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Have you ever been involved with someone who always thought they were right? Did you ever feel you were starring in a real-life version of the film, “Gaslight“? You know, your lover showed no compassion, used manipulation to get their way, and tried to convince you that what they were saying was true instead of your own reality?
Or do you have a friend that has no problem blowing up your phone or meeting up in-person only to talk about themself? Then when it's your turn to vent, they tune out, change the subject, or suddenly has to leave.
If any of the above ring true, you may be in a relationship with a narcissist. And that may leave you wondering about a few things.
First, if it’s a romantic relationship, can a narcissist be faithful? And if it’s plutonic or professional relationship, is it worth subjecting yourself to such selfish behavior on a regular basis?
What is a Narcissist?
Regardless of your relationship status, you’ve most likely encountered a narcissist in your life… or you may be one yourself! Seriously?
You see them at work – that coworker who is always right, but doesn't pull their weight on the team. Better yet, they may be the person who manipulated and schemed their way into a promotion.
At school, they may be a student who has never learned to take turns even though they are in college now. In other words, they are not the easiest people to deal with.
They often struggle with the capacity for true intimacy or connection with another person. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that a narcissist would be able to maintain a committed relationship, as they aren’t able to provide the emotional support needed for a relationship to thrive.
At best, if they have a committed relationship, it may be short-lived before moving on to the next person.
Furthermore, being unfaithful in relationships may come easy for this personality type, since they often seek out admiration from other people. Needing so much validation from outside sources may lead to them cheating on their partner.
After a disagreement or rough patch with their partner, the narcissist may seek solace in another person instead of doing the work with the person they already are with. They also tend to be selfish in relationships and may not think twice about putting their own needs before those of their partner.
With that said, narcissists are still human! So, yes, there are cases where a narcissist may be able to stay faithful or adjust other flaws to accommodate a partner.
Plus, there are varying degrees of narcissism, so someone may not be a full-blown narcissist… but still exhibit some of the traits. This means that their behavior can change, depending on the situation and the person.
In most cases, they struggle with intimacy and lack the capacity for empathy and deep connection– two key elements to maintaining a committed relationship.
11 Reasons Why Narcissists Can't Be Faithful
Reason 1. Self-Centeredness
The first reason why a narcissist can’t be faithful is due to their self-centeredness. Narcissists are often wrapped up in their own world and their own needs, and they’re not likely to put the needs of anyone else above their own.
This can make it difficult for them to be faithful in a relationship, as they’re not likely to make sacrifices for their partner or to put their partner’s needs before their own. The reality of being in a relationship is that it involves two people – not one.
Such self-centeredness may show up in other signs of toxicity, like abandonment. One famous politician left his Cancer-stricken wife while she was still in the hospital.
He simply couldn't handle the fact that she was not in a position to cater him, nor could he find it in himself to put her first.
Reason 2. Don’t Want to Be Limited
Another reason why a narcissist can’t be faithful is that they don’t want to be limited. Narcissists often crave attention and admiration from others, and they don’t want to be limited to one person.
They want to be able to explore and experience different people and different things, and they don’t want to be restricted by a committed relationship.
You may see this when someone openly flirts with different people in front of their partner. Such a narcissist is more focused on keeping their options open even when it puts their partner and the person they're flirting with in an awkward position.
Reason 3.No Emotional Attachment
Not forming strong emotional attachments makes it easier for a narcissist to be unfaithful. When they don’t feel emotionally connected to their partner, it becomes easier for them to look elsewhere for attention.
Narcissists tend to be emotionally detached in general. So if they have a lack of attachment, it's no sweat to jump from one partner to the next. It's no big deal to blow up a marriage of 20 years when they are ready to move on. In their eyes, their spouse has served their purpose and now it's time to move on.
Reason 4. Lack of Empathy for Others
Narcissists tend to be selfish and they cannot often understand or care about the feelings of others. This can make it difficult for them to be faithful in a committed relationship, as they’re not likely to be able to put their partner’s needs ahead of their own.
It's a foreign concept to think about how they can hurt another person. They simply won't be moved by tears or cries of desperation. Plus, they don't often like to take responsibility for the wrong they do, so there's no need to feel bad about having an affair at work or with their partner's close friend.
Reason 5.No Self-Control
A lack of self-control is a major issue when it comes to narcissists and fidelity. Narcissists cannot often control their impulses, so they may be more likely to cheat or make other decisions that are not in the best interest of their relationship.
An example of this is when a narcissist makes impulsive decisions about affairs or cheating, even when they know it will hurt their partner or bring shame on the family. A narcissist, if they desire something, will go for it regardless of the consequences.
Being attracted to the nanny, spouse's best friend, work colleague, next door neighbor, or someone underage isn't something a narcissist feels any guilt about. The impulse won't allow them to consider how they could lose a job, marriage, or friendship over their lack of control.
Reason 6. The Thrill of the Chase
This personality type often craves the thrill of the chase. Narcissists tend to be attracted to people who are hard to get, and they often get bored easily.
This can make it difficult for them to stay faithful, as they’re likely to be drawn to hunting for new people to conquer.
Even after chasing someone for years, don't be shocked if they almost instantly lose interest once they have them. They may have just used the person for what they needed and are now ready for the next person to check off on a list.
