What Narcissists Really Think About Their Partners (2023)

(Video) These Are 8 Terrible Things Narcissists Always Do To Their Spouses |Narcissism |NPD |Narc Survivor |

Narcissists tend to be attracted to trophy partners who are high in physical attractiveness or status. They are also well-known for their lack of commitment to partners, game-playing, and tendency to be on the lookout for a better partner. When narcissists do find themselves in long-term relationships, how do they perceive their partners and how might these perceptions change over time?

(Video) What Does The Narcissist Really Think About You?

In order to think a partner is worthy of them, they need to see that partner as sufficiently attractive and high-status. But narcissists have a deep need to feel good about themselves, and this often comes at the expense of other people. That is, they will often puff themselves up compared to others and blame other people for conflicts and problems. While much research shows that happy couples tend to view each other through rose-colored glasses, especially in the early stages of a relationship, what we know about narcissists suggests that this wouldn't be the case for them. In a series of studies just published in the Journal of Research in Personality, Anna Czarna and colleagues explored how narcissists view their partners relative to themselves and how this might change over the course of a relationship.

In two studies, Czarna and colleagues surveyed individuals involved in romantic relationships, assessing their levels of narcissism and partner enhancement. In the first study, they measured partner enhancement by asking survey respondents to make direct comparisons between themselves and their partner on a series of traits (e.g., physical attractiveness, professional success, showing affection). They asked questions like "who is more physically attractive?" and participants responded with a scale from "decidedly my partner" to "decidedly myself." In the second study, they asked participants to rate both themselves and their partners on a series of traits (e.g., sociable, intelligent, attractive), and subtracted participants' self-ratings from their ratings of their partner. Partner enhancement is defined as viewing one's partner more positively than one views oneself; self-enhancement would be the opposite. The researchers also asked participants to report the length of their current relationship, so they could compare those at early and late stages of their relationships.

(Video) 9 Horrible Things Narcissists OFTEN Do To Their Wives | Narcissist Relationship | NPD | Narcissism |

In both studies, the researchers found that people low in narcissism tended to enhance their partner if they were in a relatively new relationship, but not if they were in longer relationships. Those who were high in narcissism, on the other hand, did not partner-enhance at any relationship stage.

The first two studies only surveyed one member of a romantic couple. In their third and final study, Czarna and her colleagues surveyed both members of each couple. Both partners completed measures of narcissism and partner enhancement, similar to the earlier studies. Once again the researchers found that those low in narcissism tended to partner enhance if they were in a relatively new relationship, but not if they were in a longer relationship, while those high in narcissism did not partner enhance in either case.

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Because this study had data from both partners, they were also able to examine how one's partner's narcissism related to one's own tendency to partner enhance, that is, how does your partner's narcissism relate to whether you enhance them? They found that subjects high in narcissism were more likely than those low in narcissism to be enhanced by their partners, particularly for male narcissists early in the relationship. This suggests that male narcissists, in particular, are attracted to partners who boost their egos early on.

These findings show that even though narcissists have high standards for their trophy partners, they nonetheless don't view them very positively when compared to themselves. Thus, narcissists' partners are missing out on the key relationship benefits of being enhanced by their partners.

(Video) How Narcissists Describe Their Exes

Facebook image: Mikadun/Shutterstock


How does a narcissist feel about his wife? ›

Somatic & Cerebral Narcissists

Narcissists are misogynists. They hold women in contempt, they loathe and fear them. They seek to torment and frustrate them (either by debasing them sexually – or by withholding sex from them). They harbor ambiguous feelings towards the sexual act.

What do narcissists think about love? ›

Narcissists may show you love and act in loving ways, but this tends to be conditional, in that displays of love depend on what you can give them in return. For people with NPD, relationships tend to be transactional. Love is not self-serving, proud, boastful, exploitative, or envious.

How do you tell if a narcissist loves you? ›

The best way to know if a narcissist loves you is by looking at their behavior over time rather than just relying on words or expressions of affection. If they are consistently putting your needs first, even when it doesn't directly benefit them, then it may be possible that they truly care for you.

What are the 5 main habits of a narcissist? ›

Common Narcissist Characteristics
  • Inflated Ego.
  • Lack of Empathy.
  • Need for Attention.
  • Repressed Insecurities.
  • Few Boundaries.

What kind of spouse does a narcissist choose? ›

Narcissists are attracted to dynamic and appealing partners, individuals who appear as if they have high self-esteem but who also have a "pocket" or two of low self-esteem.

