Heartbreak

What It's Like To Date A Psychopath

Photo: Iuliia Khabibullina / Shutterstock
unhappy couple

By Adele Espy

Dating a psychopath is maddening. It’s incredibly confusing.

What creates the madness however, is the delight, cheer, and fake love that gets coupled with the abuse.

Dating a psychopath feels exciting at first. It’s “love at first sight” for both you and your partner. How could you not be perfect soulmates?

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Psychopaths are charming, though. They know how to read a room and play games to manipulate every situation to benefit them — with no shame or guilt for the terror they cause.

Sometimes your partner makes you feel like you’re the best person in the world (aside from them, of course). They tell you how special and unique you are.

They tell you how you couldn’t survive without them. And they will do anything to make you see them as your hero.

My psychopathic partner forced me to live through multiple traumatic experiences in order to prove their power over me. After I experienced the trauma, I always felt like I had done something wrong.

I was always “wrong” about everything; I was “dumb” and “broken.” I was someone who needed fixing — a project, not a person.

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Everything in my partner’s life was a lie, and nobody ever knew the full story.

I saw them compartmentalize their life, which is why they seemed nervous when I met their friends and family members. When their “real” world collided with what they told me, I saw the truth and felt trapped.

My partner gaslighted me all the time — so much that I still don’t know what happened in our years-long relationship. When I asked them for clarification about the lies, my partner told even more lies.

Their manipulation was far-reaching, like a huge spider web. They stole, slept with anyone they wanted, drank heavily, and kept me in sight at all times — whether I knew it or not.

They were highly intelligent, extremely witty, good at everything, beautiful, and popular with all kinds of people.

Everyone knew them as a good person, so nobody would believe anyone who outed their manipulative behavior.

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Psychopaths aren’t always blood-hungry murderers. Sometimes they’re ordinary people who simply lack empathy, so they do anything it takes to get what they want.

Sometimes that results in death, but usually it just results in someone else getting hurt.

Dating a psychopath feels like having chains around your wrists and ankles. Your partner tells you that you can’t survive without them so often that you start to feel trapped.

There was no reckoning with, no explaining to, and no reasoning with my partner, as they wouldn’t admit to the lies. I finally had to cut off all contact with them and move cities because it was my only way out.

For any victims and survivors who need support, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has volunteers available to help 24/7/365. Call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.

RELATED: 18 Signs Of Gaslighting & Examples Of How It Plays Out In Abusive Relationships

Adele Espy is a writer who focuses on topics of health and wellness, sexuality, and self-care. Visit her author profile on Unwritten for more.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.