What Happens When Psychopaths Fall in Love

About 1% of the population may be psychopathic, according to a study. People who are considered psychopaths struggle with expressing different kinds of emotions, especially empathy, sadness, and fear. However, psychologists believe they can fall in love like the rest of us, but the ways that they express their feelings and communicate in their relationships are quite different.

AZtag understands that psychopathy is an ambiguous topic, so we want to shed some light on what happens when these people fall in love and whether this is nearly as romantic as some movies have shown us.

1. Psychopaths may be capable of loving another person.

What Happens When Psychopaths Fall in Love

Psychologists suggest that there are different levels of psychopathy. If the person doesn’t show severe signs of psychopathy, they’re more likely to be able to fall in love. Psychopaths can also feel lonely and have a desire to be loved. However, it’s difficult for them to form a healthy relationship because of their lack of emotional attachment and their inability to open up to another person.

2. Their relationships are based on different reasons than traditional ones.

What Happens When Psychopaths Fall in Love

Since psychopaths struggle with building strong emotional bonds and creating intimacy in the relationship, they’re more likely to enter the relationships that are based on common beliefs and attitudes toward the world. But their partner should be careful: psychopaths are extremely selfish and usually try to manipulate their partner into sacrificing their own interests for them.

3. Psychopaths may crave close relationships, but are rarely able to form them.

What Happens When Psychopaths Fall in Love

Psychopaths usually express the so-called avoidant attachment style. They’re likely to fail when they try to create an emotional bond with other people because of their inability to show empathy and emotional attachment. Psychopaths can’t rely on other people and often try to use them for their own benefit.

4. Psychopaths can’t provide emotional support to their partner.

What Happens When Psychopaths Fall in Love

Psychologists believe that psychopaths mostly don’t feel fear or distress. And since they’ve never felt these emotions themselves, they struggle with showing empathy and understanding the feelings of other people. The research shows that psychopaths can take care of other people but only in cases where they do so willingly and have put in enough effort to learn how to be empathetic.

5. Psychopaths prefer short-term relationships.

What Happens When Psychopaths Fall in Love

Psychopaths follow the “fast life history strategy:” they prefer to form short-term relationships without a strong emotional attachment. They are rarely interested in putting enough effort in to create long-term relationships that can potentially lead to marriage. Psychopaths are more likely to take risks and put themselves first which makes it difficult for them to find a suitable partner.

6. Psychopaths know how to manipulate their partner and do it well.

What Happens When Psychopaths Fall in Love

Psychopaths can easily read other people and understand their intentions. They know how to be charming and feel comfortable in any situation and that makes them perfect manipulators. Remarkably, they don’t feel any guilt when doing this: psychopaths are self-centered and don’t really care about the distress their actions may cause other people.

7. Their love can be destructive.

What Happens When Psychopaths Fall in Love

Since psychopaths don’t really know how to interact with people on a deep level, the romantic relationship can be destructive for both partners. Psychopaths are more likely to act in an impulsive manner and be emotionally unavailable. Being manipulative and having a lack of empathy can be destructive for their partner’s psychological well-being and contribute to instability and tension in the relationship.

8. Their feelings and attitude can improve over time.

What Happens When Psychopaths Fall in Love

The good news is that psychopaths can improve their behavior when they’re motivated enough to do so. Psychologists believe that romance and communication with the people who express love for them can teach them to be more empathetic toward other people and improve the quality of their social interactions.

Have you ever been in a relationship with a person who showed signs of psychopathic behavior? How did it work out? Share your stories in the comments.

Preview photo credit The Girl on the Train / DreamWorks