So You Think You’re Dating a Narcissist?

So You Think You’re Dating a Narcissist?

Disclaimer: The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

When you’re starting a new relationship, it’s important to recognize red flags that might signal you’re dating someone with narcissistic personality disorder.

Understanding these signs can help you navigate your new relationship and make informed decisions about your well-being.

Let’s take a look at some key narcissism indicators and explore what you can do if you suspect you’re dating a narcissist.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition primarily exemplified by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. While we all have the potential to show narcissistic traits from time to time, people with NPD display these characteristics consistently across various situations.

Here are nine key indicators typically associated with narcissistic personality disorder:

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love
  • Belief in being special and unique, wanting to associate only with “high-status” individuals or institutions
  • Need for excessive admiration
  • Sense of entitlement, as if the world owes them something
  • Interpersonally manipulative behavior
  • Lack of empathy – their needs/feelings always come first
  • Envy of others or belief that others are jealous of them
  • Arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes
  • Inability to accept any criticism or feedback

Can a Narcissist Be a Good Partner?

In a word, no. While narcissists may often appear charming and attractive, their self-serving natures and lack of empathy usually make them ill-suited for long-term, healthy, fulfilling relationships.

Despite their external achievements, narcissists often struggle to form deep, meaningful connections and frequently resort to manipulation and deceit to maintain control within a relationship.

In some cases, behavior may improve if a narcissist seeks professional therapy for narcissistic personality disorder.

Red Flags in Your Relationship

Identifying narcissistic traits in a partner can be challenging, especially if you’re in the early stages of a relationship – when certain behaviors might seem charming or attractive. However, recognizing these warning signs can help you make more informed decisions about your relationship’s future.

If you suspect you’re dating a narcissist, here are some additional specific red flags to look for in your relationship:

They appeared charming – at first: Narcissists often use charm and flattery to initially captivate their partners. Early on, they may shower you with compliments and declarations of love, making you feel special and valued. But – be cautious if the intensity of their affection feels excessive or insincere. This is often called “love-bombing.”

They hog the conversation: A narcissistic partner may dominate conversations, constantly talking about themselves and their accomplishments. They may show little interest in your thoughts, feelings or experiences, because they view conversations simply as opportunities to showcase their superiority.

They feed off your compliments: Despite projecting confidence, narcissists often have fragile self-esteem and crave constant validation from others. They may fish for compliments and become upset if they don’t receive the admiration they’re looking for .

They don’t show empathy: Empathy is essential for maintaining healthy relationships, but narcissists struggle to understand or prioritize others’ emotions. They may dismiss your feelings, minimize your concerns or fail to offer support when you need it.

They don’t have many long-term friends: Narcissists often have tumultuous relationships and may struggle to maintain long-term friendships. They also may become jealous or resentful if you spend time with others and attempt to isolate you from your network of friends.

They constantly belittle you: Criticism and belittling are common tactics narcissists use to assert control and undermine their partners’ self-esteem. They may criticize your appearance, interests, or behavior, leaving you feeling insecure and unworthy.

They think they’re always right: Narcissists have a strong aversion to criticism and rarely apologize for their mistakes. They may refuse to admit fault, dismiss your perspective and insist on being right, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

When you show them you’re done, they lash out: Narcissists struggle with rejection and may react with anger or hostility when their partners attempt to end the relationship. They may resort to manipulation, threats or emotional blackmail in an effort to regain control.

So You’re Dating a Narcissist – Now What?

If, after considering the signs listed here, you suspect you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, you first need to prioritize your own well-being and consider your options moving forward.

Here are some possible steps you can take:

Trust your instincts: If something feels “off” in your relationship, don’t ignore your gut feeling. Take note of any red flags or concerning behaviors and prioritize your emotional safety.

Get help: Reach out to trusted friends, family members or a therapist for support and guidance. Surround yourself with people who validate your experiences and offer perspective outside of the relationship.

Set some healthy boundaries: Establish clear boundaries with your partner and assertively communicate your needs. Be prepared to enforce consequences if your boundaries are violated, and prioritize your own self-care.

Consider ending the relationship: While it’s ultimately your decision, ending a relationship with a narcissist may be necessary for your own mental health and well-being. Remember that you deserve a partner who respects and values you. Ending a relationship is never easy, but it may be the best option for your long-term emotional health.

Last words

Dating someone with narcissistic personality disorder can be challenging and emotionally draining. By recognizing the signs and taking proactive steps to protect yourself, you can navigate the relationship more effectively and prioritize your own happiness and well-being.

Overall – if you believe you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, don’t hesitate to reach out to a qualified therapist or counselor who can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation. Your emotional health and happiness are worth prioritizing, and seeking help is a courageous first step toward healing and personal growth.


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