The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist




So, you are wondering what the hell happened aren’t you? You thought you had met your soul mate and you were the luckiest person 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/her having a bad day, or maybe they are sick, maybe they have a brain tumor, or they’re having a nervous breakdown, it took a while before you started searching for answers about why the love of your life had 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 followed the same stages described on various websites, I still didn’t believe he could be unfaithful or would discard me so callously. I believed everyone has good in them and I had seen the good side and if I loved him well enough I could bring that good side out again.

It is almost impossible to get your head around the notion they 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 tend to talk in terms of the narcissist being a male but female narcissists exist and are just as destructive and ……. well………evil. The phases of the relationship are the same whether the narcissist is male or female.

The Phases of Loving a Narcissist



During this phase a narcissist is very loving and is on his/ her best behavior. A narcissist can be extremely charming and loving, which often makes a person fall head over heels in love with them or feel they would be crazy to not love them. In the beginning I felt JC cared for me more than I cared for him but I had never been loved like that in my life and that is very hard to walk away from. I was perfect in his eyes, to quote him, “Don’t ever change, I love you just the way you are.”

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/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, tell you he wishes 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 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 person. 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 to be treated this way. You try to “make him or her love you again”, however nothing you do seems to be good enough and what they want seems to change with the wind. 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. He accuses you of being paranoid,  yet they are snooping through your phone and computer, (James even had a tracking device somewhere on my vehicle, I found a hidden camera and his sister found a wire running from the trailer to the barn that had a speaker on the end). They know they are out to destroy you, so assume you must be doing the same thing and want to make sure they get you before you get them.Whatever the narcissist accuses the victim of doing is more than likely what they are doing. A rule to remember; If their lips are moving, they are lying. They can look you right in the eye and tell you a lie, they can cry real tears and could get an academy award for their acting abilities.

They may be loving in public and then treat the soon-to-be-ex with disdain when they get home, yet expect the victim to stay loving and giving until the narcissist is firmed enmeshed in their new relationship. It is a very confusing time for the victim, one minute they are treated with disgust and the next the narcissist is loving, they are blamed for the problems in the relationship but anything they do to  mend the fences is never good enough. (I went years not knowing if we were broken up or a couple, he could tear me to shreds in the morning before he left for work and come home from work like nothing ever happened). The victim is accused of causing conflict, yet if they give in to the narcissist they are treated even worse.

Once the narcissist drains his supply, the supply refuses to comply with his demands or the N finds better supply he is ready to move on and if they don’t have new supply lined up they set out to find a new source of NS. At this point he is obvious in his infidelity, short tempered and generally acts as if he hates sharing his air with you. The narcissist picks their love interest by what they have to offer, it might have been a roof over their head, the reputation of the victim, perhaps to advance their career, a parent for their child, status in the community, or something as simply as sex.

You find yourself walking on eggshells for fear of sending him into a rage. Everything 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. Female narcissist often use sex as a weapon, withholding or seducing to manipulate the man. Speaking of which they have an uncanny ability to sense when you have had enough and are ready to leave and will turn back into the sweet, appreciative, loving partner 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 hooked, just in case the new relationship does not work out the way the narcissist is hoping. The narcissist gets a huge ego boost from thinking that two people (the current spouse and the secret lover) are “madly in love” with them.  Plus they get off on being able to pull something off right under the victim’s nose. The narcissist will fly into a rage that you could possibly think he would ever cheat on you and turn the tables so you end up apologizing for accusing them or for some other crime you committed months or years ago. Their crimes are brushed under the carpet while yours are always brought up and never forgiven, even crimes you didn’t commit or even think about committing. (James said he screwed around because I could have taken a different man home every night. I said, Key word is “could” have, I didn’t)

They often play one against the other creating triangulation, and then sit back and watch the show. Nothing feeds the ego like having two lovers vying for your affections; doing the “pick me” dance.  Often times they will leave evidence of their cheating around for you to find because your pain serves up such delicious narcissistic supply.

level headed


During the discarding phase the narcissist becomes totally indifferent to the needs or pain of the victim.  Once the victim is no longer useful to the N they discard them like yesterday’s garbage. When a narcissist reaches this phase, there is no chance to reason with a narcissist.