How does a narcissist treat their spouse? ›

Narcissistic partners act as if they are always right, that they know better and that their partner is wrong or incompetent. This often leaves the other person in the relationship either angry and trying to defend themselves or identifying with this negative self-image and feeling badly about themselves.

What is the narcissist love cycle? ›

The narcissistic abuse cycle is a pattern of behavior that is common in relationships where one partner is a narcissist. This cycle can be difficult to break free from, but it is possible with the right help and support. It typically consists of three phases: idealization, devaluation, discarding and hovering.

Can a narcissist ever truly love someone? ›

Narcissistic personality disorder (narcissism) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a pattern of self-importance (grandiosity), a constant need for admiration and attention, and a lack of empathy for others. Because of this lack of empathy, a narcissist cannot really love you.

Do narcissists believe they love someone? ›

The short answer is a simple “no.” It is actually highly unlikely that your narcissistic partner is even capable of real love, let alone feels it towards you past the beginning of your relationship.

What are the red flags of a narcissist? ›

Here are some narcissism red flags to look out for: Lacking empathy. They seem unable or unwilling to have empathy for others, and they appear to have no desire for emotional intimacy. Unrealistic sense of entitlement.

Do narcissists have commitment issues? ›

A narcissist is often afraid of making a long-term commitment, though narcissists do marry. Those who are afraid to commit tend to keep a lot of romantic interests around, known as narcissistic supply or a narcissistic harem, just in case one of them begins making demands the narcissist can't and won't meet.

What does a narcissist want in a relationship? ›

Narcissists love to find partners who are self-sacrificing. Narcissists dont have any desire to focus on the victims needs. He/she needs a partner who is willing to have no needs, that way, he/she can always make sure only the narcissist is taken care of.

What is the one question to identify a narcissist? ›

And that single question is this: “To what extent do you agree with this statement: I am a narcissist. (Note: The word 'narcissist' means egotistical, self-focused and vain.)”

What is most important to a narcissist? ›

Control, control, control. A narcissist needs to have control over the situation they're in. Whether that's in a relationship, in a social scenario, or something else, a narcissist will manipulate the circumstances to maintain control.

What is the number one trait of a narcissist? ›

Need for Admiration

One of the most common signs of a narcissist is a constant need for praise or admiration. People with this behavior need to feel validation from others and often brag or exaggerate their accomplishments for recognition.

Does narcissism get worse with age? ›

Summary: For most people, narcissism wanes as they age. A new study reports the magnitude of the decline of narcissistic traits is tied to specific career and personal relationship choices. However, this is not true for everyone.

What attracts a narcissist? ›

In fact, narcissists are often attracted to strong, confident, and self-assured women. While this may seem counterintuitive, it is important to realize that the narcissistic traits of grandiosity and confidence are really a mask for deep insecurity.

What type of person stays with a narcissist? ›

They are Forgiving

A narcissist will target a victim who will forgive them over and over for being hurtful. Typically, people who stay in relationships with narcissists are kind and forgiving. They tend to overlook the bad, seeing mainly the good in other people.

Why are narcissists only mean to their partners? ›

"Narcissists are primed to be abusive because they're so hypersensitive, and they don't have empathy, and they don't have object constancy," Greenberg said. "So they are primed to take offence and be abusive and not really understand... It's a lot of work for the non-narcissistic mate."

Do marriages with narcissist last? ›

Studies show that narcissists are more likely to get divorced than people who do not have a narcissistic personality disorder. However, if you can handle the challenges of being married to a narcissist and can find ways to make your relationship work, you may have a very happy marriage.

What is the divorce rate for narcissist? ›

In fact, research has shown that nearly 60% of all marriages to narcissists – male or female – end in divorce. So, what's the reason for this high rate of divorce involving this one personality type? Let's take a closer look.

How do narcissists fall out of love? ›

How to emotionally detach from a narcissist: 15 Ways
  1. Recognize that it's not your fault. ...
  2. Accept that change isn't likely. ...
  3. Understand that narcissists are wounded people. ...
  4. Make a plan for leaving. ...
  5. Cut off all contact. ...
  6. Get off social media. ...
  7. Find other things that make you happy. ...
  8. Connect with people who support you.
Jul 7, 2022

What are signs of narcissistic abuse? ›

Signs of Narcissistic Abuse
  • Signs of narcissistic abuse include:
  • Love-bombing. It's not unusual for people with NPD to shower you with compliments and affection. ...
  • Gaslighting. ...
  • Ignoring boundaries. ...
  • Projecting. ...
  • Nitpicking. ...
  • Some common examples of narcissistic abuse include: ...
  • Anxiety and depression.
Sep 29, 2022

How does narcissistic abuse feel? ›

The aftermath of narcissistic abuse can include depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, a pervasive sense of toxic shame, emotional flashbacks that regress the victim back to the abusive incidents, and overwhelming feelings of helplessness and worthlessness.

