“I didn’t see it coming,” said Mary. “He seemed so caring and sweet. He was so much fun to hang out with. I felt so attracted to him, like nothing I ever felt before. When I asked him to be exclusive with me, he suddenly dumped me. What happened?”
Mary, you dated another narcissist; someone who cared more about his needs than yours, a guy who ran for the hills when things became too emotional, when you expected things from him. Sure, he was charming, and he might have swept you off your feet. But is he a guy with relationship potential? Is he someone that you want to take back should he come knocking at your door again? Simple answer: NO!
Wouldn’t it be great if there were an easy way to figure out if the next charmer was a narcissist or a genuinely charismatic guy with relationship potential?
Here’s the dictionary definition of narcissism |ˈnärsəˌsizəm|:
• extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
Ah, if it were only that black and white, that simple to recognize a narcissist. In extreme cases, it is very obvious. He talks about himself incessantly. When you’re wearing sunglasses, while he’s looking at you, he’s checking out his reflection in your glasses. You know the type?
The problem is that many narcissists are cleverly cloaked in a different costume, that of the ‘nice guy’, the one who says lovely things to you. You feel a connection like never before. Sex is off the charts. It’s intoxicating to be around him. He’s fun, charming, and exciting. This feels like your true soul mate!
If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.
Women often attract the same guy over and over, and it’s not always easy to recognize that he’s shown up again. So, how do you know?
Five ways to identify (and stop dating) a narcissist
- When you express your needs, he gets defensive. A narcissist puts his own needs first. He has a hard time hearing you express what matters to you; especially if you’re addressing something he’s done to you. Be alert the first time this happens. It’s not cool. Address it and see how he responds. If he still doesn’t value your needs, he’s not a man who can build a relationship with you. Walk away.
- When the going gets tough, he gets going. A narcissist can’t handle the pressures of your real emotional life. He will probably shut down in order to protect his own emotions and have nothing in reserve for you. A good relationship is built on mutual support. This guy will not be there for you in tough times. Leave now, before it gets harder.
- When he’s hurt, he doesn’t feel sad. He feels rage. If you express that you’re upset with something he did, he will feel rage at you, not take responsibility for his actions. This is a recipe for disaster in a relationship. A healthy relationship is one in which both parties take full responsibility for their piece in any situation. If he can’t do this, you should not be with him.
- He runs hot and cold. Narcissists in a relationship will give you mixed signals. He’ll be really into you, telling you that you’re the most incredible woman he’s ever met, and the next day, he is pulling away, acting aloof. In the example of Gena above, this is what she was experiencing. It is crazy making. But you don’t have to put up with it. If you recognize it early on, it’ll be easier for you to make a cleaner break.
- He gets angry when you pressure him for a commitment. Narcissists are often enamored with their freedom. If you talk to him about commitment after you’ve been dating for a few months, he will probably freak out on you. He may show this through his words or his actions (disappearing). You deserve a man who wants to commit to you. Leave this guy to make room for the one who wants a real relationship.
What do you do if you’re already dating a narcissist?
Pay attention to what he does more than what he says. Many narcissists are wordsmiths, saying wonderfully touching things to you. They charm you with their words, but they don’t follow through with their actions.
If he exhibits any of the above behaviors, you are probably dating a narcissist. You should get out of this relationship as soon as possible.
- Don’t make demands on him to change. He won’t.
- Don’t nag him or play games with him. Don’t make him chase you by playing hard to get. These tactics will never get him to be the kind of guy with whom you can forge a healthy relationship.
- Do speak to him with firm conviction. Tell him that this relationship is not working for YOU. And walk away, never to look back and hope for reconciliation.
If you need more help extricating yourself from a pattern of being in relationship with narcissists, you can always email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask for help.
It is my passion to help women stop dating the toxic bad guy and make room for a wonderful, available, loving man.
For a copy of my FREE report, “The Top 3 Mistakes Midlife Daters Make (and how to turn them around to find love now)”, please click here.