You may notice that the person you are dating seems preoccupied with themselves and fails to take your feelings into account. They may also lack empathy for your experiences and feel entitled to more than what you think is warranted.
While almost everyone is guilty of being narcissistic at times, it is possible that these characteristics are more than just annoying character traits. The person you’re dating could have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which can make it very difficult to have a long-term relationship with them.
Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), if you are dating someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, they will display some of these signs:
- Feels self-important, with no realistic reason
- Obsesses about unlimited success, fame, or power
- Believes they are unique and special and can be understood by and associate with only other unique or high-status people
- Requires excessive admiration, attention, and affirmation
- Feels a sense of entitlement
- Exploits others without guilt or remorse
- Lacks empathy
- Is envious of others or believes others are envious of them
- Displays arrogant and haughty behavior
People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder think nothing can hurt them and see themselves as invincible, which can lead to dangerous, extreme behavior. They frequently put down coworkers and friends to raise themselves up, as well show an intense jealousy that borders on extreme controlling behavior.
But despite a self-loving exterior, this overconfidence can actually be hiding a fragile self -esteem and someone unable to take criticism. People with NPD love the image of themselves they try to create. When people around them buy into that image, and see the person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder in that light, then they feel they can love themselves.
What to Watch Out for When Dating Someone with NPD
You should be wary of dating someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder because narcissists cannot love in a healthy or traditional way. They may tell someone they love them only so they can be loved back. In a healthy relationship, loving someone is not dependent on having that love returned. But with someone with NPD, when your love stops, their love also stops.
Be aware that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be very charming and charismatic. In the beginning of dating someone with NPD, they will do everything they can to impress you. This isn’t uncommon in relationships, but when it reaches an extreme like expensive cars, watches, clothes, and food, this should raise a red flag.
To your partner with NPD, it is about image and not the internal qualities. Watch out for your significant other purchasing materialistic items and rationalizing why it is important for them to have them.
Most relationships with people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder don’t last long. Their partner will find their antics draining, and are likely to abandon them early on as they get tired of being belittled while their partner adores themselves.
If you are dating someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you may have a distorted image of your partner. Many people in relationships with people with NPD may see their partner as superior to them, and tend to play the victim. By playing the role of dependent or victim, you encourage certain traits and behaviors at the core of someone with NPD. Someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder relies on a partner to be submissive, adoring, and available to provide them with validation that they are superior.
Treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder
If you are aware of some of the warning signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in your partner, you need to take action. Seeking therapy for yourself as well as your partner could help prevent you from falling into a one-sided, hurtful relationship.
For someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, personality disorder treatment can help them learn to relate to other people in a more positive and compassionate way and help them function better in relationships.