How long is the average relationship with narcissism? ›

According to Dr. Darlene Lancer, many narcissists can only sustain a relationship for six months to a few years (at the most). Keep in mind, though, we're talking about one four-stage cycle. Too often, a narcissist will initiate the cycle again, training their target to expect them to come back.

Does a narcissist know they are a narcissist? ›

Narcissists are fully aware that they are narcissistic and have a reputation as such. Narcissists would rather be admired than liked. Narcissists are masters at making first impressions, leading them to do better with short-term relationships.

Will a narcissist ever tell you they love you? ›

It is common for narcissistic romantic relationships to move quickly- from dating to cohabitation to marriage in what seems like the blink of an eye. They may love bomb you and tell you that they love you so that they can move in to your place with you.

Do narcissists care about their relationships? ›

Narcissists aren't capable of loving others because they don't know how to love themselves. “Narcissists are unable to see beyond themselves and what they need at any given moment. They don't consider how their actions affect others and they don't care about anyone but themselves.”

What kind of upbringing creates a narcissist? ›

Social learning theory holds that children are likely to grow up to be narcissistic when their parents overvalue them: when their parents see them as more special and more entitled than other children (9).

How can you tell a narcissist in bed? ›

A partner with traits of grandiose narcissism might:
  1. make outright sexual demands.
  2. tell you that you're wrong when you challenge or criticize their behavior.
  3. ask for praise and compliments directly.
  4. become openly enraged when you disagree.
Apr 27, 2021

What does a healthy narcissist look like? ›

According to Kohut, the qualities of healthy narcissism include: The ability to admire and accept the admiration of others. A solid sense of self-esteem and self-worth. A healthy sense of pride in oneself and one's accomplishments.

What trauma bonding with a narcissist does? ›

Trauma bonding occurs when a narcissist repeats a cycle of abuse with another person which fuels a need for validation and love from the person being abused. Trauma bonding often happens in romantic relationships, however, it can also occur between colleagues, non-romantic family members, and friends.

What is the pattern of a narcissist? ›

They tend to follow the same pattern in relationships - idealize, devalue, discard. They also have a certain way of talking. Here are some of the things narcissists are likely to say in relationships, and in what stages to expect them.

Do narcissists like intimacy? ›

They have a genuine interest in finding a partner who is compatible with them and have no interest in misleading or exploiting anyone. Narcissists, on the other hand, want to fast-forward both emotional and physical intimacy as a way to win your trust and investment in them quickly.

Can narcissists be loyal? ›

The question of whether or not a narcissist can be faithful is a difficult one, but the answer is clear: due to their self-centeredness, lack of empathy, and their tendency to manipulate and use others to get what they want, it's highly unlikely that a narcissist will be able to be faithful in a committed relationship.

Do narcissists just want to be loved? ›

Deep down, narcissists hope for love and caring”, says Frank Yeomans, “but it often makes them feel very uncomfortable if they seem to find it, partly because they feel vulnerable and doubt the authenticity of any love that comes their way.

Why do narcissists want a girlfriend? ›

The narcissist, at root, is insecure and fears being powerless, which is why they work so hard to project an image of superiority and strength. Because the narcissist's true ego is fragile, they rely on their romantic partners to constantly make them feel important, valuable, and special.

What is the no smiling test for narcissism? ›

Look at the narcissist, smile, and say no.

When the narcissist asks for something from you or wants you to do something, smile and say NO! Then sit back and see how they react to your boundaries.

What is the easiest way to identify a narcissist? ›

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder
  1. Grandiose sense of self-importance. ...
  2. Lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur. ...
  3. Needs constant praise and admiration. ...
  4. Sense of entitlement. ...
  5. Exploits others without guilt or shame. ...
  6. Frequently demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others.
Dec 5, 2022

What is the one question a narcissist can't answer? ›

What makes you so different from anyone else?” It was referring to how infallible and superior narcissists see themselves. They cannot answer why they are so wonderful and perfect; they are special, and that's all you need to know about them.

What goes through a narcissist mind? ›

Common narcissistic traits include having a strong sense of self-importance, experiencing fantasies about fame or glory, exaggerating self abilities, craving admiration, exploiting others, and lacking empathy.

