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The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

Welcome, so you are wondering what the hell happened aren’t you? You thought you had met your soul mate and you were the luckiest woman in the world. Of course in phase 1 you weren’t questioning your relationship, but like a switch going off everything changed, even if you can’t put your finger on it, something is very wrong. You entered phase 2, for a while you just chalked it up to him having a bad day, or maybe he is sick, maybe he has a brain tumor, or he’s having a nervous breakdown, it will take a while before you go searching for answers about why the love of your life has turned on you.

I was into the relationship for over 5 years before I went looking for answers and even then once I found Narcissist and JC fit the description almost to a T and our relationship was following the course described in various web sites I still didn’t believe he could be unfaithful or would discard me so callously.

It is almost impossible to get your head around the notion he could ever just toss you aside with nothing, and not even look back. If anything; while you are reeling in pain from the relationship ending he’ll take the opportunity to give you a kick in the guts a few times for good measure and make sure you know it is all your fault.

If you are in phase 2 and think you are hurt and confused please believe me it is nothing compared to the excruciating pain of phase 3. You would be doing yourself a HUGE favor to get out now. I only know of one of JC’s ex’s that left him before phase 3 and she is the only one to have gone on to other relationships with other men.

The Phases of Loving a Narcissist


During this phase a narcissist is very loving and is in his or her best behavior. A narcissist can be extremely charming and loving, which often makes a person fall head over heels in love with them. If a narcissist is cheating on his or her present partner with a new lover, it is often more due to the actions of the narcissist than the lover that the relationship started in a first place. While pursuing a new lover, a narcissist is often claiming that he is very unhappy in his or her current relationship, the woman takes him for granted, abuses his good nature and he is carrying the load financially, in the home and emotionally. He will say he has tried and tried and done his grieving of the relationship long ago. He has had to stay because he’s afraid she’ll try to kill herself if he leaves, or she just won’t accept that its over. He is about to get a divorce/separate, has never felt as strongly towards anyone else as he or she is now feeling towards the new lover, etc. If you are the married one he will become your best friend and perhaps even befriend your husband, he will point out how your husband takes you for granted, be telling you how he wished he had a woman like you, he will be your perfect match, totally into you, always so happy to see you, wanting to know all about you, your hopes and dreams, you will feel attractive, appreciated, it will be exciting, his romantic gestures will take your breath away the love-making like nothing you have ever experienced before, you will feel like the sexiest most desirable woman on earth. You will feel you must have this man in your life, you can face anything as long as he has you in his arms. It is intoxicating, you can not believe your good fortune to meet this wonderful man and he loves YOU. A narcissist knows how to say all the right things to disarm the other person and to make the other person fall hard.

Unfortunately this “honeymoon” period never lasts for long. A narcissist soon grows bored and restless and starts to look for another provider of a narcissistic supply. This is when a narcissist enters the devaluation phase.


During this phase the behavior of a narcissist changes, he becomes cold and uncaring almost overnight. this is when the “mask drops” and you see the real man. The narcissist no longer tells you how much he or she loves you, but instead becomes increasingly critical towards you. Suddenly he/she finds all sorts of flaws in your behavior and possibly also in the way you look. You start to feel increasingly unhappy and depressed, because you have no idea what you have done to deserve such treatment. You may try to please a narcissist and try to “make him or her love you again”, however nothing you do seems to be good enough. He may treat you well out in public but behind closed doors he acts as if he loathes you. He accuses you of things you aren’t thinking or doing, is controlling, twists your words, where once you could talk about anything calmly and rationally, now every thing turns into a fight. You find yourself walking on eggshells for fear of setting him into a rage. Every thing is your fault, you are paranoid, too sensitive, causing drama and you should know he hates drama. More than likely some addiction like obsessively watching porn has surfaced or he forces you to perform sex acts you aren’t comfortable with, the great sex you once had is a distant memory unless he is trying to win you over after a really bad fight. Speaking of which he has an uncanny ability to sense when you have had enough and are ready to leave and will turn back into the man you fell in love with just long enough to reel you back in.

