How to spot a relationship con artist

While there is no sure-fire secret formula for how to spot a relationship con artist, a person can look behavioral indicators to check for a possible con. Certain actions and attitudes can often point to an instability in the con artist's life.

The motivations a person may have for becoming a relationship con artist can run the gamut from not wanting to be alone, to feeling he has to manufacture a life he perceives as better than the one he has in order to date the type of person he is interested in. Some con artists even fake a relationship in order to bilk their unsuspecting "loves" into giving them money or buying them expensive gifts. This may sound like a woman's game -- gold digger, anyone? -- but in fact, men are just as likely to be relationship con artists.

A relationship con artist will often seemingly say the right thing at the right time every time. He or she will rarely, if ever, volunteer anything that paints him in a negative light unless it is done in a joking, self-deprecating manner to seem more accessible. Their behavior is often aloof, and when interacting with others, the con will often try to position him or herself as the Alpha.

Beware of signs like never being invited to the suspected con's home, or walking far away from you when accepting phone calls, or only setting up dates in places where it is extremely unlikely either of you will run into anyone you know. Look for small signs that something is out of place regarding their dress and appearance. Is their wardrobe full of name brands, but they constantly tell you how broke they are?

Another red flag is asking for money or loans when you have only known each other a short time, while telling you they love you and believe you are their "soul mate." Also watch what they say -- do they control all conversations, steering you away from topics that may expose inconsistencies in things they have previously told you?

Generally speaking, if someone seems too perfect and too good to be true, he likely is. If he insists on controlling every aspect of your relationship, an underlying reason may run deeper than being a controlling personality. The best way to spot a relationship con artist is by being attentive and holding those you suspect of being a relationship con artist to a standard in which they must earn your trust.

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