What does the Bible say about dealing with narcissists? ›

1 Corinthians 7: 15 tells us that if an unbeliever (this includes a narcissist [you can read my article about whether someone is a believer here]) can't live with you in peace, then let them live without you.

Do narcissists eventually self destruct? ›

The narcissist often engages in self-defeating and self-destructive behaviours.

What are weird habits of narcissists? ›

Not listening to you, blaming you for their mistakes, and holding grudges against you are some weird things narcissists do. Being with such a person may affect your physical and mental health.

What is the highest form of narcissism? ›

Malignant narcissists are often regarded as having the most extreme form of NPD, and while they will have the regular qualities of someone with narcissistic personality disorder, their self-absorption and self-obsession is accompanied by some darker behaviors as well.

Do narcissists ever love their wives? ›

The short answer is a simple “no.” It is actually highly unlikely that your narcissistic partner is even capable of real love, let alone feels it towards you past the beginning of your relationship.

How does a narcissist view their spouse? ›


Narcissists view partners as trophies under their power and may expect partners to show deference and adoring behavior throughout the relationship. Manipulation of a partner is emotional abuse, and narcissists resort to some pretty low behaviors if they feel that they are losing their hold on a partner.

Is the narcissist happy in marriage? ›

Generally speaking, however, narcissists do not have healthy relationships. They can be very demanding and controlling, which leads to a lot of conflict and unhappiness in the marriage. Studies show that narcissists are more likely to get divorced than people who do not have a narcissistic personality disorder.

How do narcissists view marriage? ›

A narcissist views marriage as something that will benefit them. They will not haphazardly enter into a marriage. Although a marriage might come quickly after dating, the narcissist has thought out what benefit their spouse will provide for them.

Do narcissist have long marriages? ›

Until the spouse of the narcissist finds the strength to walk away, the narcissist remains married (for how long, depends on the will of his or her victim). Being married to a narcissist may be hard but understanding how a narcissist stays married is much easier.

Can a narcissist truly love someone? ›

Narcissistic personality disorder (narcissism) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by a pattern of self-importance (grandiosity), a constant need for admiration and attention, and a lack of empathy for others. Because of this lack of empathy, a narcissist cannot really love you.

What is the relationship cycle of a narcissist? ›

What is the narcissistic abuse cycle? It is a pattern of behavior that is often seen in relationships where one person has a narcissistic personality disorder. It typically consists of four phases: idealization, devaluation, discarding, and hoovering.

What is a narcissistic husband like? ›

A narcissistic husband is usually a very selfish person and will only think about themselves, and not about you or your relationship together. They might expect you to do all the housework, or they may want to have sex with you when they want it, but not when you want it.

Do narcissists have affairs? ›

Narcissists and sociopaths are notorious for engaging in both emotional and physical infidelity. Not only are narcissists players and pick-up artists in the dating world, they are also serial cheaters in relationships.

Why would a narc want to marry you? ›

When a narcissist decides to marry their partner, it is because they are seeking validation and approval from them in an effort to boost their self-esteem. However, once the couple gets married, they begin to exploit the other person in an attempt to maintain control.

How do you survive being married to a narcissist? ›

8 Essential Strategies To Survive A Narcissist
  1. Understand The Narcissist.
  2. Strategy 1: Learn To Recognize Manipulation.
  3. Strategy 2: Cultivate Healthy Relationships.
  4. Strategy 3: Manage Expectations.
  5. Strategy 4: Understand Their Limitations.
  6. Strategy 5: Set Clear Boundaries.
  7. Strategy 6: Choose Your Battles.
Sep 3, 2021

What are the three phases of a narcissistic relationship? ›

It's a phenomenon called the narcissistic abuse cycle. This cycle is broken down into three important phases: idealization, devaluation, and rejection. By understanding these key points, people who are struggling with narcissism or those who are in a relationship with a narcissist can get the help they need.


1. How Narcissists Describe Their Exes
(The Narcissist Revealed)
2. 12 Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist
3. What Narcissistic Husbands Say To Their Wives
(Narcissism Today)
4. Understanding the Narcissist: Why Do They Treat You This Way?
5. Use This SIMPLE TEST To See If Someone You Love Is A NARCISSIST | Matthew Hussey
(Matthew Hussey)
6. 5 WAYS A NARCISSIST TREATS YOU WHEN YOU'RE SICK: How Narcissists Handle Your Sickness
(Common Ego)
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