In the dating world, we all want to find someone who loves us for who we are. However, for people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), true love may feel impossible. Narcissists have a grandiose sense of self-importance, lack empathy, and have an excessive need for admiration. They often prioritize their own needs over those of their partner, which can make it difficult for someone with NPD to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship. But the question remains – can a narcissist ever find true love? Let’s explore this topic further.
The Characteristics of a Narcissist
In order to understand whether a narcissist can find true love, it’s important to identify the characteristics of NPD. According to the DSM-5, the following traits are typically associated with narcissistic personality disorder:
- An exaggerated sense of self-importance and grandiosity
- A preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, beauty, or intelligence
- A belief that they are special and unique and can only be understood by other high-status people
- A need for excessive admiration and attention
The Challenges of Finding True Love for Narcissists
While some narcissists may be able to find romantic partners, their relationships are often fraught with challenges. Here are some of the reasons why finding true love can be difficult for a narcissist:
Their Need for Validation
One of the core traits of NPD is the need for excessive admiration and attention. Narcissists crave validation from others and often seek out romantic partners who can provide this validation. However, this need for validation can become overwhelming and can lead to the narcissist neglecting the needs and desires of their partner in favor of their own ego.
They Lack Empathy
A lack of empathy is another key characteristic of NPD. Narcissists struggle to recognize the feelings and desires of others and often prioritize their own needs over those of their partner. This lack of empathy can lead to a lack of emotional intimacy in the relationship, making it difficult for a narcissist to truly connect with their partner.
They Have Difficulty with Intimacy
For a true and lasting love relationship to develop, emotional intimacy is critical. However, narcissists often struggle with emotional intimacy due to their lack of empathy and tendency to prioritize their own needs. Narcissists may find it difficult to truly let their guard down and connect with their partner emotionally.
Their Need for Control
Narcissists often have a strong desire for control in their relationships. They may seek out partners who they feel they can easily manipulate or control to meet their own needs. However, this desire for control can lead to a lack of trust in the relationship and can make it difficult for a narcissist to truly connect with their partner.
Can a Narcissist Change and Find True Love?
While NPD can be a challenging personality disorder to treat, it is possible for narcissists to change and develop healthy, fulfilling relationships. However, this requires a willingness on the part of the narcissist to recognize and address their problematic behavior.
Therapy can be an effective tool for helping narcissists to work through their issues and develop more positive relationship patterns. Couples therapy can also be a helpful resource for partners of narcissists, as they can learn to set boundaries and communicate effectively with their partner.
The Bottom Line
While finding true love as a narcissist may be challenging, it is not impossible. Narcissists who are willing to recognize and address their problematic behaviors can work towards developing healthy and fulfilling relationships. However, it takes a willingness to change and a commitment to personal growth.
Q: Can a narcissist love their partner?
A: Narcissists are capable of feeling love and may even experience intense feelings of love for their partner at times. However, their specific style of loving may be focused on fulfilling their own needs rather than the needs of their partner, and they may struggle with true emotional intimacy.
Q: Can a narcissist be faithful in a relationship?
A: Narcissists may struggle with being faithful in their relationships. Their need for validation and attention from others may lead them to seek out new romantic partners or engage in infidelity. However, every individual is different, and some narcissists may be able to remain faithful in their relationships.
Q: Can a narcissistic person change for their partner?
A: It is possible for narcissistic individuals to change and develop healthier relationship patterns. However, this requires a willingness on the part of the narcissist to recognize their problematic behaviors and work towards personal growth.
Q: Should I date a narcissist?
A: Dating a narcissist can be challenging and emotionally draining. While it may be possible for a narcissistic person to change, this is not guaranteed. If you are considering dating a narcissist, it’s important to weigh the potential risks and benefits and make a decision that is right for you.
- “Narcissistic Personality Disorder – DSM-5 Criteria.” Psychiatry.org. Accessed August 6, 2021. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/personality-disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder/.
- Carter, M., & Sokol, L. (2020). Narcissists and Their Romantic Relationships. Current Psychiatry Reports, 22(2). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-020-1136-0
- MacKenzie, K. R. (2018). Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Romantic Relationships. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 44(1), 28–43. https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2016.1253806