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What Are the Signs of a Narcissistic Boyfriend?

By A. Gamm
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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It is not always obvious when a person has a narcissistic boyfriend. This is because narcissistic characteristics are not always immediately obvious. While there are different types of narcissism, most narcissists are capable of blending in with the rest of society or manipulating situations in their favor. Symptoms of a narcissistic boyfriend to watch for include illusions of greatness, inability to emotionally connect with others, and feeling as though he is special and greater than everyone else.

There are three major levels or types of narcissism ranging from mild to psychopathic. While each level increases in severity, it usually becomes harder to notice the signs of a narcissistic boyfriend. This is because heavily narcissistic men tend to be more capable of feigning the social norm.

The lowest and least severe type of narcissist boyfriend typically has delusions of greatness and grandeur. He is usually very jealous and may be mildly possessive. This type of boyfriend may also appear emotionless and is typically not empathetic. He may feel as though he deserves all the good in life that is possible, and he may expect for it to be given to him without question. It is normal for him to also brag, expect constant praise, and become easily hurt.

A mid-level narcissistic boyfriend may try to seek total control over situations and people, especially in relationships. This may be due to slight paranoid tendencies that provoke him to assert dominance over those he believes wish to hurt him. He is likely to show more concern for being respected, obeyed and looked up to than for being liked by others. At times, he may physically attempt to assert dominance in relationships.

Psychopathologic is the most severe level, and this type of narcissistic boyfriend is usually the most dangerous. He will most likely feel no relationship to the world around him and typically feel no emotions. Regardless, he is usually more than able to fake normal behavior, and no one may realize his narcissistic tendencies until he becomes violent.

Narcissistic personality disorder is not often diagnosed in people, but it typically affects men more than women. It tends to not develop until a person reaches adulthood, and narcissistic tendencies in teenagers are usually due to their age rather than the personality disorder. Psychologists are still unsure about the causes of narcissism, but several theorize that the reason lies in early childhood experiences with parents. A narcissistic boyfriend may have parents who emotionally abused or neglected him, or who taught him to be manipulative or to show no vulnerability.

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Discussion Comments
By anon970698 — On Sep 20, 2014

I wish I had read this before I married. Dating was great. He was respectful -- he knew charm and kindness win a woman. Once married, I couldn't finish a sentence without him yelling, “Whatever!” or “Why are you telling me something I don't want to know?” -- things he would ever say to anyone else. Talking socially with friends/family/children, he interrupts me with ''Where do you get this crap?”, then empties his brain to hold the room's attention. He thinks he's the smartest person on earth, so he gets loud and verbose. His sentences all start with “I” -- there was a clue. He's an attorney, and I also have a great career.

At family occasions, he picks up all the dishes to impress, but at home, can't find the dishwasher or change a roll of toilet paper.

His brain has no editor to stop or listen, nor remember later when he yells and interrupts me (about weekly) -- it's all about him, like a 5-year old. Friends expect him to be amusingly rude, but are still shocked when he explodes at me or jokes about marriage, but not quite enough to empathize -- they probably just think I was stupid to marry him.

So far, I've tried many tactics, not wanting to lose my dignity -- ignoring, confronting, postponing, lightening the mood, negotiating later, chin up, keep calm and carry on, and therapy. The therapist says it's an almost impossible problem to deal with. Now I avoid being trapped in a car or restaurant with him, anticipating more irrational outbursts. I am exhausted after 22 painful years of verbal abuse (bullying), increased depression, walking on eggshells. What do I do next? I hate to leave as I love marriage and the rest of the family.

By anon347044 — On Sep 03, 2013

This is like reading about my own boyfriend! He is extremely self important and believes everything should be done his way, has no regard for my interests/friends/family and gets jealous of everyone! He gets moody when he sees my ex partner driving his car around town! I can't exactly control where my ex from three and a half years ago goes on a daily basis!

He also believes he should everything handed to him. For example, we are going on holiday tomorrow and I have arranged everything without him having to lift a finger. He has been off work this week so I asked if he was going to pack, to which he responded "maybe" then I get home and he's spent the day on his computer and hasn't packed anything! We now leave in less than 24 hours and he is literally doing nothing, just waiting for me to pack his clothes! Did I mention he was 33 years old!

I am at the end of my tether with him. I love him and we've had good times together, but I can't continue to be his doormat! When I have tried to break up with him in the past he cries and tells me how much he loves me. If that were true, why would he treat me so badly? Maybe I am just better off cutting my losses.

