or at the very least toxic. Someone who constantly subjects you to backhanded compliments under the guise of a joke is rarelyjustbeing flirtatious they have an active interest in making you feel small so that youre motivated to win their affections.

Strangely, this could be appealing initially because as human beings we are subconsciously taught that whoever makes us pine for approval must hold some form of power or superiority over us. In reality, that person is attempting to drag you down from your present position because they are threatened by your confidence. Authentic dating partners should be laughing with you, not making you the butt of every joke. Toxic partners feel the only way to build attraction is by undermining your sense of self. Remember, anyone who has to build attraction in such a covert and demeaning manner is someone who is lacking and deficient in other areas.

MYTH #4: Chemistry is a sign of a soulmate connection.

Many of us mistake instantaneous chemistry as a sign of long-lasting love. While chemistry can certainly be an indicator of a connection, more often than not, when we use chemistry as the sole evidence of intimacy, we lose focus of true compatibility.

(Video) Top 5 Signs You're Dating A Narcissist

Narcissists aremastersof creating chemistry through their hot-and-cold, push-and-pull behavior. They leave you guessing, walking on eggshells and wondering what will happen next. A relationship with a narcissist is one big biochemical rollercoaster and an adrenaline rush like no other. Being with a narcissist in the beginning isexciting. Thats whytoo muchchemistry can be a red flag in itself.

If you find yourself addicted to a dating partner in a way that is unhealthy and all-consuming, chances are, this form of chemistry is a result of toxicity rather than connection.

MYTH # 5: Any jealousy or insecurity we experience is an indication of our problems with our self-esteem.

Its true that every one of us has insecurities and flaws that we need to re-evaluate and work on. Thats perfectly normal and human. With a narcissist, however, youll find that your insecurities become magnified and a nagging sense of self-doubt, confusion and uncertainty become your primary mode of living. Therefore, if you’re feeling especially insecure around a certain dating partner, it’s important to pinpoint why.

Narcissists are prone to creating love triangles and harems to manufacture these insecurities in you. They engage in needless comparisons and infidelity to make you compete for their attention. They gaslight you into believing that what youre experiencing and feeling is a figment of your imagination. They plant seeds of self-doubt to burgeon into an overwhelming sense of worthlessness. They build a new reality for you to live in their reality.

(Video) The 5 Signs Someone Has Suffered Narcissistic Abuse

A dating partner who makes you feel consistently insecure especially by flattering you then withdrawing and insulting you or by making you compete is not someone who is healthy. At the very least, they are on the spectrum of narcissism because they are unable to relate to you with empathy, respect and decency.

Remember: healthy dating partners do not go out of their way to make you feel small. They celebrate your strengths and honor your boundaries. Once youve learned to reconnect to your intuition and inner voice, it becomes clearer that the way a person makes you feel is far more important than the image they project or how they good they look on paper.


What are the top 5 signs of a narcissist? ›

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder
  • Grandiose sense of self-importance. ...
  • Lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur. ...
  • Needs constant praise and admiration. ...
  • Sense of entitlement. ...
  • Exploits others without guilt or shame. ...
  • Frequently demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others.
Dec 5, 2022

How do narcissists act when dating? ›

Narcissistic partners act as if they are always right, that they know better and that their partner is wrong or incompetent. This often leaves the other person in the relationship either angry and trying to defend themselves or identifying with this negative self-image and feeling badly about themselves.

What are the 5 main habits of a narcissist? ›

Common Narcissist Characteristics
  • Inflated Ego.
  • Lack of Empathy.
  • Need for Attention.
  • Repressed Insecurities.
  • Few Boundaries.

What are the four subtle signs of a narcissist? ›

Common narcissistic traits include having a strong sense of self-importance, experiencing fantasies about fame or glory, exaggerating self abilities, craving admiration, exploiting others, and lacking empathy.

How do you know if a man is a narcissistic? ›

Believe they are superior to others and can only spend time with or be understood by equally special people. Be critical of and look down on people they feel are not important. Expect special favors and expect other people to do what they want without questioning them. Take advantage of others to get what they want.

How do narcissists act in the beginning of a relationship? ›

One of the most common early indicators of narcissism is what's known as the love-bombing phase. At the beginning of the relationship, the narcissist will often come on very strong, put you on a pedestal, and make you feel incredibly special.

How does a narcissist show love? ›

Narcissists may show you love and act in loving ways, but this tends to be conditional, in that displays of love depend on what you can give them in return. For people with NPD, relationships tend to be transactional. Love is not self-serving, proud, boastful, exploitative, or envious.

What do narcissists say in an argument? ›

It's not my fault, it's because of you/money/stress/work.” “If you wouldn't have done this, I wouldn't have done that.” “You knew what you were getting into; this is just the way that I am.”

