* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
Most of us have had to interact with a narcissistic person at some point in our lives, whether it be a family member, a coworker, or boss, or even someone we are in a romantic relationship with. But can a narcissist be faithful in a long-term relationship?
It can be extremely difficult to deal with this type of personality, particularly when living with a person who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
The Mayo Clinic defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as “a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their importance and a deep need for admiration”.
Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings.
But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”
Today, we live in a culture that appears to exasperate narcissistic tendencies. Psychoanalysts have predicted that the number of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is set to increase.
This is likely, in part, to be due to the influence of social media. Additionally, it’s likely that we have begun to see the negative impact of the self-esteem movement on a broad scale across society.
So how does narcissism affect our romantic relationships? Is it possible to be in a long term relationship with a person who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder? Can a Narcissist Be faithful to their partner?
According to Prof. Brad Bushman of Ohio State University, narcissists do not make good relationship partners.
Studies have shown that narcissistic people are more likely to “play games” with their partners and participate in manipulative behavior.
Research also suggests that narcissists are not as likely to be committed to a long-term relationship.
So let’s dig into that all important question. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, how confident can you be that they will not end up cheating on you?
Narcissism and Adultery
Many experts in the field of psychology have concluded that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are more predisposed to being unfaithful within a relationship.
There are multiple reasons why this type of personality may lead to cheating, but when you consider the characteristics of a narcissist’s personality, it comes as no surprise.
Generally speaking, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder tend to put their own wants and desires above those of other people, and their superiority complex leads them to disregard the thoughts and feelings of other people, including their relationship partners.
Narcissists also tend to think highly of themselves in all the relevant aspects of their being, such as their looks, intelligence, and how good they are at sex. In their minds, they are better than most in all of these parameters.
Additionally, because a narcissistic person fails to comprehend or care for the feelings of others, this will likely cause tension in their relationships.
When this happens, they are likely to go to other people when they aren’t getting enough validation, admiration, and attention from their partners.
They have such a need for these three things that they are willing to be unfaithful even to those they love.
A person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder generally has a lower capacity for feelings of guilt and shame.
This is due to the fact that, in their perception, they are constantly right, and they can even convince themselves that they have the entitlement to cheat on their partners. Some even place the blame on their partners for their own infidelity.
According to various studies, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder typically have a more lax attitude towards cheating.
They also tend to be more okay with having sexual relationships without a strong emotional connection.
This stronger desire for casual sex is mainly for egotistical reasons; such as the admiration of others, sexual validation, and dominance over others.
Narcissists are also more predisposed to impulsive behaviors, or acting selfishly without considering the consequences.
How to Identify Unfaithful Behaviors
If you find yourself in a relationship with a person you suspect has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you may have an inkling that they might be being unfaithful towards you.
If so, there are some signs that you can look out for.
If your partner often speaks about how faithful and loyal they are to you, and how they couldn’t dream of ever cheating, this could be cause for concern. That is, of course, if they speak on these topics without being prompted to do so.
Another strong indicator of unfaithful behavior is if your romantic partner “disappears” for a while, so to speak, so that they can’t be reached by call or text for a day or so.
It’s safe to say that during this period, they are likely interacting with somebody else.
This is particularly true if they have that characteristic trait of narcissists’ need for constant attention, admiration, and validation.
If this dose of attention isn’t coming from you, it could certainly be coming from someone else.
The last and perhaps the most damning evidence of cheating behavior is the admission that your partner has behaved that way in the past.
Although they may promise that they would never behave in the same way again, narcissists tend to repeat patterns of damaging behavior.
Without professional help from a therapist or counselor, it is very difficult for a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder to change.
All Hope is Not Lost
It’s important for us to make the point that not all narcissists are beyond redemption. Research has shown that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorders can be helped with therapy to be able to show commitment in their relationships.
Participants in this study took part in tests which were designed to encourage ideas of commitment and fidelity. The narcissists in this study, surprisingly, showed a higher level of commitment after taking part in these tests.
With the right help and support, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder can learn how to grow feelings of fidelity, commitment, and empathy for their partners.
If this support is put in place and the narcissist understands their behavior and how it should be changed, then a strong and faithful relationship can blossom.