11 Signs You Are Dating a Narcissist

Signs You're Dating a Narcissist blog cover

So you’ve been dating your new squeeze for a while, but then you start to sense there’s something a little off. Perhaps they always make sure to be the center of attention, or they don’t seem as interested in your feelings and emotions as they should be. If this is the case, these may be signs that you’re dating a narcissist.

Narcissism is often used as a shorthand way to describe someone who is self-absorbed or vain. However, the clinical definition of narcissism is far more complicated than simply being obsessed with one’s own reflection.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a diagnosable condition that is characterized by a number of different characteristics, including an exaggerated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and an excessive need for external validation.

People with narcissistic personality disorder often have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships because of their controlling, selfish, and manipulative tendencies.

11 signs that you’re dating a narcissist

So, let’s cut to the chase. Here are 11 signs that you’re dating a narcissist.

1. They lack empathy.

One of the most obvious signs that your partner is a narcissist is that they lack empathy. Narcissists are self-centered and rarely consider how their partner might be feeling. It’s all about them. They are oblivious to your needs, feelings, and emotions. If your partner rarely shows empathy or compassion when you’re feeling down, it may be a sign of narcissism.

2. They have a sense of entitlement.

Narcissists fundamentally believe that they are above everyone else. They think that they deserve special treatment because they view themselves as superior. For example, they might expect to be served first in a restaurant even if there are others who have been waiting in line. It’s all about getting what they want, and they believe that they are entitled to it.


3. They need excessive validation.

There’s nothing a narcissist loves more than admiration. They bask in compliments, and attention makes them feel alive. It stems from deep insecurity, and ultimately, external validation makes them feel better about themselves for a short period of time. But this never lasts, and they always come back for more. A narcissistic partner will always be looking for validation, even if it’s from strangers. This is one of the most obvious signs that you’re dating a narcissist.

4. They try to control you.

Narcissists often try to control people and situations. This stems from their deep-rooted insecurity and need for constant validation. They often use manipulation tactics to try and control their partners, such as guilt-tripping, intimidation, and/or gaslighting. They also think that if they can control a situation, they can influence how they’re viewed by others. Essentially, it reduces the risk of a situation arising where they suffer a blow to their ego.

5. They use sarcasm to put you down.

Typically, narcissists use sarcasm to subtly make other people feel less worthy and to undermine their confidence. They make you doubt your self-worth through sarcastic comments masked as jokes, and if you question these ‘jokes’, they’ll likely tell you that you are oversensitive. This is often a tactic used to make you doubt yourself and your decisions.

6. They ignore your point of view.

Narcissists think that they are always right. A narcissist will shut off when you try to explain your perspective on a situation because they are convinced that they know best. They can view your opinion as a threat and will ignore or invalidate it in order to preserve their own. Telling a narcissist that they are wrong often results in an argument, as they take criticism of any sort as an attack on their ego.

7. They disregard your boundaries.

Narcissists think that the world revolves around them. Even if you set clear boundaries in your relationship, narcissists will often ignore them because they are only concerned about their own needs. This stems from their lack of empathy. This can lead to a lack of respect for your feelings and needs, which can be severely damaging to your relationship. If your partner disregards your boundaries even when you have clearly communicated them, it’s a sign that you’re dating a narcissist.

8. They always play the victim.

Narcissists have an uncanny ability to make themselves appear like victims in any situation. Even if they are the ones that caused a problem, they will still play the victim. This allows them to manipulate their partner into feeling guilty, enabling them to gain the upper hand again. Narcissists will often use this tactic to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.

9. They are jealous and competitive.

Narcissists have an intense fear of abandonment as well as a need to be superior. This often leads them to be jealous of other people’s success or to compete with them. A narcissistic partner may belittle you, criticize you, and try to one-up you in order to make themselves feel better about their own achievements. They may also become jealous of your success or accomplishments, particularly if you receive recognition for them.

10. They are always talking about themselves.

Narcissists love to talk about themselves. They will go on and on about their achievements, their plans, or anything that they deem impressive. The thing is, you might not actually mind at first. You might be so enthralled by the narcissist’s charisma that you’re not bothered that the conversation isn’t balanced. But after a while, it will impact your ability to form a real connection.

11. They don’t have any real friends.

Narcissistic partners tend to have shallow relationships with other people, including their own family and “friends.” This is because the fact that they are only concerned about themselves makes it difficult for them to form meaningful relationships. Although they may appear to have a lot of acquaintances and connections, they will rarely be able to maintain real friendships. In most cases, these “friends” are either puppets the narcissist manipulates to serve their needs or people they use to help them gain status.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a serious mental health issue that can have long-term negative effects on relationships and self-esteem. If you think that your partner might be a narcissist, it’s important to take the situation seriously.

If you’re interested in other concerning dating behavior, check out our post about 15 relationship red flags.

How narcissists win you over

One of the characteristics that make narcissists so dangerous is that they are incredibly skilled at manipulating people and getting them to do what they want. Narcissists know how to play on your emotions and use persuasive techniques in order to win you over.

Narcissists draw you in with their charm and often seem like the perfect partner. They figure out what your vulnerabilities are and what you’re looking for in life. In addition, they know all the right words to say, even though much of what they say will be lies and empty promises.

The problem is that once the narcissist has you in their clutches, they will start to show their true colors. Then comes the emotional rollercoaster. This is when they often display the behaviors described above.

In most cases, narcissistic behavior reveals itself gradually. This can make it difficult to realize that the person you’re with isn’t actually who they claim to be. This gradual nature can also make it hard to see how their behavior is having a negative impact on your life and mental health.

