Dating a narcissist? Oh, yeah, we’ve probably all been there and done that before. You know the type we’re talking about; she’s really into herself, can be as manipulating as anyone you’ve ever met, only look out for themselves instead of others and are as controlling as ever. What’s all this mean for those who are actually dating a narcissist? Well, in a word, failure.

While we’re taught at a young age not to judge people or build a negative opinion until we’ve gotten to meet them, it’s hard not to do the opposite when you find someone who’s taking selfies of themselves any chance they get, or posting things for attention on social media every hour. Narcissism is like a drug that needs to be taken for the person to feel fulfilled. It’s sad, and it can impact your dating life in a super negative way.

As someone who used to date a narcissistic girl, I can tell you that it’ll change you for the worst. You’ll begin to lose yourself and question who you are and what makes you happy, because, especially if a loyal person, you won’t be getting what you’re giving in return. It’s a debilitating feeling while in it, but, because you grow to be dependent on one another in a relationship, dating a narcissist is worse once the relationship ends, making you realize all the ways your ex manipulated you for their benefit, or made you feel worse about even the smallest things you did wrong.

Since dating a narcissist is so tough, I’m giving you all the reasons why your relationship will be doomed even before the two of you make it official, as many of these types of people all display the same types of traits. So let this serve as your warning, gents.

What is dating a narcissist like?

As mentioned above, dating a narcissist is debilitating; or, at least it was for me. That’s because narcissists don’t change their ways. They don’t adapt. They are often selfish who think that it’s their way or the highway, and don’t take others’ feelings into consideration.

That’s why they’re so self-absorbed, because they often love themselves more than they could ever love another person — which is why dating a narcissist is so difficult, as you’ll often never get what you’re giving in return. And that is why trying to date someone who thinks so highly of themselves is more difficult than you think.

Sure, some people change small things — like becoming more active after being lazy, or using failure as a sense of motivation to better themselves — but, when it comes to values and a person’s identity, those aren’t necessarily going to change. Of course, nobody should change for anyone, but, in the case of a narcissist, they’ll make you think less of yourself in a relationship, and that can leave a person crippled.

Why is dating a narcissist a bad idea?

Other than the reasons above, there are a few other ones — as pointed out by Psychology Today‘s Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D. As Dr. Degges-White mentions, when dating a narcissist, a partner may often be blamed for everything in the relationship, as the narcissist could never accept responsibility for fear that their self-esteem might take a hit.

In healthy relationships, people make room for a partner’s mistakes. However, when you’re involved with a narcissist, the blame for any bump in the road or misunderstanding falls on you. Narcissists are unable to accept ownership or responsibility for any relational issues or personal problems. Narcissists blame others for their own failings—their ego is so fragile that they cannot tolerate any threat to their self-esteem. Romantic partners of narcissists run the risk of beginning to accept that they are less than their partners and may begin to belittle themselves and accept a partner’s criticism as deserved, whether it really is or not.

As someone who has dated a narcissist, Dr. Degges-White’s description is spot on, as every mistake that ever happened weighed on me, as blame was pointed my way. It’s unhealthy, it’s hurtful and it will lead you to begin to doubt yourself. That’s just one big reason why dating a narcissist is a bad idea, because, no matter how tough you are mentally, they know how to break you.

How do narcissists act in a relationship?

In my experience, dating a narcissist included very little emotion. It included empty promises that sounded good, but were never acted upon. It was a lot of happiness during stimulation on trips or when out to eat together, but awkwardness or drama during the simpler times like spending time together.

Now, that’s not what it’s like for everyone dating a narcissist, but many people can probably relate if you’ve ever been in a relationship with a self-absorbed person.

Remember, narcissist only care about themselves, which means that they’re only loyal to themselves, which holds them back from becoming vulnerable to become open and honest, which, in effect, would allow someone else to see them as imperfect. That’s not what makes a healthy relationship, and it’s something that people should definitely expect when dating a narcissist, as that seems to be a universal trait.

When dating a narcissist, can that person change?

Unfortunately, when dating a narcissist, most people are set in their ways. Again, people can change, of course, but most people who are given praise and/or are self-absorbed from a young age to adulthood don’t typically drop that mentality. That means that most narcissists may promise changes, but they will never make them for their partner unless it benefits themselves.

So, if you’re ever in an early relationship with someone who seems to have narcissist tendencies, it might be time to ask questions to get to know them a little better and make sure that, before getting in too deep, this person is someone who you trust and is willing to be open with you. If they aren’t, and there’s drama and little communication, it may be time to pull the band-aid off rather than see if things will get better.