Many victims will say that the discard “came out of the blue” everything was fine and then the narcissist sent an email saying it was over, or the victim is thrown out of the house with nothing, and the narcissist is immediately involved with “the love of their life” and the victim is a psycho bitch or abusive asshole. But when you talk to the victim it comes out that there were signs but the narcissist denied their suspicions, accused them of not loving them enough, made them feel if they only did this……… or that………… things would go back to the way they were. There had been abuse but the victim had just gotten so used to the N being hot and cold, the discord had just become “the way they were” and they believed the narcissist would never truly leave them. Then the victim discovers the narcissist was planning their exit for a long time, has been slandering the victim behind their back, hiding money, and has the victim’s replacement lined up.

If you try to beg a narcissist to get back together with you, you are only feeding their ego and providing him or her with a transient source of a narcissistic supply. The narcissist wants you devastated at the thought of losing them and most victims ends up drained, confused, with their confidence and self-esteem in shreds. A feeling of doom pervades everything in their life and many suffer from PTSD. There is no way to have an amicable split from a narcissist. When a narcissist is done with you he is not happy to just walk away, he wants to destroy you and your reputation. He will turn your friends and your own family against you. If you have children he will turn them against you, he will even go so far as to try to get you fired, arrested on trumped-up charges, victims have even been committed to mental institutions because of the vicious actions of a narcissist.

Out of loyalty the victim didn’t talk behind the narcissist’s back so no one believes them when they try to explain what went on in the relationship. The narcissist has already told everyone who will listen that the victim is a paranoid psychopath who has made their life hell, so anything the victim says is taken as being vindictive and they are the psycho liar the N claims them to be. The narcissist must win, and that means they must take everything from the victim, leaving them with nothing to rebuild their lives. In their minds if you are of no use to them you are worthless. It is at this point the narcissist will have no qualms about killing you and the victim should be very careful (there is a free safety plan download at the top of the blog).

He/she will take great pleasure in rubbing your nose in his new relationship and blame 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 the new man or woman will be smug about how special they are. They will taunt you to kill yourself, accuse you to your face of doing exactly what they did to you, twist the facts to make themselves look the victim, they will never admit to any fault in the relationship and the victim ends up friendless with no support system because the narcissist carefully planned his/her exit and will just deny deny deny any of the victim’s claims of abuse. It is the victim’s worst nightmare, like they stepped into the twilight zone and are helpless against the vindictiveness of the narc. After all who can believe anyone can be that cruel and conniving. That is why only someone who has been there can understand and will believe the victim.

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 he 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.

2,257 thoughts on “The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

  1. patom17pat

    i met my narc in 2012. He swept me off my feet, I fell in love right away. He told me he was an abrused husband and that he was divorced for 4 years. During the dating in the beginning he was so sweet and said such romantic things. I did a lot of things for him, such as, drive his 16 yr old daughter anywhere she wanted to go, watch his dog while he left town for a golf outing and to help his other daughter move from one state to another. I cleaned his house, lent him money, did his ironing, cooked and sewed his jeans. His was a drinker and a gambler, and a heavy smoker. But to make a long story short he dropped me without any remorse. he was in touch with his ex wife for months. He ended up buying her a house and a car in Florida. He tried to go back with her, I don’t think it worked out because now he is wanting me back, I hope I find the strength to not let him back into my heart , because I know he only needs his narcisstic supply.. He has no idea that I know about his personality. This is only some of the stuff I went thru. Never again!!!!


    1. Lisa

      Hi, I beg you now that you know his personality do not take him back. I in this madness of a marriage right now after being with my husband for 19 yrs. It was just last year July 2014 that I woke up one morning and he discarded me. I have been devasted, scared, hurt always trying to figure out what happend? I tried to work things out with him 3 times despite his lies, cheating and manipulations (I wasn’t aware of who he really was yet). Now after doing extensive research, student his behavior and watching his patterns (thru God’s help) I am finally at a place where I can start disengaging so I can move on. He has been texting me the last three days and I won’t respond. Next I’m changing my number. Although I do love him, I must love me more. It’s agonizing to know that he used me and never loved me all of these years. I don’t know how he played this game and masked himself with me for so long? I guess because he had me where he wanted me and I couldn’t break free. Now that I know better, I have to do better for ME. PLEASE stay away to prevent more agonizing pain and grief. The woman that I found out about is in a totally different state and knows we are married and she has stated she doesn’t give a D about my situation but one day she will wish he had. God is covering me and proving me with wisdom and opportunity for my way of escape and and never going to look back or give him the time of day again. The heartbreak nearly took me out but God!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kim