During this phase a narcissist may start to look for another provider of a narcissistic supply and may end up cheating or having an affair, however still keeping the current spouse “available”, if the new relationship does not work out the way a narcissist is expecting. A narcissist is getting “kicks” when he or she is thinking that two people (the current spouse and the secret lover) are “madly in love” with a narcissist. This feeling serves as the source of a narcissistic supply. Often times they will leave evidence of their cheating around for you to find because your pain serves up such delicious narcissistic supply.


During the phase of discarding a narcissist becomes totally indifferent to the needs and wishes of the (soon-to-be former) spouse of a narcissist. A narcissist is ready to move on after either finding another source of a narcissistic supply or simply having drained the current source (the current spouse) dry. The current spouse no longer serves as a source of a narcissistic supply and the current spouse is no longer useful for a narcissist. When a narcissist reaches this phase, there is no chance to reason with a narcissist. If you try to beg a narcissist to get back together with you, you are only feeding the ego of a narcissist and providing him or her with a transient source of a narcissistic supply as a narcissist feels you are now devastated after losing them and their “perfectness”. He/she will take great pleasure in rubbing your nose in his new relationship and .blaming you for the relationship failing. He will say how he has met the love of his life, she is calm and rational, they are soul mates and his new woman will be so smug about how special she is. You are left reeling, wondering what the hell happened, how could such a powerful love go so wrong. Not only does he dump you, kick you while you are down and spit on you, he will try to destroy your reputation, go on a smear campaign to win over your friends and even your family, he will accuse you of doing to him what he has done to you and make himself look like the victim. There is no staying friends with a narcissist even though he likes to keep his ex’s hooked as a back up supply and to keep the new woman on her toes. He will try to turn the children against you or get custody, they will leave you financially destitute, and emotionally devastated and taunt you to just kill yourself. They are evil and without mercy.

THEN, just when you are starting to heal and get your legs under you he will pop back into your life, professing his love, tears and all, apologizing for everything e ever did and you believe your prayers have been answered, the man you fell in love with is back and you fall lovingly into his arms. The arms of the devil. As he holds you telling you how much he loves you and how sorry he is, he is secretly laughing and giving himself a pat on the back for being so clever and irresistible, and planning how he will punish you for being so stupid as to believe him. In his mind you deserve to be punished for your gullibility and he feels so superior to have that kind of control over you. The cycle begins again only much worse this time.

If you found this article helpful you will probably find the following posts of interest also.






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2,063 responses to “The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

  • lonely

    My thoughts exactly Ellie, why would anything change, I’m always to blame. Correction “in his eyes I’m too blame” I know my truth and that is what counts.

    I wish him a slow painful death, hope he gets cancer again.


    • inrecovery

      Why is it us the ones who have to suffer while they just have fun and feed their need?


      • fee

        Sadly it is because we have genuine feelings and it hurts like hell….to him its like eating a bar of chocolate..it tastes good and melts quick…but when its gone its gone. He looks for another etc. He might get a sour taste from time to time…but this isn’t feelings…its annoyance …so off for a different bite. I talk no sense I know lol…but it helps me to think of it this way x


    • fee

      I am sorry for your results. When I went to get checked I was lucky that I didn’t have anything, but even that when he found out was gobsmacking…he said I must have been disappointed that I didn’t get anything as it was all in my head and he never cheated….no matter the outcome these people have an answer for anything…it had nothing to do with me finding condoms in his car…

      I wish I could get to the point to wish him a slow death or anything but even though I hate the man…I cant wish him anything bad…even I don’t understand that. I hope tablets clears it and there is no lasting damaged. Stay strong…and am glad you are going out…another step I haven’t got to yet. x


  • lonely

    I thought the doctors appointment was as bad as it could get for a 24hr period – not so lucky, i always go out this particular night and leave my kids at home – they are teenagers so it’s OK, The N knows this, anyway when i get in – my eldest explains that some man came over, didn’t say who he was or why he was there, i have very few visitors, have lived in this house for three years and it was brand new when i moved in, Could just be a coincidence – but it’s freaking me out.


