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Early Signs You’re Dating A Narcissist

If you were a kid in the ‘90s, then it’s highly unlikely that you haven’t read at least one issue of an ‘Archie and Friends’ comic. While it’s usually Archie, Betty, and Veronica who occupy center stage in all the comics, there is one other character who wishes he did too – Reggie Mantle!! Yes, the very same Reggie who walks around with a comb and mirror, forever preening and admiring himself; thus earning the nickname of Reggie ‘I-love-me’ Mantle. Now, that’s the perfect description of a narcissist; he loves himself too much – more than anyone else!!

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Image source: Flickr

Suggested read: 10 truths about dating an extroverted introvert

Who is a narcissist?

A narcissist is defined as a person who is vain and egotistic, and basically admires himself all the time. They can’t accept the fact that anyone else could be better or more beautiful than them, and are constantly trying to prove it. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a personality disorder where the person is excessively narcissistic and completely immune to the way they’re destroying their life and relationships.

The word ‘narcissist’ is derived from Narcissus, a character in Greek mythology. Narcissus was the son of Cephissus, the river god, and Liriope, a nymph. He was a hunter who was known for his beauty, and he was so caught up with his looks that he couldn’t see beyond himself and rejected anyone who loved him. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, decided to make Narcissus pay for the pain he had caused others and drew him to a pool of clear water. Narcissus saw his reflection in the water and promptly fell in love with his own reflection. On realizing that this was one love story that would never reach fruition, he fell into despair and killed himself by drowning in that very pool.



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Tragic as that story is, I know a few people who wouldn’t mind drowning some narcissist people they’ve dated! But narcissists of today don’t go about staring at themselves in pools, so what exactly do they do? Here are some telltale personality traits of someone with a narcissistic personality.

1. Appearance

This is the most obvious trait of a narcissistic personality, going by Reggie and Narcissus! Narcissists are obsessed with how they look and are often found to be paying a lot of attention to their looks. They think of themselves as the most beautiful people on earth and do not like people who disagree with them!

2. Hypersensitivity

Being obsessed with oneself also means that one does not take kindly to criticism from others. But narcissists take this hypersensitivity to another level; they tend to take offence at even innocent remarks by others, or any perceived accusations about their looks or achievements.

3. Envy

When you think you’re the best in the world, you obviously don’t want to share that position with anyone! While a certain amount of envy is normal among humans, narcissists can’t tolerate anyone having even a small advantage over them in terms of looks, money or success. They also believe that since they’re so cool, others are probably dying with envy.


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4. Flattery

No, narcissists rarely flatter anyone else, but they’re more than open to flattery from others! Narcissists feed on empty praises from others, and they usually keep a series of ‘yes men’ as their friends and companions. The only time they’ll flatter someone else is if it is necessary to get to a higher level than which they are at now.

5. Bragging

Narcissists love people praising them, but they also love praising themselves! Bragging is a characteristic sign of a narcissist, even if they are of the subtle types and the bragging isn’t that obvious. They’ll often give monologues about their achievements, however minor they may seem to the other person.

6. Exploitation

Narcissists lack basic feelings like empathy, and it is difficult for them to identify with another person’s pain. Since the world revolves around them, they have no qualms about using people to achieve their own goals, and are blind to how exploitative they are being.

Suggested read: 10 brutal truths about loving a control freak

Self-love vs Narcissism

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Now, one thing to be made clear at the outset is that narcissism and self-love are two completely different things. Healthy self-love involves loving and accepting yourself for what you are, while treating others well. Self-love involves believing in one’s core values that place a premium on being kind, sensitive, and loving towards other people.

Narcissism, on the other hand, is unhealthy or ‘malignant’ self-love, a desire to be the best at everything, at the cost of putting down other people. Narcissism is based on negative values and only leads to destruction in the long run.

It is important to identify the difference between the two and to know if the person you are dating is just a nice person with healthy self-esteem or a self-absorbed narcissistic individual. You don’t want to make the mistake of running away from a really nice guy or investing heavily in a relationship with Reggie ‘I-Love-Me’ Mantle!

How do you know if you’re dating a narcissist?

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We now know the basic traits of a narcissist; so you must be wondering why anyone needs help to know if they’re dating a narcissist – isn’t it obvious? You’d think that people would spot such obnoxious behavior right away and run far, far away; forget about dating a narcissist! But the fact is that a person’s narcissistic personality isn’t really as obvious as one would think, and the ugliness behind the beauty is visible only later in the relationship. But you can spare yourself the trouble and spot a narcissist right at the beginning. Here are some early signs that you’re dating a narcissist:

1. You’re only a supporting actor

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A narcissist thinks the world is all about them; it’s a giant movie where they are the reigning superstar. Everyone else, including you, is just part of the supporting cast, and you’re lucky if they give you the time of day. Early in the relationship, you might not notice, but soon you’ll find that all your ideas and suggestions are immediately disregarded and only the plans that they’ve made ever materialize. Your choice of restaurants or movies don’t matter, and anything that is an inconvenience to them should immediately be removed.

