User Reviewed

How to Recognize if Your Partner is a Sociopath

Just met Mr or Miss Perfect -- with some strings? Meeting a new person and getting to know the ins and outs of their personality can be a mixed bag - especially if any behavior raises red flags for you. Determining if someone is a sociopath isn't straightforward without the analysis of a mental health professional, but there are some signs to look out for. This article will help you determine whether your new love might be a sociopath.


  1. Image titled Recognize if Your Partner is a Sociopath Step 1
    Pay attention to any erratic mood swings that you notice. Erratic mood swings indicate problems that shouldn't be ignored. If he/she becomes angry without provocation or warning, or stages violent outbursts, you should be very concerned and consider distancing yourself from them until they are stable, then suggest that they seek out and attend anger management classes. An anger management counselor will be able to help determine whether your loved one is a sociopath in need of therapy.
  2. Image titled Recognize if Your Partner is a Sociopath Step 2
    Notice changes in their behavior when you are together in different situations, such as: How does he/she react to riding in the passenger's seat, and how does he/she behave behind the wheel. People who suffer from some mental disorders do not cope well when they are not in complete control. Behind the wheel, they can become overly aggressive. Pay close attention to what they say and how they respond to normal driving conditions and the presence of other cars/drivers. Notice how they react in movie theaters and restaurants. Are they considerate of others, including you? Do they speak overly loud or irrationally? Observe them in their home. Do they become combative when frustrated? Do they determine activities of others, or do they respect other housemates freedom of movement?
  3. Image titled Recognize if Your Partner is a Sociopath Step 3
    Notice if they show a tendency to expect more of others than they do of themselves. Do they demonstrate contempt for other's needs, choices, desires, habits, lifestyle choices, etc.? Note how they react when crossed: If they tell you to do something, or stop doing something, don't argue, just don't follow their instructions and see how they react. If they become violent, you can be assured that (unless you are inflicting harm on someone or something and they're demanding that you stop) they have a problem respecting others. Consider counseling for yourself to help you distance yourself from him/her if you cannot walk away.
  4. Image titled Recognize if Your Partner is a Sociopath Step 4
    React if they are domineering and manipulating. If you see that your lover wishes to make all of your decisions for you, and reacts with outrage or violence, or condescension when you refuse to let them, be assured that they do not respect your intellect and/or your right to make your own decisions, be they in line with what they would advise, or not. Anyone who attempts to belittle or humiliate others, or you, for any reason should be regarded as ill-suited company, whether or not they have a diagnosable mental disorder.
  5. Image titled Recognize if Your Partner is a Sociopath Step 5
    Learn a little about your lover's past. If your lover refuses to reveal or discuss anything of his/her past, be very wary. Persist a little in your questioning and see how they react. If you get nowhere with the discussion, it's safe to assume that they do not wish for you to know about their past behavior. If it's important to you, move on to someone who is more open and willing to share their past experiences. If your lover dismisses their past relationships with excuses that their former partners were all abusive, mentally deranged, or manipulative, be wary of their mental state.
  6. Image titled Recognize if Your Partner is a Sociopath Step 6
    Test their truthfulness. Listen to them and pay attention to what they tell you, then ask them questions about any situation they've told you about, later. If they cannot recall the subject you've reawakened, or cannot relate the story in much the same manner as they told you about it the first time, this may indicate that they've fabricated the events they've told you about.
  7. Image titled Recognize if Your Partner is a Sociopath Step 7
    Resist any attempts to isolate you. If your new love expresses contempt for your friends/family members/co-workers, and even complete strangers who show an interest in spending time with you, push back. Stable people will quickly recognize that they've overstepped personal boundaries by trying to negatively affect your good feelings about those with whom you share your life. Mentally unstable individuals will become increasingly adamant that you trust their impressions of your interactions with others, and accept that they know better than you who is looking out for your best interest. Ultimately, these individuals will suggest that you break contacts with those with whom you seem most connected.
  8. Image titled Recognize if Your Partner is a Sociopath Step 8
    Ask them to tell you about the meanest thing they've ever done to somebody. Listen for indications that they feel badly about what they've done to someone in the past, and ask them specifically if they feel badly about it, if they do not offer that information. This is the fastest way to know if your lover is mentally balanced, can empathize with others, or feels shame and remorse (with or without prompting).


  • Ask about their family and their relationships with them. If they relate that they are estranged from most or all of their family members, do your best to discover why. Individuals who are mentally unstable are often estranged from most, if not all, of their immediate family members and demonstrate a coldness, contempt for, or lack of interest in re-establishing or building a relationship with those who presumably know them best. Individuals who relate that all of their immediate family members have abandoned them, or turned their backs on them, deserve the most scrutiny. With such individuals, it is important to note whether or not they feel at all responsible for their family's reaction to them. If they assert that the family summarily discarded them, but can think of nothing they've ever done that might warrant this extreme reaction, you're probably dealing with an individual who suffers from an extreme mental disorder (whether life-inflicted, or innate).
  • Ask to see their driver's license. If your would-be lover cannot produce their driver's license, chances are they do not feel responsible for their own behavior (unless they have never gotten a license to drive). To lose one's driver's license for any reason other than a brief lapse of insurance (an oversight) requires habitual offenses. Individuals who have made so many successive bad decisions likely have attending mental issues you may not want to discover by becoming deeply involved with them.

Article Info

Categories: Relationship Issues | Personality Disorders