Ever felt like the person you’re dating is more in love with themselves than they are with you? Chances are, you may be dating a narcissist. Don’t beat yourself up over it — their charm and charisma pulled you in before you realized how self-centered they really are. But the signs were always there, waiting to be uncovered.
If your partner exhibits most of the following traits, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship and consider whether they will ever be capable of a truly reciprocal partnership. You deserve so much better than someone who is perpetually obsessed with themselves.
Open your eyes to reality, trust your gut, and don’t stick around just because you hope they’ll change. They won’t. It’s all about them, and that’s not the kind of love you need in your life.
1 Sense Of Entitlement
When you’re with a narcissist, everything revolves around them. They feel entitled to your time, attention, and admiration.
- They expect you to be available whenever they want. Your needs and plans are secondary to their whims and demands.
- They believe they deserve special treatment and that the rules don’t apply to them. They get impatient if they have to wait like everyone else or do anything they don’t want to do.
- They pout or become angry if you don’t respond quickly to their messages or calls. You’re supposed to drop everything for them, and they let you know when you don’t.
- They take over conversations and discussions and become irritated if you share details about yourself. The focus always has to be on them.
- They manipulate you with anger, aggression, or passive aggression if you don’t give them what they want. Their needs come before your feelings or well-being.
The bottom line is that narcissists see themselves as superior to others, so in their minds, the world revolves around them. If you’re with someone who makes you feel like you exist solely to serve their needs and wants, that’s a major red flag. You deserve a healthy relationship where you’re respected and cared for too.
2 Disregard For Others’ Boundaries
If your new partner frequently oversteps normal boundaries, it could be a sign they’re a narcissist. Some examples:
- They demand constant contact and get angry if you don’t reply right away. Narcissists expect nonstop attention and admiration.
- They share intimate details about your relationship or sex life with others. What happens between you two should be private, not fodder for their ego-boosting stories.
- They check up on you constantly or want to know your whereabouts 24/7. While caring about someone’s well-being is normal, narcissists take it to an extreme level of control and monitor your every move.
- They get jealous when you spend time with friends or family. Isolating you from others who care about you is a narcissist’s way of maintaining power over you.
- They blame you for their own bad behavior or mistakes. Narcissists have a hard time accepting responsibility and will manipulate the situation to make you seem at fault.
If any of these signs sound familiar, you may be dating someone with narcissistic tendencies. The best thing to do is establish clear boundaries, call them out on unacceptable behavior, and be wary of further manipulation. You deserve to be in a healthy relationship where you’re respected as an equal. Don’t settle for less.
3 Attention-Seeking Behavior
Narcissists crave attention and admiration from those around them. Their self-esteem depends on the compliments and praise of others. Here are some signs your partner’s attention-seeking behavior is a red flag:
If your partner constantly posts selfies and updates, and shares details of their oh-so-fabulous life on social media, it may be a ploy for compliments and likes. They rely on external validation to feel good about themselves.
In conversations and at social events, narcissists always need to be the focus. They frequently steer the discussion back to themselves and their interests. Your date night becomes all about their work drama or hobbies.
Narcissists inflate their achievements and talents to impress others. They always have to be the smartest or most successful person in the room. The stories they share are greatly exaggerated or downright false.
If you don’t give a narcissist the attention and praise they feel entitled to, they become angry or upset. They may give you the silent treatment, start an argument, or try to make you feel guilty for not prioritizing them.
The bottom line is that narcissists see relationships as a means to an end — to fulfill their insatiable need for validation, admiration, and control. If you’re noticing these signs in your partner, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship. You deserve to be in a mutually loving and supportive partnership.
4 Difficulty In Maintaining Long-term Relationships
Narcissists have a hard time sustaining long-term, meaningful relationships. Their self-centeredness and lack of empathy make it difficult to connect emotionally with partners. You may notice:
Narcissists see relationships as a way to get their needs met, not as a partnership. They have trouble compromising or understanding other perspectives. Your needs and opinions don’t seem to matter.
