Psychopaths… We know the type. In the movies, they are usually very charming men in their late 20s or early 30s whose lack of empathy, guilt, and remorse compelled them to commit murders and all kinds of sadistic acts. Is psychopathy really affecting men more than women? And, are psychopaths really incapable of feeling anything, especially love?
Psychopathy exists in many forms and the latest research on psychopathy reveals what it is really like to be in love with a psychopath.
Researchers have defined psychopathy based on personality tests that measure how much a person has psychopathic tendencies and/or behavior. They noticed that there is a subthreshold variety of psychopathy and the popular belief was that those subthreshold psychopaths are unable to maintain a relationship due to their lack of expressiveness.
However, one scientific study on criminals conducted by the psychologist Claudia Savard of the University of Quebec and her colleagues found that criminals have an insecure attachment style of avoidance and that’s why they have difficulties to form close intimate relationships with other people.
Therefore, those individuals who fit in the description of the psychopathic disorder, regardless of whether they engage in criminal or not, have an avoidant attachment style and are thus unable to form healthy and intimate relationships.
They still engage in romantic relationships, but the relationships are not based on true intimacy. In fact, psychopaths usually enter a relationship just to get as much as they can from the other person. They don’t have empathy and compassion which leads to a catastrophic end of the relationship.
However, these couples can succeed if the “healthier” partner is able to influence the other and with a lot of patience they can build intimacy and have a more trusting and loving relationship.
If you are a woman that is in love with a man who is on the insensitive end of the psychopathic spectrum, then their inability for empathy will make you distance yourself and suffer in silence. Instead, you should seek intervention and address the problem with your partner, so that you both can offer solutions on how to make it work.
Savard, C., Brassard, A., Lussier, Y., & Sabourin, S. (2015). Subclinical psychopathic traits and romantic attachment in community couples: A dyadic approach. Personality and Individual Differences, 72128-134. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2014.08.014