Are you concerned that you may be dating a narcissist? Worried that your boyfriend or girlfriend is incapable of loving you? Then keep reading this article about narcissist relationships.
If you’re wondering how to get a narcissist to love you, you’re not alone. In fact, narcissism search trends have skyrocketed in recent years according to Google.
In the 8 years of running this website, I’ve never written an in-depth guide about narcissism and relationships. So, I’m excited to write about this. It’s been a long-time coming because many people who are codependent end up in relationships with narcissists.
Because the narcissist tends to lack empathy and emotional maturity, it’s difficult for them to have healthy relationships and experience unconditional, true love.
With that said, it isn’t impossible. These people aren’t sociopaths or psychopaths. They aren’t completely devoid of emotions. They may be self-absorbed most of the time, but that doesn’t mean they can’t improve and become better.
Is There Any Hope Im A Narcissist Relationship?
Here’s what you’ll read when you visit 99% of the articles about narcissism out there: it’s not your fault that you fell in love, but be prepared for a world of hurt.
These authors are mostly in agreement that dating a narcissist is a waste of time, and you better prepare yourself for the exit.
Well, here’s where I disagree (and my regular readers will know that I’m right about this):
Committing and falling in love with someone before they commit and fall in love with you is a lack of emotional maturity on your part.
Now before you fire away in the comments about how you can’t help it and it “just happened,” hear me out on this. One of the major topics I consistently write about is how most people wear their heart on their sleeve.
Most people are also lonely and desperate to fall in love. As a result, you ignore any logic and red flags that present themselves and become emotionally committed and dependent way too soon in the relationship.
You end up falling in love with the narcissist before you even suspect that he or she may be a narcissist. This also happens to women who are dating a sociopath boyfriend. Physical assault isn’t uncommon in those relationships.
So, I take this falling in love stuff very seriously. It’s not something that should happen as easily as it does these days. And, there really isn’t a lot of hope when you’re constantly the one more in love and trying to earn his or her affection.
That’s really where the problems begin. Once you fall into the chasing role and you’re asking questions like “how to get a narcissist to love you,” you’ve already lost the war.
The good news is that there’s always hope (unless your partner is a raging psychopath in which you should exit immediately). What I write about and teach is proven to work for many men and women.
So keep reading.
What Are The Signs of a Narcissistic Relationship?
In order to have any chance of making your narcissist relationship any better, you first must be aware of the most common signs and red flags to look for.
I’m not going to cover every single sign since there’s a lot out there. So, I’ll go over what I believe to be the most common signs to look for.
But first, the main point to keep in mind from this day forward is that you STOP being the heavy lifter in the relationship until the narcissist starts to pull their own weight.
What I mean by this is that you stop doing all these nice things, stop going out of your way for him or her, stop putting him/her first until they treat you better.
Okay now let’s quickly go over the most common red flags of a narcissist relationship.
1. Always interrupts and and talks about self
You’ll notice this about the narcissist often. While many people interrupt conversation and try to get their opinions in, the narcissist will interrupt AND always make it about him or herself.
As you probably know, this sucks in a relationship. It’s as if anything you say to your partner is on deaf ears. It always becomes about him instead of you. It hurts because you feel that he or she doesn’t really have an interest in what you have to say and your feelings.
But that’s the thing about narcissists — they LOVE to talk about themselves. A two-way conversation is incredibly difficult for these people. And, to make matters worse, if you don’t agree with him or her then you’re often insulted, ignored, censored, and so on.
2. Narcissists have no problem with breaking the rules
While it might be exciting at times to have a boyfriend who breaks the rules and lives life on the edge, this can become incredibly worrisome once you get into a relationship with this person.
The narcissist feels like he is the ultimate authority. No one’s going to tell him what to do. Not you, not his friends, not his boss, and especially not the government. He does whatever he feels like doing because he is above all that.
While the little things might not seem like a big deal, it’s the mentality behind it that will come to hurt you. Ultimately, the narcissist believes himself to be above you. You are beneath him.
3. Will violate your boundaries and personal space often
Because the narcissist feels that he is above you, he will have no problem violating your personal space. Your boundaries aren’t as important to him as him being “right” or knowing what you’re up to at all times.
