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How Long Can A Narcissist Stay Married?

* 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.

Some of you out there might be wondering whether or not it’s possible for a narcissist to stay in a marriage.

Studies have shown that narcissists have a distinct lack of empathy and oftentimes experience very little feelings themselves, except when they’re ‘unmasked’. So, How Long Can A Narcissist Stay Married?

How Long Can A Narcissist Stay Married

So, this leads to the question, what would such people have to gain from being in a romantic relationship with another person?

Especially from one that’s supposed to last a lifetime. The simple answer is power. Narcissists often exert a lot of power over their spouses in the form of manipulation. 

They may gaslight their partners, treating them in an ill manner, then denying all responsibility.

Narcissists enjoy having control over others, and this is one of the key things that prompts them to enter into relationships. 

But just how long does this abuse continue? Does the narcissist themselves ever walk away, or is it up to the victimized party to do this? 

If you’ve found yourself pondering the questions above, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we look at narcissistic personality disorder within the context of marriage. 

Can Narcissists Remain Married? 

So, why not jump straight in and answer the question of whether or not it’s possible for narcissists to remain married.

The simple answer to this question is yes; it’s completely possible for a narcissist to remain married.

As long as they have power and control over their victim, they have reason to look elsewhere. 

Sometimes, narcissists will also stay married purely because they don’t realize that their behavior is wrong.

Many couples will enter marriage counseling, and the abusing party won’t take responsibility for any of their harmful actions. 

If the victim does leave them, and calls for a divorce, they will feel extremely confused, and as though their spouse has left the ‘perfect marriage’. 

Why Do Narcissists Remain Married? 

Now that we’ve covered that narcissists can stay married, we can move on to discuss why they choose to remain married.

The answer to this question is incredibly simple, and we briefly touched upon it at the beginning of this article. 

Narcissists care only for power and control, and what better way to exercise this power than with a spouse whom they have contact with every day.

Narcissists love to manipulate and control others, and this is especially easy to do with someone who’s emotionally invested in them. 

Many times, narcissistic people will marry people who are full of empathy, and like to see the best in people.

This way, if the narcissistic person shows any visible flaws, or ‘chinks’ in their armour, the spouse will overlook it, which only builds their confidence further. 

How Long Can A Narcissist Stay Married For? 

Although there is no definitive answer to this question, you could say indefinitely.

If the primary reason why a narcissistic person would stay in a marriage is to exercise their power, then they’ll stay in that marriage for as long as this remains possible. 

The most common way that relationships with narcissistic partners end is by the victim leaving them, breaking the cycle of abuse.

Sometimes, if a partner begins to show resistance to the narcissistic party’s behavior, they will leave them, as they will begin to realize that they can no longer control their victim. 

Why Do People Marry Narcissists? 

Some of you reading this article may be wondering why somebody would marry a narcissistic person in the first place if they’re so blatantly awful. 

Well, that’s exactly what the problem is, they’re not blatantly awful. In fact, most narcissistic people have an incredibly charming appeal that draws people to them.

When a narcissist first begins a relationship with someone, they’ll appear to be completely perfect. 

They might compliment their spouse religiously, purchase them elaborate gifts, and make them feel as though they’re special. This is all performed in order to draw the victim into their grasp.

After their relationship is established, and they feel as though they’ve ‘got’ their victim, their true personality begins to show. 

This is when they begin gaslighting their partner, making rude comments, and demanding things from them continually.

If their partner calls them out on this behavior, then they’ll simply deny that they did anything wrong, or try to charm them again to get back in their ‘good books’. 

This can be incredibly frustrating for the victim, as they’re also hoping that their spouse will return to the way they were at the beginning of the relationship, attentive, kind, and thoughtful.

But, they often don’t realize that this was all a ploy. This is what they call the abuse cycle. 

After they’re married, and deep in the relationship, the narcissist will begin to chip away at their spouse’s confidence.

Ultimately, this will lead them to feel disempowered, and with very little confidence or energy to leave the relationship. This is another reason why narcissists stay married for so long, as the spouse doesn’t want to leave. 

Final Thoughts

To sum up, narcissists can stay married for a lifetime if they and their partner choose to. As long as they’re able to exert power and control over their spouse, this will be enough of an incentive for narcissists to remain married.

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