We all know what it feels like when you first start dating someone. You’re into it, excited, butterflies are fluttering in your stomach, and you’re putting your best foot forward. After all – You’re trying to make a good impression. You make it past the first few dates and enter the honeymoon stage. Everything is going great. You’re rocking rose-colored glasses and don’t even know it! Then suddenly, shit hits the fan and you realize you’ve been dating a narcissist. 

Things get real from here on out, and who knows how long it will take you to unwind that emotional tornado? Well, we hate to break it to you ladies. It’s quite possible the warning signs were there all along. The hottie you were crushing on and decided to get serious with is a narcissist and you could (and possibly should) have known better. If you’re reading this and know exactly what we’re talking about: Don’t sweat it!  We’re here to share how to spot a narcissist early in a relationship so you can avoid all that BS and focus on finding your ideal significant other, sans narcissism. 

Okay so, what does it really mean to be a narcissist? According to the DSM-5 (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders), narcissistic personality disorders (NDP) are medically reviewed mental health illnesses. NPD is defined as a pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and a noticeable lack of empathy. These narcissistic traits can put the partner of a narcissist through severe emotional abuse and damage their mental health. Because of this, you should avoid dating a narcissist at all costs!

Now that you know what you might be dealing with, it’s best to be prepared for any warning signs. And we’re here to help! In this post, you’ll learn how to pay attention to the signs of a narcissist early in a relationship. This way, you can avoid a bad situation and a toxic relationship. Keep reading to learn how to spot them!

How To Spot A Narcissist Early In A Relationship

You feel like they’re constantly “love-bombing” you.

Love bombing is a very common thing when dating a narcissist. It might seem like your partner is extremely attentive and sweet, but in reality, it’s just another narcissistic supply behavior. Even on your first date, they might be celebrating how you two seem like a match made in heaven. If things started as a fairy tale, with loving texts and grandiloquent declarations, you might be experiencing love bombing. Love bombing makes you feel loved and extra special, however, it is also a form of manipulation. Narcissists pull the strings of your heart to make themselves feel more important. So if you feel they might be too loving too fast, that’s a warning sign!

Narcissists won’t ask you a ton of questions about your life.

The telltale warning sign of a narcissist is how deeply self-absorbed they are. Narcissists love to ramble on about how amazing they are and how much they have accomplished. By the end of a date, likely, they haven’t asked you anything about yourself. Because it’s always about them. If you’re wondering if they even care about who you are and what you like after meeting them, chances are you’ve just been with a narcissist. For more relationship advice (and some harsh truths) check out THIS episode of That’s So Retrograde!

The relationship seems too good to be true.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Narcissists can be the most charming people until they reveal their true nature. They might seem perfectly normal, if not a little too perfect, during the early stages of a relationship. Everyone has imperfections. Humility and vulnerability is a good sign in any relationship. A complete lack of showing your imperfections is a telltale sign of narcissism. If you can’t find any flaws in a person, it might be a sign that they’re just putting up a facade to lure you into committing to them. Try to take off the rose-colored glasses and look for the truth! 

Narcissists trash and complain about their exes.

Whenever a narcissist talks about their former partners, they usually go on and on about how awful and ungrateful they were. They’re the heroes who endured an abusive relationship or the victims who tried to give it their all. This is a classic move that people with NPD make to impress you or build you up before dating. By calling their exes crazy or manipulative, they’re cheaply suggesting you’re better than them. And they’re also letting themselves off the hook in advance. You know if the relationship ends, you’ll just turn into another insane ex! This is toxic behavior and an instant red flag. It always takes two to tango. Instead, look for partners that reflect on themselves in any situation, can forgive someone that hurt them, and that share what they learned from their past relationships rather than place blame.

Speaking of former partners, if you’re still hurting over an ex, we have just the podcast episode for you. Listen to THIS cathartic episode of I Love You So Much for a conversation on breakups and dealing with the hurt of a past relationship!

A narcissist might have ridiculous expectations.

