Dating a Narcissist in 2022: Things to Know, Pros, Cons
Unfortunately, we are currently existing in a world that is full of narcissism. People are genuinely obsessed with portraying an image to the world, that revolves around self-centeredness and selfish demands. This type of mentality is majorly popularized by social media sites. For example Instagram and Facebook. So, how this crazy rise in narcissism will affect our daily lives? If you are new to the world of narcissism, things might be on a roller coaster for you at the moment.
Well, life is not at all easy when you are in narcissistic relationships; a person with a narcissistic personality disorder. For someone facing this situation, finding themselves struggling between continuing or quitting the relationship is very common. Neither option is easy. Let us tell you the most fundamental disadvantage of dating a narcissist; you will feel completely unimportant, disrespected, controlled, and disregarded. In short, your spouse or partner will completely neglect your feelings and needs.
If you suspect your partner has this personality disorder or maybe you are about to get into a relationship with this person, the good news is, it is possible to make it work. Before you make any decision, read this post till the end. It will take you to the bottom of dating narcissists and what to expect.
Table of Contents
Things to Know When Dating a Narcissist
The diagnosis of NPD is not always straightforward. Nonetheless, you might see certain clear indicators of this disorder. If you detect any of the preceding in your relationship, you might consider having them visit a specialist.
First of all, a narcissistic partner might appear to be quite exciting. It’s a complete rollercoaster trying to satisfy a narcissist. They will initially attract you with their daring, talents, confidence, and gift proposals. Therefore, joyful and magnetic nature makes it easy for them to make you fall in love immediately. However, you may later find that this persona is really a mask. Something your partner is going to use to the need for acclaim. You won’t even detect when they took on the victim role. For example, if you get into an argument, expect the blame to be aimed at you. Your connection appears to be much shallow.
Although the union appears exciting and close at first, narcissism hinders deeper ideas later on. As a result, your lover may spend time with you whenever it suits them, disregarding your intimate needs. Everything in a narcissist’s life is meant to hide their flaws. This nature simply gives them a sense of vitality. As a result, you may face several minor insults in the way they speak with you and emotional abuse. They’re going to highlight your shortcomings and degrade you in many ways. This is because narcissists in a relationship are excessively self-centered.
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What is Narcissism?
When one or both parties have a narcissistic disposition, a narcissistic relationship is born. Narcissistic Personality Condition (shorten as NPD). In simple words, it is a mental disorder that is characterized by an exaggerated feeling of self-importance as well as a strong desire for praise. Narcissistic personality disorder patients think they’re special to others. They also have almost no regard for others’ feelings.
Most people exhibit some characteristics of self-centered, narcissistic personas. A large percentage of them do not fit the criteria for being diagnosed with a personality disorder. However, if someone does, they will often refuse to admit it at first. Not only this but the person might react violently. Well, a narcissistic partner is unlikely to confess to you that they have a personality disorder. You’ll really do have to dedicate your super sensations and check back if you have any doubts.
A narcissistic relationship partner is likely to display the following characteristics:
- Supremacy or a sense of entitlement
- Lack of empathy
- Controlling or manipulative behavior
- A strong desire for adoration
- Focus on meeting one’s own demands, frequently at the expense of others’ needs
- Aggression levels that are higher
- Having trouble accepting comments on their actions
Roots of Narcissism
The most common cause behind being a narcissistic individual is having narcissistic parents. Especially those who provided them with a mask but no real personality. For example, some parents want their kids to succeed so that they might be the parents of wonderful people. They want them to be the best artists or the smartest students, and the list goes on. Narcissistic people were frequently neglected. This is because their parents were so preoccupied with themselves that they were unable to see or address their child’s emotional needs.
These parents only saw their child as useful when it served a purpose for them. Parents of children with NPD sometimes varied between emotional hunger and apathy in their children. The majority of individuals who suffer from NPD have been suffering from this condition since they were children.
As a result, narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-confidence. Also, a critical inner voice. Their personalities are often very weak, self-demeaning, disrespectful, and even hateful. They don’t take criticism well and instead employ snide, condescending remarks to make themselves feel superior. Doing so feeds their sense of superiority to a dangerous level.
Types of Narcissism
Since 99% of narcissists are prone to having some characteristics, not all of them are alike. This is an important point to understand if you are dating a narcissist. Grandiose narcissism and Vulnerable narcissism are the two main types of narcissism. These narcissism types arise from a series of early childhood events. They ultimately result in a variety of toxic relational practices.
⫸ Grandiose Narcissism
Grandiose narcissists have a lot of hostility, arrogance, and dominance. They are more self-assured and very less sensitive. They are frequently elitists who have no qualms about bragging about how terrific they are to everyone.
