Are you dating a psychopath?
Christian Bale in American Psycho

I am a physician, a single mother and a loyal friend. I was also the victim of a psychopath. In the end, the relationship almost killed me.

The difference between perfect and psycho

My story

Adrian seemed like the perfect man. He had just the faintest hint of a British accent. I had been single for a while and was lonely and vulnerable. We met online, and I didn't stand a chance against his love-bombing techniques. I realize now that my Pollyanna-like belief that this exciting and handsome man was genuinely interested in me enabled me to overlook the initially subtle and then glaringly obvious truth: The man I foolishly married after a courtship of only four months was a psychopath.

By the time I realized what he was, it was too late. He had robbed me of my optimism, self-esteem, my health and a great deal of money. Imagine a quarter of a million dollar divorce that lasts longer than the marriage itself. While it was horrible to live through, I hope to help other women by serving as a cautionary tale.

"Up to four percent of the population is a psychopath. That means one of every 25 people has no sense of right or wrong."

The facts

Psychopaths are everywhere. Up to four percent of the population is a psychopath. That means one of every 25 people has no sense of right or wrong. Psychopaths lack a functioning conscience, and their defining quality is a complete lack of empathy and remorse. They are skilled, however, at reading and manipulating the emotions of others in order to get what they want.

According to Dr. Robert D. Hare, the foremost authority on psychopaths, these are some of the defining characteristics of psychopaths: glibness and superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, lack of remorse and guilt, callous/lack of empathy.

5 Warning signs that he might be a psychopath


Accelerated relationship timeline

Because the psychopath knows that he cannot maintain his façade of normalcy forever, he moves the relationship along at an alarming rate. The psychopath will claim immediate intimacy with you. He often uses the word "soul-mate" early in the relationship. Proposals of marriage or living together are frequently offered just weeks or months after first meeting him.


He seems too good to be true

This is the man who gives you the love and attention you’ve always dreamed about (another apt description of this phenomenon is "love-bombing"). He can’t get enough of you and uses the "L" word far earlier than you would expect. If his attention seems almost too overwhelming, use this opportunity to slow things down and re-evaluate.


Your family and closest friends question his intent

Those closest to you are not trying to dissuade you from following your heart because they are jealous or petty. These are the people who have known you and loved you the longest and who want only the best for you. So please, do not ignore their concerns. Use their concern as an opportunity to re-evaluate the relationship -- or at least slow it down a little.


He tells great stories, but the facts don’t seem to add up

The psychopath frequently is an entertaining and master storyteller and a pathological liar. When the inconsistencies of his lies are brought to his attention, he will gloss over the facts or will deftly change the subject.


Something about him just seems "off"

The women who fall prey to the psychopath tend to be very trusting and generous. That quality, when combined with his overpowering "love-bombing," can overwhelm a woman’s innate inner warning system, what has been termed women’s intuition or "gut-feeling." If you have the feeling something is just not right, don’t ignore it. Try to figure out the source of your consternation.

I am an intelligent and well-educated woman. I fell for a psychopath and so could you. So please do your research and avoid making the same mistakes that I did.

The Aftermath of Rock 'n' RollRead more in my book

The Aftermath of Rock ‘n’ Roll is Andrews’ new book detailing her terrifying ordeal from courtship to divorce. This enthralling new book combines personal anecdotes with a variety of research to create the ideal resource for single people entering or reentering the dating scene.

References: Brown, Sandra L. Women Who Love Psychopaths. North Carolina: Mask Publishing, 2009, Andersen, Donna Red Flags of Love Fraud: 10 Signs You’re Dating a Sociopath New Jersey: Anderly Publishing, 2012, Hare, Robert D. Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us. New York: Guilford Press, 1993.

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Comments on "I was married to a psychopath"

Arabella Sky December 24, 2013 | 6:01 AM

Funny how every divorced/divorcing woman calls her ex a psychopath!

EV December 16, 2013 | 8:02 AM

To Harried and Hopeless.. My god, I wish for your relief from this madness and hope that you find some peace and solace in your life after such abuse.

