Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dating A Narcissist: 3 More Red Flags

“Close Up Of A Man Using Mobile Phone” by stock images via 

names have been omitted in this post 

December 2015 


I sat across from my therapist in skinny jeans and a black hoodie discussing the patterns I had begun noticing during the short course of my recent relationship. I explained how the small signs eventually grew to such large red flags I was no longer able to minimize or ignore them.

"It was unreal… the amount of text messages he was sending… page after page of rambling texts about his love, sentiment and passion for me… along with a constant update of his day no matter how minute.  I'd send a quick reply, or not respond because I couldn't or didn't see a need to… and yet an hour or so later there would be another string of texts." I paused and then continued "The odd thing was even after I initially mentioned how he was texting so much he didn't let up. He even went so far as to say that he didn't need me to respond, that he was fine with just sending me his thoughts…" I trailed off, thinking how very narcissistic of him.

She sat across from me and shook her head "I'm wondering how on earth he worked and accomplished anything during the day… if he's sending you this many texts. These aren't really texts… this is more like journaling." She pointed out.

I nodded and agreed "I had thought the same thing. And if a guy is texting you that much you have to wonder how much quality time he's spending with his child… it makes you question him as a father. I even pointed that out to him. He came back with excuses. Everything became a red flag as the relationship progressed. He began pushing to want to move in with me. I told him that I wasn't living with a man unless we were married and we needed to take things slow. He said it made more financial sense to live together. Ha! Toward the end I began seeing signs that his "walk with God" didn't match what was biblically correct. That was yet another sign."

She concurred and spoke "I definitely see red flags."

We chatted a little more and finally she smiled at me with a sigh of relief "But you know now…  you saw the signs and heeded them. And I will tell you that in the first three months of dating someone is when we decide what are the deal breakers… and when we typically see any red flags. So what are you wanting to do now?" She asked.

"My mother says I'm too closed off, that I'm not receptive to men." I told her.

She nodded "Well, you do have to be open. You can meet someone anywhere… at the museum, a sporting event, even the grocery store. But you have to make eye contact, smile and speak."

"Yeah…"I trailed off.

She peered at me "What age man are you thinking you'd be interested in?"

"I'm not into zip lining, scuba diving, Six Flags, all that. I think it makes it really hard when you're not. My age group from what I've gathered on the dating sites seem to gravitate toward that stuff. I would enjoy a date seeing a show and having dinner, maybe a play or a movie…get dessert, go to the museum… I'm thinking a little older might be a better match." I told her.

She nodded "I would agree… although generally speaking not all thirty five year old men are immature. There are exceptions."

I spoke "I'm thinking the oldest around forty nine, fifty" I told her. "I just turned thirty nine."

She concurred "I wouldn't go any older than that… I'd try to stay around forty five. I've had many couples meet on the dating sites match and eharmony." She informed me "Have you considered those?"

"Yes" I nodded "The online dating thing kinda scares me."

She grinned "That's what I'm here for. You print off their profile and bring it to me. I'll take a look."

I smiled and nodded, thanking her.

At the beginning of a new relationship we may be so giddy and high from the chemical feelings that accompany new love that we aren't thinking clearly. But it's so important that we stay grounded and watch for signs that we are with someone that isn't truly capable of loving us… but more like putting us through grief and heartbreak. In my recent relationship there were so many red flags… here are three more I observed…

1. During my parents marriage everything revolved around what my father wanted to do. He chose the trips, the meals, the homes purchased, the repairs done, the furniture bought, the vehicles driven, etc. My mother had zero voice in nearly forty years of marriage… if she tried to speak up and assert what she wanted, fits, pouting and passive aggressive behavior on his part like driving erratically in the car to intimidate her would ensue. I soon began to notice similar behaviors with the man I dated… he always pushed for the restaurant he wanted to eat at… he whined I had taken a trip and he would have liked to have gone… it was 99.9% of the time about what he wanted to do. A man who behaves like a man knows it's not all about him… that it takes two people to be considered a couple, to be in a relationship… and remembers that his partner should have a voice and decision making in what she wants as well.

2. My twelve year marriage was devoid of passion and chemistry. Many people who have been with narcissists and sociopaths have stated that the sex was passion filled. Perhaps some narcissists and sociopaths are skilled in the bedroom… my marriage was not one that fit that description. Our sex life was more comparable to my painful "going through the motions with crossed arms" and a "let's get this over with" type scenario. When you live like that for so long it can't be helped but to feel incredibly jipped… when one partner is more focused on their quick release(!) than actually taking the time for both people to enjoy the moment mutually. So imagine my surprise when one kiss with the man I dated made me want more… chemistry so electrifying that I was somewhat blushingly caught off guard at how he made me feel with the cup of my face and his lips on mine. He began to talk about all the things he wanted to do after we married; him voicing his burning desire to please me sexually one day as a husband. His future intentions murmured in my ear amidst forehead kisses soon became a red flag. The issue was his soon all-consuming focus on it that set off my radar and made me begin to cringe... our future sex life appeared to be his main focus, not just one of the many important elements that make up a relationship. Soon it wasn't really all about the idea of pleasing me one day but instead puffing how brilliant his skills were. As I began to hear more and more I considered giving him a gold sticker for patting himself on the back… but then came to the conclusion he'd already started his own sticker collection.

3. Empaths are guilty of being people pleasers, givers, ready to help to a fault and over extending themselves. They often find it difficult to set boundaries with people… especially those of a narcissistic nature as narc's are typically always takers and users. As my relationship progressed I began feeling used, noticing he always needed a favor… he needed to store some things at my place, he needed to do some laundry at my place, he needed me to drive, etc. It was always something it seemed. And yet when the night came that I needed some assurance he was there for me… he was unwilling and going to sleep. (You can read that post here) The stark difference in our behaviors shone brightly and I cringed at each incident… silently tallying, chalking up yet more points against him… him blindly losing me more and more each day until I could no longer remain silent, confronted him and abruptly broke it off.

When it comes to dipping our feet back in the dating pool we can try to look at it from a positive viewpoint… yes, we will have bad days and wonder if we will ever meet someone healthy. But those of us who have been with narcissists and sociopaths we ourselves are a work in progress getting healthy… we are practicing setting boundaries and healthy expectations not only for ourselves but for the relationship and person we will one day marry. Realizing we are dating another narcissist is not the end of the world… disappointing? Without a doubt, yes. But with each person we are gaining strength and putting our knowledge to the test… we are looking for red flags and becoming better at pinpointing them sooner than before. We are becoming confident and less doubtful of signs we need to heed. And with each relationship we are one step closer to becoming the healthiest version of ourselves… so we can be ready to not just fall in love with someone amazing but most importantly… not lose ourselves doing it.

© ~ 2015 

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