Grandiose narcissists are typically treated as superior in their early youth. Due to this, they expect this treatment to continue throughout their lives. If they do not receive the particular attention that they believe they are entitled to, they become more prone to openly indulge in infidelity. Not only this but they even leave their partners abruptly. Especially, in terms of romantic relationships, these people are prone to cheating and abandoning their spouses if they don’t feel special.
⫸ Vulnerable Narcissism
Narcissists who are defined to be emotionally vulnerable, but are far from sensitive nature are named the vulnerable type. They exhibit “fragile grandiosity’. In this type, narcissism serves as a front for deeper sentiments of inadequacy and incompetence. When they are not treated as if they are exceptional, they often feel mistreated or worried.
Early childhood narcissism frequently develops as a coping mechanism when it comes to dealing with abuse (emotional abuse) or neglect. Vulnerable narcissists frequently worry about how their partners see them in relationships. They can be suspicious, possessive, and anxious when it comes to their spouses having affairs or flirtations. This type of NPD also starts in childhood, but it is triggered by abuse. It is used as a coping method by the majority of people.
Later in life, they become highly hostile and suspicious in relationships. They frequently blame their partners for infidelity. And the most worrying thing is, they have a lot of power over you.
Once you discover yourself hanging in a narcissistic relationship, the very first step is to identify what is the wrong thing you’ve done. You need to consider some of the hidden factors that may have led you to this bad decision. Ask yourself did you grow up with one or both conceited parents? Do you feel more at peace whenever your partner is in charge, enabling you to relax? Is it providing you a sense of worth to be linked with those already in the spotlight? Do some of your own intelligent opinions about yourself jibe with the unfavorable image they paint of you through their words and arrogant demeanor? For certain people who have fallen in love with narcissists, co-dependency is an issue. They are prepared to put up with a certain amount of discomfort.
It’s critical to comprehend your part in the narcissistic connection. Then you can set a goal about yourself to change your portion of the equation. As a result, your partner will be challenged to adapt their certain relationship approach. You can notice your partner’s fragile self-esteem. Also, you can show compassion for the fact that his or her inflated sense of superiority. While at the same time, grandiosity is a front for self-hatred and feelings of inadequacy. Learning to exercise self-compassion can majorly help you build your self-esteem and self-worth. Don’t let yourself become a victim at all. You need to act and respect your partner as an equal in all situations.
One of the most common goals for people with a narcissistic personality disorder is to challenge and overcome the inner voices. Also, changes in attitudes that they internalized early in life are more important. They also learn to distinguish between their own characteristics as well as those of their parents. Finally, individuals must abandon their coping strategies along with behaviors while dating a narcissist. As you can see, this can be a significant challenge that necessitates a thorough examination of one’s entire psyche. The best thing you can do as a spouse is to be supportive. Try to create an environment that encourages self-compassion at all costs. Encourage your partner’s generosity and assist them in developing true self-esteem.
Dating Narcissists: Blind Spots and Red Flags
It’s so simple and easy to fall in love with a narcissist when you are in the early phases. During these phases, people tend to miss even the most obvious indicators of their mental health disorder. However, through becoming informed of your blind spots, you will prevent them and save yourself a lot of time, energy, love, and aggravation.
The following are the primary factors for your inability to spot narcissists. Have a look below:
- Sexual attraction & Seductions: Narcissists are highly skilled in manipulation. They will crazily seduce you both sexually and otherwise. They will allure you in all possible ways, making it easier to avoid the most prominent red flags even.
- Idealization: People with NPD are usually highly successful in the majority of businesses. They have an outstanding appearance. There have superpowerful talents. It’s not difficult to begin idealizing someone, particularly if you have self-confidence difficulties. When you glamorize someone, you dismiss evidence to the contrary.
- Codependency: People who have poor self-esteem are likely to fall into a narcissist’s typical trap. These are called codependent relationships. If you have a proclivity for such encounters, you may be out of touch with your feelings in order to please the other.
All of the above-mentioned reasons are difficult to overcome. At the same time, too much skepticism might make you appear paranoid. Being informed, on the other hand, is half the battle won. If your future or present partner exhibits any of the traits listed that we are going to mention below, the odds of them having NPD increase even more.
Again, not everyone who exhibits these prominent traits has a mental health illness. But they aren’t conducive to any kind of happy relationship. If you observe several of the below things at once, be very cautious. Let’s have a look:
Narcissists love boasting about their own successes as well as accomplishments in such exaggerated terms. They behave like this because they believe they are better and smarter than all the people around them. As a result, they successfully project a confident image. You can also call it a self-importance preoccupation.