It’s only when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture that you can see how damaging the relationship is. And this can be hard to do when you’re still in the midst of the relationship.

How dating a narcissist can impact you

The effects of dating a narcissist can be devastating. You may feel drained and emotionally exhausted from constantly trying to keep up with their demands and trying to make them happy. You may also find yourself constantly second-guessing your own decisions, as the narcissist is always trying to manipulate or control you.

When you’re dating a narcissist, you have to deal with their constant need for attention, their lack of empathy, and their tendency to take advantage of others.

However, the biggest impact of dating a narcissist is on your self-esteem. Seeing as narcissists are experts at manipulation, they know exactly how to push your buttons to make you feel bad about yourself.

They may say hurtful things or do things that make you question your self-worth. As a result, you can end up feeling worthless and unlovable.

Dating a narcissist can be a traumatic experience, but you should know that you’re not responsible for their behavior. The other important point to remember is that you can get out of the relationship and start to heal. It’s better to get out sooner rather than later, as the longer you stay in the relationship, the more damage it will do to your mental health.

What to do if you think that you’re dating a narcissist

It’s important to understand the dynamics of narcissistic relationships so that you can identify the signs early on and take steps to protect yourself.

Developing a support network of friends and family members who you can trust is also essential to help you through the experience. In addition, it can help you gain perspective and ground yourself in reality.

When you talk to people you trust about your situation, you should be completely honest. Some people have a tendency to downplay or minimize the situation because they are worried about making their partner look bad.

If necessary, seek professional help to start rebuilding your self-esteem and learn how to cope with your emotions.

Signs that you’re dating a narcissist FAQ

Now, let’s answer some of the most common questions people have about narcissism.

What is the difference between narcissism and healthy self-esteem?

Narcissism and healthy self-esteem may seem like two sides of the same coin in some ways, but they are actually very different. On one hand, narcissism comes from a place of insecurity and can lead to exploitative behavior. On the other hand, healthy self-esteem comes from a place of security and is based on a realistic appraisal of one’s own worth and abilities.

Healthy self-esteem allows confidence without crossing into the territory of arrogance or entitlement. In short, narcissism is all about “me, me, me,” while healthy self-esteem is about balance and moderation.

Narcissism and healthy self-esteem may seem like two sides of the same coin in some ways, but they are actually very different. On one hand, narcissism comes from a place of insecurity and can lead to exploitative behavior. On the other hand, healthy self-esteem comes from a place of security and is based on a realistic appraisal of one’s own worth and abilities.

Healthy self-esteem allows confidence without crossing into the territory of arrogance or entitlement. In short, narcissism is all about “me, me, me,” while healthy self-esteem is about balance and moderation.

Can narcissists be self-aware and do they see the ‘issue’ within themselves?

Self-awareness doesn’t come naturally to narcissists, and they won’t instinctively see issues within themselves. One of the core traits of being a narcissist is thinking that you are superior to others, and this in itself signals a lack of awareness because they aren’t viewing themselves objectively.

That being said, it is possible for narcissists to become self-aware through a lot of introspection and hard work. Often, they will need help from other people, such as therapists. The first step is for them to accept that they are a narcissist.

This can be a lightbulb moment, but it’s usually a long, drawn-out process that involves the narcissist slowly coming to terms with reality.

Can narcissists change?

One of the biggest questions is whether a narcissistic partner can change. Most people would probably like to think that they can change for the better if they really want to.

Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple. While it’s possible for narcissists to change, it’s not always likely. This is because narcissism is often rooted in deep-seated psychological issues, such as low self-esteem and a need for validation.

In many cases, these issues are so entrenched that even the most well-intentioned narcissist will find it difficult to break free from them. However, there are some narcissists who are able to overcome their problems and lead happy and successful lives. It takes time, dedication, and consistency.

So, while it may not be easy, it’s possible for a narcissist to change with a lot of work. Cases like this are the exception, not the rule.

What tactics do narcissists use in the early stages of dating?

Now, this is a great question. The signs we looked at above are usually present in the later stages of dating, but in the beginning, narcissists tend to act differently.

Love-bombing is usually the first tactic a narcissist will use to secure your trust. Once they feel they have this, they’ll often gaslight you as a way of gaining control. They distort the truth to make you doubt yourself.

Not only does this enable them to reframe situations and perceptions to protect their ego, but it also destabilizes their victim. Narcissists also blow hot and cold as a way of manipulating you.

A lesser-known tactic used by narcissists is they may give you false deadlines. They’ll claim that they need you to get back to them or give an answer by a certain time. This makes them feel like they have control over your schedule, and the fact that you’ll prioritize their needs at short notice gives them a sense of security. They can also give false deadlines to make you commit to something without having time to think it through.

Another more subtle tactic that narcissists use is talking down at you. It might not be obvious, but patronizing comments here and there can add up and make their victim feel like they are less intelligent. Again, this is a way for a narcissist to try to gain power.

Final thoughts on signs that you are dating a narcissist

Narcissism is a complex condition, and it can be hard to spot in its early stages.  If you’re dating a narcissist, or you’ve dated one in the past, it can be challenging and traumatic.

But it doesn’t have to define your life. With the right support and self-awareness, you can move forward and create a healthy relationship with yourself and other people.

“Matching people using personality types is such a simple and powerful concept. So Syncd helped us find love, even in this difficult time. You’ve really changed our lives. In fact, we’re now married! Thank you.”

– Ben (INFJ) about Indy (ENFJ)

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