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A Self Defense Guide: How to Spot a Serial Dater or a Sociopath

Updated on March 19, 2016

Singles Have All the Fun

Singledom has become an accepted social status at any age with a total of 44% of people being single people in Canada. It is true that each single person may remain single for very different reasons at different stages in life. Part of choosing to be single is the choice to alternatively pursue education, travel, career and/or independence. In general, few people truly desire to be single forever and healthy companionship is usually welcome regardless of personal or relationship goals.

With more singles on the dating market, there leaves the challenge of choice. With so much more supply and demand, there seems also the question of remaining single or ultimately making a choice to enter a relationship. Singles are more likely to be more visible on social media or dating profiles and are more open about their availability to a prospective mate. But little does one know, who else may be watching from afar?

If you have attempted the dating scene, it is no doubt you have by now encountered a serial dater or even a sociopath. With the rise in speed dating and the proliferation of online dating, both have increased the ability for serial daters and sociopaths to prey on victims with relative anonymity. A serial dater or sexual sociopath can certainly be a man or a woman. Although they are similar in some ways, a serial dater has unique distinctions compared to a sociopath and sometimes the two are confused. Protect your head, your heart and possibly your pocketbook with these ways to spot a serial dater or a sociopath.

A serial dater is most often someone considered 'a player' or 'playing the field'. These individuals seek out attention from many different dating partners at any given time. Their only intention is to have a first date and rarely a second. They are addicted to the firsts...first impressions, the first kiss and the one night stand. They are often selfish and disrespectful, flirting with and hitting on many others either secretly or even in your presence with total disregard for your feelings.

The true nature of the serial dater is defined by their charisma to lure you in, but also low self esteem that constantly requires more and more validation seeking it from whomever will give it to them. In conversing with a serial dater, you can spot their intentions and motives by their actions. They often rush into intimacy as quick as possible by sharing confidences, secrets, personal questions, or swapping sexy photographs over the net or text. They will also be agreeable, tell lies to relate to you and tell you exactly what you want to hear. This is a form of fast forward courtship to get to the main event which is usually 'the hook-up'.

You may think the person is too good to be true and they count on it. They may even tell you that they are seeking a long-term relationship- anything to get you to trust them. Be aware that once they achieve their goal of 'the seduction' they will move quickly onto their next conquest and you may never hear from them again. The serial dater never calls, unless they need another fix down the road and if you call them first he/she may respond coldly or indifferently as if nothing happened or reject you entirely for some illogical reason. If you have been a victim, you may feel misled, used and wonder what just happened.

When people say singles have all the fun, this is not what they mean. Trickery and toying is never fun. Even if someone is fresh out of a relationship or not looking for a commitment right now, they should be honest enough to say so, so you can also say 'yes' or 'no'. But I highly advise keeping your date public at first and letting someone know you are meeting a stranger for the first time, girls or guys.

Once I met a very good looking Christian for a walk on the beach at sunset. By the time the walk was over, he confessed he had been one of the most dangerous and violent prisoners who had spent the past ten years in one of our provincial prisons here in Canada. I don't make snap judgements, but life long patterns are not solved over night. I applauded his new found faith may have helped, but I also know it takes years to rehabilitate in and out of group therapy and he hadn't done the work. I simply was not willing to venture into anything with anyone who has a violent history- a deal breaker for me. I hadn't let anyone know I went out. It seems fun to be spontaneous sometimes, but it isn't usually very wise.

Profile of a Serial Dater

Preoccupied with Money
Loves being Single
Shows Little Respect
Wants to Stay Casual
Will Date Anyone
Rushes Intimacy
Immediate Sexting
Sexy Photo Swap
Low Self Esteem
False Charm
Bachelor for Life

The Agenda...

In the beginning, it is challenging to spot the sociopath from the onset as they are deceptive and deviant personalities. They are the 'smooth operator' or the 'femme fatale' with a hidden agenda. In extreme cases, one may easily label them 'the crazy ex' or 'the psycho' that stole their heart, body, soul and everything else.

They present as the typical 'A' Type personality, rather charming and powerful personalities who easily use their good looks to get what they want and wield sex as a weapon for control and humiliation. Incapable of true intimacy, they always have an angle or an agenda in their approach. Their 'mode operandi' is a parasitic or co-dependant relationship. They like to get their own way and if they do not, may easily pout, get visibly offended or give you the silent treatment and get cold toward you. This is manipulation that leads to you being a wits end.