In order to win adulation from others around them, narcissists would often overstate and enhance their talents in their own stories. They’re also too preoccupied with themselves to pay attention to you. There are two types of warnings. Your companion will not at all stop talking about themselves. Second, they will not engage in discourse about you.
In simple words, narcissists perceive themselves as the center of the universe due to their ill mental health. Others are two-dimensional, so they make it difficult for them to empathize. They’ll perceive you more as an extension of themselves than as a separate human being. This is because of their low self-esteem.
This is another defining characteristic of narcissists. Their sense of superiority over others is what we call arrogance. If they fail to get what they want, this feeling might escalate to rude and spoiled behavior that extends to abuse. For any partner, this can be a challenging part of not being able to express how you feel. When you feel suppressed, half of your relationship is spoiled. Self-importance is only good when it is within limits.
In case you are planning dates with your narcissistic partner, pay attention to how they talk about others around. Pay closer attention to the way they talk or explain their exes. Also, when it comes to communicating with service employees, keeping a close eye is the key to detecting the disorder.
Another telltale sign that perfectly accompanies arrogance is entitlement. Here, we are talking about the grandiose kind, in particular. Such individuals will believe that the rules that apply to ordinary people do not apply to them. They’ll look for the same in a relationship due to their mental health condition. Narcissists believe that they are entitled to be with other unique individuals. For them, only the unique or prominent people are the ones who can truly appreciate them.
However, if anyhow, you do anything that fails to impress a narcissistic person, they may turn against you. Typically, you will have no idea what you’ve actually done. When a narcissistic person treats you or turns on you, this has all to do with their own certain beliefs. They have nothing to do with other people’s feelings. If the individual came on too strong at the start, be very cautious in this case. Sure, it’s nice to be lusted for. Real love, on the other hand, is something that needs to be nurtured and grown. It is not an inflated sense.
◆ Bragging and seeking admiration
Narcissists may appear to be extremely self-assured in their very own way. However, the majority of people with this disorder have very poor self-esteem. They are into false self-worth. They crave a lot of praise, and this is one of the major narcissistic traits. In case you don’t provide it to them, they’ll rush out to look for it in another romantic relationship. That’s why they keep gazing at you, expecting you to compliment their own reality. This is a unique kind of narcissistic abuse.
Narcissists usually rely on other people; they are often empathic individuals. This results in boosting their self-esteem hence, it makes them feel very smart and powerful. However, because of their poor self-esteem, their egos are easily slighted, necessitating more compliments.
As we discussed previously, confidence is accompanied by a great deal of insecurity. As a result, a true narcissist will seek affirmation and acknowledgment. They do this by boasting about themselves to the point of lying and they call it high self-esteem trait.
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◆ Controlling, manipulative behavior
People with narcissistic behaviors try to keep you under control. They do this by denying your complete affection and attention. You’ll notice some intriguing qualities. Also, you can get disillusioned by their sudden change in narcissistic behaviors as your relationship with them continues. You may be surprised because you had no idea at first that the charismatic charmer with whom you fell in love had narcissistic personality traits. In the vast majority of situations, the connection deteriorates and the level of toxicity rises due to their excessive admiration sense.
A narcissistic partner will prioritize their own demands. They will manipulate others to meet them. A prominent example is whether they’re willing to accommodate your needs when it comes to planning dates. It may not appear to be a big deal at first, but once you try refusing to compromise, it can be a big red flag that destroys so-called healthy relationships.
Below are some pros if you are planning your first date or already dating a person with narcissistic personality disorder:
◉ They’re Romantic
Your companion will be incredibly romantic and more into love bombing. This increases to the point of crying because they are so moved by their affections for you. They’re great lovers at first, and they’ll fulfill all of your romantic fantasies being the only person like a no-brainer. Narcissists are also keen observers in the arena of romance. They’ll spend time getting to understand the ins and outs of your persona and lavishing you with attention.
You will start noticing that they are very familiar with all of your interests as a person. What kind of date nights do you love. What are your favorite foods? With whom you are busy talking majorly or what is your very own voice. As a result, you get the impression that these are some superficial connections as they know you down to your very core. In short, they are on the fine line with all the new relationships.
◉ They’re Eager to Please
Narcissists will try hard to bring you endless and pure happiness in partnerships. They behave like this in order to gain the validation they actually want. When you start dating, from delicious breakfast to amazing sex, everything may be completely selfless and solely for your enjoyment.
Their personality to please their partner makes them very special and loved. Well, everyone craves such pleasing experiences. Especially when it comes to relationships, when your partner knows how to make you happy, you feel yourself in the seventh sky.
