40+ Signs You’re Dating a Psychopath (And What to Do About It)

Are you currently in a relationship with someone who makes you feel confused and concerned? Are they erratic, controlling, and distant one day, then loving and kind the next? If so, you may be dating a psychopath.

Psychopathy isn’t something that can be easily spotted since people with this personality can come across as charming and attractive. Fortunately, there are indicators that may confirm whether or not your partner has potential psychopathic tendencies.

According to experts, here are signs you’re dating a psychopath, along with ways to protect yourself:

Dr. Kimberly Parker, LCSW, PhD

Kimberly Parker

PhD Candidate, Psychology | Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Healthy Mind Counseling & Nutrition, LLC

Love is a beautiful feeling that most people want to experience. To attain love, we must first start dating, and that can be a hard task. Within the past year, we are hearing more buzzwords such as “red flags” and “narcissist.” Now, these words are important, especially when we are in the world of dating.

Related: 35+ Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist

To know the definition of a psychopath, we must understand psychopathy. Psychopathy is when a person has the characteristics of an antisocial personality disorder, which is a Cluster B Disorder in the DSM-V-TR. When a person is diagnosed with ASPD, the person must fit 3 of the 7 criteria before age 15.

Having symptoms of psychopathy does not mean one has ASPD and vice versa — they may have another clinical diagnosis. We are looking at the interpersonal domains of an individual when looking for psychopathic behaviors.

So, therefore, the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL-R) must be used by a licensed mental health professional.

These are psychopathy signs one may see in an individual, whether you are a licensed clinician or someone who’s in the dating arena:

  • Deceitfulness, manipulation, grandiose behavior
  • Lack of remorse, shallow affect (cold demeanor), no depth of emotions
  • Blame shifts their behavior and life problems on others
  • Lack of impulse control, no self-discipline
  • Controlling and lack of empathy for others
  • High levels of anger, the inability to accept criticism
  • They have a shallow charm that can draw people in (they may give off a mysterious demeanor) and love bombing behavior/over-the-top flattery.
  • Compulsive lying and cheating (everything they do is based on what suits them only)

Psychopathy is a very complex subject. Someone who is a psychopath is going to mirror you as if they are your “twin flame.”

They flood you with compliments

Psychopaths, when they first meet you, may flood you with compliments. They will attempt to ask deeply personal questions when you first meet them. You may think that that person is interested in knowing you interpersonally.

For example, “You are the most beautiful or handsome person I have ever met.” They seem too good to be true, almost as if you are in a fairy tale.

They avoid answering detailed questions and just give surface information

They can be very intense to get what they want. Psychopaths will camouflage themselves to everything you want them to be, and therefore one should always ask detailed questions when dating.

If the person avoids answering questions and just gives surface information, this is a sign that they could be hiding something.

They love to dominate; they look at you as an object to be controlled

Many do not have a lot of friends; they do not care about your boundaries, and guilt-tripping and shaming you for your beliefs is used for you to adopt their program of being under their control.

Related: How to Deal With Someone Who Doesn’t Respect Boundaries

Psychopaths give back-handed compliments to control your emotions or self-esteem. The attention that they gave you initially will be taken away from you.

When discussing past relationships, they are the victim in the narrative, and all their exes are the problem. Psychopaths look at people as competition, and they love to dominate any relationship.

Psychopaths are great at reading people and finding your vulnerabilities to get what they want, as they look at you as an object to be controlled.

They isolate you from family and friends to exercise dominance

Psychopaths want to take your voice away in the relationship and isolate you from family and friends to exercise dominance. You will not see this behavior in the beginning — they slowly groom you.

“How so?” One may ask. They will pretend to crave more attention and time with you. They will lie about your friends and family through triangulation.

Here are examples:

  • “I think your friend Jane or John is jealous of you. Do you see how they look at you when you speak to them?”
  • “Wow, I thought you would have a better choice in friends; you are too good for them.”

You will start looking at your friend and even family through a clouded lens.

They will use gaslighting and love bombing to get you to serve their needs

Psychopaths are gaslighters and will love-bomb you when they first meet you to learn your vulnerabilities. Psychopaths will use charm to groom you. The grooming of your role is to serve their needs.

Related: How to Respond to Gaslighting 

If you decide to go against the program, then you will be discarded. Their goal is to trauma-bond you through the push-pull of your emotions, through their give and take of love (pseudo-love) which is an illusion.

Psychopaths have attachment issues that started in childhood; they have insecure or avoidant attachments to others. They detest rejection, and they can have the tendency to lash out verbally and physically.