Is my boyfriend a narcissist checklist? ›

Have others in your life said that something is different or strange about your partner? Does your partner take advantage of other people? Is your partner all about power and control, pursuing power at all costs? Is your partner all about image and how things look to others?

What annoys a narcissist most? ›

Simply put, anything that jeopardizes their basic needs for superiority can quickly irritate them. If you want to know how to infuriate a narcissist, you can look no further than giving them nothing. But you can also stand up for yourself, set boundaries, and refuse their gaslighting strategies.

What triggers a narcissist the most? ›

What Triggers a Narcissist?
  • Getting caught doing something dishonest or mean.
  • Being held accountable for their actions.
  • Not being the center of attention.
  • Any form of criticism — no matter how constructive or accurate.
  • Being exposed as a manipulator or liar.
  • A sense of not being in control.
Oct 13, 2021

What is the fastest way to spot a narcissist? ›

They think highly of themselves (inflative sense of self-importance), exaggerate achievements, and expect to be recognized as superior. They fantasize about their own success, power, brilliance, beauty or perfect love. They believe they are special and can only be understood by other special people (or institutions).

What is the narcissist weak spot? ›

A very obvious weakness of the narcissist is their inability to self-reflect and self-analyze. In fact, they're incapable of looking within to understand themselves. They usually use a number of defense mechanisms when it comes to accepting their many insecurities.

How do you test if someone is a narcissistic? ›

How To Tell if Someone is a Narcissist
  1. Monopoly on Conversation.
  2. Flaunting Rules or Social Conventions.
  3. Fixation with Appearance.
  4. Unreasonable Expectations.
  5. Disregard for Other People.
  6. Praise, Praise and More Praise.
  7. It's Everyone Else's Fault.
  8. They Fear Abandonment.

What attracts a narcissistic man? ›

One of the most common misconceptions is that narcissists only look for emotionally dependent partners who lack confidence and self-esteem. In fact, narcissists are often attracted to strong, confident, and self-assured women.

How do you test someone for narcissism? ›

To tell if someone's a narcissist, she says, look for someone who fully believes they are better than everyone else, expects special treatment from others, and consistently ignores the needs and feelings of others in the pursuit of their own interests.

Do narcissists move quickly in relationships? ›

Relationships with narcissists move very quickly. Neo said some people simply do mesh really well, because they have similar interests, and also complement each other's differences. “But anybody who tries to do it too quickly early on is basically accelerating intimacy, and that is bad news,” she said.

Do narcissists initiate breakups? ›

People with high levels of narcissistic admiration experienced less anxiety and sadness after a breakup and maintained positive perceptions of their exes. They were also more likely to initiate a breakup and attribute it to their lack of interest in their ex.

Do narcissists jump into relationships quickly? ›

Some people with narcissistic personality may jump from relationship to relationship. It may be the pattern they're used to. This means that they might do everything possible to get with you, then lose all interest when you're committed to them.

Who does a narcissist fall in love with? ›

The unfortunate truth is that narcissists do not really fall in love with people. They fall in love with their projections of whomever they currently idealize as the perfect mate. They can sound convincingly in love, but that is because they temporarily believe in the fantasy version of you created in their mind.

What does a narcissist want in a relationship? ›

Narcissists love to find partners who are self-sacrificing. Narcissists dont have any desire to focus on the victims needs. He/she needs a partner who is willing to have no needs, that way, he/she can always make sure only the narcissist is taken care of.

How do narcissists share feelings? ›

What should I say to someone who is narcissistic?
  1. Stay calm and respectful. ...
  2. Use 'I' statements. ...
  3. Advocate for yourself. ...
  4. Enforce boundaries. ...
  5. Avoid certain phrases. ...
  6. Remember you're not at fault. ...
  7. Know that you can't change them. ...
  8. Rely on a support system.

What are narcissists like with money? ›

They are punitive with money. Narcissists often use money as a tool for punishment. They may reward you financially when you do what they want, and then withhold money when they feel vindictive. This can feel unsafe, degrading and confusing.

What words dont say to narcissists? ›

8 Things You Should Never Say to a Narcissist
  • Don't say, "It's not about you." ...
  • Don't say, "You're not listening." ...
  • Don't say, "Ina Garten did not get her lasagna recipe from you." ...
  • Don't say, "Do you think it might be your fault?" ...
  • Don't say, "You're being a bully." ...
  • Don't say, "Stop playing the victim."
Dec 15, 2017

How do narcissists apologize? ›

In narcissists' efforts to avoid blame, they often combine several fake apologies at once, such as, “I am sorry if I said anything to offend you, but I have strong opinions. Maybe you're too sensitive,” or, “I guess I should tell you I am sorry.

