Sociopaths act impulsively without thinking
Sociopathic partners may act impulsively without thinking of the consequences, which can lead to harmful or dangerous behavior. They may also make impulsive decisions that affect you and the relationship negatively. They may not consider your feelings or thoughts in their decisions.
Sociopaths manipulate others to get what they want
Sociopathic partners may use manipulation tactics such as lying, gaslighting, or guilt-tripping to control you and get what they want. They may also use manipulation to isolate you from friends and family. They may play the victim to get sympathy from you.
Sociopaths are often irresponsible
Sociopathic partners may struggle to take responsibility for their actions or may neglect important tasks and obligations. They may also fail to contribute to the relationship equally. They may not care about the consequences of their actions.
Sociopaths focus on appearances rather than substance
Sociopathic partners may prioritize superficial things like looks, status, and material possessions over more meaningful aspects of life and relationships. They may also judge others based solely on appearances. They may not value your personality or character.
Sociopaths lack empathy for the feelings of others
A sociopathic partner may seem indifferent to your feelings or may minimize your emotions, making you feel unheard and invalidated. They may also ignore or dismiss the emotions of others, causing harm. If you express your feelings, they may become angry or defensive.
Sociopaths feel no remorse for their actions
Sociopathic partners may not feel any guilt or remorse for their harmful actions, leaving you feeling confused and hurt. They may also blame others for their mistakes and never take responsibility. They may feel justified in hurting others.
Sociopaths have an inflated sense of self
Sociopathic partners may have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believing they are better than others and deserving of special treatment. They may also expect you to cater to their every need. They may be excessively preoccupied with their appearance and status.
Sociopaths may display aggressive behavior
Sociopathic partners may exhibit aggressive behavior, whether it be physical or verbal, towards you or others. They may also use threats or intimidation to get what they want. They may have a short temper and become easily irritable.
Sociopaths disregard your boundaries
Sociopathic partners may ignore your personal boundaries, crossing lines and violating your trust without any regard for your feelings or well-being. They may also expect you to have no boundaries of your own. They may not respect your need for space or privacy.
Sociopaths can be charming and attractive
Sociopaths can be very charming and attractive, making it difficult to see through their facade and recognize their true nature. This charm is often used to manipulate and control their partners. They may use their charm to convince you to do things you wouldn’t normally do.
Sociopaths will try to control your relationships
Sociopaths are not omniscient puppet masters. The more time they spend with you, the better they will understand how to manipulate you to meet their own ends. Others around you that your partner has limited contact with will naturally be able to spot signs or inconsistencies in their behavior, which makes them a threat. Sociopaths will try and limit your contact with family and friends they think pose a danger to their survival.
Sociopaths can be big spenders
Many sociopathic people chase emotional highs, which research suggests could be a compensation for naturally low levels of dopamine and serotonin. Sometimes this manifests in extravagant spending habits, like buying expensive cars or clothes, which can feed into their obsession with appearance and status. Other times it could be an impulsive holiday for the two of you, which serves to both demonstrate their power and put you in a situation that is difficult to say no to.
Sociopaths can be careful with their abuse
As they tend to have a high interpersonal intelligence, a sociopath will be able to mistreat you in ways you both don’t recognize, and can be difficult to communicate as abusive. This can include things like gaslighting, making you doubt your own version of events, and being subtly physical. They can certainly become physical the same way anybody else can, but their skill in social situations means they will consider the effects of a big scene and act in a more understated way.
Sociopaths might love bomb you
Love bombing refers to a stage in a relationship, usually at the start or after a fight/abusive encounter, where the partner who committed the misdeed will shower their significant other with affection, compliments, and gifts. This is an attempt to use psychological force to overwhelm any doubts or fears in the other and return things to a ‘status quo’ that is easier to navigate. It can be difficult to figure out if the affection is coming from a genuine place, so look for the conditions they attach to their behavior.
Sociopaths might foster your insecurities
Sociopaths tend to enjoy the feeling of power in a relationship. This presents itself in many ways, but one potentially involves how they navigate their partner’s anxieties and fears. This is tricky, as it involves analyzing their reaction while in a vulnerable position. A sociopath might use these insecurities in the future to keep you feeling isolated and nurture your dependence on them, making you feel like they are the only one who understands and will love you, which is almost certainly not the case.
A sociopath might try to change your personality
While they are just as capable of genuine love and affection as other people, navigating life for a sociopath is a difficult prospect. It requires constant monitoring their impulses for deeper meaning, and considering their words when dealing with partners. Like everyone else, sometimes they fail to do this, leading to the highly socially driven sociopath trying to manipulate your personality to better suit them. This could mean dropping or picking up interests, altering language and appearance, or having you walk on eggshells around them.
Sociopaths might suddenly become cold and distant
This could mean a few things. Perhaps they are pulling themselves away to remove a source of support and affection, isolating the partner and causing weaknesses they can exploit. Or they may be simply uninterested in pursuing the relationship, losing the drive to offer affection but not wanting to break up just yet. These are behaviors found in sociopaths and non-sociopaths alike, which makes diagnoses very complicated. It is best to look for a lot of signs in tandem over time.
