5 Reasons Dating A Sociopath Is So Confusing & Crazy-Making

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Shock. Confusion. Disbelief. These are common experiences when you’re dating a sociopath.

You ask yourself, your friends, or your therapist questions like, "How can he be talking about getting married one day and ghost me the next?," "How can she be so mean and cruel, but then act like nothing ever happened?," and, "How can he tell me that he loves me while he’s cheating with someone else?"

RELATED: How To Instantly Spot A Sociopath Or Narcissist

Sociopathic behaviors are so confusing.

Your expectations about what a romantic relationship is and how people who are supposed to be in love treat each other are totally different from those of the sociopath.

You believe that when people are in love, you're good and kind to each other. You treat each other with respect. You support and value each other. You don’t lie. And you don’t intentionally hurt each other.

Your sociopathic partner, you discover, doesn’t share these beliefs.

Here are 5 reasons why dating a sociopath is so confusing and makes you crazy.

1. Sociopaths are fundamentally incapable of love.

What is romantic love? You may experience it as a burning desire to be with your beloved, and yes, that’s part of it.

But scientists have explored this question, and they’ve identified three components of romantic love:

- Attachment: Your desire to spend time with your partner.

- Sex: This is self-explanatory.

- Caretaking: If you love someone, you want to help and protect them. You want them to be happy, healthy, and successful. You want what’s best for them.

Sociopaths are capable of the first two components — they want to be with you, and they certainly want sex. But they don't do any caretaking.

Sociopaths cannot be legitimately concerned about someone else’s well-being. They cannot put someone else’s interests before their own, including their own children.

The core of sociopathic personality disorders is the inability to love.

2. Sex for a sociopath is only about stimulation.

Many people report that sex with the sociopath is the best they’ve ever had, at least at the beginning of the relationship.

If this was your experience, you may have interpreted your earth-shattering sex as an indication of your deep and profound love.

Don’t count on it.

Sociopaths are often — although not always — skilled lovers because of these reasons:

- All sociopaths — both male and female — have high levels of testosterone, which drives them to seek sex.

- All sociopaths crave stimulation, and sex is about the most stimulating of human activities. They start young and engage frequently, so they get a lot of practice.

- Sociopaths have no inhibitions and nothing is off-limits, which can make sex with them very exciting.

For sociopaths, sex has nothing to do with love. They like sex because they want the physical stimulation. They also know that if they can hook someone sexually, it’s easier to exploit them.

3. A sociopath’s objective is exploitation.

You enter a romantic relationship because you want to share love, support, and companionship. A sociopath enters a romantic relationship in order to take advantage of you.

Right from the very beginning, you are targeted. When sociopaths meet you, they figure out if you have something that they want.

If the answer is "yes," they figure out your vulnerabilities by asking deep, probing questions. You feel like they want to know all about you while they're actually looking for the deepest place within you to set their hooks.

Finally, they use your vulnerabilities in order to establish the relationship, and then they convince you to give them what they want.

Remember this: Sociopaths always have an agenda.

RELATED: How To Tell A Sociopath From A Psychopath (And Which One Is Worse)

4. The sociopath’s loving behavior is all an act.

At the beginning of an involvement, sociopaths engage in love bombing. They shower you with attention and affection. They tell you how wonderful you are, and that they want to be with you all the time.

While they’re still reeling you in, they appear to be kind and considerate. After some time, you may see flashes of rudeness or anger. The behavior seems out of character, so you assume your partner is simply having a bad day.

Then, the sociopath turns on you. You're shocked to find yourself criticized, denigrated, and abused. You wonder how the sociopath can suddenly shift from over-the-top affection to complete devaluation.

The truth is that the love and caring you saw at the beginning was a charade designed to hook you. The cruelty and contempt you are seeing now is your partner’s true character.

5. Sociopaths only want power and control.

Most human beings seek relationships with other people in order to feel connected and attached. We find companionship, support, and a sense of community to be intrinsically rewarding.

Sociopaths do not. Sociopaths engage in romantic relationships only to expert power and control over their partners.

Sometimes, it’s a money scam. Sometimes, the partners serve as a cover for their double lives. Sometimes, they initiate romances just for the fun of breaking their partners' hearts.

Sociopaths like being puppeteers. They want to pull the strings and watch other people jump.

This is why the sociopath’s behavior in your relationship makes no sense. What the sociopath wants out of the relationship is the total opposite of what you want, and this will never change.

So when you realize you're involved with a sociopath, the best solution for you is to get out.

RELATED: 3 Predominant High-Functioning Sociopath Personality Traits

Donna Andersen is the author of "Love Fraud — How Marriage to a Sociopath Fulfilled My Spiritual Plan" and founder of Love Fraud. She is an expert on sociopaths in relationships and offers personal consultations.

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