2. The rules don’t apply

couple disagreement

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One thing you’ll notice early on when dating a narcissistic person is that they don’t do well with authority. After all, rules and laws are for inferior people, not for superstars like them. They don’t like it when anyone advises them or warns them; it shows that they’re above the narcissist somehow and they resent that. Narcissists will enjoy making their way around rules like ‘no parking here,’ ‘entry restricted,’ or ‘switch off your phone’ – it further establishes their superiority in their minds.

3. They make you appear inferior

woman distressed

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Being in love with a narcissist can be a serious blow to your own self-esteem. As mentioned earlier, other people’s feelings don’t matter to narcissists, so they won’t mind putting you down in an attempt to make themselves appear superior. Your opinions will always be baseless, your choices substandard, and pretty much everything that happens will be your fault somehow. Something bad, that is; anything good that happens is only because of their supreme awesomeness.

4. They can’t handle a ‘no’

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Not feeling like going out tonight? A normal person would probably be a little disappointed if they made elaborate plans, but in the end, they’d just let you lie in. A narcissistic person, on the other hand, will manipulate you and force you in subtle and not so subtle ways to adhere to their plans. Any show of emotion on your side will be construed as weakness and is another opportunity for them to show how superior they are to you. No one says ‘no’ to them – no one.

5. They have a string of exes

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Aha, classic narcissist red flag here! As is obvious by now, no one can tolerate this kind of behavior for long, which means that narcissists have few or no long term past relationships. They’ll have a string of short term exes, all of whom (according to them) just weren’t ‘up to the mark.’

6. They just don’t care

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Whether you’re dating a narcissistic woman or a narcissistic man, one thing will be common – they just don’t care! It doesn’t matter if you’re sick or sad or angry; you cannot expect any kind of comfort or consideration from a narcissist. They will always put themselves at the highest priority, and the word sacrifice does not exist in their dictionary, unless it’s something others do for them.

Suggested read: 12 dating red flags you need to be wary of

How to deal with a narcissist

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Having a successful relationship with a narcissist is near impossible unless they mends their ways, but this is a kind of personality disorder that can’t be treated with just one heart to heart talk. However, being with a narcissist can take a toll on your mental well-being, so it is important to handle them the right way. Here are some tips to deal with a narcissistic personality.

1. Don’t get drawn in battle

Narcissists love having conversations where they get to prove their superiority and your inferiority by making all kinds of illogical arguments. Spare yourself the trouble by not even getting started on it. If the narcissist wants to talk, just answer in monosyllables as far as you can manage and if it looks like it won’t end there, just hang up or walk away.

2. Don’t base your worth on their words

A relationship with a narcissist is toxic and can create some real damage in the psyche of the other person. You need to realize that narcissists have a problem and they’re not speaking the truth when they say that you’re worthless or that your feelings don’t matter. Don’t base your self-worth on the narcissist’s words – just toss them away as the words of an ill person.

3. Build a support group

A narcissist may try to get you to give up your other relationships, but you know better! Surround yourself with non-toxic, true friends, and let them help you heal and grow. A support group of trusted companions is the best remedy to undo the damage caused by dating a narcissist.

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4. Try to get help

Narcissists think they’re know-it-alls, so they rarely take doctors’ advice which is why therapy is unlikely to work. Yet, if you really care about the person and would like to give it a shot, try to get some help from a source the narcissist is least likely to rebel against. Remember, don’t try to do this on your own.

Suggested read: Why you must date a flawed woman…

5. Make a clean break

When you know that this isn’t going to last, make a clean break. Just stop all communication with the narcissist, without going into lengthy explanations about why you want to stop seeing them. Any attempt at reconciliation will turn into a blame game which you’ll eventually lose, so don’t bother with it.

Narcissists may appear funny in movies, TV shows, and comics, but anyone who has ever had the bad luck of dating a narcissist will attest to the fact that it is anything but funny. Always remember that you don’t need to put up with a narcissist’s mind games and toxicity; your needs are important too. So take our tips and try to spot a narcissist at the very start. And when you do, run – in the opposite direction!!

Featured image source: Flickr

Article Name
Early Signs You're Dating A Narcissist
You might think you'd know if you were in a relationship with a narcissist, but its not as obvious as you think! Check out these early signs that you're dating a narcissist.
Fabida Abdulla

Fabida Abdulla

Fabida is an erstwhile Software Engineer and current Freelance Writer cum stay-at-home mom to her boisterous 6-year-old. In between all the writing, baking, nagging, reading, and cuddling, she manages to blog a bit about her crazy life at Shocks and Shoes. []