Emotional intimacy requires vulnerability, empathy, and trust — all of which narcissists lack. Conversations tend to be superficial, and they avoid emotionally deep discussions. They’re disconnected from their own feelings, so connecting with yours is impossible.
Narcissists love to bomb their partners with affection and gifts at first. But their love is conditional; it depends on you continuing to feed their ego. If you criticize them or fail to meet their needs, they withdraw love to manipulate you.
Narcissists have a hard time accepting responsibility for their actions. They frequently blame others for their own mistakes and shortcomings. In arguments, they turn the tables and make you feel at fault to avoid guilt.
Narcissists are deeply distrustful and insecure underneath their confident exterior. They constantly question their partners’ loyalty and motives. Their jealousy and paranoia ultimately damage the relationship beyond repair.
If these signs resonate with you, you may be in a relationship with a narcissist. The prognosis for change is poor. You deserve a healthy relationship where you feel heard, respected, and genuinely loved. Don’t settle for less.
5 Narcissistic Rage When Challenged
When you challenge a narcissist or criticize them in any way, be prepared for narcissistic rage. Here are some signs you may encounter:
The narcissist may lash out at you verbally or even physically. They see your challenge as a threat and will attack in an attempt to regain control.
The narcissist will blame you for their angry reaction instead of taking responsibility for their own behavior. According to them, you “made” them react that way.
The narcissist may blow your challenge or criticism way out of proportion to make you feel guilty and manipulate you into backing down.
The narcissist will portray themselves as the victim to gain sympathy and make you feel like the perpetrator. They claim you have wronged or hurt them in some way.
The narcissist may try to turn others against you by lying or exaggerating the situation to make themselves look blameless and look like the villain. They want to isolate you.
Dealing with narcissistic rage is difficult and damaging. The healthiest option is to remain calm, set clear boundaries, and remove yourself from the situation if you feel unsafe. You cannot reason with a narcissist in this state, so do not engage or try to apologize. Their behavior is not your fault or responsibility.
6 Tendency To Belittle Others
Narcissists tend to view others as inferior to them, believing that they are special or unique in some way. They often make demeaning or disparaging comments about people they perceive to be “below” them in some way.
Does your partner frequently mock, criticize, or condescend to service staff, colleagues, or friends? Do they make nasty remarks about people’s looks, intelligence, or accomplishments? These are signs of a narcissist’s tendency to belittle those they see as lesser. Their snide comments, subtle digs, and cruel jokes serve to boost their fragile ego by putting others down.
If you find yourself constantly apologizing for your partner’s rude behavior or mean comments, you may be dating a narcissist. Their superiority complex and lack of empathy allow them to degrade others without remorse. Don’t make excuses for their unacceptable conduct or let them shift the blame to you or the other person. Call them out on their hurtful actions and set clear boundaries about respectful communication. However, narcissists rarely change, so you may need to consider whether the relationship is worth saving.
7 Easily Offended By Perceived Slights
Narcissists are notoriously thin-skinned and quick to anger over perceived slights or criticism. Anything that threatens their inflated self-image can set them off.
Does your partner get offended by small, seemingly insignificant comments? Do they see neutral interactions as personal attacks? Narcissists interpret even constructive criticism or casual jokes as outright insults. They lash out defensively at the slightest hint of imperfection or flaw in themselves.
Conversations with a narcissist are like walking on eggshells. You have to constantly stroke their ego to avoid them exploding in anger or shutting down. Any comment that does not feed their need for admiration will be seen as criticism and met with hostility. Their fragile self-esteem means they must attack others to prop themselves up.
Rather than engage in their drama, remain calm and do not apologize or make excuses for their behavior. Reassure them in a gentle, empathetic way without reinforcing their distorted views. Ultimately, you cannot control their reactions, you can only control your own responses. Do not let their theatrics manipulate you into doubting your own judgment or self-worth.