By anon337858 — On Jun 08, 2013

Is not everybody a Narcissist these days, especially with people posting about everything on social media wanting to fit in and be appreciated, who can exclude themselves from these basic cravings, which Freud had described early on.

If you want to see a slice of life of how love happened in happier times, without much social media, I like "The Manhattan Dating Project" or "Love Actually". I think Yoko Ono and John Lennon made it work, despite what the media wrote about them and they were both artistic people. Peace!

By anon327937 — On Apr 01, 2013

Though I feel for adults of a neglected childhood, I do believe as an "adult" they are now responsible for their own behavior and need to grow up!

My boyfriend is a top-shelf narcissist and I am in the process of ending it. He thinks rules don't apply to him. He is self-absorbed. Even if he does any type of community service or helps a fellow human being out, it's all for his glory and not about the service itself, and if he doesn't get recognition for just being his awesome self, his attitude stinks like an immature, spoiled brat.

He treats others more than poorly and within our relationship treats it like he's the man and I'm the 'little woman' who doesn't know a thing and he needs to teach me. Before he came along, I was an independent, single mother for two decades and he hates that I have brains.

I have to put up with his ways and his rules. I sit around waiting for him and he gives no indication of love, care -- zip. If I need him, he bolts! I'd better be there when he gets a medal for community service 'look at me' but for sincere things like when my Grandmother died and when I needed him going for major surgery during recovery, he was out of here quick!

By anon319216 — On Feb 11, 2013

I had a child with my ex-boyfriend. I did everything myself. He was lazy, used me, wasted $70,000 and more of his mother's money for his own purposes. He had double standards, gambled excessively, gave me short budgets like 5 dollars for clothes at walmart, had me put me in jail because I told him I was calling children's services, lied to the police and got away with it.

By anon317695 — On Feb 03, 2013

My ex-boyfriend is a narcissist. He is in a moderately successful French rock band whose music can best be described as pretentious drivel. His best friend is the producer, and they both seem to agree that men are entitled to special treatment.

I was expected to fit my schedule around whatever his sister wanted to do (because being from his family means her value as a woman exceeds mine, obviously.)

I was in a two year, long distance relationship with him, in which we both seemed madly in love at one time but instead of making the move happen, he suddenly became obstructive, pulled disappearing acts, and generally behaved like a jerk (which was a particularly awful thing to do when I was seriously ill) until I was forced to dump him for the sake of my sanity. But at least I got my own back on the jerk doing it by text! It was then he not only said he didn't love me, but even said something to imply I was stupid for ever believing the lie that he had!

I will not reveal who his family are but they are fairly powerful and his Dad is well-known, too. I did not know any of this when I fell for him because the relationship would probably never had existed if he hadn't seduced me very early on. I don't normally allow that to happen, but I had very limited experiences with men. I had only just left an abusive marriage, so I was already quite vulnerable.

I remember there was a colleague that he hated for no apparent reason. I mean I can't believe I experienced the worst heartbreak ever over this guy (worse even than my first love) over the last six months. And now I just sort of feel like "Eureka!" I can see what this is about and have realized I haven't lost anything! I don't miss him or even want to talk to him ever again now that I've realized the truth.

His friends and family still have a lot of time for me, and it is these people I will miss a lot more than him anyway.

By dautsun — On Jul 16, 2012

I think it's interesting that this kind of personality usually develops in adulthood. I wonder if there are signs when the person is younger though? I mean, most people aren't just normal as children and then all of a sudden develop serious emotional problems like this as an adult.

It's also kind of funny that most teenagers display signs of narcissism. I definitely remember feeling pretty self-important as a teenager, but I do remember feeling connected to the world around me. And I could certainly empathize with other people's feelings!

By strawCake — On Jul 16, 2012

@starrynight - You're right. Abusers often show extreme possessiveness and jealousy in the beginning of a relationship. I bet some abusers also suffer from narcissism too.

Anyway, I think this disorder sounds pretty scary, because the worse it is, the better the person is at blending in with normal society. Not to sound paranoid, but I have to wonder if everyone reading this article (including myself) might know someone who is narcissistic and is just really, really good at hiding it?

It's kind of scary when you really think about it. I know I would prefer not to associate with someone who doesn't feel any emotional connection to the world around them.

By starrynight — On Jul 15, 2012

Being very jealous and possessive can be signs of a lot of different problems, narcissism among them. This can also be a warning sign of an abuser too.

I know a lot of women feel like jealousy means a guy cares, but more often than not it's a sign of a deeper problem. If you see jealousy and possessiveness early on in a relationship with a man, you should run immediately. Usually stuff like that just gets worse as the relationship goes on.

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