  • MT

    OMG! I am sooo glad I found this. I am still obsessing over my ex, who by the way, has much of the above behaviors. I got to the point of cutting myself and inflicting pain on myself just so I didn’t have to feel the emotional pain. He always said I was too sensitive. Well, when I spoke to other people about the things he would say to me, they let me know I was not being to sensitive. When we broke up I was sooo relieved. For a couple of months. Then I saw him out with another girl (now his girlfriend) and he was making out with her in front of me. I was an absolute MESS for a little over a month. I really thought he would come back to me again. And, I so wanted him too! Yes, we broke up after dating for a year and then got back together after being separated for about 9 months. Then I stuck it out for another year and a half. All I ever wanted him to do was to acknowledge when he was being an ass. Sometimes he could and I could have a rational conversation with him. But, he would never say he was sorry for anything. He always said he didn’t do anything wrong. I don’t believe he purposely hurt my feelings all the time; but, when I would bring something up to him, he immediately got defensive. I started stuffing everything and that is when I started to hurt myself. Why am I still obsessing over him????? I keep thinking he is going to treat her better than me. And, though I know this is not true, I can’t stop thinking about the way he sometimes would look at me with admiration, or how we held hands ALL the time, he is a good looking man, Sex was the best and he was the best kisser. Though I have to say sex was no longer love making because I just didn’t trust him. Yes, he reeled me in big time both times. I just want to get over him and move on but he is stuck in my head. We have been broken up for 4 1/2 months and it was just Halloween when I saw him with the other girl. Why am I stuck???? I ABSOLUTELY DON’T want him back. He wouldn’t come back again anyway. He is just like that. I totally felt kicked to the curb. And, this shit hurts! This guy really did a number on me. I am working REALLY hard to move on…..books, cd’s, spiritual development, prayer, etc. I know I will heal from this. What really sucks though, is I’m not going to be able to trust another man so easily. And, I don’t want to “take it out” on him. Eh well, this is life. I can either go it alone or take my chances with a healthy man!


    • inrecovery

      I can totally relate to everything you wrote. I saw my husband with the new girl and became a mess. When we broke up I was totally fine, then I saw them together in our home…going inside, and I totally flipped. Even after seeing that I went want with him no questions asked. That’s when I got pregnant. The happiness only lasted a while. He broke up with me in September, filed for divorce immediately and I too am still recovering. We must be out of our minds to still be thinking about a reconciliation. We must move on an once we do the work on ourselves, true love will present itself to us. You probably don’t have to trust the new man…you probably have to trust yourself and that this time you will chose well. Trust that you will now be able to identify the early warning signs and that you will not tolerate anymore violence. This is the time to look at yourself and just focus on healing, on preparing yourself to be the best versión of yourself. I too wonder if the new girl will get just his good parts, but that is not for me to figure out. I need to build on my own good parts for myself and my future healthy relationship. This is our time.
      Much love,


  • Carrie Reimer

    Lonely, I am so so very sorry you were unlucky and given an STD. You are not stupid, you put your trust in the wrong person, a person who projected to you that he loved you and you were safe with him. We ALL did, All any of us can do is what you are doing; dealing with the cards we are dealt, working on ourselves and spreading the word so other people might be saved.
    I believe there is a reason or purpose for everything that happens in life and you will have answers someday as to why you have to endure this now. You are already helping more people than you can know, your compassion and selflessness shines through. You are a good person, not deserving of any of this, but you will get through it and you will find happiness and true inner peace and serenity in the future.
    Keep coming here and know you are safe here and we love you and you are not alone. No matter how stupid you feel or no matter how bizarre somethings may sound to some people’s ears; know that there is nothing you can tell us that we probably haven’t heard before or experienced ourselves; we believe you and in you.
    Big hugs


  • lonely

    Thanks Carrie

    Today i am filled with absolute detest for the prick, the antibiotics are making me feel sick in the tummy, if i eat i feel sick, if i don’t i feel sick.

    I keep going over in my mind what i would say to him if i saw him now that i have the knowledge i do, it goes something along the lines of ‘find another source, i know my truth, i know YOUR truth, i know what hideous acts you are capable of, i am not stupid anymore. I also keep imagining what i’d say to his next source as well, it goes along the lines of, ‘read these text messages’ and letting them read them, no doubt they would think i am the miserable ex but gee those text messages are rotten from him. The obsession of thinking about him never seems to leave me, but i have surrendered to the fact that there is no coming back from this. Time will change this i’m sure, at least i have enough strength to remain NO CONTACT.