8 Frequently Interrupts Conversations
A narcissist tends to dominate conversations and interrupt frequently. They constantly steer the discussion back to themselves. When you’re talking to them about something important in your life, they’ll abruptly change the subject back to themselves.
- They interrupt to steer the spotlight back to themselves. If you’re discussing an accomplishment or struggle, they’ll cut you off to start talking about themselves again.
- They have little interest in listening to what others have to say, only in talking about themselves. Conversations feel very one-sided.
- They constantly bring the discussion back to themselves through interruptions, tangents, and nonsequiturs. Trying to have a two-way dialog with a narcissist can feel frustrating and exhausting.
- Pay attention if you feel unheard, invalidated or unimportant in conversations with them. Healthy relationships involve both speaking and listening. If you’re doing all the listening, it may be a sign you’re dating a narcissist.
9 Always Seeking Praise And Recognition
A narcissist craves constant praise and admiration from those around them. They expect you to compliment them frequently and recognize their achievements, talents, skills, and accomplishments.
If you don’t give a narcissist the praise they feel entitled to, they may become angry with you or try to manipulate you into complimenting them.
Some signs that a narcissist seeks excessive praise and recognition include:
- They frequently compliment themselves and brag about their achievements.
- They expect you to lavish them with praise and admiration.
- They get angry or sulk if you criticize them or don’t compliment them enough.
- They take over conversations to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
- They exaggerate their achievements and talents.
- They feel envious of other people’s successes and accomplishments.
- They react arrogantly or condescendingly to other people’s achievements to make themselves feel superior.
- They demand to be the center of attention and feel slighted if they’re not.
A healthy relationship involves mutual support and encouragement, not constant praise and admiration of one partner. If someone demands your constant praise and recognition, that’s a sign you may be dating a narcissist. The healthiest relationships are based on mutual care, respect, and trust — not an imbalance of praise and power.
10 Manipulation Through Guilt-tripping
Guilt trips are a narcissist’s favorite manipulation tactic. They will make you feel responsible for their feelings and problems to control you. Watch out for these signs of guilt tripping from your partner:
- They blame you for their bad moods or unhappiness. “You always ruin my day.”
- They claim you don’t do enough for them. “After everything I do for you, you can’t even do this one little thing for me.”
- They make you feel like you owe them. “I’ve given up so much for you, you owe me this.”
- They use emotional blackmail to get their way. “If you really loved me, you’d do this for me.”
- They play the victim to make you feel guilty. “Poor me, I never get what I want. I’m so unlucky.”
Don’t fall for these manipulation tactics. You are not responsible for their emotions or life choices. Stand up for yourself by setting clear boundaries and calling out their guilt-tripping behavior. Say something like:
“I will not engage in guilt trips and emotional blackmail. Let’s have a respectful discussion.”
“Your happiness is not my responsibility. I will not be manipulated through guilt.”
The only person you can control is yourself. Don’t let a narcissist take that power away from you through guilt and obligation. You deserve a healthy, mutually respectful relationship where you feel empowered rather than manipulated.
11 Inability To Admit Being Wrong
Narcissists have a hard time admitting when they’re wrong. Their self-esteem is so fragile that accepting blame or responsibility feels like a direct attack.
You’ll notice that your partner rarely takes responsibility for their mistakes or shortcomings. They always have an excuse ready to blame someone or something else. If you call them out on their behavior, they’ll find a way to turn the tables and make you feel like the one at fault.
Apologies from a narcissist are empty. They may say “I’m sorry” to placate you at the moment, but their behavior won’t actually change. They don’t genuinely feel remorse for hurting you.
The inability to accept blame and learn from mistakes is a dangerous trait. A healthy relationship requires mutual understanding and the ability to compromise. If your partner is never willing to meet you halfway or own up to the damage they’ve caused, you’ll forever be stuck in a cycle of empty apologies and unfulfilled promises.
