Monday November 24th 2014

10 Signs Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend Is Selfish

Have you ever been out on a date and your date was rude to a service person and even though you were first so strongly attracted to him/her, the attraction suddenly went down a few notches?

May be you have an ex who you still have very strong feelings for but you just can’t bring yourself to go back into the relationship because you feel your ex is self – centered and you just can’t get out of your mind those times he/she acted selfishly -in or out of the bedroom?

More and more studies show that selfless behaviour is a sexually attractive trait when choosing a partner. Both men and women – but more so women – show a strong preference in a partner who typically displays selflessness towards others. One such a study is by Dr Tim Phillips from the University of Nottingham and Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London. The results are published in the British Journal of Psychology.

Some studies even show that men and women who put themselves at risk to help someone else they do not even know are better lovers – in and out of the bedroom.

Unfortunately, unless something so obvious happens like someone refusing to share his dinner or her popcorn at the movies, or if you’re really good at noticing odd things about others, selfishness in another person is a difficult trait to identify early on in the relationship – before you fall in love with the person.

So how can you tell earlier on that you may be falling for a selfish man or woman?

1. He/she mostly talks about him/herself – what he/she likes, needs and wants in a partner, in a relationship, in life etc. What you like, need and want doesn’t seem to matter.

2. He/she only relates to how things affect him/her personally and has no ability to see or relate to how life (and the world) is interconnected.

3. He/she doesn’t consider the impact of his/her actions on others (you included). When you point out how his/her words/actions are “hurting” you, he/she just can’t make the link between his/her words/actions and how you feel.

4. He/she wants you to listen, give emotional support and even worry about how he/she is feeling but never takes time to listen to how you feel — or even thinks how you feel is not important. When you point this out you’re told you’re being “selfish” for wanting him/her to pay attention.

5. He/she gives only when he/she expects to get something back in return. More often than not, expecting more than he/she is willing to give.

6. He/she has an entitlement mentality often followed by selfish demands and outbursts or emotional blackmail (withdraws attention and affection) when he/she doesn’t get what he/she feels he/she is entitled to (i.e. your attention and affection).

7. He/she is always quick to say “NO” when asked to “give” in any way; always has a reason as to why he/she doesn’t feel like giving, doesn’t want to give or should not give- and all these reasons have to do with someone else’s “fault”.

8. He/she always makes promises he/she doesn’t fulfill. Either consciously or sub-consciously he/she always seems unable to “remember” a commitment he/she made and may even blame you for his/her failure to fulfill a responsibility.

9. He/she thinks its okay to manipulate and exploit and even take advantage of others to achieve one’s own ends.

10. He/she lacks empathy and makes no apologies about it.

Readers' Questions and The Love Doctor's Answers...

30 Responses to “10 Signs Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend Is Selfish”

  1. bird_on_the_wire says:

    Excellent post. My ex is the most selfish and self-centered person I know. He never could fathom why his words and actions made communication terribly frustrating and sometimes really hurtful. His inability to put himself in someone else’s position or consider a different point of view made having a relationship virtually impossible. Two days ago, he wrote me a long email attacking my character and calling me “mentally inferior” but ends the email with saying he loves me and wants me back. How am I supposed to respond let alone consider going back to someone so blinded by his own ego that he can’t even see he is the cause of his own frustration?

  2. As you might have already considered, a response will not change anything. Don’t be fooled by the “I love you” and want you back gesture. Selfish people have only one mind and one agenda – and it’s not about you!

  3. NSFX says:

    aye.. so true. What a torture.

  4. Colette says:

    Ugh.. that list pretty much sums up my boyfriend :/

  5. Dalia says:

    My ex dumped me 7 weeks ago. We fought a lot and he decided he did not want the relationship anymore. I want him back and have started to make headway but I feel that my ex is selfish. I’m the only one always asking about how he is doing and showing that I care about how he feels. He never ask about my day or what I’m doing. When I bringing the fact that he doesn’t care about me, he says he’s been hurt before by words I said and not asking is his way of avoiding getting into the same old fights. How can I get him to show that he cares about me?

  6. An ex who dumped you doesn’t really devote too much thought to what you do or think, unless it affects him (or her) directly. To get him to a place where he once again cares about what you think or feel, and wants to open up to you, he must first feel safe and understood. This is most likely where his “resistance” comes from.

