Can a Narcissist be Faithful? (A 5 point guide)

In this brief guide, we will try to answer the question “Can a narcissist be faithful”, as well as look at some other queries related to narcissism like how to tell when a narcissist is cheating and can a narcissist change?

Can a Narcissist be Faithful?

To answer the question “Can a Narcissist be faithful” we need to also figure out how much of a narcissist someone is; it has been seen that there is a spectrum to narcissism, with healthy narcissism at one point and narcissistic personality disorder at the other end, and if someone has narcissistic personality disorder they may, in fact, be more likely to be unfaithful.

Relationships are hard to start with, there are many pitfalls in being in love with someone and when you are in love with a narcissist you may be taking on too much, as this person is unlikely to love anyone as much as they love themselves, and chances are you will walk away with a broken heart.

It seems that according to research, the average length of a relationship with someone high on narcissism is around 6 months to a few years, maximum, and this alone should tell you what a dangerous path you have chosen.

Partners in relationships with narcissists may often worry that they will be unfaithful or that they will hurt them in some other way, but the narcissist usually provides just enough attention and affection to keep the people hanging on, and they may become afraid to leave.

The worst part about a narcissistic partner being unfaithful is that if they are confronted about it, they are likely to deflect, or worse, gaslight, and make you believe that you are the problem and that you are thinking up things, and by the time the conversation is done, you may come away feeling like you are delusional.

A narcissist who is being unfaithful to you will likely not admit it, and even if you show them evidence or confront them, they may just turn things around on you or put on their affectionate and charming persona that they cultivate specifically to make themselves look good and to reduce their self-loathing, and before long you will have doubts.

This sort of behavior is pretty much emotional abuse, and if you feel that you may be a victim to things like this, you may want to consider taking a step back from the relationship and reassess your situation.

How to Tell When a Narcissist is Cheating?

To figure out if a narcissist can be faithful you also need to be able to tell when a narcissist is cheating, and while there are no sure signs, there are some things you might be able to look for.

They often talk about how they would never lie or cheat 

You may try this if you know that your partner is a narcissist and you think they may be cheating on you; mention that someone you know is being unfaithful or watch a movie or show with them that features someone that is similar to them and is being unfaithful.

Chances are that if your narcissistic partner is cheating on you they may be compelled to grandstand about how they would never do that and how much they love you and how they think it is just abhorrent that t someone would be unfaithful to their partner.

Remember the old adage, “If someone seems too good to be true, they probably are”, and make sure you apply it to your narcissistic partner.

Try to remember that a narcissist projects what they would like to be as facts about who they actually are, and it is almost like they are making excuses for why they can’t be that ideal in an almost sad way.

A narcissist that is trying to hide their unfaithfulness, therefore, may often speak in absolutes, claiming that they would “never lie” to you or cheat on you. 

The narcissist may also overemphasize their trustworthiness because deep down they know they are just not capable of the kind of love and trust they boast of.

They frequently disappear

If your partner just disappears on you for days and does not call you, and you know that they are a narcissist, it might be time to get out, because they are likely cheating on you.

A narcissist generally does not care about anyone but themselves, so a case may be made that if they are disappearing for days and not calling or texting, it may just be them being their normal uncaring self, right?

Wrong. Even though they only care about themselves, narcissists still have a debilitating desire to be liked, and because they have chosen you for a relationship, you are the primary person through which they are trying to fulfill that desire. 

The problem arises, therefore, when they find some new object to fulfill their desire instead, and then, in that case, you serve no purpose anymore, and they don’t care enough about keeping up the pretense.

Bear in mind though that if they have recently started being unfaithful, or if they are being unfaithful in a more casual manner or with multiple people, they will still fight tooth and nail to make sure you stay, if you do confront them.

When a narcissist is confronted about something bad they have been doing, the first thing they will do is deny, of course, but then they will layer on oodles of charm and love, and the whole phase of doubt and insecurity, and even the evidence you may have collected, will feel like a distant bad dream.

If they have a history of cheating

The best way to tell if a narcissist is cheating on you is to reflect or talk to ex’s, and see if they may have done it before, or if there is a pattern of this sort of behavior, which may mean that they have in fact created before.

Cheating and unfaithfulness of any kind is usually a pattern with these people, and because they never change, unless they get psychotherapy, they tend to repeat the patterns over and over again, and the presence of past patterns may tell you if you are dealing with something similar.

You catch them lying – for no reason

Narcissists often have a tendency to tell white lies throughout the course of the day, and sometimes these lies are not even necessary.