12 Exploitative In-Work Environments
A narcissistic boss or coworker will exploit others for their own gain without remorse. They see people as objects to use, not human beings deserving of respect. Some signs the narcissist in your workplace is exploiting you:
They take credit for your work. They present your ideas, projects or accomplishments as their own to get praise and move up the ladder. They may even reprimand you for not “doing more” when they’ve stolen the credit for much of what you do.
They delegate all the work they don’t want to do. The undesirable, unglamorous tasks will fall on your shoulders while they swoop in at the last minute to put their name on the finished product. You’re left doing the heavy lifting.
They use manipulation and bullying to get their way. Rather than lead by example or motivate others, they employ fear, guilt, and intimidation to coerce people into doing what they want. Their moods and reactions are unpredictable, keeping you walking on eggshells.
They lack empathy for others. Your needs, time constraints, health issues or work-life balance mean little to them. They expect you to be at their beck and call 24/7 and make unreasonable demands without considering the impact on you.
If any of these sound familiar, you may be working for or with a narcissistic exploiter. Don’t expect them to change, but you can take steps to establish proper boundaries, speak up for yourself and limit the influence they have over you. The healthiest option may even be finding a new job to remove yourself from a toxic situation.
13 Constant Need For Perfection
A narcissist has an insatiable need to be the best and feel superior to others.
Being with a narcissist, you may feel like you can never measure up to their unrealistic expectations. They demand perfection — in themselves, in you, and in everything around them. Nothing you do is ever good enough in their eyes.
Narcissists see themselves as flawless, so they expect perfection from those around them as well. When you fall short of their lofty standards (as all humans do), they criticize you relentlessly. No matter how much you achieve or how hard you try, it’s never sufficient to satisfy their constant need to be the best.
Over time, living with these unachievable demands can destroy your self-esteem. Their criticism makes you feel like you’re constantly failing and can never do anything right. The truth is, the problem lies with them, not you. No one is perfect, and a healthy relationship involves accepting each other’s imperfections.
A narcissist’s need for perfection and superiority comes from a place of deep insecurity and self-loathing. Sadly, no matter what you do, you can’t fill that void for them or make them feel whole. The only person who can address a narcissist’s root problems is the narcissist themselves.
14 Lack Of Genuine Self-reflection
A true narcissist lacks the ability for genuine self-reflection and insight. They tend to blame others for their own shortcomings and mistakes. It’s always someone else’s fault.
- They never sincerely apologize. At most, you’ll get an insincere “I’m sorry you feel that way.” They don’t actually believe they did anything wrong.
- They are extremely defensive and quick to make excuses. Rather than accept responsibility, they deflect and blame others. Their ego is too fragile to handle criticism or failure.
- They lie and distort the truth to make themselves look good. Honest self-reflection would mean accepting imperfections and faults, which they are incapable of doing.
- They lack empathy and compassion. It’s impossible for them to see things from another person’s perspective or understand how their actions might affect others. Their reality revolves solely around themselves.
- They are overly concerned with outward appearances. How things seem is more important than how things actually are. They care more about the admiration and opinions of others than actually improving themselves.
- They believe they are special and entitled. Rules that apply to others don’t apply to them. They should get special treatment and exceptions simply due to who they are.
Ultimately, narcissists are unwilling and unable to take a hard, honest look at themselves. Their exaggerated ego defenses prevent them from gaining true wisdom and maturity. Without the capacity for self-reflection, a narcissist will remain stuck in their selfish ways. The only way out is a willingness to face themselves — but that may never come.
15 Habitual One-upmanship
A narcissist always has to one-up you. Everything you’ve done, they’ve done bigger and better. Every achievement or accomplishment you’re proud of is nothing compared to theirs. They constantly steer conversations back to themselves and their supposed triumphs and successes.