Sociopaths might go through obsessive periods with you
A common occurrence among those who frequently enter in and out of partnerships is a gravitation towards one person who offers excitement and escape. Often things are on and off sporadically with them, sometimes with explosive endings that leave unresolved feelings to linger. This is a natural part of life, but avoiding future heartbreak might mean thinking about their cumulative behaviors and realizing many of the toxic elements could stem from deeper developmental issues, such as sociopathy or other personality conditions.
Your partner has past, unresolved trauma
The only way you should ever approach your partner divulging their personal history is with compassion and empathy. Do not psychoanalyze them for your own amusement, if anything that would make you closer to a sociopath than them. That being said, personality conditions are a result of countless environmental and sociological factors, and your partner struggling with these and opening up to you is a sign they need help or at least somebody to listen to them. Offer any assistance they think they need within reason, and build a more trusting and aware future for the both of you.
They keep multiple superficial relationships
Many people gravitate towards larger groups of less personally close friends, it’s a good way to keep your own personal space and always have a couple of people available for socializing when the need strikes. This is fine providing everyone involved is aware of where they stand with each other. Sociopaths tend to favor large groups of arms-length friends purely for their own benefit. It inflates the ego and gives them an easy means of pleasure-seeking. Again, this is not inherently bad. Sociopaths are allowed to have friend groups but must be clearer about their expectations and what accommodations they look for.
Sociopaths struggle to hold down jobs
Due to their thinking and behaviors being driven by a self-centered mindset, sociopaths often struggle holding down structured work. Most jobs require some sort of nine to five, with additional factors like travel and the position in a hierarchy causing them agitation. As a result of this, many either quit or end up being fired. This is a complex issue, as many neurodivergent people experience similar issues with regards to work, and very few well-paying jobs offer the kind of flexibility that accommodates their needs.
Your partner frequently threatens with self-harm
While many mental health conditions can cause all kinds of self-harm, there are different intrinsic motivations behind the action. It is often done in isolation as a means of self-control, but such a visceral action does cause concern for others involved who are aware. A sociopath would use this fact to manipulate their partner, creating a sense that they are all that stands in the way of serious harm affecting their loved one. Self-harm is nothing to be ashamed of, nor should it be used as a weapon.
Sociopaths focus on superficial details
This extends not only to themselves and their own appearance but also to their partners and friends. It’s very encouraging to know others find you attractive and desirable, which makes it an easy way to court affection without delving any deeper into emotional truths. Most people of dating age have come to terms with what inauthentic compliments sound like, but with the right amount of charm and tact, it’s easy to craft something that sounds much more spirited and honest. As with most points here, it’s best to keep an eye out for multiple overlapping signs.
They have a history of violence
Children tend not to receive diagnoses of antisocial personality disorders, as many of the traits are exhibited naturally by them while their brains and bodies develop, which every parent reading this already knew. Don’t worry, your four-year-old is probably not a sociopath. However, if into their teenage years they found themselves involved in frequent fights, criminal activity or vandalism, this may be a sign of behavior with no thought for the consequences, which is a big component of sociopathy.
Sociopaths have aspirations of power
Between 4-12% of CEOs are thought to be sociopaths, which explains an awful lot about the state of the world at the moment. The drive for power, divorced from empathy and altruism, has historically been the hallmark of evil. This is not exclusive to sociopaths, who can learn to understand their condition and effectively manage their empathetic shortcomings. However, a partner who lauds their position over others, especially their significant other as some sort of power trip, likely experiences a similar lack of empathy.
Sociopaths feel entitled beyond their means
A sense of entitlement can come from several places. Unresolved issues surrounding inadequacy often show themselves as a belief that everything should be given to them. A sociopath’s entitlement usually comes from a combination of ego, lack of consideration of others, and unchecked desires. In a relationship this could emerge as feeling entitled to sex, believing they do not have to contribute as much to housework, or feeling themselves above their responsibility to their partner.
Sociopaths are often impatient
While nobody enjoys waiting, small, inconsequential waits often cause agitation in people with sociopathy. The simple act of waiting in line for food or a text back can cause irrational feelings of anger. Some signs to look out for in a relationship are whether your partner responds well to minor inconveniences or not. If you have to wait an extra 15 minutes for a table at a restaurant and they become enraged at the staff, that’s a good sign they lack empathy, sociopath or not.
Sociopaths often refuse to seek help
Personality disorders are among the most difficult mental health conditions to treat. They often require lifelong assistance to manage behavior, and while medication like anti-depressants and anti-psychotics can help manage related conditions, there is nothing that can ‘cure’ sociopathy. They are also the least likely to believe they need help or seek it out, compared to other related conditions. If your partner refuses to get help for their out-of-control behavior, it could be that they experience this aspect of the illness.