Related: The 4 Different Types of Attachment Styles

Psychopaths live in a world illusion, and they will cloud your reality with manipulation. They don’t hold any accountability for their actions and blame others for any life pitfalls.

Related: 30+ Signs Someone Is Manipulating You

Psychopaths show a callous disregard towards people, and you may see this based on how they treat public service workers while you are on a date. They operate with a false self to gain your trust.

Psychopaths start to reveal their true selves once they have you hooked emotionally.

They emotionally hook you through sex. They look at sex as a task but will perform in a way that will have you saying, “This is the best lovemaking I have ever experienced.” This bonds you to them on a deeper level, which one may believe is love, but the psychopath uses this as leverage.

They will cloud your reality and make you feel like you’re losing your mind

Psychopaths will have you questioning your reality; they will make you feel like you are losing your mind. The emotional abuse you’ll receive will cause mental health issues such as Complex PTSD and medical issues, and some have said it has also affected them spiritually.

You are on a continuous loop of drama and trauma that will deplete you and have you not recognizing yourself.

Signs and symptoms of “psychopath” abuse:

  • You feel as if you are losing your mind.
  • You have lost friends and family due to putting all your time into the person you are dating.
  • You have issues with sleep.
  • Brain fog; you are having memory issues/ bouts of confusion.
  • You no longer feel like yourself; you do not recognize yourself in the mirror.
  • Nightmares about the psychopath’s ill behavior towards you.
  • You are easily startled, walking on eggshells, and have panic/anxiety attacks.
  • Depressive symptoms (sleeping longer than normal or lack of sleep).
  • You may have issues with your job or school productivity.

Seek therapy and re-establish friendships

If you find yourself in this situation and having a hard time leaving, seek therapy and re-establish friendships you have lost due to dating a psychopath.

Trust your “gut feeling”

Educate yourself on sociopathy and psychopathy. Many times, we ignore our intuition or that “gut feeling.” If you’ve heard the saying, “That person made the hairs on my arms stand up,” that is another sign that your body is telling you not to proceed.

When meeting new people, stop overly sharing, and then you are given surface-level information by the person you are dating. Trust your gut instinct — when it feels off, just know that it is off.

Related: Narcissist Versus Sociopath Versus Psychopath: What’s the Difference?

Set boundaries within yourself

Establish boundaries within yourself — that is your standard. What are you not willing to accept in your life? If it makes you feel uncomfortable, know you have the right to say no.

Lena Derhally

Lena Derhally

Licensed Psychotherapist | Author, “The Facebook Narcissist

They have a shallow range of feelings

Psychopaths have a very difficult time experiencing deep emotions, especially when it comes to attachment towards others.

While they can be very charming, romantic, and sexual, behind the facade is an ability to attach or feel warm and fuzzy feelings for anyone. As a result, they will show little to no empathy for you or others and have no remorse if they do something that is hurtful to you or others.

Most people feel shame and guilt when they do something they know is wrong, but psychopaths don’t feel those emotions, which makes it easy for them to take advantage of others.

If you feel like you don’t truly know who your partner is and question why they seem to have a shallow range of feelings, coupled with a lack of empathy and remorse, it is likely this person is a psychopath.

Related: What Is the Difference Between Shame, Guilt, and Remorse?

They are risky and impulsive, with little regard for danger

Psychopaths get bored easily and get thrills from risky and impulsive behaviors with little regard for danger. They have absolutely no issue with putting others in danger, either.

For example, they may drive recklessly and even get a little thrill if they know you are scared by their driving.

While a person who is not a psychopath would feel bad for putting you in danger or for scaring you, a psychopath will push the limits, continue the behavior, and even accelerate it to scare you even more.

They are pathological and skilled liars

Psychopaths are exceptionally good at telling lies and making people believe them. They do a great job of crafting a mask of a persona they want you to believe in. They have no problem cheating on you, pushing boundaries, and even having a secret life, while you may have no idea.

If you catch them in a serious lie, especially if it involves a betrayal of your trust, know that the pattern of lying will likely continue and only worsen.

Related: How to Tell If Someone Is Lying to You (According to Experts)

You feel anxious, unsettled, and unsafe around them

You may feel constantly anxious or unsettled around them, even if you can’t put your finger on it. You also may not fully trust them.

Sometimes we try to talk ourselves out of our gut feelings, but most people have some sense they are with a psychopath when they start to see what is on the other side of the charm.

Feeling anxious, unsettled, and unsafe, even without a blatant reason, is always a sign you could be dating a potential psychopath.

Dr. Sanam Hafeez

Sanam Hafeez

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Comprehend The Mind

They pathologically lie and make up excuses

If your partner is always lying and making up excuses, especially when it’s not necessary, this could be a sign you’re dating a psychopath. This could include constantly blaming others and not accepting accountability for their actions.