  7. Carrie says:

    I always thought my boyfriend being selfish was all in my head, like maybe I was being selfish by thinking that way. But after seeing this,I dont feel so bad. He falls under all 10. Time for a life change. Thank you

  8. I know exactly what you mean… about all being in the head. I had an experience like that, everyone saw the “public” image and thought he was a great guy and I felt selfish for thinking such a great guy was selfish. After I left — just couldn’t lie to myself anymore — his next girlfriend called me asking is he was always that selfish even with me… she too thought it might all be in her head or something was wrong with her.

  9. Robin says:

    I found this both helpful and confusing… What does it mean if I end up reading the list and finding alot of it applicable, but then I can justify the behaviour? Like … “Well, he was acting that way because ____.”
    Or “He does that alot, but there was that one time where he did this and that’s the opposite of selfish, so it cancels it out.” I just don’t know… :( I relate alot to the comment above me about feeling like it is all in my head and feeling like I’m selfish for thinking he’s selfish. Many arguments have also circulated around how he thinks I “just dont care”, and has called me selfish in every single way except in actually saying the word.

    I think what makes it more difficult is that he is so good at arguing… Whenever he makes comments like that, he injects enough truth into it that I can’t argue.. even if what he is saying is completely inflated…

    Does that even make any sense??.. I’m rambling…

  10. It’s not confusing at all. The point of the article is not to justify anything or even explain why someone is behaving the way they do. The point of the article is… after you read the list… make the best decision as to what you want to do FOR YOURSELF. The decision as to what you do after you confirm that he/she is a selfish person is YOURS.

    I do not believe in making decisions for others. It does not empower anyone for someone else to make decisions for them that they should be making on their own.

    From reading your recent comment, seems to me there is much more going on in your relationship than this article covers. My blog policy is that — to avoid unnecessary clutter and diversion from the topic of the article — I only address to what pertains to the article.

  11. Beck says:

    Well I can totally relate to almost all this list and I say almost because I don’t feel my G/F is being malicious so #9 may not apply.

    I know I’m stubborn but I’m the one who works all day every day to pay the bills, I barely get out with my friends anymore unconditionally and if it wasn’t for my weekly game of football, I wouldn’t have anything of a life whatsoever.

    Before we were together I had never really been in much of a relationship to speak of, the odd bit of early-mid twenties fun but nothing serious. As such I’m very independent and don’t always want to be cuddled up together in bed watching DVDs. But if I dare to want any ‘me-time’ I am apparently the selfish one. The irony infuriates me beyond belief sometimes but nothing I say can make the situation amicable.

    I love her to bits and despise the comments on many ‘advice’ websites that say ditch her, she’s not worth it etc. I don’t want that but I do want something approaching a 50-50 instead of the current 99-1 ratio.

  12. Brooke says:

    I’ve been dating this guy for 3 years now. He still says he can’t commit and has many other women on the side. When I ask him about them he says it’s no-strings attached sex and he’s not going to refuse it when they’re offering. I’m 38 and he’s the only man I’ve really able to love but he is so selfish that two weeks when I was hospitalized for 3 days he never even showed up. I almost died and he was with one of his other women. When I brough it up he said “but you’re okay now”. I don’t want to play mind games or be manipulative but is it possible to force him to leave all these other women and commit to our relationship? Or should I just walk away now?

  13. I feel the frustration and pain in your comment. I understand that sometimes feelings can be irrational but this guy has showed you that he couldn’t care less whether you lived or died. I don’t know how you can even convince yourself that you can “force” someone to be who they’re not capable of being. I think you owe yourself better.

  14. Mark says:

    My girlfriend is very self centred and most of the points above apply to her. I’ve got to admit it does make me lose some of the love I have for her, it’s certainly not an attractive trait in a person.

  15. danny says:

    This post is exactly how my fiance is these days

  16. chris says:

    my wife calls me selfish all the time, i am about… 4-6 of them. i am not selfish others but when it comes to my self and someone close to me. i become selfish, i guess. i dont even think about it sometimes. i work at a vocational place. i help others alot. i am very conflicted i guess.

  17. ahri says:

    One may seem to be “selfish” for particular person but not for others. I had 3 ex gf’s. Each of them had different mentality and judging power. First one complains that i am selfish. Second one does not complains but I my self realize that she kind a selfish. Third one complains that i am selfish ONLY when we fight and argue, and on happy days she praises me alot that i am so generous and charitable.

  18. To Chris:

    It’s VERY common for people to act so selflessly with strangers and people not close to them and act selfishly with people close to them. But it’s those most closest to us that know us better. They spend more time and share a lot more with us…

    If more than one person close to you has told you that you are selfish… chances are that you are. There are two things you can do:

    You can choose to defend, rationalize or dismiss it as something that “depends on…” and even fault/blame it on the people who point out when you are being selfish OR you can choose to be more self-aware and self-correct when you find that you are acting selfishly.

