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Dating a Narcissist – Part 2

After being out of the dating pool for a decade or so, post-divorce it can be tempting to give an individual the benefit of doubt for erratic behaviour. One may wonder if things have changed in the dating world, or is it just them. It can be difficult to ascertain when a new partner has a personality disorder. Whether a person is a full-blown clinically diagnosed Narcissist – or shares a few of those traits – there are clues that someone is bad news.

  • If there are problems in your relationship, are they willing to work on them? Narcissists do not seek out therapy since it is the other person’s fault that the relationship is deteriorating. Narcissists may begin therapy when pressured, but drop out fairly quickly. They do not want to see their flaws or contribution to a floundering relationship. They are not going to exert any effort for a change nor try to understand your viewpoint and needs.
  • Sense of entitlement. Narcissists feel they deserve special treatment – the best restaurant table, hotel upgrade to a suite, place of honour and so forth. They want special consideration from others and bask in adoration. Narcissists will trample on family and friends to save face or get what they want. They are very in to materialism.
  • Narcissists perceive themselves as experts. You name it – they will know all there is on that subject. A young woman received her degree in philosophy, yet a narcissistic man working in security initiated a discussion to show off his brilliance. Although he was clearly off the mark on a philosopher, he bragged about winning the “debate.” He regularly spouts nonsense to the staff and gets belligerent when facts conflict with his views. Watch out if your new beau is Mr. Know-It-All or your girlfriend always has to be right. They get furious when others disagree with them or catch their discrepancies.
  • Is your new partner extremely competitive with you – even when your careers are vastly different? Narcissists crave fame and do not tolerate you sharing their spotlight. When a partner moves up the career ladder, garnishes praise or wins professional awards, this can be threatening to a Narcissist. They want the attention with a date in the background. One may be on the receiving end of putdowns concerning their abilities and stating achievements are due to luck. I sometimes socialized with an acquaintance, who was an excellent nurse, and with her husband. He would criticise her and this was awkward for the rest of us. After their divorce, Clare stated that her ex was a Narcissist and she had reached the breaking point. Disrespect towards you is a red flag that this is not a healthy relationship.

Narcissists want power over others. They are the puppeteers who pull the strings so others do their bidding.  Your new date is controlling which can initially be mistaken for seemingly to be in love. The old Rolling Stones’ song “Under my Thumb” describes this controlling behaviour and lack of a cooperative partnership.

Narcissists attempt to steal centre stage from others. For example, when a person told a joke or humorous story, one Narcissist would quickly add his sentence to the end of it, right before people started laughing. His lame one-liner was not relevant to what the jokester had previously said.  We were not fooled and were not laughing over the Narcissist’s addition. A Narcissistic date may try to top your or other people’s adventures in a conversation. They have to come out on top.

Relationships are not exactly 50/50, but if yours is 90/10 in their favour, then something is amiss. Are your needs and desires being lost in the background while their every whim is being met?  Remember, a relationship does not consist of a dictator and follower. If yours is beginning to feel that way, then talk it over with a trusted friend or professional.

Originally  published in The Divorce Magazine  https://www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/

Podcast on narcissists      https://soundcloud.com/divorcesux/divorcing-a-narcissist-ep009


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