One of my friends whos boyfriend is a sociopath narcissist enable her location sharing without ever telling her. He got onto her phone when she wasn’t looking and turn on the feature.
For 9 months, he was tracking her every move without her ever knowing. What’s funny was that I was the one who figured out almost instantly just from hanging out with her once. From the few stories she told me, I knew she was being tracked LOL.
These narcissists and sociopaths are total insecure losers. They are so predictable once you know how they are. Avoid them like the plague and your life will improve tenfold.
4. The narcissist will try to impress you with his false self
Because the narcissist is actually deeply insecure, he will project a false sense of himself in order to impress you and make you feel that he cares deeply for you.
They will always work hard at making them look great on the external. The chances of you getting a glimpse at how he really is on the inside will often come in the form of some abuse. It isn’t ever pretty.
The narcissist loves to use people, money and materials to get what they want. They want everyone else to look at them and think “Wow, he is just so much better than me.”
It’s such a deep insecurity because at the root of it all, they are screaming for love and approval. They want everyone to accept them as some ultimate human-god.
5. Entitlement and playing the victim
Here’s the “funny” part about narcissists. And when I say funny, I mean I laugh AT them because of how ridiculously stupid they can be.
The narcissist expects special treatment. If you’re his lover, he will expect you to open up your legs and let him have his way with you when he wants it. When you say no to his sexual demands, he will pull the victim card and try to make you feel like a shitty person.
They also behave this way throughout their day to day life. You see celebrities play this game all the time. They expect special treatment from everybody else, and then lash out when they don’t get their way.
Alec Baldwin getting arrested over a parking spot is the perfect example of this entitlement and victim mentality the narcissist has. But there are so many other examples you can find daily on social media.
6. Charming and persuasive
This is one of the “strengths” of the narcissist. I say that with a grain of salt because I believe that charm is bullshit. However, would I want a narcissist leading my negotiations at the table?
You damn right I would! But the difference is that we’re talking about intimate relationships and not business deals.
The best kind of human will leave his charm and persuasiveness at the business table. He won’t take it home with him to his family and loving partner.
That is where the narcissist fails. He brings that crap everywhere with him. He will charm your socks off on a date so he can use you for his sexual needs.
7. Temper tantrums are not uncommon with narcissists
Here’s another “fun” part of the narcissist personality. When they get upset, they lash out like an angry adolescent. It isn’t uncommon for this person to throw a chair across the room, slam some doors ,and break something when they get upset.
They truly feed off of negative emotions. That’s the deep dark secret they’ll never tell you. You’ll discover this to be true the longer you hang around these people.
Remember, they like to play the victim card. The Victim Mentality is one of the most negative mindsets one can adopt. And, many people will live their entire lives with this negative mentality.
Expect the narcissist to be extremely sensitive to any criticism. They’ll respond with hatred, tell you that you’re a bad person, that your opinions are evil, and so on and so forth.
As a result, they are quick to judge and cast blame onto others. They’ll often blame you for the problems in the relationship which is clearly the wrong way to handle any sort of adult conversation.
I have always said since day one that the sign of an emotionally-mature adult is when you accept responsibility for ALL things that happen in your life. The narcissist is incapable of this because nothing is ever his fault. There’s always somebody else to blame.
8. The narcissist manipulates to get his way
Last but definitely not least is the one we all know: manipulation. The narcissist lives off of manipulating everyone around him to advance himself in life.
He’ll use his girlfriend, his family, his friends, even his children to suit his own needs. It’s always about HIM and not you. He won’t ever go out of his way to make you happy UNLESS it benefits him as well.
Because I’ve known so many narcissists over the years, I can spot their manipulation and games instantly. One of the easiest ways to spot a narcissist is to just see how they communicate with you.
For example, a guy I know will ONLY text me and want to “hang out” when it benefits him. He’ll hangout because he wants me to help him with something, do a task for him, etc.
They’ll never contact you just because they miss talking to you and enjoy your company. If you’re dating someone like this, it can be really painful because they’re using you to make them feel better. It’s madness.
This article is a decent write-up of several different communication tactics the narcissist will use to manipulate you.
Can A Narcissist Fall In Love?