Gail September 07, 2013 | 1:49 AM

I lived this. My ex-husband meets every criterium as a psychopath. Met on a blind date, dated for 1-1/2 years and married for 6-1/2 years. I was always a strong and independent person but also very trusting of people--too much so. So many clues get missed until you are well into the relationship and when realization dawns, it can be very scary indeed. What did it for me was not the mental, emotional, or physical abuse--it was the thought that someday he would do this to our son, and that our son would be grow up to be just like him. If you are in such a relationship--open your eyes and listen to your friends/family. Listen to your intuition--it rarely ever is wrong. Get safe, get clarity, and break free. There is life after dealing with a psychopath and you will be much stronger for it.

Jouee August 02, 2013 | 6:47 PM

Lauren - 1 in 25 = 4% (not 25%). and agreed. You shouldn't be to trusting (of people nor statistics)

Lisa June 30, 2013 | 10:16 PM

Thank you for the article. I was 'engaged' to a sociopath/psychopath for the last four months. He had me totally fooled. I fell for him hook, line & sinker! I came home from work three weeks ago and he was gone. He has messed with my head until two days ago. I have now put it all together and he definitely has ASPD! I'm sure he'll be in contact again but I've figured it out now. It's still tough, but it helps to know I'm not alone.

harried and hopeless June 13, 2013 | 12:42 PM

THIS IS MY HUSBAND. He is a psychopath and will not admit it or get help- his mom and aunt are the same way- he has tried to kill me several times and has abused me our whole 25 yr marriage. Now that I have a chronic illness and I can't work and give him money or pay his bills- he wants a divorce- he is a cold - uncaring heartless . He knows I can't live alone and that this will kill me- he said he doesn't care if I live or die - and he would prefer that I died so he can start a new life with a new young wife and have the baby that he forbade me to have while I was married to him. He has two personalities and I never know which one will pop up next. HE has had terrible finances- moved 20 times and forced me to give up everything and sacrifice for him "I'm the kin- I'm the golden child" I'm the only one who matters" - he bellows to me when I ask him for something- I almost died several times as a result of my cancer and now he has tried to abandon me twice without notice- I have 4 animals that I need help with raising- and he said he wants them dead too He has tried to choke me 5 times and has thrown me down stairs and tried to blow up our apt by turning on the gas and walking out. HE is a monster- and only blames others - but never sees fault or admits to the attempted murders or public beatings. He has complete lack of empathy- feeling- compassion for anything or anyone- he wants everyone dead who does't give him money- he preys on his innocent grama and anyone that will bail him our of his screw ups- he takes no responsibility and accepts no blame. He is psychopath- and if it wasn't for my girls needing me to protect him from him- I would let him kill me. I wish for death.

Troubled June 09, 2013 | 12:05 AM

I too married quickly. Almost a year after, we had a child. I love my child. It's clear now though that my husband is a psychopath. And I don't know what to do about it. He meets everyp criterta for being a psychopath. In retrospect, everything u said happens did and to a tee. I don't know how to safely get out of the marriage without him getting joint custody of our child.during the marriage it was learned he was a victim of ual abuse. I don't want this repeated on my child. If any advise please help..

someone June 07, 2013 | 3:52 AM

I think it is unfair for the psychopath to be bashed like that in your article. This can do more harm than good you know? I won't deny that they may have to be fooled in order to be protected, but perhaps you should reflect upon yourself as well and realize you weren't capable to keep going?

H October 09, 2012 | 11:31 AM

This certainly is scary stuff. Although I'm sure there are some relationships that started over the internet that worked out fine, it pays to be very careful when doing it. You never know what or who is at the other end of that internet connection.

Katie October 02, 2012 | 7:20 PM

This is really scary and such an eye opener. I think it's crazy how come people can get married so fast. The "dating stage" isn't really reality, and only dating for 4 months is really fast. I understand how a lot of people do this, but it is best to wait a little while longer.

Lauren October 02, 2012 | 1:07 PM

Wow, very eye opening article. It's scary that 25% of people are psychopaths! That's such a strong word! It's definitely good to never be too trusting, especially at first. Take care of yourself.

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