Perhaps they spend more time rationalizing their behavior rather than working on improving it. Watch out for those who express no embarrassment or remorse when caught in a lie; this could indicate a larger underlying problem.

Related: Why Do People Lie to You? [and] How to Deal With Liars?

The relationship is moving fast

You’ve only been dating a short time, and your partner is already telling you they love you and discussing marriage. Maybe you thought they were intensely fascinated with you, but this could mean they are a psychopath who is seeking control.

This type of person will tell you precisely what you want to hear, act how they think you want them to, and try to convince you they’re the best partner you’ve ever had.

They are constantly gaslighting you

In this situation, you probably started the relationship off feeling confident and comfortable but realized in a short amount of time you’re feeling worthless and confused. There’s a strong chance your partner is the culprit and is gaslighting you.

Gaslighting means they are subconsciously diminishing your confidence by doing things to make you question your sanity or reality. This can be done very subtly, targeting your most vulnerable areas.

Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW 

Sheri Heller

Therapeutic Wellness Coach | Psychotherapist

They may be highly successful—it’s easy to be ruthlessly ambitious when you lack a conscience

Narcissism is a condition that has variability across a continuous range.

Unlike the introversion-extroversion spectrum where there is a range of opposite ways of being with traits of engagement and disengagement peppered in between, the narcissism spectrum draws distinctions of adaptive, healthy narcissism from malignant pathological states.

All human beings possess some characteristics that span this continuum.
However, you may be dating a person on the destructive malignant end of the narcissistic spectrum if you find yourself:

  • In a suspended state of chronic confusion.
  • In heightened fear and derealization because your romantic partner’s version of reality conflicts with your perceptions.
  • Experiencing episodic states of heightened sympathetic arousal.

The further along on the narcissistic continuum, the more the capacity for love diminishes and the greater the proclivity for domination.

It is here we begin to see rigid personality traits and exploitative entitled ways of operating. If you are identifying incessant lies, criminal behavior, and violent maneuvering, the person you are dating may qualify as having the most extreme form of malignant narcissism — psychopathology.

Related: How Does Narcissism Affect Relationships?

Although psychopaths are driven towards criminality and the urge to sadistically destroy others, they can exude a superficial charm that is initially beguiling. They may also be highly successful. After all, it is easy to be ruthlessly ambitious when you lack a conscience.

During the love bombing phase, the psychopath will characterize all their ex-partners as mentally ill or abusive while you are defined as the special someone they’ve always sought.

When your suitor’s charm morphs into creepiness and stalking, policing, and having all your time managed and controlled, you are seeing critical red flags indicative of psychopathic behavior. It is crucial to go no contact and detach with an ax before further escalation occurs.

Kristin Davin, PsyD 

Kristin Davin

Psychologist, Choosing Therapy

Dating a psychopath is often viewed as ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing.’ On the outside, they are charming, seductive, and charismatic. However, on the inside, they are much different.

Here are some signs to look out for:

They are over the top with praise for you

They are over the top with praise and adoration for you (this wears off). For example, “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me,” or “I’ve never met anyone like you.” They say these things to everyone.

They don’t feel guilty for their behavior

They are unable to put themselves in your or another’s shoes. They don’t feel remorseful or guilty for their behaviors and thus don’t apologize.

They gaslight you

They will rewrite history and narrative, and they will do and say things that make you feel like you are going crazy.

They will say things like “I never said that” or “I never did that,” even though you know or experienced differently.

They are irresponsible and impulsive

Their irresponsibility can show up in various ways, including financial irresponsibility. This is often because they are impulsive or don’t really care and may have debtors coming after them.

Additionally, they may show irresponsibility with their work — they cannot hold down a job often because of their aberrant behaviors and very poor interpersonal relationship skills.

They demonstrate controlling behavior

They will try to control you by telling you what you can and cannot do, whom to spend time with, and how to spend your time, and they will have a hard time when you attempt to do otherwise.

Dr. Raffaello Antonino

Raffaello Antonino

Counselling Psychologist and Clinical Director, Therapy Central

Here are some of the most important signs you’re dating a psychopath (the more signs you notice, the worse):

You’re being constantly lied to

Psychopaths usually have a hard time being honest with people. Some are dishonest only when they want to conceal something terrible (e.g., having an affair), but some psychopaths make up grandiose stories about themselves and lie even when they don’t have to.

Your feelings aren’t appreciated

Psychopaths have a problem empathizing with others — they simply are unable to. Psychopaths may seem as if they can empathize with you, while in fact, they might be pretending. You’ll notice this as psychopaths will fail to do things for which empathy is a prerequisite.