They don't take into consideration if their partner is hurt by the situation or not. They simply can't put themselves in other people’s shoes and understand their emotions.
Reason 7. Don't Value Commitment
Narcissists tend to be focused on themselves and their own needs, and they don’t typically value commitment or loyalty. In many cases, a narcissist may only be committed to acquired things, such as money, or a certain lifestyle – but not another person.
So when it comes to romantic relationships, they’re likely to prioritize their own desires over the needs of their partner. They don’t necessarily stay with one person because they want to, but more out of convenience or a need for security.
Of course, good narcissists can put on the appearance of being a committed partner or family person.
However, such an act is usually to look good for the outside world or to manipulate their partner into staying with them.
Reason 8. Don’t Like to be Tied Down
These types of people tend to crave freedom and independence, and they don’t like to be tied down to one person or situation. Since they often lack an attachment to their partners, they feel little desire to be faithful.
Narcissists tend to be terrified of commitment and may view marriage or long-term relationships as a prison. They are often unable to stay in a relationship for any length of time without feeling trapped or suffocated. Sure, they will get married, sometimes several times. However, they’ll usually move on to the next person or situation before long.
Reason 9. Feel Entitled to Anything They Want
A strong sense of entitlement to do anything they want is a big problem. Narcissists tend to think that the world revolves around them, so don't think about saying no to them. Just like a narcissist thinks they are entitled to your time and attention, they also think that they can do whatever they want with it.
So an affair or moving on to someone else might not seem like a big deal to them. This doesn't mean that they don't care about the feelings of their current partner, but they will think more about their own needs and desires than the repercussions of their actions.
Reason 10. Manipulation Is Normal To Them
Manipulation is second nature to a narcissist, so they can be very convincing when it comes to getting what they want. This can make it hard for them to stay faithful because they can easily manipulate people into their bed, even if it isn't an honest relationship.
It's not hard for them to convince an unsuspecting person that they are single or divorced when they actually have an entire spouse and children at home.
They might even threaten to leave the relationship if their partner doesn't accept their cheating habits or behaviors, which can create a very difficult situation.
Reason 11. Don’t Like to be Rejected
Let's not forget that rejection isn't something the narcissist enjoys. To a narcissist, rejection is like a stab in the heart. Rejection can be hard to take for anyone, but when you’re dealing with a narcissist, it can be even worse.
A narcissist may feel so rejected or hurt by a partner’s actions that they feel the need to “get back at them” by being unfaithful. Or, if a narcissist feels like their partner is putting too much attention or focus on someone else, they might feel the need to prove that they are still the center of attention by being unfaithful.
They may also use the fear of rejection as a reason to move on so quickly. If they feel like their partner is going to leave them, they may preemptively seek out new partners and cheat to keep themselves from feeling the rejection of being left behind.
Signs Your Partner is Unfaithful
Being in love with a narcissist can be emotionally taxing and draining. If you suspect your partner is being unfaithful, it may leave you feeling helpless or even hopeless.
The truth is, it can be difficult to tell if a narcissist is cheating on you. The best way to find out for sure is to look for signs that something isn't right in the relationship.
Some signs that a narcissist is being unfaithful include:
Sudden Change in Behavior
If your partner is suddenly more secretive about their whereabouts or changes their routine, it may be a sign that something is going on.
Withdrawal from Intimacy
A narcissist might start to pull away from physical and emotional intimacy if they have been unfaithful.
You may go from daily cuddles and affection to feeling like you can barely get a hug.
Hiding Their Phone
If your partner is suddenly spending more time on their phone, or hiding it from view, it could be a sign that they are communicating with someone else.
Secretive Social Media Activity
An increase in secretive social media activity is a clear sign that something isn’t right. If your partner has suddenly started to be more private about their posts, or if they’re liking and commenting on posts from someone else more than usual, it could be a sign of infidelity.
If most social media interaction is with the opposite sex, even if it’s “just friends,” it may be a red flag.
If your partner is suddenly making inappropriate comments or jokes, it could be a sign that they are interested in someone else. When this happens in front of you with other people around, it can be especially embarrassing.
Spending More Time Away From Home
If your partner is suddenly taking more long lunches, working late nights, or leaving town for business trips more often, it may be a sign that they are trying to avoid spending time with you.
Final Thoughts on Can a Narcissist Be Faithful
It can be difficult for a narcissist to be faithful in a committed relationship – in large part because of their self-centeredness, lack of empathy, lack of self-control, need for the thrill of the chase, and their tendency to manipulate and use others to get what they want.
While it’s not impossible for a narcissist to be faithful, it is unlikely due to their self-centered nature and lack of empathy.
If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s important to be aware of these traits so that you can protect yourself and your relationship. And if you’re looking for help or support in dealing with a narcissistic partner, don’t hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional.
They can provide you with the tools and resources you need to cope with a narcissistic partner and do what is best for you.
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.
Bear in mind, that anyone is capable of cheating so this is not a flaw one can solely place on a narcissist. However, if you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s even more likely.
That is why it’s important to be aware of these traits so that you can protect yourself, your emotions, and your relationship. Now that you know more about narcissism, you may want to check out the article 11 Lack of Empathy Warning Signs You Should Look For in People.