Dating a high-value and high-quality man is drastically different from dating a narcissist (and narcissists can be male or female). However, it can be hard to tell the difference between a narcissistic and high-quality man when narcissists often masquerade as high-value men initially, only to reveal themselves to be manipulators later on. Here are the key distinctions you should look out for if you want to know if he’s a high-value man.
They’re genuinely generous and attentive long-term – and there isn’t an agenda behind their kindness.
A high-value man respects all women from an authentic place of kindness and compassion. He remains consistently attentive to and affectionate with the woman he’s dating or in a relationship with. He is naturally generous with his time, effort, and romantic gestures – and doesn’t do anything from a place of, “I need something back in return.” A narcissist uses excessive attention and affection known as “love bombing” to hook his dating partners initially, only to later devalue and disrespect them to keep them under his control. A narcissist’s empty romantic displays are orchestrated to indebt you to them and instill a sense of fear, obligation, and guilt. Their nice façade is always used to exploit others for a specific agenda.
They don’t blow hot and cold because they’re not looking to manipulate you. Unlike a narcissist who continually tests your boundaries, they make sure not to do anything to jeopardize the relationship at any point.
High-value men won’t display the Jekyll-Hyde behaviors like narcissists do. If they are romantically interested, they will show that interest persistently and in healthy ways. The difference with a high-value man is that if he’s not interested in a woman for a relationship, he won’t pursue her at all. He won’t “use” her for an ego boost, sex, or another secondary gain. He’s not looking to waste anyone’s time, so he won’t lead on anyone, including himself. Unlike a narcissist who blows hot and cold to get you addicted and attached to them through intermittent reinforcement, or to get you working hard for his approval, you won’t have to work hard for the high-value man’s appreciation. He won’t keep you guessing in the first place.
They don’t try to make you jealous. They know your worth and your irreplaceability and go out of their way to reassure you they value you in both their actions and words.
We know from research that narcissists create love triangles and provoke jealousy on purpose. High-value men do not engage in these ridiculous tactics – they are secure and confident in themselves, so they don’t seek outside validation from other women outside of their relationship. They have the empathy to know what is inappropriate behavior and act accordingly – even when “no one is watching.” That’s because their actions stem from their good character, whereas a narcissist operates from manipulation, ego, and a need for power and control. High-value men on the other hand lack a wandering eye and show the utmost respect for their partners and cherish them – not just during the honeymoon stage of the relationship, but through every stage of the relationship. High-value and high-quality men recognize a woman’s unique qualities and traits and go out of their way to make sure you know how important they are to them long-term. They address your concerns and insecurities with compassion and go out of their way to reassure you that you are the only woman they prioritize. Their words match their actions, and they are loyal and act from integrity.
They use social media constructively and not in shady ways.
High-value men don’t have time or energy to spend on social media in frivolous ways unless it adds in some way to their businesses. Unlike narcissistic men who are constantly hitting the like and follow button on inappropriate or shady accounts to make their partners jealous or sliding into the DMs of other parties in hopes of gaining validation, high-value men make sure others know they are already partnered and fulfilled if they use social media at all. They have the same boundaries on social media as they do in real life and do not do things that would ever spark a partner’s insecurity, confusion, or suspicion. They have a healthy relationship with social media in that they know how to celebrate the happiness of their romantic relationships, highlight, and give praise to their partners while still maintaining some decorum and privacy yet not excessively exploiting their relationships as status symbols. They will showcase the woman they’re dating consistently with healthy pride.
They validate your emotions, whereas narcissists pathologize them.
High-value men are emotionally balanced and stable. They have emotional control and are sensitive to the needs and rights of others. This is what makes them excellent listeners and communicators. A narcissistic man will call you “crazy”the minute you hold him accountable, or gaslight you into believing you’re asking for too much if you expect basic respect. A high-value man treats you with respect as their default. Even if they don’t agree with you all the time, they will still validate your emotions and understand where you are coming from.
They don’t keep in close touch with exes or have suspicious friends you would worry about.