They won’t recognize why something is a “big deal” to you, and they will often cross boundaries, causing you distress and confusion, without being able to recognize and acknowledge their own part.

You’re seeing a lot of criminal activity

Not all psychopaths are criminals, and not all criminals are psychopaths, but psychopaths can engage in criminal activity.

Psychopaths don’t really care about the bad things they do or their consequences: You won’t notice a sincere sense of shame, remorse, or guilt (though they may be able to pretend to feel these).

Psychopaths often engage in criminal activity because they are seeking new sensations; it can be both whimsical or cold and calculated.

They are physically or emotionally abusive

Due to their lack of empathy, psychopaths are more likely than other people to be abusive, whether physically or emotionally.

Keep in mind that even controlling your finances can be a form of abuse. In fact, any act that makes you feel, in some senses, coerced or manipulated can be seen as abuse. If that’s the case, psychopath or not, you’d better remove yourself from the relationship.

Related: Coercive Control: Signs and How to Deal with It

They torture animals

The tendency to torture animals can be hard to notice; in turn, torturing animals is a sign of psychopathy. It is one of the earliest signs of psychopathy in children, and while it might dissipate as they become adults (often because that violence is moved towards other objects), some adults will still show similar behaviors.

It might even come in the form of abusing your dog or cat and showing little or no empathy at all for stray animals on the street.

They mostly have shallow relationships

Psychopaths usually have a hard time establishing deep relationships with people; their intimate relationships are (most often) purely sexual in nature.

Dr. Ketan Parmar

Ketan Parmar

Psychiatrist and Mental Health Expert, ClinicSpots

Most people think of psychopaths as criminals or monsters, but the truth is that many psychopaths blend into society undetected. If you’re in a relationship with someone who exhibits psychopathic traits, it can be difficult to recognize them — especially if you don’t know what to look for.

Here are some warning signs that you may be dating a psychopath:

Unable to empathize with others

One of the hallmarks of psychopathy is an inability to empathize with others. If your partner doesn’t seem to care about your feelings or takes pleasure in hurting your feelings, they could be exhibiting signs of psychopathy.

Related: How to Deal With Someone Who Hurt You Emotionally

They exhibit manipulative behavior

Psychopaths are experts at manipulation and will often use it to get what they want. If your partner is constantly trying to manipulate you or control how you think, feel, or act, this could be a sign of psychopathy.

Related: 25+ Warning Signs of a Controlling Partner

Their unusual charm can be difficult to resist

Psychopaths can be very charming and charismatic, which can make them difficult to resist. They may come off as overly friendly or engaging in order to deceive those around them.

Beware of anyone who seems “too good to be true” — they just might be hiding something sinister beneath the surface.

Impulsivity: They often act without thinking

Psychopaths often don’t think before they act, leading to reckless behavior that can put themselves or others in danger. If your partner often acts without thinking, this could be a sign of psychopathy.

They are cruel to animals and people

Psychopaths can display an extreme lack of empathy for living things, including animals and people. If your partner has exhibited any signs of violence towards animals or other people, it may be a warning sign that they are psychopathic.

It’s important to remember that not all psychopaths are violent criminals — many lead relatively normal lives with few symptoms of their condition.

However, if you recognize any of the above signs in your relationship, it may be time to reevaluate whether it is healthy for you to continue in the relationship. It is always important to take care of yourself first and make sure you are safe.

They rarely accept responsibility for their actions

Psychopaths often blame others for their own mistakes or misbehavior and will rarely, if ever, accept responsibility for their actions.

If your partner is always blaming other people instead of taking responsibility, this could be a sign of psychopathy.

Unreliability: They have difficulty following through on things they’ve said they would do

Psychopaths can be notoriously unreliable and may not keep promises or commitments they’ve made. If your partner has difficulty following through on things they’ve said they would do, it could be another sign.

They come from a string of failed relationships

Psychopaths can have difficulty maintaining relationships due to their inability to empathize and be honest. If your partner has had a string of failed relationships, this could be an indication that they have psychopathic tendencies.

They exhibit little to no remorse

If your partner exhibits little to no remorse when they’ve done something wrong, this is a sign that they may have issues with psychopathy. Psychopaths rarely feel guilt or regret for their actions and can even take pleasure in hurting others.

Joshua Flatow, MD

Joshua Flatow

Chief Psychiatrist and Medical Director, Pacific Mind Health

They may be able to mimic emotions in order to manipulate others

As a psychiatrist, it is important to note that individuals with psychopathic traits can be difficult to identify since, most of the time, they are skilled at manipulating and deceiving others.

