"They're all about control": The 5 clues that you could be dating a psychopath.


Ted Bundy is one of the world’s most notorious criminal psychopaths.

He was solely responsible for the murders of at least 30 women in America during the 1970s – many of whom he raped before killing.

With the recent release of the Netflix film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile starring Zac Efron as the serial killer, and the four-part documentary series Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes on the streaming service before that, Bundy’s horrific crimes as well as his personal life, have regained public interest.

The new biopic is shown from the perspective of Elizabeth Kloepfer, with whom Bundy was in a relationship for six years.

The couple met in 1969 at a bar in Seattle and within weeks Bundy had moved into Liz’s family home, where she lived with her young daughter, Molly. And for the next six years he helped raise Liz’s child, right up until the police caught him for his horrendous crimes and their relationship subsequently ended.

ted bundy girlfriend liz kloepfer
Ted Bundy and Elizabeth Kloepfer.

When the serial killer was on trial, many people still thought his charming persona along with his good looks and education, meant he couldn’t possibly be responsible for these heinous crimes.

One woman who showed up to Bundy’s court case explained to a camera crew at the time: “I’m not afraid of him. He just doesn’t look like the type to kill somebody.”

His charm was deadly.

But what is it like to actually fall in love with a psychopath and have a long-term relationship with one?

David Gillespie, author of Taming Toxic People: The Science of Identifying and Dealing With Psychopaths At Work and At Home, spoke to Mamamia about the science behind psychopaths, and shared just a few clues to look out for if you ever think you  might be dating one.

1. "They're all about control."

"They’re all about control, they’re all about micromanagement and they’re all about reporting," Gillespie told Mia Freedman on the No Filter podcast.


"They don’t trust their partner at all. They [see their partner as] people who need to be controlled at all times. In their mind, their partner is a possession, something that is there to serve them.

"As soon as their partner stops being useful as a possession, or a source of money or power, the psychopath doesn’t need them anymore. Either, they will just walk away or they will abuse them simply because there’s no reason not to."

2. "The most accelerated relationship you've ever had."

Gillespie explains the psychopath will be very charming at first and "it will be probably the fastest, most-accelerated relationship you’ve ever had."

"They will seem absolutely perfect. Upfront, they will tell you exactly what you want to hear and they will be exactly what you want to be. They will be the best lover you’ve ever had, the most sharing person."

Gillespie further shares that they are also the most likely people to approach a woman who intimidates other men. "Psychopaths believe they are entitled to the best of everything."

3. 'They'll do their best to lock you in.'

Gillepsie shared that a psychopath will hook you in and establish a committed relationship where you can’t leave because of "shared banking accounts, shared possessions, he’s probably moved in or she’s probably moved into your home."

"You will be providing most of the possessions and resources, even though the story so far might well have been that they had all sorts of resources available. They’ll be some unfortunate event which has drained them away in some way. But to help them get back on their feet they’ll be moving in with you, using your car, you’ll be paying for dinner, etc."

ted bundy psychopath
"You will be providing most of the possessions and resources, even though the story so far might well have been that they had all sort of resources available." Image: Netflix.

4. 'They’ll change.'

"Once that's happened [they locked you in], then they have no particular need to maintain the facade unless you look like you're going to walk," Gillespie describes.


"If you detect a change, or they drop the facade, and you are a particularly strong-willed individual who doesn’t care, and is just going to say 'Nope, I’m out of here', then they’ll either bring it back up and love-bomb you, or they might go the other way and use force to keep you there."

You can listen to the full interview with David Gillespie right here. Post continues after audio. 

5. "It is extraordinarily difficult to get away."

Gillespie explains that it can be extremely hard to get away, "particularly if you are in very deep - that is have children with them, money with them, those sorts of things."

"Where you are entangled with them it is very, very difficult. They will use the fact that you are emotionally attached to the children and they are not against you. They will use children and possessions as tools to manipulate you with and to hold you and bind you into the relationship."

Gillespie's advice is "to work slowly disentangling yourself - not that you can do that with children, but everything else... Ultimately, with the plan of getting out of there and never coming back."

Psychopaths are only estimated to make up one per cent of the population, so the chances that your partner is a psychopath are slim. But these clues are nonetheless important to know, and recognise if they do sound familiar.

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