He wants you to cut ties with your ex after just two dates? Or maybe she thinks you should ditch your friends to run an errand for her. Narcissists have an over-the-top, ridiculous sense of entitlement. That’s because it’s all about them. They believe they deserve special treatment. So if you feel like the person you just started dating is asking too much of you, you might be experiencing the first warning signs that he or she is a narcissist.

Narcissists have trouble regulating their emotions.

Don’t get us wrong, showing an emotional side is good in any relationship. However, if your new crush is getting overly emotional about the small stuff, it could be a warning sign. Everyone experiences different emotions at different levels. So don’t be too critical here. However, it’s good to keep in mind just in case you think it might be a red flag.

All your interactions feel like long monologues instead of conversations.

It’s always about them, no matter what. So even if you need to vent, don’t be surprised if they just talk over you. This is a true warning sign that you’re dating a narcissist: they won’t let you bring anything to the conversation. They will try to make every talking point about themselves and keep control of the narrative. It’s a monologue, not a chat between two people. And, of course, that’s not a strong foundation for a healthy relationship! It should be a dealbreaker. Want to learn more about huge deal breakers? Listen to THIS episode of Currently Cringing!

Their long-term relationships (of all kinds) are non-existent.

This one is a huge red flag! If they seem incapable of holding a connection with someone for more than a couple of years, there’s something wrong there. It’s an obvious sign of toxic, narcissistic behavior. Most narcissists don’t have long-term friendships and can’t even stay on good terms with their family members. They want anyone in their life to put them first, so people don’t last long in their lives. They also tend to hurt people because they lack the empathy to consider other people’s feelings. So over time, most normal people phase themselves out of a narcissistic person’s path.

Narcissists think they are right about everything.

Of course, narcissists need to be right at all times. No matter which topic, they’re always the expert, and everyone else should just shut up and listen to their preachings. They’re never the problem, plain and simple. By the way, read more about this type of behavior on THIS episode of We Met At Acme. If you notice a tendency to always be right to your partner, take it as a red flag. Not being able to even agree to disagree is one of the most common narcissistic traits!

You feel the pressure to be empathetic, kind, and forgiving around them.

Narcissists have a way of turning things around. You might end up feeling bad or sorry for them when you shouldn’t. It’s a form of manipulation and can totally throw your emotions into a whirlwind. This happens a lot during a disagreement with a narcissist. They’ll do something that upsets the other party, and if the other party speaks up about it, the narcissist somehow becomes the victim. By suggesting you should be forgiving and empathetic, or even that you need to “go easy” on them, they’re letting themselves off the hook in advance. This way, you’ll feel obligated to let it pass when there’s trouble. It’s a common form of gaslighting, so beware! 

Narcissists are incapable of holding themselves accountable.

Narcissists find it nearly impossible to say sorry or admit they did anything wrong. They never hold themselves accountable and tend to blame it all on other people. It’s always somebody else’s fault! There is honestly nothing more annoying than a person that can’t own up to their actions. It’s better to call it quits from the get-go! And if you don’t know how to break up with someone, listen to THIS episode of The Blonde Files where host Arielle Lorre and guest Lindsey Metselaar answer all your relationship and breakup questions. 

You feel like you can’t speak out because they’ll downplay your emotions.

Ah, classic emotional manipulation. There’s nothing as narcissistic as someone only caring about their own feelings and constantly downplaying yours. A relationship is where you should feel safe to express yourself without any filters, not a cage to stand still in. Drop your partner on the spot if they don’t value what you think or feel. You deserve much better! 

Which narcissism signs are you on the lookout for during the early stages of a relationship?

That’s all on how to spot a narcissist early in a relationship! The signs mentioned in this post are all common narcissistic traits you can look for if you suspect you might be dating a narcissist. Remember, this article is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace any kind of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We just want to help you make sure you’re in the healthy relationship you deserve! So if you notice a red flag, check in with yourself to avoid suffering any type of narcissistic abuse. Put your mental health first and assess if it’s best to drop the relationship altogether. 

One more thing before you go! For additional information on this topic and a deep dive into the life of someone who was in a relationship with a narcissist, head over to this episode of Divorced Not Dead: The Narcissist With Megan Holgate.