15 Reasons Why Narcissists Have Difficulty Maintaining Long-Term Relationships

15 Reasons Why Narcissists Have Difficulty Maintaining Long-Term Relationships

If you’re dating someone who has narcissistic tendencies, you might wonder what the future holds. Sorry to burst your bubble, but narcissists struggle to have healthy relationships because they don’t show or feel love in the same way as others. Here are 15 reasons why they’re not going to be the girlfriend or boyfriend of the year any time soon.

1. They lack empathy.

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Narcissists don’t acknowledge or understand your feelings, which is why they tend to make you feel invalidated when you talk to them about your bad day at work or how sad you are that your dog died. They see your feelings as something they can manipulate to gain control of you, so it’s impossible to get their emotional support. This makes it difficult for them to get into loving, supportive long-term relationships.

2. They need constant praise.

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Narcissists have fragile egos, causing them to crave lots of attention, praise, and compliments from the people in their lives. They make their partners constantly cater to their selfish needs, as this makes them feel better about themselves. Although they come across as arrogant, narcissists are actually terrified of being seen as inferior. They need validation to boost their self-esteem, which can be draining for their partners to deal with. In addition, narcissists don’t return the favor because they’re selfish.

3. They’re manipulative.

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It’s impossible to be in a serious, happy relationship with a narcissist because they’re constantly trying to manipulate others to get what they want. They do this in various ways, like guilt-tripping their partners or forcing them to comply with their demands. One of the reasons why people get stuck in relationships with narcissists is because they get love-bombed early on in the relationship. This fools them into thinking the narcissist loves them when the sad truth is that the narcissist is pretending to have feelings to manipulate their partner.

4. They’re entitled.

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Narcissists behave like they’re the most important people and everyone has to cater to their needs. For example, they’ll demand that you give them all your resources or prioritize their needs over yours, turning yourself into a doormat. This selfishness and lack of compromise can make it difficult to maintain a long-term relationship with a narcissist. Your emotional needs are always ignored, so you don’t get any support from them.

5. They don’t like being vulnerable.

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Narcissists keep their emotional walls up because they see opening up to others as a sign of weakness. This can make it difficult for you to connect with them on a deeper level because they’ll resist emotional intimacy. In addition, their lack of vulnerability means they tend to judge you when you reveal your emotions to them. This can make you feel unloved and unsafe in the relationship.

6. They don’t support you when you succeed.

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Imagine calling the narcissist to tell them good news, only for them to brush it off or say, “Whatever.” Narcissists struggle to be happy for you when you succeed at your goals because they’re always striving to gain control. They want to be the only ones to achieve anything. When you find success, it makes them feel inferior, which causes them to belittle or criticize you. They’re insecure and trying to bring you down so you feel what they’re feeling. It’s so toxic!

7. They bring you down to control you.

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Belittling you is a manipulative strategy narcissists use to gain the upper hand in the relationship. Instead of uplifting you, they tear you down with nasty comments and backhanded compliments. This erodes your self-esteem and confidence. Once they do that, they find it easier to control you. This makes it impossible for you to have a healthy, happy relationship with them.

8. They’re inconsistent.

Beautiful woman enjoying summer holding flower with sun flare.

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Mixed messages are the narcissist’s main agenda. They go between hot and cold with their affection to leave you in a state of insecurity. So, they might give you lots of praise one day, followed by lots of criticism the next. Or, they’ll be attentive for a while, then totally ignore you. This manipulative game gives them a boost of power, making them feel in control because you never know where you stand with them.

9. They punish you.

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It’s challenging to date a narcissist long-term because they have such fragile self-esteem. They take perceived slights and criticisms very seriously, which causes them to fight back and get defensive, ultimately punishing you. This can take the form of not texting or calling you for weeks at a time in a move to assert their dominance and make you beg for their attention. This behavior is damaging to your self-confidence, making you feel unsure about what the narcissist is doing and why they’re playing with your emotions.

10. They love drama.

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Narcissists always create conflict and tension in their relationships because it enables them to feel in control and be the center of attention, whether positive or negative. So, they’ll pick a fight with you on a day when you have an important business meeting or on your birthday so you get less attention. This makes the relationship feel like a competition instead of a collaboration, which makes sustaining it draining and difficult.

11. They’re terrified of being abandoned.

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Someone with narcissistic tendencies is always looking for validation because they’re so afraid of being rejected. This can cause them to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as demanding all of your attention. Or, they might be extremely jealous and possessive, which can push you away instead of bringing you closer to them. This clingy behavior can make you feel like no matter how much you reassure them, you’re never enough.

12. Their feelings are superficial.

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Narcissists don’t feel love in the way that other people do. While it might seem like they’re smitten with you, this is a manipulative tactic to lock down your admiration and loyalty. They usually follow the pattern of only showing you affection if you meet their needs. If you slip up or upset them, they’ll withdraw their affection. This displays how their so-called love is actually superficial.

13. They can’t handle criticism.

Handsome Young Man is Trying to Solve Relationship Problems with his Beautiful Girlfriend with Long Hair while Taking a Walk and Having a Harsh Conversation During Sunset Near the River.

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If you have to talk to your partner about something they did to upset you, you’re probably going to be stonewalled or invalidated. Narcissists never want to face their shortcomings because they fight hard to have a flawless self-image. So, when you confront them, they’ll find a way to shut down the conversation or make you feel guilty for “attacking” them. It makes relationship issues difficult to deal with because they can never be resolved in a healthy way.

14. They blame you for everything.

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A narcissist never faces their mistakes or wrongdoings because they don’t like taking responsibility for their actions. Instead, they try to shift blame onto you. This could take the form of gaslighting, where they distort or deny reality to make you doubt your memory or perception of things. For example, they might tell you, “I hurt you because you made me do it” or “I never said those things to you—you’re lying.” It’s toxic because it erodes your self-esteem and self-worth, causing anxiety, depression, and distrust.

15. They isolate you.

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One of the most damaging things narcissists do is cut you off from your loved ones and the rest of your life. They’ll manipulate you into thinking your friends or family members don’t care about you, or they’ll discourage you from pursuing your hobbies. They do this because they want you to give them all your time and attention, even if this means you’re neglecting what you need to be happy. It’s impossible to have a healthy life if a narcissist is always trying to take control of it.

16. Looking for love? Think it into existence.

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Try our sister site, Sweetn, a new startup that uses science and research to help you transform your love life. Their cool quiz and tools teach you to use your mind to find love. Better yet, it starts to work in just a few weeks. Check it out here.

Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.
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