These may be things like “yes I took out the trash”, or “Yes I walked the dog”, they may mean absolutely nothing, but the fact that they do it, or are able to do it with such ease, speaks to a bigger problem, which is that this is a tendency they have that is so innate that they may find it just as easy to lie about other things.

Pay attention to the excuses they give you for things, pay attention to what they say about where they were when they disappeared, or what they have to say about the person they are paying so much attention to on Instagram, and if you feel like you are sensing the same white lies in these seemingly simple things, it may be a sign of the fact that they are cheating on you.

Can a Narcissist Change?

Can a narcissist change or can a narcissist be cured are some of the most common questions partners of a narcissist may ask; the answer to these questions depends on how far gone they are and how willing they may be to change.

The willingness to change needs to come from the person who needs to undergo therapy, because this treatment is not like medicine, it can never be forced on to someone.

Jason Wheeler, PhD, a New York psychologist reiterated this, and says, “Someone would have to recognize that primarily seeing others as resources, rather than people with their own interests, is causing them to suffer, and be interested enough in their thoughts and feelings to find out how and why they approach others in that way.”

There are psychotherapists that do explore the possible therapeutic approaches to fix narcissistic tendencies to a great extent as this condition has also been connected to a greater risk for depression, and therefore it is in the interest of the narcissist to seek therapy too.

One therapeutic technique that may work for someone with a narcissistic personality disorder or even slightly lower levels of narcissism is Psychodynamic Psychotherapy.

The reason psychodynamic psychotherapy is thought as beneficial in narcissistic personality disorder is that it has its roots in the childhood and past experiences of the person, which are usually the reason for narcissism in the first place, and therefore, in order to change these problematic ways in which narcissists behave with the world, one needs to go back and change the original problem.

One might think of psychodynamic psychotherapy as surgery, which other therapies usually try to take care of symptoms first, which in this case is their behavior, while psychodynamic psychotherapy aims to remove or at least alter the main disorder inside that is causing the outer symptoms.

In whatever form or psychotherapy is explored for narcissism, there may be similar steps involved when a narcissist is trying to change:

  • Identification of existing defense mechanisms or coping mechanisms
  • Trying to find the reasons behind these coping mechanisms
  • Learning and adopting new patterns of behavior
  • Trying to bring to their attention to how their behaviors affect others
  • Trying to find connections between their inner voice and their behavior towards others

However, before you get your hopes up you should ensure that your narcissistic partner or loved one actually wants to get help or is open to the idea because these people are among the populations that are not very open to the idea of changing because their very core is all about self-love and grandiosity about who they are.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we tried to answer the question “Can a narcissist be faithful”, as well as looked at some other queries related to narcissism like how to tell when a narcissist is cheating and can a narcissist change? Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can a Narcissist be Faithful

Can a narcissist be loyal?

Narcissists can’t be very loyal, the relationship serves a function to them and eventually they find new sources to serve that function because they tend to get bored with the same thing.

A narcissist does not look for love or companionship in a relationship, they look for attention and admiration and excitement constantly, and their loyalty depends on how long they get these things for, the minute they feel you changing at all, or they get bored, they will stop being loyal.

How long do narcissists stay in relationships?

Usually, narcissists may not stay in relationships for very long, and the average length of a relationship with a narcissist may be between 6 months to a few years, maximum.

What does a narcissist want in a relationship?

A narcissist wants the same thing in a relationship they want from everywhere else, which is Admiration and attention.

A narcissist has very low self-esteem, and everything they do is a projection of how they feel on the inside versus how they want to feel, so they may be driven to form attachments because some innate feeling tells them it will help, but they can’t help themselves either and their maladaptive behavior eventually takes over.

How does a narcissist feel when you leave him?

The narcissist may feel angry and bitter when you leave him, as his object of attention and primary source of affection has been taken away.

Bear in mind though, that when you finally leave a narcissist for their behavior, you may still not get any apologies or remorse, and you may likely never hear from them either, unless they want to keep tabs on you to remind you what you are missing out on (nothing), from time to time.

Citations

https://www.insider.com/narcissism-makes-more-likely-to-be-unfaithful-2018-7#:~:text=That’s%20because%2C%20for%20a%20narcissist,about%20their%20primary%20partner’s%20feelings.

https://www.thelist.com/161976/can-a-narcissist-be-faithful-and-find-true-love/

https://www.yourtango.com/2015276683/20-signs-youre-in-love-with-the-worst-kind-of-narcissist

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201512/10-signs-you-are-in-relationship-narcissist

https://www.healthline.com/health/can-a-narcissist-change#treatment

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.