Dating is precarious at the best of times, because you never know who you're going to end up meeting. Someone may seem normal and fun over text message, and be completely alarming in person. You might have chemistry online, only to have nothing in common when you're actually sitting with each other on a first date.
A person's behaviour on dating apps can differ greatly from what they are actually like, which is why apps are rife with toxic people. Dangerous and abusive people can pretend to be everything their victims are looking for, only to drop the facade as soon as they have control.
According to therapist Marisa Peer, who spoke to INSIDER, there are six types of toxic people you should steer clear of when looking for a relationship:
People with narcissistic personality disorder can never love anyone since they are self-obsessed. They only find joy in creating chaos for everyone else and feel superior in watching them crumble.
To make a relationship with a narcissist work, there are many sacrifices you'll have to make - and even then there's no guarantee.
They are unable to relax and are usually jealous and controlling, according to Peer.
Paranoid people always think someone is out to get them, or that their partner is cheating on them. Sometimes, this means they stop their partner going out with friends, or even their family.
These people can't trust you and will make you account for everything.
They need to be in control all the time and are very punishing when things don't go their way, Peer said.
They can't see or factor in another point of view.
They also lack empathy and emotion, so disagreements are likely to escalate explosively.
They are unable to be honest, both with themselves and anyone else. This is the same for anyone with any sort of addiction.
They need to be able to love themselves before they can truly love anyone else. Before this point, any relationship with an addict is likely to end up being codependent.
They show an inability to be accountable for their own actions.
A toxic relationship in this sense could be a highly erratic one, or an unhealthy attachment. Either way, you don't want to get caught up in it.
It may not be immediately obvious that someone you meet falls into one of these categories. Highly manipulative people are skilled at putting on a front and pretending to be something they are not.
There are some red flags to look out for at the start of a relationship, such as overly romantic gestures early on, teasing you in a mean way, bringing up their ex all the time, and being uncomfortable with you having different opinions to them.
Once you've identified these kinds of people, you may find you've been attracting them time and time again. This is usually down to something called repetition compulsion, which essentially means all your past relationships are affecting your current ones.
"We are hardwired to like what is familiar as it feels so comfortable to us and to reject what is unfamiliar as it feels uncomfortable," Peer told INSIDER.
"So we go for what we have always known even when it's painful and ends badly highly, i.e.: dating addicts or unavailable people."
People also tend to be programmed to try and recreate the past, to subconsciously try and mend the pain they went through previously.
"So if your dad was cold and distant you may be attracted to a cold distant partner while trying your hardest to make them warm and loving," said Peer. "And should you succeed, you have created what you always thought you needed."
But this isn't the way to approach life if you want a healthy partnership with someone. The best thing you can do is work out your attachment style and see how it's affecting your relationships. Then, identify whether someone is really good for you or not. And, if you think they belong to any of the subsets above, stop trying to fix them.
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