Psychopathy is not an official diagnosis, but it’s an informal term used often to refer to someone with Anti-Social Personality Disorder. So we refer to the signs described under the Anti-Social Personality Disorder to identify a psychopath.

Some of the common signs that someone has ASPD are the following:

  • They often have a lack of empathy.
  • They may be indifferent to the feelings and needs of others.
  • They may also be able to mimic emotions in order to manipulate others.
  • Most of the time, they are also very charming and charismatic — they may use these qualities to manipulate and deceive others.
  • They may not react as if they have hurt someone.
  • They may be impulsive or abusive.
  • They may lack remorse or guilt for their actions, even if they caused harm to others.

Be safe; seek the guidance of a professional

If you are concerned that you may be dating a psychopath, it is important to seek the guidance of a mental health professional.

It is also important to prioritize your own safety and well-being and to consider seeking help if you are experiencing abuse or manipulation.

Sandra Myers

Sandra Myers

Co-Founder and Certified Matchmaker, Select Date Society

The relationship starts fast

Psychopaths are notorious for love bombing. They will sweep you off your feet in the beginning. Buying you gifts, showering you with compliments, and planning romantic getaways. If it feels like too much, too soon, you may be dating a psychopath.

They are extremely charming

Psychopaths are often quite charming. They may be funny and charismatic, winning over your friends and family.

Many psychopaths are fixated on their ability to charm people and take great care and concern to make sure that people fall for them.

They drive a wedge between you and the people you love

A psychopath needs to be your one and only. They will isolate you from the other people you care about and create conflict and chaos between you and anyone else you care about.

They will talk poorly about your friends and family. A psychopath won’t tolerate anyone else taking your attention away from them.

They can’t maintain close relationships

While many of us still have friendships with our childhood bestie or college roommate, a psychopath doesn’t have any long-term close relationships. They may be estranged from their own family members, including their own children.

Ask the person you’re dating about the friendships in their life. If there is a lack of long-term connections, that’s a huge red flag.

They lack empathy and compassion

A lack of empathy doesn’t have to be glaringly obvious. Sometimes you’ll pick up on their lack of empathy and compassion in subtle ways over time.

Watch how they respond to disheartening news, sad movies, and your feelings when you share that you’ve had a bad day.

Related: Compassion vs Empathy vs Sympathy. What’s the Difference?

They distort reality and make you question your own sanity

The psychopath’s version of events is very different from reality, but they will gaslight you and make you question your own sanity. They will make you believe that things didn’t happen the way you remember. They will lie with so much conviction that you may even start to believe them.

Related: 20+ Examples of Gaslighting 

Niki Davis-Fainbloom

Niki Davis-Fainbloom

Sexuality and Relationship Expert, Practical Psychology

They may be prone to angry outbursts and violent behavior

The first step in determining if you are dating a psychopath is to look for certain warning signs. In general, psychopaths tend to be very charming, manipulative, and deceitful. They may be very skilled at lying and often manipulate the truth to get what they want.

They may also be highly impulsive and cannot control their behavior. Additionally, they may be prone to angry outbursts and violent behavior. They very likely lack empathy and disregard other people’s feelings.

If you are concerned that you are dating a psychopath, it is crucial to be aware of some of their typical behaviors.

Psychopaths tend to be very narcissistic and feel a sense of entitlement. They may also be very charming and try to manipulate you into doing things you don’t want to do.

They can be deceptive and will often lie about their past or present to get what they want. They may also be prone to risk-taking and may be unable to control their anger leading to frequent temper tantrums.

Related: 25+ Signs You Are in a Narcissistic Relationship

It is also important to look out for any signs of emotional abuse:

Psychopaths may try to control you and your relationships with others. They may also try to isolate you and make you feel as though you are dependent on them. They may be very jealous, possessive, and prone to fits of completely inappropriate rage.

Related: How Does a Narcissist React When They Can’t Control You

Assess the situation and seek help if necessary

Not all psychopaths display these behaviors, and psychopathic behavior can vary from person to person. If you think you may be dating a psychopath, it is important to take the time to assess the situation and seek help if necessary.

Remember that you have the right to be safe and to have healthy relationships.

Ella Morgan

Ella Morgan

Owner, Socioxp

Are you dating someone who seems a bit off? Are you worried that you might be dating a psychopath? While it can be difficult to assess the mental state of a person you’re dating, there are certain signs that you can look for to determine whether or not you’re dating a psychopath:

They are indifferent to your emotions

One of the most telling signs that you’re dating a psychopath is that they lack empathy. They may not be able to understand your feelings or the feelings of others. This can be especially apparent when it comes to conversations about difficult topics or when discussing controversial or emotionally charged topics.