Once you’re aware of the signs to look for, the next question to ask yourself is whether a narcissist is even capable of falling in love. More importantly, how does a narcissist love? Is it unconditional?
These are all very important questions. But here’s the thing about narcissists when it comes to relationships: they are takers; not givers.
This is bad news if you have any sort of codependency because you will always give much more than you receive. It’s not uncommon for a strong man or woman to find themself “transformed” into weakness by a narcissist.
The good news is that the more aware you are of narcissist behavior, the less chance that you’ll fall into the common Giver Role.
Most people who date narcissists do so their entire lives. It’s an unhealthy pattern that runs deep within you. These are the types of men and women you attract due to being a Giver.
The key to understand is that narcissists do indeed love differently than others. But, the same could be said for all sorts of different personality disorders.
In fact, I would argue that everyone learns to love in a different way. To expect someone to love the same way as you is actually foolish thinking. But, it’s this type of thinking that can cause so much disappointment and pain in yourself.
I mentioned earlier how those who tend to attract narcissists will prematurely fall for the guy before he really deserves it. As a result, when he starts to reveal his narcissistic behaviors, you forgive him and give him another chance.
I know it’s easier said than done, but protecting your heart and NOT letting yourself fall for someone too quickly is extremely important. This rule doesn’t apply to just narcissists — it applies to practically everything you do in life.
Many people prematurely fall in love with an idea, or a business plan, or a house, or a career — only to greatly regret it in the future. Don’t be so eager to make deals or commit to something early on.
Unconditional Love Isn’t Encourage In Society
This is an important topic that needs to be further discussed. To understand this truth, please research the topic of hypergamy. Here’s a quick definition from that Wikipedia page:
“Hypergamy is a term used in social science for the act or practice of a person marrying a spouse of higher caste or social status than themselves.”
There’s never been such a time in society when this is more true than now. If you want to know what it’s like to date someone who’s a narcissist (man or woman), hypergamy will be the most obvious sign.
Narcissistic women will date a man because he’s got the connections or the capability to help the woman reach a higher level.
A narcissistic man will be on his best behavior when he encounters a woman he perceives to be high up on the social chain — as long as she remains there.
When you understand how this all works, you will see narcissism everywhere. All you have to do is open up Instagram or Facebook to see how superficial and narcissistic people have become in general. It’s actually insane.
While it’s quite normal to treat people well who we perceive are higher up than ourselves, this type of treatment will transfer over into a narcissist relationship and be the cause of immense pain.
One of my girl friends has told me several times that once she is done getting what she wants from her current boyfriend, she sees no point in staying with him any longer.
That is the classic narcissism mentality. She says she loves him, but it’s clearly not unconditional.
For a narcissist, everything is a means to an end that benefits him or her. Loving you “until death do us part” is simply not in their psyche. A narcissist loves you for as long as you’re useful to him or her. What’s said about this is that they truly do feel “in love” even though it’s not real love.
How To Make A Relationship With A Narcissist Work
After everything you’ve read, do you believe that narcissists are capable of healthy relationships? The answer is that it really depends how you define a healthy relationship.
The better question to ask yourself is this: is the person you’re currently dating capable of making you happy for the long-term?
If you answer YES to that question, then don’t let all these articles about narcissism scare you. I’ve had several BPD girlfriends over the past 8 years and I managed to make some of them work quite well (not the first two. But you learn from experience).
So how do you stay in a relationship with a narcissist? And, will the narcissist ever be happy in the relationship?
Remember, narcissists are very superficial. It’s how they love. They don’t know unconditional love. Therefore, the male narcissist will almost always be in a better mood as long as he’s getting sex. I’m NOT saying he’ll be happy, but he’ll definitely be in a better state of mind than if he wasn’t getting laid.
In fact, because the narcissist can be so superficial, if you don’t sleep with him he will start to assume that you’re cheating on him. He will become paranoid and find ways to make your life miserable.
Now obviously this DOES NOT mean you must sleep with him when he requests. That’s NOT what I’m implying. You should ONLY sleep with him when you BOTH want it.
It takes two to have a healthy sexual relationship. Intimacy should never be a one-sided affair.
