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Are you looking for signs you might be dating a narcissist?
Narcissism is a term that gets thrown around easily these days, often to indicate some fairly run-of-the-mill personality traits like selfishness and vanity. While these aren’t typically attractive to most of us, they aren’t reason enough to suspect the person you are dating is a narcissist!
However, if you’ve landed here on this post, chances are that you have started to question if you might be dating a narcissist. While this post isn’t intended to diagnose anyone with official narcissistic personality disorder (only a trained mental health professional can do that!) we can share some of the common signs that you might be dating a narcissist, and you can use this information to decide your next move.
We are not mental health professionals here at Two Drifters. This is intended as a relationship guide, not a diagnostic checklist. If you have concerns for yourself or someone else, please seek out a mental health professional near you.
Table of Contents
10 Signs You Might Be Dating a Narcissist
You’ve been Love Bombed
One of the first signs that you might be dating a narcissist is that you might be feeling “love bombed.” This refers to a person who goes all out, too soon, with compliments, presents, and communication telling them how wonderful they are, how perfect they are for the other person, etc. Unfortunately, this is often a part of a narcissists’ plan to manipulate another person into falling for them, and is not done out of authentic connection. If you’re feeling like your partner has gone all in, too soon, and you’re wondering how there feelings for you could be so intense after such a short period of time together, this could be a sign that you are dating a narcissist.
Ultra Charming (until they don’t get their way)
It is said that many narcissists are very charming, and this is one of the manipulative aspects of their personality. They know how to use their charm to get others to cooperate with them and give them what they want. However, their charm only typically lasts until they either 1) get what they want and/or 2) are refused what they want. In both cases, the charm quickly fades and the other, less attractive narcissistic personality traits emerge, especially if they feel rejected. Then all bets are off and you’ll see them on the opposite end of the charm spectrum, where they can oftentimes become mentally and emotionally abusive to punish the person who has rejected them.
If the person you’re dating is very full of themselves and very concerned about their reputation and who they are perceived to be, this could be a narcissistic personality trait. One mental health professional recommends to take note of how many photos of themselves that a person has in their home. Selfies are fun to take and send to a friend or post to the ‘gram, but would you print yours out, frame them, and hang them up at home? There’s a definite difference! If your new partner has several photos of themselves (just them, not with someone else!) hanging up in their home, you might be dating a narcissist!
No “Old” Friends
One easy to spot sign you might be dating a narcissist is the lack of long term friendships. If you ask them about their friends and they reveal a tendency to burn bridges– and often times, even a pride in burning bridges– then this could be a sign that once they have gotten what they wanted from someone, they throw the relationship away. Pay attention to how they speak about their past relationships: if they are always either the hero or the victim but never the problem, it may be a sign that you’re dating a narcissist.
Inability to Handle Criticism
This ties in a bit with the burning bridges, because narcissistic people tend to have a very difficult time with any sort of perceived criticism, and throwing a relationship away over a perceived slight isn’t an uncommon reaction. Mental health professionals refer to the tendency to overreact to a perceived slight against themself as “narcissistic injury.” If you find that your partner seems to have a disproportionate reaction to what they perceive as an insult or criticism, you could be dating a narcissist.
Demanding of Praise
Does it seem like your date is always fishing for compliments? Let’s be honest here, that’s never a good look! If it seems as if your date is only telling you things that they think might garner some praise, or if they are even so blunt as to come right out and ask for it, ie “that was pretty cool how I just ____, right?” then you definitely might be dating a narcissist!
Lack of Empathy
Not everyone falls in the same area on the empathy spectrum, but if your partner shows little to no concern about others’ feelings and situations, this could be a narcissistic personality trait. Consider how your date reacts to hearing about a tough situation you’ve been in. Did they offer sympathy with you for having gone through the situation, or did they find a way to somehow make it about them? Ex: “oh, well great. I was going to tell you about my show the other night but now the mood isn’t right.”
Does your date seem to think that they are the best at everything? Are they one of those people who respond to you telling them about something you excel at as a challenge to prove how great they are at it, too? If the person you are dating seems to have a long laundry list of achievements and accolades that don’t seem to match what you see and know about them so far, then you might be dating a narcissist who lives in their own little bubble of arrogant delusion!
Is your date seemingly obsessed with themselves and always redirecting the conversation back to themselves? It’s normal for people to want to share the things they are passionate about and to want to show the person they are interested in who they are, but it is not healthy if they keep pulling the conversation back to themselves. For example, do they ask you questions about yourself? When you offer up information about yourself, do they show interest or quickly tie it back to something about themselves? A narcissist typically has one favorite subject: themselves.
Sense of Entitlement
Oh yes. The sense of entitlement that narcissists often have! Many narcissists feel as if they are entitled to anything and everything they could possibly want, often by some mistaken idea of their own self-importance. Sometimes this is accompanied by delusions of grandeur in which the person might really and truly believe that they are simply better and more deserving than everyone around them, so their sense of entitlement just makes sense to them! A good place to spot this sign or a narcissistic partner is in physical affection/sexual favors. Does your partner act like you owe them? Are you expected to give them whatever they want in the bedroom, but it doesn’t seem to extend both ways? Yeah, you could be dating a narcissist!
The thing is, there are plenty of these characteristics that are found in people who are not, by any stretch of the imagination, a person with narcissistic personality disorder. Most of us fall on a bit of a spectrum… we might be a little self absorbed at times in life (high school, amirite???) and it can be hard for most of us to hear criticism, especially about certain things. The difference is in how dramatically these expressions play out, and in if they are a hindrance to a healthy, meaningful relationship with another person.
If you are truly concerned you might be dating a narcissist, it’s never a bad idea to take a step back from the situation and reassess. Knowing some of the top signs you might be dating a narcissist will hopefully help so you can know which things to pay attention to as you consider getting more serious.
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Amy Hartle is the author of Do You Love Me? How To Stop Seeking Reassurance in Relationships, a book on reassurance seeking and relationship anxiety. Both her book and this blog are born of personal experience; Amy shares expert relationship advice from the lessons learned during her own 10+ years with her husband, as well as couples travel tips and romantic getaway recommendations, all gleaned while traveling the world together.