If your partner appears to lack empathy or seems indifferent to your emotions, it could be a sign that they are a psychopath.

They are master manipulators

Another sign that you could be dating a psychopath is that they are manipulative. Psychopaths tend to be master manipulators and can be very manipulative in the way that they interact with other people.

Signs of manipulation could include guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or using charm and charisma to get their way. If you’re constantly feeling manipulated by your partner, it could be a sign that you’re dating a psychopath.

They are self-centered

Another sign of a psychopath is that they are self-centered. They may constantly talk about themselves and their accomplishments, or they may be dismissive of the things and people around them.

Related: Selfish vs Self-Centered vs Self-Absorbed vs Narcissist. What Is the Difference?

They have unstable relationships

Psychopaths tend to have unstable relationships with people. They may be very charming when they first meet someone, but then their relationships tend to become tumultuous and unpredictable.

They may act on a whim without considering the consequences

Psychopaths can also be very impulsive. They may have difficulty controlling their behavior and may act on a whim without considering the consequences.

If your partner tends to make decisions without thinking through the potential outcomes, it could be a sign that they are a psychopath.

You feel like you can’t escape them

Psychopaths are very good at manipulation and use any means possible to keep you hooked. They may be very charming, persuasive, and persuasive. You may find it difficult to break away from them, even if you want to.

You feel like you’re constantly under siege

Psychopaths are never happy unless they’re in control. They’ll try to control every aspect of your life, from what you wear and behave to what you think and say. You may feel like you’re constantly up against a wall with no way out.

Talk to a mental health professional

If you’re worried that you might be dating a psychopath, it’s important to take action. Consider speaking to a therapist or other mental health professional to discuss your concerns.

Be mindful of the differences between unhealthy and healthy relationships

It’s also important to keep in mind that not all people who display these traits are psychopaths, and it’s important to be mindful of the differences between unhealthy and healthy relationships.

Rad Swierkowski

Rad Swierkowski

Professional EFT Practitioner | Founder, Tapping School

They play the “blame game” all the time

It might sound like something straight out of a thriller, but the chances that you are dating a psychopath are not very low, especially when we know that a psychopath is not a different person but lives a life like us. Also, a psychopath can be found among both men and women.

A common sign associated with a psychopath is they play the blame game all the time.

A person who is a psychopath will never accept responsibility for their actions. They will never admit their mistakes and will always try to make their partners feel like the ones who are guilty. They only love playing the victim card and finding comfort in it.

Manipulation is their biggest weapon; they use it to play the victim and gain sympathy from the person who, according to them, can be useful for their selfish needs.

Related: How to Recognize and Overcome Victim Mentality

Emma Williams

Emma Williams

Chief Research Officer, HIGH5

Psychopathy is a mental disorder characterized by a lack of empathy, a sense of guilt, or remorse. It can be difficult to spot the signs that someone you’re dating is a psychopath since they are often very charming and convincing.

However, there are some key warning signs that may indicate your partner is a psychopath:

They are overly charming

Psychopaths can be very charismatic, which is why they’re often hard to spot. They have a natural ability to charm and manipulate people to get what they want.

They create plausible explanations for their actions

Lying and manipulation come naturally for psychopaths; they lie easily and convincingly. They may also create plausible but false explanations for their behavior or actions.

They have cold and callous behavior

Psychopaths cannot connect with the emotions of others, making it difficult for them to understand how someone else might feel in a given situation. This can lead to cold and callous behavior towards loved ones or even strangers.

They are likely to engage in criminal activity

Psychopaths often act without thought or consideration of consequences, leading to reckless and dangerous behavior. This can range from taking unnecessary risks to engaging in criminal activity.

They exploit others to get what they want

Psychopaths are willing to manipulate and exploit others to get what they want. They may take advantage of people financially, emotionally, or physically in order to achieve their goals.

They have a history of complicated relationships

Psychopaths often have a history of unstable relationships with friends and family members, as well as romantic partners. This can be due to their lack of empathy, inability to bond with others, and tendency to manipulate and take advantage of people.

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

AJ Silberman-Moffitt

Senior Editor, Tandem

At some point in your dating life, you might have found that you were with someone you should not have been with.

Maybe the person was a pathological liar, or they had different ambitions than you. Possibly you found out they liked to shoplift, they did something else illegal, or that you deemed inappropriate.

Whatever the case, there might be a worst-case scenario. What if the person you are dating is a psychopath? What are some signs that you’re dating a psychopath?

They frequently lie or make excuses

Because a psychopath will never take the blame for anything, it’s common for them to lie or make up excuses to hide the truth. This person might be so accustomed to doing this that, most often, they might even believe the lies they tell you.