◉ They’re Entertaining
Narcissists are spontaneous, charismatic, charming, and amusing people. Whenever it tends to come to your relationship, it tends to devolve into a never-ending series of adventures, akin to a full of love romantic comedy.
They aren’t bashful at all. But at the same time, they are rather gregarious and amusing. Due to this, your friends and family members will adore them. Furthermore, the conversations will most likely be stimulating rather than mindless.
Many people who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder are prone to experiencing frequent mood swings. This makes you feel like you’re walking barefoot on eggshells. Even if you commit a real act of kindness, love, and care, someone may interpret it incorrectly. As a result, you will be under a mental penalty.
If you are someone already struggling with other traits of a narcissistic partner, mood swings can push you to your end. Especially, when dealing with this on a daily basis, things can go out of control.
When they’re in the wrong headspace, narcissists are prone to abuse (mental or emotional) their spouses. You may be able to escape it if you establish appropriate coping methods. But no use as they’ll still attempt to manage you. They may resort to mental and emotional abuse in relationships in order to maintain their position as the dominating partner and don’t feel guilty about their bad behavior.
◉ Isolation and Self-Doubt
Once again, this could be a result of severe cases of diagnostic and statistical manual about NPD. But partners of such persons with the condition may feel very alone. They can always be doubtful or even lost sometimes. Your partner may be insecure to a great extent.
As a result, you get isolated over time and ultimately cease seeing other people. Even if you do, you don’t like informing them about your predicament. You begin to question your own behavior and miss being self-confident as the relationship progresses.
∎ How Do You Know Whether You’re Dating a Narcissist?
It’s not always straightforward when it comes to diagnosing NPD. However, there are certain unmistakable indicators of this mental condition. They appear to be quite exciting at first. Their audacity, talents, confidence, and gifts will captivate you. It’s easy to fall for them because they’re so much fun, attractive, sexy, seducing, and magnetic.
Later, their confidence will often be shaky and they take on the role of the victim. Your lover may just spend a bit of time with you when it is convenient for them, disregarding and not valuing your romantic desires. It’s possible that you’d want to work with a relationship coach or a mental health expert.
∎ Can a Narcissist Fall in Love?
Narcissists will successfully demonstrate passion in the initial stages of the relationship. Relationships, on the other hand, are viewed as transactional by the majority of people with this condition. That is, their purpose is to ‘win,’ to receive delight and adulation without having to give anything in return.
They may acquire favorable feelings for their spouse. But these individuals lack empathy. As a result, making it difficult for them to recognize another person’s emotions. Finally, a narcissist might fall in love in some terms, but it will require a lot of effort on their part to overcome their disease.
∎ What is a Narcissistic Relationship?
Whenever one or perhaps both spouses suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder, they form the so-called narcissistic partnerships. NPD is a mental condition that causes people to have an exaggerated sense of importance. They have a strong desire for adulation.
People with mental disorders frequently believe they are superior to others. They have no respect for any type of other sentiments. However, beneath the surface, there is a fragile sense of self-worth. In essence, narcissists are unsuitable romantic partners. Manipulation is more likely than a commitment for them.
∎ How Do You Handle a Narcissist Successfully?
Beforehand, you’ll need to concentrate on your coping skills as well as self-confidence. However, several steps can aid in the early stages when you are in a relationship with a narcissist. First of all, never be swayed by them. Fighting will increase your partner’s manipulative powers even more. Especially, if you give them power over you.
Make sure you know exactly what you want. If you do end up in a disagreement, don’t expect the opposing side to play by the rules. Follow through on your own decisions.
Stop them from manipulating you. Remember that narcissists are always trying to improve their overall appearance. They’ll behave if dominating you often makes them appear wrong.
If you’re in a relationship or planning to have one, with someone who has NPD, you’ve probably already gone through a lot. It’s extremely draining to be in a relationship with a person who constantly criticizes. When someone always gaslights, belittles and refuses to commit to you, things turn very challenging. That is why, for your own sanity’s sake, a good mental health professional advises you to get a life and leave your partner.
Cutting ties is the finest thing you can do. Make no attempt to explain yourself. There will be no second chances at all. Break up with them immediately and don’t give them any further chance if you want to live peacefully. This is because a narcissist will almost certainly try to contact you and harass you with endless calls or messages once you have announced the rejection. But you need to stick to your decision.
Keep in mind; a handful of the above indications do not always indicate that your partner is a pure narcissist. Rather, it’s a good reason to reconsider whether or not your relationship is prospering or degrading. You are not accountable for their actions, but you are responsible for your own happiness and well-being.
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Author: Ruth Jesse
Ruth is a life coach who specialises in finance, relationships and career development. Outside work, she loves writing novels and guides for personal development.