I’m simply stating what I’ve noticed from all the narcissistic men I’ve known over the years. They will get really upset and treat you badly when you don’t give him what he wants.
They use sex as a weapon. This does NOT mean that you should as well. They will say things like “I have needs, you’re my wife. You’re supposed to please me…” and things like that. Classic manipulation.
How To Deal With A Narcissists Poor Behavior?
As the relationship evolves, his behavior will get worse and worse towards. This will be especially true when he’s not getting what he wants (sex). As a result, he will shame you, make you feel bad, convince you to do things in bed that you’re not comfortable with.
Since all this can make you feel even worse about sleeping with him, he’ll probably try to convince you that an open relationship is healthy and good for him and the relationship.
It’s all bullshit, of course. He’s just mad that you’re not giving him what he wants. The narcissist relationship always heads towards a slow death, and it’s usually due to sex.
And, that’s really the downfall of the narcissist. Because they are so damn selfish, having sex with a narcissist eventually begins to feel empty. It might have been amazing and sensual in the beginning, but you soon realize that it isn’t fulfilling your needs at all.
Now I know there will probably be people reading this who are upset that their partner ISN’T having sex. You’re the one that’s trying to be intimate again.
If that’s the case and you’re upset that your partner isn’t sleeping with you, your partner isn’t a narcissist. Believe me on this. The idea that a narcissist will withhold sex from you in order to “punish” you is completely wrong.
Ask yourself this simple question: why would a narcissist, an individual who loves superficially and only cares about his own pleasure, withhold an opportunity to sleep with you?
I’ll tell you why:
Because he’s either sleeping with other women behind your back, or he simply doesn’t want you anymore but can’t afford to break up/move on.
The Narcissist Is A Superficial Adult-Child
Ultimately, this is what the narcissist truly is. Trying to love someone who tries so hard to hide his or her true self is an impossible task. So, you must ask yourself if this is a journey you want to stay on. I’m not going to tell you what to do. It’s your life.
My feeling has always been that as long as you’re getting the intimacy you desire and you are able to regularly have moments with your partner that make you both happy, then stick it out.
Commitment is often times much more important than always being happy and in love.
You need to judge each relationship as their own unique situation. If your partner abandons you and tosses you aside every single time things get rocky, then consider ending things.
The narcissist can be quite addicting. You want to try so hard to make him or her change and love. But, you cannot change people. They must be willing to change themselves if they ever want to improve.
That’s why I teach people to focus on themselves. Sometimes this sudden change in your own behavior can cause your partner to want to change. Once your partner has that realization, the relationship can improve.
Don’t Try To Help The Narcissist Change
I know it’s tempting. But, don’t do this. You’ll just be another one of the millions who cry and hurt after failing to change their partner. It happens all the time, we all fall for it at least once.
But let that be a lesson: you cannot change someone who doesn’t want to change (even if they say they will change).
That’s actually a common sign of the narcissist: he will say he’s going to “work” on himself and change for the better. But, actions speak louder than words. Take everything they say with a grain of salt. Judge by his actions.
I really believe a narcissist can improve as long as they begin to take responsibility for their actions. Because they are teenagers in an adult body, it’s very difficult for them to accept responsibility for anything.
So, don’t fall for that trap. Don’t ever get caught up in the belief that you’re somehow to blame for all the problems in the relationship. The more you try to help, the worse you’ll make things.
So, don’t try to help. You really must just focus on yourself. You do you, tiger. This is actually the best thing you can do for this type of relationship.
By refocusing your energy on yourself instead of trying to help your partner, you’ll actually make the relationship better. It will start to become more balanced.
This is truly the best way to make a relationship work with a narcissist. It’s all about balance. Remember that the narcissist is a Taker. The more than you give, the more he takes. And that is what ultimately destroys these relationships.
rick omg you nailed this one the best article yet my bf abuser narc when I changed and would not except his bs there was a shift in him there sneaky liars and for anyone out there who thinks there narc is in counseling to work on themselves think again it’s to play the victim and get that counselor on there side there big kids just like you said god bless rick😀
Thanks :) Yeah they’re sneaky little devils. They’ll say and often do things just to get you on their good side again. Thus why they tend to only date the easily-manipulated. Live and learn!