What turns a man off in a relationship? ›

Being shy or not having an opinion of what you do is cute, sometimes. Constantly saying you don't care, when you probably do or even if you really don't, will leave a guy wondering if he's doing things the right way. Let your voice be heard and express yourself.

What are the red flags in a relationship? ›

Red flags in a relationship include excessive jealousy and frequent lying. You should also be wary of a partner who frequently criticizes you or puts you down. Another major red flag is an unwillingness to compromise — relationships shouldn't be one-sided.

What is future faking in a relationship? ›

"Future faking is when someone uses a detailed vision of the future to facilitate the bonding and connection in a romantic relationship," Greg Kushnick, PsyD, a psychologist based in New York City, told Health. It's generally something narcissists do, added Dr.

What turns a narcissist off? ›

When you don't depend on anyone to make money and you use your abundance to take care of yourself and not predators, you will always have the ability to control your own future. This is power, and pathologically envious narcissists are often turned off by it because it means they cannot easily control a victim.

What turns a narcissist on? ›

People who are impressive in some way, either in their career, hobbies and talents, their friendship circles, or family. Someone who will make the narcissist feel good about themselves, through compliments or gestures. Anyone who will reflect well on them in the eyes of other people.

What calms a narcissist down? ›

Empathize with Their Feelings

It is extremely soothing to Narcissists when you demonstrate that you understand and empathize with how they feel. But..do not insert anything about how the situation makes you feel, or anything about you at all unless it is an apology.

What scares the narcissist the most? ›

Although narcissists act superior, entitled and boastful, underneath their larger-than-life facade lies their greatest fear: That they are ordinary. For narcissists, attention is like oxygen. Narcissists believe only special people get attention.

What is the number one trait of a narcissist? ›

Need for Admiration

One of the most common signs of a narcissist is a constant need for praise or admiration. People with this behavior need to feel validation from others and often brag or exaggerate their accomplishments for recognition.

What angers a narcissist the most? ›

8 Triggers of a Narcissist's Rage

They feel that they've been criticized, even if the critique is constructive or said kindly. They're not the center of attention. They're caught breaking rules or not respecting boundaries. They're held accountable for their actions.

What are weird habits of narcissists? ›

Not listening to you, blaming you for their mistakes, and holding grudges against you are some weird things narcissists do. Being with such a person may affect your physical and mental health.

What are some narcissistic words? ›

Synonyms of narcissistic
  • selfish.
  • egocentric.
  • egomaniacal.
  • solipsistic.
  • egotistic.
  • egoistic.
  • egotistical.
  • self-absorbed.

What zodiac signs are usually narcissist? ›

Five zodiac signs that are narcissistic in nature
  • Taurus. Taurus tends to believe they're the best and they deserve everything better than most people. ...
  • Leo. Leos want all the attention in the room. ...
  • Scorpio. ...
  • Aquarius.
Jan 2, 2021

What is the biggest trait of a narcissist? ›

A common sign of people with narcissism is the belief that they are superior to others and deserve special treatment. They believe that others should be obedient to their wishes and that the rules don't apply to them. Another common trait of narcissism is manipulative or controlling behavior.

What words not to say to a narcissist? ›

8 Things You Should Never Say to a Narcissist
  • Don't say, "It's not about you." ...
  • Don't say, "You're not listening." ...
  • Don't say, "Ina Garten did not get her lasagna recipe from you." ...
  • Don't say, "Do you think it might be your fault?" ...
  • Don't say, "You're being a bully." ...
  • Don't say, "Stop playing the victim."
Dec 15, 2017

What personality traits attract a narcissist? ›

One of the most common misconceptions is that narcissists only look for emotionally dependent partners who lack confidence and self-esteem. In fact, narcissists are often attracted to strong, confident, and self-assured women.

What attracts a narcissist? ›

Narcissists love someone who doesn't believe in themselves or whose insecurities get the best of them, so one of the best ways to stop attracting narcissists is to develop a strong sense of self-worth.

What kind of person falls for a narcissist? ›

Empaths and highly sensitive people can be more susceptible to the charm of those who have NPD or narcissistic qualities, says Zinn.

What does a narcissist value most? ›

They demand respect, and give none in return.

For a narcissist, their needs must always be put first, and they will never reciprocate those feelings for anyone else. The world revolves around them, and everyone who happens to be part of that world should go along with it.

How do you test if you are a narcissist? ›

People with narcissistic personality disorder often present with five or more specific symptoms, including:
  1. grandiosity and self-importance.
  2. sense of specialness and uniqueness.
  3. fantasies of perfection and superiority.
  4. need for praise and attention.
  5. strong sense of entitlement.
  6. lack of empathy.
  7. jealousy, envy, and distrust.


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