Confidence. It’s attractive in a man. But when dating, sometimes it’s hard to determine where his healthy ego starts and narcissism begins. Is your man in love with you? Or himself? Or rather, does this sound familiar? “Initially, you buy into this inflated image,” says Gail Saltz, a psychoanalyst from New York. “But eventually, you come to realize the difference between confidence and insecurity covered over with swagger.”
We asked the experts where this behaviour comes from. “Narcissism stems as a reaction to a home environment where a child wasn’t allowed to develop an autonomous self,” posits Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love. “The child creates a ‘false self’ who is everything that the narcissist is not, but would like to be. Narcissism is a shell and inside there is a huge void. The narcissist does not know what it means to be himself — and as a result, has zero empathy.”
To help, we put together a small quiz to help you figure out if your super ‘awesome’ and confident guy is a narcissist.
Quiz: Are you dating a narcissist?
1. By the end of your first date together you are:
A: Still trying to get over the fact someone so cool, attractive, successful and exciting wants to date you.
B. Whoa! Chill out — you’re still not sure if there’s going to be a date two.
C. The love of his life.
2. He uses the back of his iPhone as:
A. A mirror — he checks himself out every two seconds.
B. A ruler (hopefully not to rack out lines of cocaine).
C. A shrine to you. He’s stuck a giant photo of you on it.
3. Sex is:
A. Less about your pleasure in the moment than his aggrandizement. It’s all about his amazing body, crazy moves and his swagger.
B. Fair play: You both give and take.
C. Mind-blowing, mostly because he makes it all about you.
4. His group of friends….:
A. He fell out with his closest friends before you met. The ones he has now are like the hangers-on in Entourage.
B. Game of Thrones meets How I Met Your Mother meets Gossip Girl. Full of drama, hate, sex, lies, backstabbing — but mostly love.
C. Super tight. They’ve been friends since school and share spreadsheets to plan holidays and nights out.
5. He’s cheated on you…:
A. Three to four times. That you know of.
B. You both sort of cheated once — but it was a Ross-Rachel thing. You were on a break.
C. He panics every time someone hits on him, let alone tries to kiss him.
6. The two of you bump in to your (hot) ex:
A. He immediately picks a fight because your ex looked you ‘in the eye’ and threatens to beat him up if he ever comes near you ever again. You, the ex’s wife and his kids all witnessed the scene.
B. He just feels sorry for the guy. He doesn’t know what he’s missing out on since he’s no longer with you.
C. He manages an awkward smile but he’s so pale and stressed out it looks like he’s about to pass out.
7. You’ve just been made redundant and you come home sobbing:
A. He tells you to get a grip, turns on the TV and spends the whole evening complaining about his lame $4,000 bonus and imminent pay raise.
B. He reminds you that you hated your job and wanted to quit anyway. At least this way you’ll get a good payoff.
C. He helps you spruce up your CV, agrees to watch The Notebook without complaining and books you a spa weekend using his bonus money.
8. He spends his spare cash on:
A. Flashy cars, nights out, expensive watches, gadgets (he’s on the waiting list for the iPhone 5). He updates his wardrobe every season, and yours. He doesn’t want you cramping his style.
B. Fixing up his beat up car, beer and pizza.
9. Your phone rings in the middle of the night:
A. You look out the window and see him standing on your doorstep: you didn’t text him back so he’s come to find out why.
B. Nothing major, just a bootie call.
C. You forgot your USB key at his house, the one with the presentation for those potentially huge clients. He’s here to return it.
10. You say: Honey, that polka-dot shirt is a little too much:
A. How dare you question his taste? He goes mental at the fact that you’ve contradicted him and spends the rest of the night sulking. You get the message; never criticize him. Ever again.
B. But he totally digs his spotty shirt! There’s no way he’s changing.
C. He changes into the shirt your mother (i.e. you) gave him last Christmas.
If you scored a majority of A’s
Your boyfriend sounds like he could be a narcissist. That or he’s so selfish he doesn’t really care about you and your needs.
If you scored a majority of B’s
You’re dating a no-nonsense dude. He’s chilled and cool.
If you scored a majority of C’s
Your boyfriend is so in love with you that you don’t need to worry about him being a narcissist. If anything, he should think about his needs a little more.