    I have been keeping myself busy and actually took my youngest son, his friend and the dog for a day at the beach, today i felt some kind of happiness, i think i actually smiled a bit.

    Thanks for the on going support in this journey and all the posts you put up, they have lead me to other sites where i gain more knowledge and wisdom and with that surely strength will follow.

    Love to all the gals on this blog, together we will get to the right place for ourselves.


  • lonely

    Hi Carrie,

    I’m a big believer in honesty – self honesty mostly,

    I ended up speaking with my ex N. The curiosity got to me as to why after 3 months would he contact me, Fortunately for me i had the knowledge of how he works on my side. He tried to start with just chit chat but i wouldn’t allow it, i asked him out right what was going on for him back then, of course he blamed me, said he felt like i was shutting him out, he thought i had some one else in the wings, it was all poor him. I then reminded him of the text message ‘i’ll come over and fuck you into the correct state of regret’ guess what? he didn’t remember that LOL i said go back and read those text messages which he claims he no longer has, i told him I DO!!! I then went on to speak very harshly to him about how i felt that night, the therapy i have been in, the fear i have been living in, reminded him of the word ‘rape’ i asked him ‘how have you been? have you been in therapy?’ of course it was replied with he never wanted to fight with me and never wanted it to end up this way to which i replied ‘of course you didn’t, i may have been stupid then but i’m not now, you wanted to control and manipulate me, you made a plan and carried that plan out YOU RAPED ME AND LEFT ME TO ROT, i really let him have it,( i think), i felt quite empowered. He did apologise saying he had no idea how much he hurt me, to which i replied BULLSHIT, he said he hoped we could be friends, to which i replied ‘you think i want to be friends with my rapist?’ ‘NO NOT EVER’

    I do believe that NO CONTACT is the answer, and i crossed that line, but someone had to tell him how i felt and what he had done to me! I’m sure he doesn’t feel any true remorse because i know he’s incapable of any true feelings. I am not one who has ever spoken to some one like that before, and it doesn’t exactly feel nice, but it had to be done.

    Now to continue on the healing process.

    I needed to be honest with you, that’s important to me, your support is invaluable


    • fee

      God lonely, that sounded so much like me…

      I prayed after I give birth to Jacob after ‘that night’ that I would be able to get him to see what he did to me…I didn’t get the sorry…even if it is a word to them they don’t mean. I got I was gagging for it…though I couldn’t lift my head…that I was panting like a dog…and the only sorry I have ever got is this…..I am sorry fee that I don’t understand YOUR ISSUES…and that he doesn’t understand why I am so bitter and angry.
      I have gone over and over it with him why….what happened, that he filmed it and that I shouldn’t worry he knew CPR incase….and of course I got a pan to be sick in…oh lucky me.
      Degraded isn’t the word.
      I am glad you stood so strong. I think this is the first part in you that responded with knowledge and that is power….good on you. I am so proud of you and I don’t even know you. The courage your showing is amazing….your helping others by speaking out as I hope everyone of us realise.


      • inrecovery

        Fee, thank you so much for your words. It really surprises me how similar to my story yours is. Have you heard from the doctors? How are you feeling?

        As for lonely, I too feel proud you stood up and spoke your mind. Hopefully you will be able to stay away long enough to recover inside and out. He is poison, don’t drink the poison anymore, let him continue to poison himself. He will eventually get what he deserves. Whether or not he acknowledges what he has done, whether or not he understands everything he has done, it doesn’t matter. This is now about you and only you, what he does or what he thinks is just about himself.