    Hi everyone,

    I posted back in March about my story. He made me feel like we were soulmates, we had plans to see the world and he often told me that he would marry me, that he couldn’t live without me. Then overnight he changed, he made me feel like I was crazy that it was all my fault that he didn’t like me anymore, I started to do things that now make me feel ashamed and disgusted with myself just because he told me if I did then he would love me again, he never did. I developed an eating disorder and felt so alone that I ended up trying to take my own life, an old friend phoned just before I did, which saved my life… I think up until last weekend even though in my head I knew that he was a narcissist my heart wasn’t ready to accept that the person who he was didn’t really exist, it was an illusion. I broke my no contact I kept telling myself that he had got in touch so he was thinking of me and i shouldn’t be rude and ignore him. I felt worse after every conversation. My uncle passed away 2 weeks ago and when I told him his reply was ‘I’m too busy to talk to you I’m with my girlfriend’ I replied to say I was just letting him know and I thought he’d have a little compassion he told me that I hadn’t changed and I am still emotionally blackmailing him that there’s something wrong with me and I need to get help for my mental instability. this past weekend I was at a friends wedding and a picture of me in my outfit was posted on Facebook before the wedding by a friend. I immediately had a text from him saying how good I looked and that he would be in the area that night (he lives in a different city) so if I saw him please don’t acknowledge him because he doesn’t want to have to explain to his girlfriend who I am. I saw him before he saw me, he smiled and waved, I used all of what was left of my strength to walk past him like I didn’t know him. I then realised that my heart is on the same page as my head is. He isn’t who I thought he was.


  3. Broken Hearted

    I need some advice from you wonderful ladies. My ex fiance and I have been battling back and forth and he keeps telling me he is going to sue me for the engagement ring back. I called off the wedding due to him never wanting to be around me. Only calling me late at night or when he needed something or didn’t have anything better to do. He never would come to my family events, got drunk and left me downtown, at my sisters wedding and wouldn’t stay with me and barely talked to me for two weeks. Didn’t want to come to any wedding planning or house hunting. I found a man who was so sweet, would do anything for me and it made me start to think that I was marrying a person who didn’t really love me anymore but wouldn’t walk away. Anyways, I still have the ring because we both in on it and even though he paid more for it I don’t to give it back to him. He has used me for money on his new car, television set, would make me pay for anything we did when we went out after he bought the ring, wasn’t going to help with the down payment on the house, etc. He is no longer working and has filed for unemployment and I know he wants the ring to sell but as much as I want to be I am not over the break up. I wanted to marry him and even though I started flirting with another guy I still loved him. I tried countless times to fix our problems and then he told me he found a new girlfriend who he loves and that I need to stop stalking him (even though he was working at my parents company at this time) he would call me horrible names and tell me he wished he never proposed because he hasn’t loved me in years. I don’t want to look like a vindictive person for not giving it back but at the same time I invested money into it as well and I feel like I have given enough. What would you ladies suggest is the best route?


  4. Chris

    Not just ladies on this blog…… For what it is worth, here’s my 2 cents. For starters, there isn’t a right or wrong answer… My first thought would be (considering you put money towards it) to have him reimburse you your share and give it back. More than anything an engagement ring is a symbol signifying your relationship. There shouldn’t be any sentimental value since you didn’t marry…who needs a symbol or reminder of a marriage that never was. Give yourself a clean break and put it in the rear view mirror. Or sell it and split proceeds proportionately. All the other financial issues are irrelevant.
    Conversely, if you had married, the ring would be yours to do with whatever you wish.

    Good luck.


  5. Donna

    I was engaged and left my ring on the table when I was leaving. My friends keep telling me it was a wrong thing to do. They say I would better have spent the money for my therapy…I do need therapy after this relationship which killed my self esteem and my faith in men. But I did what I did…I left his bloody ring on the table. Sorry I can’t give you any advice, Broken Hearted. I wish I knew what is right and what is wrong


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  8. Joyce M. Short

    Broken Hearted-

    Sounds like a match made down under…. certainly not in heaven!

    The ring is an asset, and you need to treat it like one. Obviously, the guy seems rather down on his luck and needs the money. But it also seems that it’s not all his. What I’d do is calculate the money he owes you… your share of the ring and other money you may have given him, like the cost of the TV set if he retained it. Also, the money for his car, I assume he’s keeping the car?

    Calculate what your outlay was. Is the value of the ring more or less than the money he owes you? If it’s less, let him know you’re keeping the ring and he should pay you the difference. If it’s more, tell him to pay up and you’ll give him the ring, or you’ll sell the ring and give him the difference he’s owed. Whichever he prefers.



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