They constantly need attention

We all like to get a little bit of attention occasionally. It’s nice to be acknowledged when we’ve done something well. Unlike this normal behavior, a psychopath has a constant need for attention. When you don’t provide them with what they crave, they might act out or become irrational

They have zero remorse

Though people don’t generally enjoy fighting, unfortunately, fighting will happen in relationships. But if you are dating a psychopath, and the two of you are fighting, it seems that there are no holds barred. The psychopath will hurt you verbally (and possibly physically) but will have zero remorse for their actions.

They don’t have friends

Have you ever noticed that your partner has no friends? Or possibly, they have friends, but only because you introduced them? A lack of friends might signal that something isn’t right. This is because a psychopath will have difficulty making friends and keeping them.

Their empathy is just for show

Maybe something bad happened to someone, and your partner says they deserved it. Or your mate seems disconnected when they should be feeling bad. This lack of empathy is something that almost all psychopaths have in common.

If you believe your partner does show empathy, look to see if this empathy is heartfelt or just for show.

Many behaviors can indicate that someone has a psychopathic personality. Some with this personality type will behave much worse than others. For example, many serial killers are psychopaths, though that doesn’t mean all psychopaths are killers.

Separate yourself from them when they become abusive

If you are dating a psychopath, first and foremost, you need to ensure your own safety. If your partner is physically, verbally, or emotionally abusive, you must separate yourself as soon as possible.

Seek help

If you are in the US and in immediate crisis, dial 9-1-1.

You can also join the Aftermath – Surviving Psychopathy Foundation.” Part of their mission is supporting families and victims of psychopathy.

However hard it may seem at the moment, as the Greek poet Menander said, “Time is the healer of all necessary evils.”

Nadine Pfeifer

Nadine Pfeifer

Founder and CEO, HopStair

They hurt people as a way to compensate for heavily lacking self-esteem

Signs of dating a psychopath are quite obvious but might be hard to see clearly by the victim.

Psychopaths don’t have healthy self-esteem and a superiority complex, which makes them “feed off” people to get their fix of validation until the victim is no longer in use.

There are a lot of articles labeling psychopaths as bad people — and don’t get me wrong — what they are doing is bad:

  • Manipulation (silent treatment, gaslighting, projection, etc.)
  • Mental abuse
  • Control and domination
  • Belittling and exploitation of their victims, etc.

What is important, though, to bear in mind is “Hurt people hurt people,” and psychopaths will carry a lot of hurts, and their actions are a response to unhealthy coping mechanisms for challenges and to compensate for heavily lacking self-esteem and a strong inferiority complex.

So dating a psychopath usually looks nice and amazing on the outside and when times are good. But as soon as a psychopath receives feedback or encounters challenges in a relationship, they will retract to the emotional maturity of a 5-year-old and will do what they can to come out on top because feeling inferior in any way is the worst thing for them.

Hence, they apply control, put on airs of superiority, and act in the child/parent ego’s state primarily (Transactional analysis).

Overall, psychopaths have very low emotional intelligence (like empathy, compassion, and emotional regulation), so it will be difficult for them to empathize and care about other people’s feelings. It makes them come across as cold and distant, and vicious.

It takes a lot for a psychopath to start to become aware, let alone work through their issues. Very few psychopaths do.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Psychopaths Feel True Love? 

It’s important to understand that psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by a lack of empathy, shallow emotions, and a tendency to engage in manipulative behavior.

However, it’s not as simple as saying that psychopaths are unable to feel love. They may have the capacity to feel intense emotions, but those emotions are not always rooted in genuine affection or concern for the well-being of the other person.

In some cases, a psychopath may form a relationship with someone as a means of achieving a specific goal, such as financial gain or power. In these situations, the psychopath may use the emotions of love as a way to control and manipulate their partner.

If you or someone you know is in a relationship with a psychopath and is questioning the validity of their love, it may be helpful to seek support from a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and support in navigating this complex situation.

Keep in mind that every individual has the right to be part of a healthy and loving relationship characterized by mutual respect and genuine concern for each other. If the love in your relationship seems controlling or harmful, it might be a good idea to reassess the situation and seek assistance if needed.

Can You Have a Successful Relationship With a Psychopath? 

Regarding relationships with individuals with psychopathic traits, it’s important to understand that these individuals can exhibit manipulative, antisocial behavior and lack empathy. This can make it difficult to form a genuine and healthy relationship with them.

However, it’s possible that a person with psychopathic traits can change their behavior and learn to form healthy relationships. But this would require much work and effort, including therapy and self-reflection.