Male or female, the sociopath uses affection, sex and suggestion as methods to get their own way and ultimately more control. In some instances, a sociopath will play an emotional cat and mouse game, simply toying with someone for gratification. Even though you may suspect something is up or not quite right, you may not be able to pin point it. They could be deserving winners of an Academy Award for performance. The sociopath has an angle and that is to gain something be it dominance, control, information, money or material things and in extreme cases, total control over your social life, children or finances.

The victims over time feel powerless and may believe they were suggestively influenced or manipulated. The sociopath knows it and is friendly or loving but only so long as he/she gets their own way.The sociopathic partner may be difficult to detach from or leave and the victim is left feeling confused, trapped and afraid to ask for help. It may seem impossible to leave them.

Unfortunately, there are no definite laws against sexual, emotional or financial exploitation of adults so often the victims suffer such abuses in silence and shame. There should be laws, but there are not so realize that anything you give to them even if they seduced or tricked you with flattery, affection or sex to get it is not quite illegal. The sociopath knows this too and also pushes the limits of exploitation bordering on coercion and abuse. It can be a fine line that is hard to prove to police or anyone else. Really, it is a type of love or romance scam and you can be sure a sociopath is behind it.

When the victim realizes they have made a mistake in choosing a friend or partner and can't endure the relationship any more, it is not surprising many find themselves at some sort of substantial loss. When the sociopathic partner's dishonest charade is seemingly revealed over time, like persistent lying, manipulating, bullying, hoarding or cheating... things may start to get nasty.This may involve personal attacks or being alternatively cut off resulting in disillusionment and in worst case scenarios... homelessness, destitution or even expensive drawn out court or custody battles. There is rarely an amicable parting of ways with a sociopath at any stage of relationship. Remember, this happens to both men and women.

Profile of a Sociopath

Without Conscience
Dramatic and Intense
High Sex Drive
Likes to Win
Domination and Submission
Mind Control

By Dr. M. Strout

The Sociopath Next Door
The Sociopath Next Door

In the pages of 'The Sociopath Next Door', you will realize that your ex was not just misunderstood. He or she is a sociopath. And your boss, teacher, and colleague? They may be sociopaths too. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. How do we recognize the remorselessness?


A Closer Look...

Sociopathy is a psychological condition where pathological self-interest and individualism is part of the person's personality- an 'out for number one' mentality. They exhibit little empathy, conscience or compassion for others. They rarely care about the collective well-being of others or the group unless it interests or benefits themselves in some way- a 'what is in it for me' attitude.

Sociopathy is also a pop culture word used to describe the formal diagnosis of Anti-Social Personality Disorder. It shares many dissociative characteristics with other disorders such as Attachment Disorder. Attachment Disorder, if diagnosed early, involves a child or youth that received very little early maternal or parental bonding in developing years resulting from neglect or abuse, leading to a condition where the person is unable to experience healthy attachment in relationships later in life. In such situations, an individual is emotionally unattached, unavailable or dissociative. This may be one leading cause of Sociopathy in adults. With the doubling of cases of sociopathy in youth, it leads one to believe neglect and the absence of love for extensive periods of time along with the detached self-promotion of our culture may be resulting in more chronic patterns of sociopathy. It is certainly something to think about.

Psychotherapeutic treatments have proven ineffective in treating either Attachment Disorder or Sociopathy. It isn't something any professional can 'fix'.- so don't try it yourself. Certainly you may always wonder how someone whom you trusted, who appeared so loving and magical one moment suddenly switched from Jeckyl to the opposite..Hyde? What one must grasp is the sociopath is neurologically incapable of feeling any connection to others. He or she is not hard wired to feel much of anything. They may have an act down pat, but realize they are more like copy cats. An intellectual grasp of one's duties is not the same as the deep and powerful emotion we call conscience.

In the book, The Sociopath Next Door, Dr. Stout reveals 4% of seemingly ordinary people in our general population, which equals 1 in 25 people, is sociopathic. The sense of urgency in reading this book may be necessary to teach all of us how to question poor examples of authority, be suspicious of the intentions of superficial flattery and beware of consistent pity plays for our attention. To be aware of this strong and influential personality type that means more harm than good is not paranoia, but is self-defence for the rest who consider themselves empathic and compassionate people.