Narcissists often keep a harem of people who they can use for attention and ego strokes. They also use these people against you and pit people against each other to make them jealous. When you call them out, you’re likely to be labeled as controlling. The high-value man is just as selective about his friendships as he is about relationships. He won’t have any suspicious female friends that raise red flags or exes that he’s holding onto, or express attraction to people he’s not dating. In fact, he will usually not pursue close contact with women who aren’t his relationship partners or family members just out of respect alone. The high-value man knows that cheating can be both physical and emotional: he makes sure he doesn’t even enter boundary-crossing behavior in either form of betrayal. He does this on his own and doesn’t need to be told. But even if you do express any concerns, he will take your concerns seriously. Narcissists on the other hand will mock your concerns and punish you for expressing them at all.
High-value men respect your boundaries; narcissists learn your boundaries in order to violate them.
A high-value man will respect your boundaries and anticipate what might make you upset to prevent boundary violations from happening in the first place. But unlike narcissists who may use that information against you to violate your boundaries, high-value men go out of their way to ensure you’re comfortable. The narcissist will weaponize any insecurities and traumas you tell them. The high-value man will soothe your insecurities and be extra sensitive to what you’ve experienced. To test this ahead of time, drop a red herring: disclose a small insecurity and see if a dating partner uses it against you. The earlier a narcissist shows his true colors, the better.
High-value men can disagree with you and hold you gently accountable without being demeaning.
High-value men have a healthy relationship with your boundaries as well as their own. That means they won’t tolerate disrespectful behavior from others, but they also won’t engage in disrespect when calling you out. High-value men can disagree with you and have constructive conversations without escalation. Unlike a narcissist who may rage and escalate into violence or verbal and emotional abuse, a high-value man knows how to hold his own in an argument. He’ll hold you accountable or disagree with you without resorting to insults, sarcasm, condescension, or contempt. Narcissists seek out chaos and crazymaking arguments; high-value men avoid them entirely.
High-value men often self-reflect and are introspective.
In a world that often shifts blame onto a woman’s emotional reactions rather than what she is reacting to, the high-value man is refreshing in that he often looks within to ensure he is behaving in alignment with his core values and standards for himself. Just like any other human, a high-value man can have some flaws or shortcomings – the difference is that he actively works toward improving himself in every facet of his life. Unlike the narcissistic man who avoids accountability at all costs and prefers to lash out at the people who they mistreat, the high-value man holds himself accountable and engages in self-corrective behaviors to make sure he stays on the right track. Yet even so, the high-value man often has far less to be held accountable for in the first place, because they don’t engage in the types of transgressions narcissists do.
High-value men are stable in all aspects of their lives.
High-value men are financially and emotionally stable – they never expect you to “build” them up as a person. They take responsibility for their own lives. They won’t use your resources for their own gain (in fact, some would feel ashamed of doing so because it goes against their values). They have their own and remain independent. They are in control of their careers, their dreams, and their lives. Much like the alpha woman, they take charge of the demands of daily life with maturity and healthy positivity. They display a healthy form of masculinity and protectiveness without going overboard.
High-value men are “woke” to the brutalities women face but in an authentic way.
High-value men are well aware of the inequalities women face in the world and do not compare or falsely equate their experiences to yours. Unlike narcissists, they do not excessively play the victim in a world that already caters to them. They recognize their male privilege but not in a fake “nice guy” way of donning a faux feminist persona just so they can exploit your resources. Instead, high-value men often exhibit a genuine “provider” mentality and understand that women have a hard enough time living in a patriarchal society as it is. The last thing they want to do is burden someone who is already oppressed with more burdens. They truly respect women as multifaceted beings on a fundamental level and support a woman’s goals and career – unlike narcissists who are envious and seek to control women. They admire her independence. However, they still want to give to her and impress her. Unlike a narcissist who is only interested in getting his needs met and misusing “feminism” to ensure he alone benefits, the high-value man is a real feminist who recognizes that we do not yet live in an equal world. As a result, high-value men strive to be a safe place for the women they love.
If you have been in a relationship with a narcissist, whether male or female, you’re not alone and help is out there. You may benefit from processing your traumas with a validating mental health professional. You deserve support and healing.
This article was first published here on Thought Catalog.