Many thanks Rick!
I‘ve been in a relationship for 3 1/2 yrs with a borderline narcissist and can relate to everything you write.
One thing in particular which makes breaking up with these people so painful and difficult is the Trauma Bonding which occurs as a result of the initial Love Bombing. For instance ,
Seratonin and Dopamin – which give us a high and bring us into a state of euphoria are released from the brain. This is like an addiction and as a result ending a relationship with a narcissist is like coming off drugs!
This is a very simplified and partial explanation of trauma bonding!
All the best!
Ah yes. I’m sure you’ve got many stories to tell. It’s also interesting that you mention how your partner is a combo of BPD and narc. That’s what a lot of people don’t understand is that most people have a combination of disorders. Thus why you see overlapping behaviors. You could very well be dating someone who’s PTSD, BPD, Narcissist, Sociopath, Codependent all at one time. In fact, I’ve gotten emails from people who have been diagnosed professionally with like 6 different mental disorders. Something to keep in mind…
Great article fits her ( the ex ) perfectly. Wish I had all this info years ago. Thanks for helping people that are “trapped” in the cycle.
Cathy Nelson says
After married for 41 years I had no idea what a narcissist was until these 8 weeks after he left for a co-worker 28 years younger. Everything fits to a T with him about the NPD except he really acted like he loved me and our beautiful home. He did blame the non-sex on me saying I didn’t give him what he really wanted and that’s when I found out he had been cheating this whole marriage. But I did not encourage sex the last few years because deep down I knew it was mechanical and non-loving and non-intimate, which I craved. Plus he became impotent and I blamed that on myself too. So how does an older impotent man enjoy a much younger girl and vice versa? Yeah, the stuff that doesn’t make me feel loved. He is completely into her, has switched so fast from me that I still cry every day without him knowing. As a father who was always the one who told the kids that family is everything and we don’t get divorced, he has ruined their respect for him and, of course, says it’s for his own happiness. Knowing there is a problem labeled helps me but I wish I would have been in this position when I was younger.
Well, the reality is that relationships aren’t meant to last forever. You had 41 years. That’s longer than 99% of relationships these days. At the end of the day, you chose to stay with him that long. You have kids. You have a lot to be thankful for from this relationship.
Withholding sex is 100% wrong when you’re in a long-term relationship. All relationships require sex in order to remain healthy. If you wanted him to stay with you, your chances would have been much higher if you didn’t withhold sex. However, he still might have left you anyway because what older man wouldn’t want a woman 28 years younger than him? What he did isn’t right, but at the same time I’m not really surprised it happened.
I’m so happy that I found this article. I’ve been with my boyfriend for over 2 years. There’s a 18 year difference between us. I just couldn’t understand why our relationship felt as if it was one sided and I was always on a roller coaster all the time with him. One minute it’s good for a couple weeks the next minute I’m back in a confused and depressed state regarding his actions. Rarely admitting he was wrong without bringing up something that I may have done that he didn’t approve of and stating that I should apologize too for what I have done which I didn’t have a clue on what he was referring to. He wanted me to do everything for him. Cook, clean his house and wash his clothes ect. But when I asked him to do so things for me,he had ever excuse in the book on why he couldn’t do what was asked of him. He was sexually selfish as well. Always wanted to make love when he wanted to but when I wanted sex and he didn’t he would say it’s more to our relationship than just sex. So I had enough of this one sided relationship. I decided to walk away just 3 weeks ago. It’s so hard, I cry almost everyday wanting to go back to him which I know would be foolish. Just setting myself up for more disappointments and emotional abuse.
What you need to ask yourself is why you feel the tug to go back to him. That’s the real issue here. And, as you start to think about this, I think you’ll come to a conclusion that has nothing to do with the actual guy…
My brother is a full blown narcissist and God help the woman that ever tries to love or receive love from him.
No one has ever stuck around long. The longest was a poor codependent sap [who drank too much] who told me she had just divorced her narcissist husband before becoming involved with my brother.
Frying pan meet fire.
Yeah that’s pretty much how it is. The more extreme on the narcissism spectrum, the more of a disaster their relationships will be. The sad part is you just never know when they’ll crack and go psychopath on you…