Is it your lying, cheating ex?

Your sadistic high school gym teacher?

Your boss who loves to humiliate people in meetings?

The colleague who stole your idea and passed it off as their own?


Self- Defence!

The number one way to deter a Serial Dater or Sociopath is to learn to protect yourself first- learn to say NO! NO! NO! Just practice it- dammit NO! Ha, ha! Had to emphasize this one! Say NO to the cheesy pick up lines. Say NO to texting sexy photos. Say NO to the invasive personal questions. Say NO to the 'hook up'. Yes, everyone has needs but no need will be satisfied by giving in and being a push over or by being manipulated, used or rejected. Put self-respect of your mind, heart, body and soul first. If you don't, no one else ever will. Take your time, set the pace and if that is not good enough and they 'push', just say NO.Don't be hurt if he/she brushes you off, consider yourself one of the 'saved' by the warning bell.

Next, set up clear and respectful 'boundaries'. Don't let anyone cross rude or disrespectful lines, no matter what. If you see the 'warning signs' or feel pressured or uncomfortable, it should be a flashing alert for you to take a step way back and tell your 'friend' to back off or slow down. A very good safe rule in dating is to keep your first few dates in a public place- start and end each and every date that way. Agree in advance, that for both your safety this is best and all you want. Don't fall for any pressures to come over to your place, snuggle and watch a movie,

Your total presentation from demeanour to dress speaks volumes about you without any words. Please try not to fall for the typical 'sex sells' motto. Man or woman, you are not merely a sex object to be objectified, branded and marketed like a cheesy commercial. Avoid use of sexy or provocative images or sexy talk too soon. This is not flirting. Flirting is about the allure involved in human eye contact and face to face communication. Think about the messages you are sending out. What you put out there, is ultimately what you will get back. If you want someone to like you for your mind, beliefs or who you honest, up front and express that in creative and intellectual ways by sharing your interests, thoughts or hobbies over a long period of time. Quality people, seek quality people and this is only proven through the test of patience and time. You are worth it. Show it.

I understand. I truly do...

Mine, has been a live and learn experience as well. But I had to come to grip with the reality that I didn't need a bodyguard or the police to defend me, I had to take my security into my own hands from the get go. I had studied criminal profiling and psychology and still couldn't understand how I could be meeting so many seeming serial daters in my search for someone solid. I know about the sociopath personally, however, at one time I had been married to one myself. It was not until then, that I realized my own vulnerabilities and trust issues as well as the limits of what I could healthily tolerate. I don't care if it is not law, exploitation is unlawful if it is done to a child, it is still wrong if it is done to adults, too. I wish leaders in law enforcement and law would take notice.

I am sure a few of my former 'dog eat dog' and 'cut throat' ruthless but successful corporate and political colleagues were sociopaths, too. Let's just say I'm a fast learner and I didn't run with the pack. Say 'No' a little more, disagree and set limits in your professional and dating life- it is your right. Like that ole adage...'anything worthwhile is worth the wait'- is usually true. Stay the course and you won't be single forever. It is not a matter of luck- it is a matter of choice. I wish all you singles, very safe and happy dating experiences!


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    • profile image

      Tamara Moore 

      19 months ago

      Informative blog! Thank you for sharing this!

    • Claudine Fleury profile imageAUTHOR

      Claudine Fleury 

      2 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Hi Besearien, thank-you for your kind comments. I understand and do agree with you. We are naturally attracted to what is sparkly, charismatic, fearless and the center of attention. These people are like walking advertisements it seems. But just as a fire may flicker and dance which lures us, so does it aim to burn us if we get too close. Often a look but don' t touch approach is a safe golden rule when we recognize we may be enticed but our common senses tells us otherwise. :)

    • Besarien profile image


      2 years ago

      Great use of tables! Many of my friends seems to attract and be attracted to the sorts of people you are describing. Not sure how that happens. At some point it is up to them to break the pattern and start dating nice people who might not be as magnetic or tantalizing, but who are safe partners to build an intimate relationship. I think it is like being addicted to junk food- sure, it's quick and tastes great but in the end it will ruin your future and eventually kill you.


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