It’s easy to feel like you’re in a romance novel when you meet a new love interest. Being super smitten might even lead to a swift engagement, but you might also find you’re starting to feel something is wrong. Has your once perfect love interest changed for the worse? Maybe your best friend even joked that he or she seemed a little psychopathic.
Though you may hear jokes about being in a relationship with a psychopath, it’s no laughing matter, says Dr. Paul DePompo, psychologist and author of The Other Woman’s Affair. “A psychopath and a sociopath are just common terms for someone who has antisocial personality disorder, a very real and scary diagnosis,” DePompo told The Cheat Sheet. “Not for the person who has it, but for the ones who come into contact with them.”
To learn more about this personality disorder, we spoke with some other mental health experts. If there’s a chance you’re romantically involved with a psychopath, you’ll want to watch out for these behaviors. This is not an exhaustive list, but it can give you a starting point for examining your relationship.
1. Lack of empathy
If your significant other seems to have a noticeable lack of care and concern for you and others, pay attention. Psychopathy is characterized by a lack of empathy as well as the absence of deep emotions or a conscience. The safety and welfare of others does not resonate with a psychopath.
Ce Anderson, therapist and author of Love TAPS, says a psychopath might also blame his or her partner for problems in the relationship. “The potential sociopath labels their ex-partner as crazy and blames the break-up solely on their ex-partner. He or she will also skip out on financial obligations, or constantly have money troubles,” Anderson told The Cheat Sheet.
Next: Psychopaths take confidence to a new level.