When you think of the ideal man, you may envision someone who is respectful, honest, ambitious, family focused and dare I say it, romantic.

Magazines constantly stress that men who possess these traits are likely to be your soul mates and should be held on to for dear life.

But what if their advice is in fact pushing you into the arms of someone much more sinister and devious?

Sapna Magazine published an article in 2007, which like many others, listed clear differences between men who were players and those you could call husband material. By the end of the informative post, I found myself questioning the following traits Kama Pandit had listed that reflected the good guys.

According to Pandit, these were the qualities women should be on the look out for:

  • An attentive, sweet and caring man
  • Hardworking
  • A man who loves the way you think
  • A man who holds your hand rather than “grabbing your goodies”
  • Buys you dinner, dessert and other treats
  • Makes an effort with your family

Sounds pretty legit, right? What if I told you that sociopaths could easily emulate these qualities.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 1% of the U.S. population suffers from this personality disorder. As of 2012, that figure stands at over 3 million Americans. On a global scale, that number is significantly higher.

One recurring quality sociopaths are known to have is a natural charm, which they waste no time in exuding.

Sociopaths can be very romantic, extremely charming and incredibly generous. They will shower their target with attention, flattery and gifts of all kinds – jewellery, clothes, flowers. A sociopath will sweep you off your feet and treat you unlike anyone has ever treated you. He will typically seal the relationship very quickly, often before he discards his current victim. Sociopaths have the ability to gain your affection very quickly and a relationship with a sociopath becomes intense very quickly.

Soulmate or Sociopath?

There are other known signs commonly linked to sociopaths. Pathological lying, a smooth talker, overly attentive and shallow emotions are traits that can easily dupe considerate women into a web of deceit and lies.

Sociopaths usually target women are who nurturing and very trusting, kind and caring. Often their targets are women who have morals since it is much easier for a sociopath to ‘con’ a good person than another con artist. They only want to prey on women whom they can take and take from without the person expecting anything in return. They are social predators who target vulnerable women. Sociopaths can quickly determine a person’s weak spots and vulnerabilities and will exploit them throughout the relationship.

Even though failed relationships happen everyday, it isn’t outlandish to rule out the possibility of this condition as I’ve personally learnt. If the majority of the symptoms and characteristics fit the mould of a person you are or have been involved with, there is every chance they suffer from this disorder.

Like my ex-boyfriend who turned out to have much more than a wandering eye. Though he displayed all of Pandit’s “ideal” qualities, upon closer inspection of his behaviour and characteristics, he also possessed the classic traits of a sociopath. There were times in my relationship where I felt as though something didn’t quite add up with my ex. I found it odd that he felt the need to exude his charm and charisma to every girl at work and felt as though his grandiose demeanour conflicted with his insistence that he was very shy and introverted.

The level of manipulation, pathological lies and deceit brings a certain kind of relief that he’s no longer my responsibility. Instead, he’s moved on to his next victim.

Shielding yourselves emotionally from these individuals is vital. Avoid all contact if possible. If this isn’t feasible, keeping conversation to very neutral subjects such as the weather doesn’t give them the personal ammunition they require to exploit and degrade you. Having nothing to offer them will also act as a deterrent as there is no emotional resource they can grasp and manipulate.

Wanting to see and believe the good in people is absolutely normal, but there times where a certain level of awareness for our own emotional safety is imperative. Rather than rely on top tips lifestyle magazines enforce, try paying attention to something much more valuable than the monthly freebies – your instincts.