With Narcissism being the buzzword all over the media these days, there are thousands of websites that offer dating advice on how to avoid narcissists.
However, after a while, the articles all start to look the same…rehashing the same cookie-cutter DSM criteria, reciting how self-centered narcissists are and how they’re always the center of attention. Frankly, readers often come away more confused after searching for dating advice as it pertains to detecting disordered personalities.
Since people are generally on their best behavior during early dating, how can you really know if someone is a narcissist, or just trying to make a good impression?
There are many things to be cautious of when avoiding narcissists in the dating arena. Today, I share five top red flags to be on the lookout for so you can avoid users, losers, and abusers.
1 – You Find Yourself Making All the Effort
In today’s world of online dating, it’s common to widen your list of prospects by searching for matches that live one to two hours away, sometimes more.
In this scenario, both parties should be willing to take on their share of traveling. Narcissists will often have a long list of reasons why you should travel to them instead of the other way around. They might pardon themselves due to their job, their custody situation, et cetera. However, everyone has their own lives, responsibilities, and obligations. If you can hire a babysitter and adjust your work schedule, they can too. Keep in mind that this should also be the case if the two of you live in the same city.
If you find that you are the one making all the effort, it’s possible you’ve become a narcissist’s target or, at the very least, in the company of someone who’s entitled and emotionally unavailable.
2 – After One or Two Dates, They Ask You to Change Your Hair Color or Wardrobe
This is an underhanded way for a narcissist to determine if you have co-dependent tendencies. If you are willing to make big changes to your appearance, like your hair or clothing style, it means you are highly cooperative, which is a trait narcissists look for.
They also do this to give you the false hope that the relationship has long-term potential. If someone you’ve just started seeing is already telling you things you should change about yourself, nip it in the bud. After all, what makes them so special that you need to immediately change yourself to their satisfaction? Don’t give them the impression that you are unhappy with yourself.
Tell them to take a hike and continue your search for Mr. Or Ms. Right, who will like you just the way you are.
3 – They Make Inappropriate Comments of a Sexual Nature
Unless you’ve made it clear that you are into casual encounters, no one should open this subject in the initial dating phase and especially not on the first date. This is another ploy by the narcissist to find out if you are willing to engage in inappropriate topics, even if you’re uncomfortable with it.
Likewise, if your new date takes one of their children along and then mauls you on the park bench in front of them, steer clear. This is a blaring sign that they have no boundaries, regardless of how innocent and fun it may seem at the outset. It’s also an indicator that they date often and likely expose their children to inappropriate scenes without a care about how it will affect them.
4 – They Dated a Victoria’s Secret Model
If someone is genuinely interested in you, they shouldn’t be talking about ex-lovers from the start. This is a sly way to play on any insecurities that you might have. While they’re blabbering on about how they had to arrange their schedules around her photo shoots, you are secretly making plans to lose 15 pounds and sign up for a gym membership.
It’s also an early form of triangulation. They want to give the impression that they’re important and in high demand. If you just met someone and are already feeling jealous and insecure, you’ve been played by a narcissist.
Block their number and remove them from your social media sites. Stat.
5 – They Tell You How to Handle Your Children
Regardless of what culture they’re from or if they have children of their own, anyone who tells you how to deal with your children when they barely know you is arrogant beyond measure.
Narcissists have no boundaries, and this is obvious in their assumption that you will welcome their input on how you are raising your children. Some narcissists will go so far as to include this on their dating profile, making references to unruly children. No person you’ve just met has a right to give you this type of advice, no matter how convincing it may seem in the delivery. In their mind, if you are willing to let them have a say so about your children, you would be willing to tolerate just about anything. Let them know that the topic isn’t up for discussion and flag the waiter for your check.
If you’ve recently taken a dive back into the dating pool, don’t go into the deep end. Trust your instincts. If you keep getting the niggling feeling that your new date has a lot of nerve, that’s your internal GPS telling you to reroute. Finding a romantic partner shouldn’t leave you feeling like you are on an examination table undergoing a surreal version of the Spanish Inquisition. The most uncomfortable topics might include politics or whether you like sushi. Maintain your boundaries and don’t budge on the things that are important to you.
Bonus Tip – If you’re looking for long-term potential in a relationship, there’s one thing you should do, and that is to focus on trust before touch. If you are recovering from a narcissistically abusive relationship, you don’t want to give too much, too soon because once you do that, you begin to form an emotional attachment to the person and they could end up being another narcissist.
Loneliness can sometimes drive us to make quick connections with people, but it’s important to remember that, in reality, if you’ve just started dating someone, you barely know them. All you see is what they want you to see.
It’s a good idea to make a rule to not be intimate with anyone until you know more about them. This helps increase the chances of the relationship being built on a solid foundation. Let the relationship flow naturally without jumping into a commitment too quickly. If you feel clingy, needy, or experience intense trauma triggers, you’re not ready for a relationship yet.
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