        Much love to both,



  • newlife

    This site has been a refuge for me. As I lay alone tonight, I am painfully aware that the Nar Ex is with his new girlfriend fresh off a dating website. I got an email yesterday from a massage place where I use to be a member that my couples’ massage was confirmed for today. The email was addressed to both me and my ex. Perplexed, I called the place to find out that he did schedule an appointment for the two of us just a few days ago. I asked the woman if she was sure that it was me he scheduled along with him. Her response was yes. I asked if he knew my membership was no longer valid and she also said yes. No discounts for nonmembers. She said he cancelled my appointment AFTER the confirmation email went out. I asked if he kept his appointment and she said yes. I asked if it was by himself and she said no. I thought maybe he was trying to use my credit card which was still on file but she also said no. My only conclusion is that he knew I would get an email and I would call to find out what was going on. He conveniently did not give his email and probably told them to use my email for confirmation. PUNCH IN THE GUT. The fact that he’s doing something nice like this so early on AND he doesn’t have a job. Even worse today was a day I clearly remembered from last year when via pictures in my phone dated exactly one year ago show us with another couple taking pictures with my engagement ring that I so cherished and beautiful jewelry we picked out together for Christmas. I was the HAPPIEST I had ever been in my life! I had finally found THE ONE. He was so charming, funny and good looking. He was the second guy I went out with from a dating website. I was hooked from the start. He made it so EASY to fall in love with him. At 49 my life was FINALLY going to be EVERYTHING I always dreamed of with THE LOVE OF MY LIFE. Words he said so often. It all felt so natural. I was different. I was special. I believed it all. Still have a hard time acknowledging the truth. Realizing that the life you thought was so good was only a dream. I feel like such an idiot. It was like being in a relationship with the devil. That is how I truly feel. Emotional pain is physical pain. The depths of the hurt cannot be accurately described when euphoria turns into physical gut wrenching pain that makes you feel completely ALONE. My idea of what hell must be like. Understand now how people get to such a dark place and want to do anything to get out of the pain. Even though I was the one who left back in September, my pain hasn’t subsided. I really thought I was going to change him to be a better person. He was a perfectionist and expected EVERYONE around him to be perfect, This included his two kids and my daughter. ALL my daughter’s friends were tatted up white trash and I wasn’t being a good enough parent by not getting her away from her loser boyfriend. I wasn’t and still am not a fan of my daughter’s boyfriend. However, she is 26, a nurse and lives on her own. I kept telling him she’s an ADULT. Status was and is EVERYTHING to him. He felt that her being in her relationship would affect us directly and he doesn’t associate with losers. He was pissed that she didn’t invest her money the way he advised her to. Early on in our relationship he gave her a new computer. It was the first time she met him. Did I mention he’s also an alcoholic? He was trashed when he gave it to her. At the time he was giving it to her he was telling her she needed to get away from her boyfriend. Things I told him in confidence and never expected him to say anything to her. She never liked him even with all the backhanded nice things he did for her. She never revealed it to me because I was so HAPPY. Little by little he tore me down in the most MANIPULATED way one could imagine. I was frantic, pervasive with my daughter, the WORST dog trainer (whole other issue), lazy if I didn’t work out regularly, SELFISH, and the list goes on. My dog, HUGE problem. His idea of training was EXTREME discipline. Sometimes way to over the top. I hated him for that. He would not ALLOW me to intervene at all and would not allow a trainer. His way or no way. He would sit me down in a chair and talk to me like I was a child and spouted off how BAD I was and how WRONG I was. He chose his words carefully. I really started believing all his bullshit. Now throw ALCOHOLISM to make him even more crazy. He would say since he didn’t drink every day he didn’t have a problem. Almost every time he got drunk, he got alcoholic drunk. Don’t know how to describe it. He could drink more than ANYONE I have ever seen and become a different person. After a binge that he would sometimes do for days and after we split up, a week, he would say he’s sorry but would get in a rage if I brought it up. Gave him an ultimatum to quit completely and get some kind of outside help. NOT. What finally drove me to leave was a fight we got into about my daughter regarding her boyfriend and her weight. He got outright nasty with me and then her. He said the most DEMEANING things that shouldn’t come out of anyone’s mouth. I moved out and he went on several drinking binges emailing the NASTIEST and even THREATENING emails to both of us. Still didn’t realize he had NPD and thought if he would just get help for his drinking. Thinking he would hit his rock bottom and realize what he lost he would CHANGE because I was THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE. I had come to his side on a couple of occasions when his drinking got so out of hand that I thought he would die of alcohol poisoning. Surely he would see just how much I loved him and realize he needed help to save himself and SAVE our relationship. He would apologize to me and more importantly my daughter because the alcohol made him say and do all these terrible things. What I have since realized is he will NEVER change for ANYBODY because he has NPD. Even if he quit drinking, he would still be a narcissist. There is no hope and I know it. He did so many nice things like cleaning, lawn work for my daughter, buying groceries for my daughter, refused to take any money from me even though he had lost his job, walked my dog daily, brought home flowers AND he donates his blood monthly after he gets the alcohol out of his system. There was a lot of good in such a twisted way but with an underlying agenda. As long as I complied, we were good. When I didn’t look out. He said some of the CRUELEST things in our last exchange a few weeks ago with the sole intent to inflict as much harm as possible. I’m feeling better after venting all this out. Almost feels like throwing up. Some girl is in bed with him now and he has probably already told her that he FINALLY met his true SOUL MATE after all the trauma the dumb bitches put him through. She’s feeling so lucky right now and has probably already been through a divorce. I know he won’t change BUT that self doubt nags at me that he will for her and I wasn’t
    good enough. So messed up. I need to heal and work on myself!!!! BOTTOM LINE, he wasn’t good enough for me.


