10 Signs that you’re dating a sociopath

If your new romantic interest exhibits all or most of the following behaviors, be careful. He or she might be a sociopath.

1. Charisma and charm. They’re smooth talkers, always have an answer, never miss a beat. They seem to be very exciting.

2. Enormous ego. They act like the smartest, richest or most successful people around. They may actually come out and tell you that.

3. Overly attentive. They call, text and e-mail constantly. They want to be with you every moment. They resent time you spend with your family and friends.

4. Jekyll and Hyde personality. One minute they love you; the next minute they hate you. Their personality changes like flipping a switch.

5. Blame others. Nothing is ever their fault. They always have an excuse. Someone else causes their problems.

6. Lies and gaps in the story. You ask questions, and the answers are vague. They tell stupid lies. They tell outrageous lies. They lie when they’d make out better telling the truth.

7. Intense eye contact. Call it the predatory stare. If you get a chill down your spine when they look at you, pay attention.

8. Move fast. They quickly proclaim that you’re their true love and soul mate. They want to move in together or get married quickly.

9. Pity play. They appeal to your sympathy. They want you to feel sorry for their abusive childhood, psychotic ex, incurable disease or financial setbacks.

10. Sexual magnetism. If you feel intense attraction, if your physical relationship is unbelievable, it may be their excess testosterone.

For more on this topic, see Donna Andersen’s book, Red Flags of Love Fraud—10 signs you’re dating a sociopath.

1,517 Comments on "10 Signs that you’re dating a sociopath"

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  1. Sick@heart – be good to yourself. Sociopaths are very skilled at their game. They approach the world in a completely different way from the rest of us. And those of us who are not like them never see it coming.

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    • GoldenGirl says:

      I watch a particular TV show when I need a reminder of “What” I was dating for 5 years. The “sit-com” is about a rich, smug, charismatic, no feelings, crotch-jockey named Charlie. I never used to watch it because the show and his antics used to make me angry. Because the show is on so often, I would catch a part of it before I turned it off. Slowly, after reading certain books, I was able to recognize the traits of a sociopath who has no apology for being one or what he did, so I paid attention to the show watching the manipulations, the spath logic, the callousness and inability to feel emotion and therefore his improper responses. It is like a gold mine of learning WHAT a spath is. An example, A woman “Judith” is giving birth in the hospital and needs a coach, she asks “Charlie” if he will be her coach. I can’t remember if he said yes or not, but Judith started to scream as she was bearing down. Charlie without emotions walked over to her bed and said “Way to go” looking as if he was not sure of what response he was suppose to give. I couldn’t stop laughing…. I was able to see what Charlie and my Ex is. An emotional void! Everytime I want to remember “What” I was going out with, when I was missing him, I would watch that show and be reminded of what he was like. My feelings were peals of laughter and then sadness because that was my spath up there on the small screen exposed for “What” he truly is… a spath with no feeling, no heart, self-centred, manipulative, a liar, drunk, crotch-jockey, thief… The show is called 2 1/2 Men. Check out the character Charlie Harper… and get your daily dose of spath behaviour without putting yourself in harm’s way. That show is a daily wake-up call of why you have to stay “No contact.”

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  2. againandagain says:

    I NEED HELP!!!!
    Just about every man I’ve ever loved has turned out to be like this. I started learning about it during my short marriage to a narcissistic. That’s when I learned that my first husband wasn’t just an a**hole but a full-blown sociopath. I stayed away from men for seven years then married n who changed completely on our seventh day of marriage and left before one year. I was devesated and couldn’t get over him and kept having sex with him…. cried all night without sleeping hardly at all for four months. Started reading and learning. Ended up with a guy who I dated six months just to try to get over n. Same exact pattern of splitting and blameshifting and control with an even worse temper. I didn’t let him in as deep into my heart bc I could see the warning signs and knew ahead of time. I finally break away from him and a few months later get on match.com. Met a guy I spoke with on the phone for a whole month before our first date. Chose him out of over twenty men. I was smitten. We spoke every through text and phone calls. I have never jibed with anyone as much. Felt like he totally got me. We both have adhd and we understood things about all that. I had told him I really wanted to wait until marriage fir sex and he acted like that was a great idea. We did start to have some sexual texting a few times but then would say we needed to back off of that. Long story short, I ended up going to his home on our first date because all these things kept getting messed up. As soon as I saw him, we melted into one another. The kiss was right after our hello. And I went in his place and backed away from him and maintained over and over we didn’t need to be getting physical like that… but he was extremely aggressive and wouldn’t listen to “no”… I even went into the bathroom to regain my composure but he followed me. He was so damn awesome with every touch and kiss… I tried to resist but I couldn’t.. it took him a long time but before I knew it we were having sex with me still fully dressed (skorts) …. FOUR HOURS…
    And I started to cry after..
    And he told me he loved me. I said no you DONT. It just went from there. I was in love. He did the splitting thing… would disappear… made me feel like I didn’t exist, pushed me away… came after me when I would back off, roller-coaster. I think this one is BPD…. It ended when I caught him with another woman at his house. Right now, I’m NC, but I still want him back.
    This is the thing: I DON’T HAVE LOW SELF-ESTEEM! I think I’m great. Everybody loves me. I have a million friends. I feel pretty. People tell me I’m gorgeous and beautiful all the time. I have a college education. I’m funny, sweet, talented, creative- awesome, lol…. So, I feel I deserve someone great. And I go out with nice guys on dates. And I want to like them, but they act too scared of me or not strong or something…. BUT the guys I fell in love with were nice too!!! I didn’t know they were jerks when I fell for them. The only thing I can see in common at the very beginning that made me choose them was 1) strength/confidence 2) strong desire for me… the way they looked at me… which other men have looked at me like that but maybe I wasn’t attracted??
    I don’t know!!! But I need help.
    The thing that makes me a target is that I’m extremely compassionate and giving and merciful and forgiving. Too sweet. And I guess I have started to think everybody is crazy so I overlook things. Please tell me where to start. I know who these ppl are and know the signs, but yet they have gotten to me, three in three years!!!!!
    I do get extremely turned on when the man is aggressive … kind of takes charge sexually. Maybe something is very wrong with me in that. Tell me what do!

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  3. TCmessenger says:

    Hi Donna,

    I’m posting to let you know that your article, “10 Brutally Obvious Signs You’re In A Relationship With A Sociopath,” reprinted on ThoughCatalog, Sept. 10, 2015, has been called out for willful contribution to the stigma associated with mental illness and disorder.

    As your name is attached to the article, and you have yet to respond, I’m letting you know as a courtesy, so that you might clarify your position. I can provide links if needed, but chose to refrain in accordance with your site’s policies. I will leave this post in one other location on your page. Any correspondence is appreciated.


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  4. Kindascary says:

    Can you guys help me? I’ve read something about psuchopaths and sociopaths and I noticed that I have some of the characteristics of them. But I just have the feeling that I use those traits to get things done that are actually beneficial not only to me but also to the rest of humanity. I truly believe that those things will help the people next to me. And even a lot. I do use my charm to get things I want (but I do think that I use it to eventually get things and make things better for other people). But I still have the feeling with using charm that I just see it as an easier, less problematic way for me to get good things done that I otherwise would have to do with a lot of work to prove that I’m good when I feel that I’m good already and don’t have to prove it. Sometimes I feel very strong remorse but sometimes I don’t feel remorse at all even if it hurts people I see it as “necessary” to “get things done” and then I don’t feel any remourse at all. I kinda just switch it of because I think it’s necessary to do so. Like somebody who sends people to death to help other people I would do it in a heartbeat and not have even a slightest doubt. But I would genuinely care about them afterwards if they get hurt and do everything to help them mentally and financially (materialy)and I would be honestly greatefull for what they’ve done (sacrificing themselves to reach my goals – or the goals of the group). I also lie a lot although more for fun than to gain things eventually I really don’t like lying to my friends and never lie to family. Although I lie sometimes just for entertainment of others.But I do have a Jackyll and Hide personality sometimes. One moment I can be very good to someone and then abandon them completely (but only if I feel that the relationship is bad for some reason not just out of nothing) I also took it very peinfull when people abandoned me in my life. I do have an enormous ego (but I see it as something to help others). I do blame others for my setbacks sometimes but a lot of times I think it was 50/50. So now I don’t know wether I fooled myself into thinking that I’m a good guy who sometimes uses sociopathic methods to get things done (for good) or that I’m a full blown sociopath who fooled himself into thinking that he’s a good guy doing good things for others? I’m really scared right now 😀