Sociopaths often abuse drugs
Sociopaths use recreational drugs for many of the same reasons most people do. Many are often very intelligent, and although they have a limited sense of innate empathy, they can and do learn to understand the concept. It can be a struggle to deal with the contradiction of knowing you are different from everybody else, that your internal motivations and way of seeing the world are essentially at odds with how society is designed to function. This, added to their propensity to not consider the consequences of their actions, mean many quickly become addicts.
Sociopaths will manipulate others to hurt you
Due to their diminished sense of empathy, sociopaths often won’t think twice about controlling those close to you in order to cause you harm. This can be through friends, family, or most dangerously, children. It’s often observed when partners separate after having children, where, usually the father, has little interest in nurturing their children. Instead, they use them as tools to cause psychological distress to the mother, encouraging destructive behaviors, and antisocial activity and teaching them to act as impulsively as they do.
Sociopaths occasionally drop their facade
When looking for signs of sociopathy in a partner, it can be equally as important to pay attention to when they do not exhibit the traditional signs of charm and affability. It can be exhausting for them to maintain an attractive personality when, internally, they see no reason why they should. This is a contradiction of their ego and self-centered nature, with how they know they must act to mask the condition. If they seem to go through stages of apathy, cruelty, or aggression when in private but not when around others, it’s possible they are showing you their unfiltered internal drives.
Your partner makes you angry quickly
If you notice that your partner seems to get you riled up much quicker than anybody else can, it may be that they have realized how to enrage you and do so intentionally. While this is a selfish behavior that toxic people of all varieties engage in, sociopaths will lack even the remorse a typical person would, meaning their behavior suggests a few more things. They may be purposely provoking anger and irrationality from you to justify an act of abuse as self-defense.
Sociopaths may not realize they upset you
While many sociopaths know and intend on provoking a negative reaction, others may not have even factored in your potential responses when acting. While this is not ideal, it is more understandable than the alternative. A partner who shows anger or dismissal at your emotional responses is likely a bigger threat to you than someone who acted impulsively but did not anticipate your reaction. If they are open to communicating their mistake and learning from it, they may still have personality issues, but not sociopathy.
Sociopaths struggle to think ahead
As most sociopathic behaviors are impulsive and lacking in concern for others, they often find they struggle with aspects of life that require close attention and adaptability. Financial issues like savings and keeping on top of bills are difficult for them, as is planning out life and work goals. This leads to many sociopathic people living nomadic lifestyles, going from job to job and house to house without setting down roots or connections.
Sociopaths must be conscious of their actions
While sociopaths do not plan for consequences, the actions themselves must occur while they are lucid and sober for it to be considered sociopathy in the first place. Drugs, alcohol and bouts of distress might exacerbate their behavior, but if they only exhibit signs like a lack of empathy, reckless decision-making and impulsivity while under the influence or during a manic episode, it is unlikely to be considered sociopathy.
Sociopaths are often quite secretive
Sometimes partners like to keep aspects of themselves close to their chest. This could be out of shame, anxiety or fear, and often it’s completely natural and easy to deal with. Sociopaths, however, try to carefully curate the information they give out about themselves, as this helps them construct a persona that the other person will respond positively to. By not talking about themselves or their life, they make it harder to catch them in lies or get a sense of why they might be acting the way they do.
Sociopaths often struggle to stay faithful
A lack of empathy and the inability to control impulses are some of the most common reasons people cheat on their partners. As you can imagine, these factors are much more extreme in those with antisocial personality disorders, making them more likely to be sexually promiscuous in general. Potentially sociopathic sexual behaviors include having frequent unprotected sex without being tested, engaging in more extreme kinks without the appropriate education, safety, or consent, and of course cheating on their partners.
Sociopaths are sensitive to criticism
Although they are often hypercritical of other people and lack respect for authority, sociopaths tend to be extremely sensitive to suggestions that they need to improve. This links with their inflated sense of self, perceiving even mild and positively phrased criticisms as personal attacks, which can result in a disproportionate response including verbal or even physical harassment.
Sociopaths tend to get bored easily
It’s important to remember that their impulsivity and often nomadic lifestyles are a result of the way they engage with the world, not the other way around. They naturally find themselves bored by the routines of everyday life, which is what draws them to extreme behaviors in the first place. If you find your partner is unhappy staying in and requires constant social interaction involving alcohol or drugs, it could be a sign of sociopathy or a similar dopamine-depriving condition.
They have a family history of personality disorders
While there is no one way people develop personality disorders, they are thought to be caused by an intricate mix of their biology and upbringing. While some psychologists believe that personality disorders are hereditary, being passed on through genes, others point out that a parent with sociopathy, for example, is likely to raise their child in a manner that would cause these issues to develop anyway. The lack of nurturing, frequent manipulation and propensity for abuse of an antisocial parent can lead to a child modeling themselves off of these behaviors, creating a cycle of abuse.