It may sound like a scene straight out of a horror movie, but statistically you are not that unlikely to end up on a date with a psychopath. It is estimated that about 1 in 100 people are psychopaths – similar to the number of people who are teachers.
And while we may associate psychopaths with horrifying criminals such as the American serial killer, rapist and necrophile Ted Bundy, the majority of psychopaths aren’t actually criminals, but live fairly ordinary lives in our midst. So how do you know if you happen to be dating a psychopath and what should you expect? Luckily, there’s research on the topic.
Despite this type of personality disorder being well established and researched, there is some controversy around exactly how it should be diagnosed. However, researchers do agree that psychopathy involves persistent antisocial behaviour, impaired empathy and remorse, boldness, emotional resiliency, meanness, impulsivity and extremely egotistical traits.
Psychopaths also have certain positive traits, however, such as paying attention to detail, being good at reading people and engaging in conversation with ease. Their ability to be precise and creative means psychopaths can be successful professionals.
The first trait that might become apparent when dating a psychopath is pathological lying. Psychopaths are likely to repeatedly attempt to deceive their partners and will lie about anything under any circumstances in order to conceal their behaviour and achieve their goals – whatever they may be.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to catch a psychopath lying as they often strategically plan deceitful stories. They often also tend to have a superficial charm that may have got their partner addicted in the first place – this could make their other half doubt their suspicions.