Today’s blog post question comes from a member of the MTM Community, who writes:

Hi Bari,

I was married for 32 years to a very intelligent, religious narcissist. He fooled a lot of people, including many counselors over the years.

You mentioned in the last answer you just sent out that when a woman feels that special connection with a marriage minded guy, it’s a really good sign that he’s the one.

Narcissists are sooo good at appearing to be the right guy. They “love bomb”  with exciting dates, cards and gifts. They find out what you’re interested in and become an expert on that. It isn’t until they’ve caught you that they show their controlling, angry side.

I’m asking for myself and the hundreds of terrified women I interact with through a Facebook group. We’re afraid we’ll miss the signs again and marry a control freak. We’re terrified because narcissists love online dating sites!

How can we recognize the right guy and still get the romance and excitement we are looking for?

“JoAnn”  in Washington State



Great question!  I can relate and had the same question way back when I was dating before I met and married my husband who embodies all the qualities I was looking for in a my dream relationship.  Back then, Even though I was smart, successful and self-aware, I was lured in by emotionally unavailable narcissists for more than 15 years.

Here’s how it happens and what to do about it.

Back in those years, when I stepped into frustrating and uncertain relationships with wrong people who looked good and seemed normal, I was an unconscious dater.

Mystery Dating versus Conscious – Empowered Dating

Unconscious or mystery dating is focused mainly on Instant chemical attraction and common interests.

“Oh you like pizza with mushroom topping, me too!  It must be love!”

We are woo’d and fall for romantic, short term encounters and we see our suitors through rose-colored glasses. When we’re mystery dating, we’re not clear about what we’re looking for and what we need in a relationship, so it’s typically based on Chemical Attraction (ooooh,  he/she is hot!) or Common Interests  and we hope for the best.

That “special connection” didn’t have a strong foundation –
it was superficial, based on chemical attraction and common interests.

And since the things that brought us together in the first place weren’t very meaningful:

  • We didn’t ask the most important questions
  • We ourselves weren’t clear

We often discover that the charming and magnificent creature who was going to be the one—turns out to be train wreck.


When we fall for love “love bombs” or exciting dates cards and gifts, it’s superficial there’s no foundation or basis for a healthy encounter or related-ness and we’re not having conversations about the future, or our vision–because mostly, we don’t know we’re supposed be doing that and how.

We are actually attracting people who can’t meet our needs
and turn out to be a disaster at best and dangerous at worst . .

and we get stuck there–sometimes for years and wonder, “How did this happen?”

How you’ll recognize that special connection with a marriage minded guy,  is based on a different very different foundation.  A different paradigm.

It’s based on being a Conscious and Empowered Dater.

It isn’t based on:

  • wishing & hoping
  • heartthrob
  • chemical attraction
  • or merely common interests.

This is in contrast to conscious dating when we’re Marriage-Ready (or Relationship Ready), it means that we know ourselves and what we need in a relationship.   (Having been in therapy, or having an empty closet and being on a dating site, doesn’t mean we’re ready).

A conscious dater isn’t inviting in or attracting superficial phony encounters when she’s really clear about who she is, her vision for the future and most important, her emotional needs–how she wants to feel in a relationship.

The special connection we can feel with someone who is right for us, comes from our own inner clarity and readiness.  It’s the version of ourselves that is free of baggage and blocks from the past, clear about our emotional needs — knowing how you want to feel in a relationship, a clear vision about what we want and need in a relationship, a plan and the skills to know how to have meaningful conversations about who you are and your vision for the future.

And this encounter happens between two people who have integrity. The connection comes not from superficial lines, romantic tactics to win a person over, no.

Instead, it comes from meaningful conversations about core values and you’re dating with a purpose—to see if you’d be right for each for the long term–as life partners.  When you’re a conscious dater,  clear and empowered, you’re able to date in this new way.

The Great News is That You Can Turn it Around

When you’re clear an empowered, you’re no longer a magnet to the wrong people and staying in wrong relationships just wishing and hoping. We can take personal responsibility for the people we attract into our lives and the patterns we find ourselves stuck in. And forgive ourselves for the past.

If you haven’t already signed up, please check out the 7 Day Dating Reset – In just one week, you’ll hit reset on your dating life. You’ll get the clarity you need, and find out what you want in a relationship and in love.

We’re going to be clearing your path to create the space for love!