It’s also important to consider your well-being and safety when considering a relationship with someone with psychopathic traits. This person may manipulate and control you, causing harm to your mental and emotional health.

How to Break Up With a Psychopath? 

Breaking up with a psychopath can be a challenging and potentially dangerous situation. Here are some tips that may help you navigate the process safely:

Prepare yourself:
• Try to gather as much information and support as possible before the breakup. This can include reaching out to trusted friends, family members, or a therapist.
• Plan what you want to say and how you want to say it. Make sure you have a clear and concise message to convey.

Safety first:
• Choose a public place for the breakup, such as a coffee shop or park. Avoid breaking up in private, isolated locations.
• Consider having someone you trust accompany you for support and protection.

Be direct and assertive:
• Be clear about your intentions to end the relationship. Avoid blaming or being confrontational, as this can escalate the situation.
• Stand your ground if the person tries to manipulate or convince you to stay in the relationship.

Cut off contact:
• After the breakup, limiting or completely cutting off contact with the person is important. This can be difficult, but it’s essential for your safety and well-being.
• Block the person’s number, unfollow them on social media, and avoid going to places you know they’ll be.

Breaking up with a psychopath can be a difficult and potentially dangerous situation. If you feel like you are in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to reach out to law enforcement for help.

How Do You Heal After Dating a Psychopath?  

Recovering from a relationship with a psychopath can be a tough road, but it is possible to come out the other side feeling more at peace and content. If you’re looking for some guidance, here are some tips that may help:

Acknowledge your feelings: It’s important to allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions you may be experiencing, such as anger, sadness, and confusion. Don’t suppress your feelings or try to ignore them, as this can only prolong the healing process.

Get support: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family members who will listen and offer comfort. Consider reaching out to a therapist or counselor who can help you process your experiences and provide practical coping strategies.

Educate yourself: Understanding the nature of psychopathy and how it affects relationships can be empowering. Read books, articles, and other resources to gain a deeper understanding of the topic and how to recognize the red flags in future relationships.

Take care of yourself: During this time, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care. This can include exercise, healthy eating, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Set boundaries: Setting clear and firm boundaries with a psychopath is crucial in safeguarding yourself from any further harm. To achieve this, you may need to completely cut ties with them, like blocking their phone number or avoiding any places where you could potentially run into them.

Forgive yourself: It’s common to feel a sense of guilt or responsibility after being involved with a psychopath. However, it’s important to remember that their manipulation and deceitful behavior is not your fault. Practice self-forgiveness and focus on moving forward with your life.

What Are the Weaknesses of a Psychopath?  

Psychopaths can present several challenges, both to themselves and to those around them. Here are some of the typical weaknesses of a psychopath:

Lack of empathy: One of the hallmark traits of a psychopath is the inability to understand or feel the emotions of others, making it difficult for them to form meaningful relationships or to understand the impact of their actions on others.

Impulsiveness: Psychopaths often act on instinct and tend to be impulsive, which can lead to reckless behavior and poor decision-making.

Difficulty in long-term planning: Psychopaths tend to have a short-term mindset and may have difficulty considering the long-term consequences of their actions.

Antisocial behavior: Psychopaths are often prone to antisocial behavior, such as lying, manipulation, and violence, which can lead to legal and social problems.

Difficulty with self-control: Psychopaths may struggle with self-control, which can result in impulsive and dangerous behavior.

Difficulty in forming attachments: Psychopaths may have difficulty forming attachments to others, which can result in a feeling of emptiness and a lack of fulfillment in life.

It’s important to remember that not all psychopaths are violent or dangerous and that many can lead successful lives by seeking help and learning to manage their tendencies. If you or someone you know is struggling with psychopathy, seeking help from a mental health professional can be a valuable step toward finding stability and success.

What Triggers Someone to Become a Psychopath?

Research suggests that a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors can play a role in its development.

Here are some possible factors:

Genetics: Studies suggest that there is a genetic component to psychopathy, and individuals with a family history of the disorder may be more likely to develop it.

Brain Development: Research has shown that some areas of the brain associated with emotional processing and impulse control may develop differently in individuals with psychopathy.

Trauma or Adversity: Childhood abuse, neglect, or other forms of trauma have been linked to an increased risk of developing psychopathy.

Environmental Factors: Growing up in a chaotic or unpredictable environment can also increase the risk of developing psychopathy.

It’s essential to keep in mind that psychopathy is a complex disorder, and these factors can interact in different ways to affect an individual’s development.

If you or someone you know is struggling with psychopathy, it’s essential to seek professional help. A mental health professional can diagnose and treat the disorder, helping individuals to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

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