    If you are serious about changing, your wife can be a great source of help. Tell her you are working on changing and ask her to help you by telling you when you are being selfish. Get her to help instead of complain/nag!!!

  19. Crystal V says:

    That is my ex from 1-10 all down to the last detail. I ended up walking away from it all because he was so selfish and wrapped up in nothing but himself. He had emotional baggage from his ex, left over feelings and was hung up on his last relationship that he gave little, to no attention to ours.

  20. Kathleen Calamazzo says:

    After bending over backwards and spoiling my ex for 6 months of our relationship, and especially on his birthday, I was depressed over the half-hearted gifts and gestures I received for my birthday. The final straw was when I called in tears one night asking to come over for comfort (I found out some heartbreaking news about a deceased family member) I was told that he was too busy doing laundry to let me over!

  21. Cherly says:

    I can identify with the people commenting. It was always all about him and, unfortunately, that continues, perhaps, even worse now that we have a child.

  22. Amber says:

    My ex of 5 years cheated the second time but despite it all I still love him, and have for the last 4 months been trying to get him back. It is difficult keeping calm when he lies and has no regards for my feelings.

  23. Gypsy says:

    We dated for 6 months, then he abruptly and unexpectedly ended it. Said the timing was wrong, he didn’t want to lead me on. He also wants no further contact. This is really hard to deal with because I don’t know what I did wrong.

  24. May be there is nothing you did wrong. He thought he wanted to be in a relationship and later realized he didn’t want to be in one.

    Accept that it ended and you don’t know why. It doesn’t make what he did right, but it helps you move on.

  25. Julie says:

    I am wondering if the characteristics you are mentioning here are also characteristics of Narcissism.

  26. There are some overlaps… but being selfish does not necessarily mean one is narcissistic.

    It seems that narcissism these days is being used to mean everything about someone that we don’t like or approve of… including being dumped because we’re needy, boring or just plain incompatible.

    Narcissistic personality is actually a disorder (NPD) in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. This condition affects one percent of the population.

    According to the DSM-IV (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) symptoms of this disorder include:
    — Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments
    — Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others
    — Envies others and believes others envy him/her
    — Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence
    — Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others
    — Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior
    — Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic

    Other symptoms in addition to the ones defined by DSM-IV-TR include: Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends, has trouble keeping healthy relationships with others, easily hurt or rejected, appears unemotional, and exaggerating special achievements and talents, setting unrealistic goals for himself/herself.

    Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by dramatic, emotional behavior, and an over-inflated sense of self-importance that is in the same category as antisocial and borderline personality disorders.

    (Source: Wikipedia)

  27. Tricia L says:

    My fiancé broke up with me three weeks before we were to get married. His reasons were that he didn’t think he could be able to give me what I needed and that he didn’t want to marry someone as controlling as his mother. My family and friends think he is being selfish and immature, but I think we can still work on things. We have the same values, interests, goals in life and we tell each other we still love the other. I suggested we go to counselling but he says it’s best we work our issues separately and if it’s meant to be, it will be. My fear is that if a lot of time passes, he will want to move on and not try the relationship again. Please help!

  28. Looks like he’s still open to a possibility of you getting back together, but wants it to happen without your trying to force it to happen. That’s what he means by “if it’s meant to be”.

    I agree with him that you should first work on your own issues before attempting the relationship again. He needs to overcome his fear of not being able to give you what you want, and you need to work on trying to control how everything happens. By insisting on counselling and wanting things to happen right away because you fear that he will move on, you are reinforcing his fear of being controlled. If you want this to work, ease up on the controlling and trying to make things happen your way.

    As for him being selfish and immature… the fact that despite this you still want him back, says you are either willing to overlook those traits or, deep inside you don’t agree with your family and friends. Whichever it is, you need to resolve it in your mind before you go trying to get him back. If you don’t, the conflict within yourself will undermine your efforts to get him back.

  29. Bonnie says:

    It seems like everyone these days feels entitled to something: material things, love, respect, trust, relationships etc. even though they have done absolutely nothing to earn it.

  30. Mike says:

    Sounds like a perfect description of my ex. If we had any problem, hurt feeling, or miscommunication that was even slightly my fault, I was threatened with a break-up, berated or outright dumped. Any concern that I had with her ( no matter how minor), was quickly turned around onto me, to the point where I would start apologizing to her after she did something wrong.

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