When we’re head over heels in love, it’s easy to dismiss red flags and toxic behavior. However, once the honeymoon period is over, many men and women realize the person they fell in love with has changed into a monster. Here are ten signs that you may be dating a psychopath.

1. Flattery

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You’ve known him for only a day and he’s already telling you you’re like a beautiful angel, fallen from heaven. A gift from God. How could he live without you? By the end of the month, he says he loves. We all enjoy a nice compliment from time to time, but psychopaths aren’t complimenting you to be affectionate or loving. They’re doing it to manipulate you. For those with lower self-esteem, this flattery is welcomed attention, but it usually comes to a stop once they have you hooked.

2. Triangulation

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This isn’t a word you hear everyday, but it’s a common tactic used by psychopaths. The basis of triangulation is a third party being brought (sometimes unwillingly) into the relationship and is often used to manipulate the non-psychopathic partner. Sometimes it starts by the psychopath mentioning a co-worker, friend, or an ex that has suddenly become flirtatious with them. The psychopath is trying to invoke feelings of jealousy in you. Sometimes this triangulation will involve family rather than another romantic partner. For example, a psychopath may involve their mother: “My mother doesn’t think I have an anger problem. In fact, she’s told me she thinks you are the unbalanced one.” A red flag for triangulation during dating is when your new partner immediately compares you to their ex. “You’re so much better than her!” Once they psychopath has you hooked, they will reverse this triangulation and begin saying things like, “My ex was so much better than you. I don’t know why I left her.”

3. “You’re crazy!”

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It’s never the psychopath’s fault. In fact, it’s YOUR fault for being so sensitive. If YOU weren’t so crazy and overemotional, none of this would’ve happened! Psychopaths are gifted in the art of crazy-making and will convince you that it isn’t their behavior that’s the problem, it’s YOUR reaction that’s the problem. You’ll learn to keep your mouth shut just to spare yourself the verbal (and even physical) abuse that the psychopath hurls your way when you confront him about his behavior.

4. Pathological Liars

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You’ve caught them in so many lies, it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not. Pathological lying can take the form of exaggerated storytelling, specifically stories told to make the psychopath seem greater than they actually are. They also lie for no apparent reason. A normal person might lie here and there, especially when social pressures are present (e.g. Does this dress make me look fat?), but psychopaths lie just because that’s what they do. For example, a psychopath would be willing to lie to you about what they ate for breakfast even if telling the truth presented no consequences.

5. Narcissism

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The psychopath is the greatest at everything. No one is better than him, including you. He’s the smartest, fastest, most talented, hardest working, etc. The psychopath also has great plans that never seem to come to fruition. He’s going to start a billion dollar business or finally write a hit album. He’s the smartest guy in class, but still manages to get D’s and F’s (it’s the teacher’s fault anyway). Despite the psychopath’s outwardly displays of high self-esteem, his narcissism wouldn’t be complete without your constant praise and adoration. He NEEDS attention and you better give it to him.

6. Parasitic Lifestyle

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For being the smartest, most talented guy in the world, the psychopath has trouble holding down a job. Partners of psychopaths are usually the ones paying the bills while the psychopath is yet again “between jobs.” Part of the problem is a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities. They are often fired from jobs for frequently showing up late (or not at all) and not completing tasks. Of course, the psychopath will tell you it was their boss that was at fault. The psychopath has no reason to rush out and find a new job either, especially when he has you to pay for everything. In fact, he might run up a few credit cards while he’s relaxing at home.

7. Sob Stories and Pity Plays

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During your first dates, the psychopath will tell you all about their abusive, crazy ex who treated them poorly and is now stalking them. Or they might talk about their mother or father who abandoned them and mistreated them their whole life. Although it’s entirely possible for someone who isn’t a psychopath to go through these things, most of us don’t talk about these subjects on a date. These stories are often told to gain pity from you even though it’s usually the psychopath who ruined their relationship with their exes and family. Psychopaths also have a tendency to get sick (not really, but they don’t want you to know that). They may rope you in with a story about the cancer they once had that could “suddenly come back.” They may cancel a date because of an injury, but the next time you see them, they’re okay.

8. I love you. No, I hate you.

love hate relationship psychopathic traits

One way a psychopath can manipulate you and drive you crazy is by taking you through a roller coaster of extreme emotions. In the beginning, you’re the greatest thing to have ever walked the earth. They are absolutely in love with you. Six months later, you’re a disgusting, worthless pig, who they can’t stand to look at. When you threaten to leave, they love you and can’t live without you. The next week, they hate your #$%^&* guts. Keep in mind, the love-talk usually happens when they need to rope you back in and often times it works, because we convince ourselves they must really love us (they don’t).

9. Power and Control

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The psychopath will become quickly paranoid when he sees you devoting attention to things other than him. Whether it’s other people, a hobby or yourself, he will act suspicious and accuse you of being up to no good. “Why don’t you want to spend more time with me?” he’ll ask. He doesn’t want you hanging out with so-and-so any more because so-and-so is a bad influence. He questions why you’re wearing that outfit. Who are you trying to impress? The psychopath wants your passwords and access to your phone to “just make sure” you’re behaving. The psychopath will give you such hell that you’ll comply just to prevent another outburst. The truth is, it’s the psychopath who is the one that’s out cheating, lying and being secretive. But don’t you dare accuse him of that.

10. Hoovering

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Psychopaths hate it when you move on. Even if the psychopath dumps you, he doesn’t want you finding happiness with someone else. For those who have dated a psychopath, it’s common for them to reconnect once they hear you’re dating someone new. Hoovering comes from the name “Hoover” (like the vacuum cleaner), because hoovering is the act of sucking you back in. After not hearing from the psychopath for awhile, suddenly you get a phone call telling you how much they miss you. Or it could come as the form of a gift in the mail. After a breakup, a psychopath will claim to have had a change of heart. All of a sudden they “get it” and they are a better person now. The best way to deal with hoovering is to go “no contact” and ignore any phone calls, messages, etc from the psychopath. For more information about hoovering and how to get through it, click HERE.