20 Signs to Watch Out for if You’re Dating a Narcissist

Navigating relationships can be complicated, especially if you think your partner might exhibit narcissistic behavior. So, we’ve compiled 20 signs to watch out for should you suspect that your partner is a narcissist. By recognizing these warning signals early on, you can better understand the challenges in your relationship and address them healthily, leading to more fulfilling and satisfying connections in the future. Read on and start empowering yourself with the knowledge to build stronger and happier relationships!

They Seek to Be the Central Figure in Your Life, Receiving Your Sole Attention

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It’s natural to want a partner who appreciates your love, care, and attention. However, it’s crucial to remember that a healthy relationship is a two-way street. If you find that your affection is not reciprocated, and your partner constantly demands to be the center of your universe, it’s a red flag. Individuals with narcissistic tendencies often crave constant attention, even in relationships.

They Tend to Monopolize Conversations, Wanting Only to Focus On Themselves

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To get to know your partner better, you need to communicate and share things about yourself. However, if you’re dating a narcissist, as time passes, you’ll notice that they constantly redirect the conversation back to them. They’d take any and every opportunity to remind you of how great they are, how amazing they are, and how no one would compare to them.

They Want Immediate Satisfaction in All Aspects of Life and Need to Be Instantly Gratified

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Narcissists want you to agree with them and give them what they want all the time. So, when you’re dating someone, and you tell them no, or you need to think about things, and they start to lash out, that’s a big red flag. According to Psychology Today, “The reward of having what they want immediately outweighs, in their mind, the risk of alienating you completely.”

They’re Obsessed With Maintaining a Certain Image

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Narcissists want everything related to them to be perfect. So, if you’re dating one, expect to constantly be pressured to maintain appearances. After all, they absolutely despise being talked about in a negative light!

They Fail to Follow Through and Are Unreliable

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One of the most obvious signs you’re dating a narcissist is if your partner is unreliable. Narcissists, after all, only think about themselves and aren’t able to put themselves in others’ shoes. If they did something to disappoint you or didn’t keep their promise, to them, it’s okay since they’re not the ones being let down.

They Are Possessive, Jealous, and Want Others to Be Envious of Them

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Narcissists feed on control, and when it comes to relationships, showing jealousy and possessiveness is their key to instilling fear or guilt. These actions ensure their partner remains under their influence, making them easy to control and manipulate.

They Find It Hard to Take Any Sort of Criticism

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In a relationship, it’s normal and expected to express your concerns to your partner, especially since they’re someone you see spending the rest of your life with. However, when you do this to a narcissistic partner, they would immediately think of it as an attack on their character. Medium notes, “A narcissist cannot handle any inkling of criticism, as it is too much for their fragile ego to bear. So, once relational conflict arises, and it will because that’s a normal part of life, the relationship gets stuck at a dead halt.”

They Prefer Their Own Way, so They’re Never Flexible, nor Do They Like to Compromise

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Narcissists only think about themselves, their ego, needs, wants, and what would make them happy. So, their twisted brains and mindset never allow them to consider other people’s feelings or situations—even their partners’. For them, compromise is never an option because the only option or solution is for others to adjust to them.

They Have an Extreme Sense of Entitlement and Are Very Controlling

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Narcissists thrive on control, and when you’re dating one, you constantly feel like you’re on a leash. You can’t do what you want to do because your narcissistic partner’s demands are more important in your relationship. After all, they think they’re entitled to anything and everything they want because they’re better than you.

They Crave Your Compliments and Admiration

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Similar to wanting to be the center of attention, your narcissistic partner can also crave compliments. They fish and fish and fish until you give them the words they need to validate themselves. For example, they’d say things like they’re ugly, they’re pathetic, they look bad, and more until you counter their statements and tell them something good about themselves.

They Won’t Be Satisfied Unless They’re Constantly Being Validated

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According to Choosing Therapy, “Narcissists seek endless validation, attention, and praise to compensate for low self-esteem, confidence, and a perceived lack of acceptance.” Too much of anything is bad, and your partner’s need to constantly be validated can get very frustrating—especially if you’re not receiving the same or equal treatment from them.

They Charm You at the Beginning of the Relationship

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There’s no doubt that narcissists can appear to be incredibly charming, especially when you’re only in your dating phase. However, as time passes, you’ll realize that their attempts to be charming and lovable are driven by self-interest. They want to be validated, admired, loved, and praised, and for them to get what they want, they know they should appear as charming as possible at the beginning. Unfortunately, they’ll show their ugly side later by being demanding, dismissive, entitled, and critical.

They Don’t Have a Good History of Long-Term Relationships

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Narcissists can get delusional because of their grandiose sense of self. In their minds, nothing is wrong with their relationships with family, friends, significant other, and colleagues. But it’s highly probable that they couldn’t be farther from the truth. Because of their narcissistic tendencies, it’s hard for them to form genuine lifelong bonds that will stand the test of time.

They Struggle With Sticking to Long-Term Goals

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Because narcissists want instant gratification, they aren’t able to form and stick to long-term goals. A study explains, “Why do narcissists sacrifice the long-term fulfillment of their goals in favor of immediate gratification? The most parsimonious explanation would seem to be that narcissists’ impulsivity prevents them from delaying gratification even when it is beneficial to do so and costly not to.”

They’re Too Caught up in Social Media

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If your partner constantly posts on social media and reacts strongly to other people’s thoughts on their posts, then it’s a big sign of narcissism. After all, people with narcissistic tendencies have the need or craving to feel important. They post things they think others will like so as to get admiration from them. Other times, they also want others to feel jealous of what they have or where they’ve been.

They Employ Manipulative Tactics to Control You

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There are many ways to manipulate someone, but one of the most common ways narcissists manipulate their partners is through gaslighting. They instill guilt onto their partners by altering their perception of reality and the truth. By doing so, they avoid guilt and blame and can control you into doing what they want.

They Lash out and Become Aggressive the Moment You Try to End Things

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People with narcissistic tendencies want to be in control of every situation they’re in. So, if you try to break things off with them, they feel like you’re stealing control and power away from them. They lash out to scare or guilt you, which is their way of regaining control and power over those around them. Additionally, the end of a relationship taints a narcissist’s image, and they’ll feel like a failure, so they try to avoid it as much as possible!

They Aren’t So Skilled at Coping With Stress or Failure

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Narcissists can’t accept that they failed at something; after all, in their minds, they’re perfect and can’t make any mistakes. So, if you fight and point out some of their mistakes or shortcomings, they’ll most probably react poorly. They might respond by hurling insults at others, breaking down, screaming, yelling, or, in worst-case scenarios, they might threaten to hurt you or themselves.

They Constantly Criticize You and Target Your Weaknesses

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Having a narcissistic partner is detrimental to your mental and emotional health. This is because they typically target your insecurities, weaknesses, and shortcomings during fights. They want to lift themselves up and appear better than everyone else, so they put others down—even their partners.

They Never Accept Their Wrongdoings and, Therefore, Refuse to Apologize, Even When They’re at Fault

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One thing that’s common among all narcissists is that they shift the blame to others. To know if the person you’re dating is a narcissist or not, be mindful of how they react to making mistakes or to you pointing out some concerns here and there. If they immediately shift the blame to you or others, then there’s a big chance you’re dating a narcissist.

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Author: Karen Danao


Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.