    • inrecovery

      I keep finding these posts incredible. I don’t understand how many of these men are out there and how many of us with such similar stories. I did not know if my guy was an N…but after reading over and over the same stories, I am quite certain all these men suffer from the same mental illness.

      New life,

      I too separated from my guy in September. I was 4 months pregnant, had a broken arm, and I had just been laid off. He kicked me out on the street with just the clothes on my back.
      I have been through this before many times throughout the 10 years of our marriage. He is on several dating sites just like yours, and is extremely nice to all these new girls, just like yours… I hurt just like you.

      You have to know that he is nice to the new girl,until he is not anymore. You know how he works, he is just trying to fool her into this black hole to later show his true self. Show the demon he truly is. It is all a matter of time. I know it’s hard and I know it’s too soon but be thankful you saw him for who he is and he’s gone now. Imagine looking back 10 years from now and telling yourself “I should have left 10 years ago”
      Tell yourself you deserve better. The way we were treated was not normal. There are men out there who respect and cherish their woman, Respect is probably what we never had. You are special and you deserve to be treated with love and respect regardless of what he thinks. He is a sick man and no matter what you do to try to show him how much you love him, you are not the problem, it’s him! It’s not about you, it’s all about him. Stop thinking about what he us doing and with whom, start thinking about all the things you want to do for yourself. Stop filling your sleepless nights with haunting thought and start filling them with dreams of your new life. Everything has to fall into place once you are, we are able to let go of all this bad stuff, even the good memories. Let those go…let it all go and focus on you only.

      Know that we will be fine, we will get to the other side. I am not there yet, but I’ve been told it’s true. My only goal in life right now is to get there…to conquer my thoughts and my fears and to get to the other side. You can do it. Fight for you, fight like hell to get out of that whole he put you in. He has no control over you any more. It’s your turn and your terms. You can do it, we believe in you.

      Much love.


  • newlife50

    Something good has to come out of this! If anything we should all be a little wiser. Never again will I ignore red flags that SLAP you in the face. Looking forward to the light again


  • lonely

    Hi newlife50,

    Just read your story and as usual the similarities are astounding. I too am having a hard time around the whole Christmas thing, it was 12 months ago that my ex N told me he loved me, we had been apart for 10 months and just got back together i was being ‘love bombed’ as i see it now and it felt amazing, i recently spoke to him – well yelled is more like it, that’s a whole story in itself. He has told me he is so sad things are such shit between us, i have to be vigilant and continually remind myself of the monster he is, because at times my head is telling me ‘it could work out’, Carrie recently wrote a post on the good times as well, and i don’t want to be filled with anger and hatred only – i don’t want to accept that i wasted 4 years in a relationship that was a complete lie – there are huge parts that were really good. the feelings of anger and hatred together with the grief and loss of the relationship is confusing.

    And having to just keep telling everyone “i’m Ok, it just didn’t work out”


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