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    • Kindascary says:

      I’m sorry for grammar mistakes 😀 Also – is being scared of being a sociopath (psychopath) not a sign that you actually are not a sociopath? Because you genuinely care for other people and don’t want to hurt them by being a sociopath?

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  5. Kindascary says:

    I’m scared as hell 😀

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    • Kindascary – If you are truly worried about being a sociopath, then you wouldn’t be a sociopath, because sociopaths do not care how their behavior affects others.

      If is possible to have some traits, but not the full disorder. It is also possible to work on strengthening your empathetic traits, and focus on behavior that is caring and beneficial. I recommend that you find a good therapist.

      Traits and behaviors that are good for people are like muscles – they grow stronger as you exercise them. It can be done.

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      • Kindascary says:

        Thanks, Donna! I’ve noticed that I’ve almost all of the characteristics of a psychopath except that I genuinely care for people and love them 😀 I would sacrifice my own life for somebody else even 😀 But I do notice that I should keep those qualities (like enormous ego) in check because they are essentially bad, but I also realised that I can’t downplay them completely 🙂

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        • AnnettePK says:

          You might consider that you do have a choice of what actions you take and whether you tell the truth or a lie in any situation. It sounds like you are being analytical about your choices, and considering the implications and maybe considering some changes. It sounds like part of the process of growing and changing based on experience and new information and insight. Psychopaths and sociopaths, by definition, do not seek insight in how their behavior affects others nor do they change.

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  6. Sellenna says:

    I used to do online dating. I quit years ago because I was stalked by one of the men I met through it. Ever since then, I’ve completely stopped taking dating seriously; especially it it’s online.

    I now know that the dating scene is chock full of sociopathic creeps that are looking for lonely, desperate single people they can use and abuse. It is nothing more than a racket created by predators, for predators; designed to prey on vulnerable people.

    If you think I have a horrible attitude about dating, well you’re probably right. But I’m also being realistic. This is something I’ve seen and experienced first hand. Men that pester you for your phone number not because they really like you but only so they can add a new notch to their bedpost, men that only want to date you so they could feed their egos by dissing you, men that practically try to bully you into having a serious relationship with them even if you’ve only just met them and/or hardly know them, men that either get pissed off or stop talking to you if they ask you to get together with them and you politely tell them you’re unavailable because (God forbid!) you have other plans and you have too much of a life to be their 24/7 booty call/unpaid prostitute…it goes on and on. I could spend hours talking about the unstable men I met when I tried to find a significant other.

    And it’s not just the men that are like this. I’ve heard guys describe similar nightmarish experiences they had with women they met in the dating scene, and I totally believe them.

    People ask me why I’m still single, and I tell them the truth: because I find dating F^CKING scary and dangerous!

    Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I’ve turned into a hermit and hide in my house all the time. I still lead an active social life, and still meet guys. I just don’t formally date any more, as I find it way more trouble than it’s worth. I only meet these men in places where I’m likely to share their interests and/or have something in common with them. Sure it’s not a completely foolproof way to weed out creeps (I don’t think there’s any such thing, other than hiding under a rock) as they are everywhere , but so far I have managed to shun and avoid the ones I did come across. It’s still a way that feels much more comfortable, natural, and far less artificial.

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  7. Nevaeh says:

    “2. Enormous ego. They act like the smartest, richest or most successful people around. They may actually come out and tell you that.”
    Mine acts like the most humble person.
    Did anyone ever experience this too?
    I think those seemingly “social” sociopaths are even harder to spot.

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    • AnnettePK says:

      Spaths do whatever they think will get them whatever they want. They use different tactics on different targets depending on what they think will work. My ex psychopath feigned humility because it made him look even better than the smartest richest most successful person if he was humble on top of all that. It’s all about impression management.

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