Following a recent post here on the blog about dating guys with narcissistic tendencies, I thought it could be useful to write about three aspects that I can now identify as red flags or signs that you (and I) may be investing energy and attention on a guy that is not a healthy match (by the way, I write about guys but what I have to share is applicable to girls too!). These are aspects that I became aware of very recently but, when looking back, I can assure you they were always present in every date or relationship I developed with a narcissistic guy.
And why didn’t I see them before, you may ask? Well, I didn’t see these signs because I rationalised every feeling of emptiness and every experience of feeling unseen by my partner or date. I took all those feelings and experiences on me, because every guy I dated would bring up the same complaints and issues. So instead of validating my negative feelings, I bought into the narrative that I was just too emotional or too demanding, and because of that guys would either reject or leave me. Today I know that’s what narcissistic guys tend to do once you start demanding your psychological needs to be met, but not what happens within a healthy connection.
A healthy romantic bond between two people requires reciprocation of feelings as well as mutual care and attraction. It takes two to tango and you need to make sure that both are dancing to the same song. For instances, I believed that if a guy keeps texting you then it means he is interested in you, but texting alone is not enough. You need to evaluate the content of someone’s messages and actions. Sure, he may say he loves you, but does he see you for who you truly are? And yes, he may take you out for dinner, but does he listen to what you want to eat?
These may seem silly examples or superficial details but in my experience they can speak loudly of how the other person will treat you in the future. They show the extent to which someone actively listens and pays attention to what you have to say. The major problem is that, more often than not, we fall for the narcissist’s initial charm and we fail to see the obvious signs. We let ourselves be driven by their apparent good deeds and inspiring conversations. Although we may feel that something is off, we never second guess their real intentions. Knowing a few signs or red flags beforehand can prevent us, however, from getting involved with someone that seems great for us at first sight but who will eventually become our worst nightmare. I’m sharing three of these signs below.
1. HE DOESN’T WANT TO KNOW YOUR BACKGROUND STORY
I learned about this sign thanks to one of my latest dates and looking back I can tell you that it’s a classic one. Guys with narcissistic tendencies never showed any interest in knowing about my path or achievements. They didn’t want to know whether I got along with my family or even if I had one. They never asked about my childhood or how growing up looked like. I was a blank book for them and, according to their desire, my pages should be filled with words and stories about them, not me.
2. HE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT YOUR PREFERENCES
If he is good at manipulating people’s psychology, he will make you feel like your preferences have been heard and yet every decision will reflect his wishes. If he is not so good at manipulation, you can notice more easily how you have no say in any given matter. I once said to a guy I was involved with that I didn’t feel like eating chinese but he ended up taking me to a chinese restaurant in London. Then he wanted me to order edamame beans, which I didn’t, because I didn’t want them. He spent the whole dinner trying to force me to eat the damn beans. More recently, I had a dinner date and I told my date what kind of food I was craving. He registered it but we ended up at one of his favourite restaurants for a completely different type of meal, because… he had to have his weekly fix.
3. HE DOESN’T WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU FEEL
This is an obvious red flag but I also only became aware of it very recently. I tend to let go when people don’t ask about how I feel. I guess I got comfortable with being everyone’s psychologist and too comfortable with hiding my needs from others. For instances, I used to let people talk and talk for ages without showing any signs of discomfort. I wouldn’t leave even if I had to pee very badly, because I didn’t want to make the other person feel uncared for. Today I can’t tolerate it anymore, because I want to have healthy bonds with people and I honestly grew tired of being on mute in relationships. So I have been particularly more sensitive to this issue and I have been noticing that narcissists rarely ask you about how you feel in a genuine and authentic way. They may pop the question to keep their good appearance but as soon as you get real with them they switch the subject and they carry on as if you didn’t say anything at all.