If you just got a promotion at work, they’ll say they got an even bigger one last year. Have you run a marathon? They did an Ironman. Published an article? They’re writing a book. Traveled abroad? They’ve been to twice as many countries as you. No achievement of yours goes unchallenged.
The perpetual one-upmanship is exhausting
and makes you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough. The narcissist’s ego is so fragile that they can’t stand for anyone else to receive attention or praise, even for a moment. They have to hijack the spotlight and redirect it back to themselves.
Their habitual one-upping is a way to make themselves feel superior by diminishing their own accomplishments. Don’t fall for this manipulative behavior. Know that your achievements and successes are valid and meaningful, no matter what the narcissist says or does to try and convince you otherwise. Their ego-stroking comes at the expense of your self-esteem, so stand up for yourself and don’t let their competitiveness undermine your confidence and self-worth.
16 Using Others To Meet Personal Goals
A narcissist will use people around them to achieve their goals and meet their own needs. They see relationships as transactional, where others exist to serve them.
- They charm and flatter you to get what they want, then drop you when you’re no longer useful. They are skilled manipulators and will tell you exactly what you want to hear to gain your trust and loyalty.
- They lack empathy and don’t care about your feelings or needs. Everything revolves around them. They won’t comfort you when you’re sad or celebrate your wins. You’re just a means to an end to fuel their ego and advance their agenda.
- They demand constant praise and admiration. If you don’t shower them with compliments, they become angry or distant. Their fragile self-esteem requires perpetual reinforcement from those around them.
- They exploit others without remorse. Friends, family, coworkers, employees — no one is off limits. They will take advantage of anyone they can to achieve their objectives.
- They betray confidences and spread secrets for their own gain. Your vulnerabilities and insecurities are weapons in their arsenal to control and manipulate you.
- They always put their needs first and require you to sacrifice for their benefit. Your time, money, resources, and emotions are all fair game to satisfy their endless demands.
In the end, you feel used, abused, and confused by their duplicitous behavior. But know this — you deserve so much better. Don’t let a narcissist determine your self-worth. Escape their web of deceit and seek out genuine, caring relationships where you’re appreciated for who you are.
17 Reacts Poorly To Others’ Success
If your partner reacts poorly to others’ successes and accomplishments, that’s a sign they may be a narcissist.
They can’t stand not being the center of attention. When someone else achieves something or experiences good fortune, the narcissist feels threatened. They may belittle the other person’s achievement or make snide comments to diminish it. For example, if a friend gets a promotion at work, the narcissist might say something like “Must be nice to have connections like that.”
The narcissist’s fragile self-esteem requires constant admiration and praise from those around them. When the focus shifts away from them to someone else, they feel envious and upset. They don’t recognize that other people’s wins don’t take away from them. Healthy individuals can be happy for others’ good fortune.
Your partner may also compare themselves constantly to the other person in an attempt to make themselves feel superior. Deep down though, they feel insecure which is why they need to tear others down. Don’t expect a narcissist to authentically share in your joy or support you fully. They are too self-absorbed and envious to do so.
Over time, these negative reactions can really wear you down and damage your own self-confidence and happiness. No one deserves a partner who reacts with jealousy and resentment rather than joy and support. If this rings true in your relationship, it may be time to make your exit before the narcissist’s toxicity impacts you further.
So there you have it, 17 signs you’re dating a narcissist. If several of these resonate with you, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship. A narcissistic partner will make your life all about them, suck the joy and energy out of you, and leave you feeling depleted.
You deserve so much better. Don’t waste years of your life trying to please someone who will never be satisfied. Speak to a therapist or close friend you trust, set clear boundaries, and consider ending things for good. It will be hard, but your mental health and happiness depend on it.
You’ve got this! Stay strong and choose yourself. There are loving partners out there who will treat you well and support you fully. Now go out there and find the healthy, caring relationship you deserve!