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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.

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1,767 responses to “The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

  • freedwithin

    Hello Ellen,

    I could answer this rather easily but emotions is another story. I honestly just see now your stuck. Your every thought is around this man and all you are doing is falling deeper and deeper into despair. I think the best goal for you is forward thinking and not going over everything. Having said that please go to your doctor and let him or her know how you feel. Its important. No one will judge you as many of us have been there ourselves at some time or another.
    However I can tell a mile away this guy fancied you and tried his luck. He wasn’t great looking and he needed a boost. He stepped over the mark massively knowing he had someone and playing with you. He of course wanted to sleep with you but that wouldn’t have made him leave his girlfriend that would only have made him avoid you sooner. Or to try his luck and have you both for a time but dumping you when it got too close to home. I can understand why you felt as you did. I don’t sleep around either and I totally give my all to whoever I am interested in, and like you as it takes me some time, I try even harder.
    I worked on the checkout for a time and I got different guys in totally flirting and trying there luck. For 6 mths this one guy (who looked like wolverine my favourite man alive lol) came in and kept flirting until he finally asked me out. I decided to go and I met him in his local where a band was playing. I was given mucky lucks from the barmaids and I was slightly paranoid. I asked him why, he said he went out with a friend of there’s and she hasn’t got over him. Hmmm….I met him afew times and then something didn’t sit right with me. I looked on fb for his name and sure enough there he was, all married and inlove with 2 children. He wasn’t the first married man to try his luck but he will be the last.
    He like many men, move from one woman to another while keeping his wife in the dark and for a safety net.
    You are far from a fool, but you must now see what you can take from this. No one deserves to live in the past and its time to heal now and move forward. It doesn’t matter if he splits with his gf and comes and tries with you again, you have found out his true character and it isn’t one to invest anymore time in.
    You need to work on yourself. That means moving on. Find another job, write a list just full of positives about things you can change and totally go for it. It could be acting etc. Confidence will come with practise. Read loads of self help books and keep in your mind your focus. When you find your mind drifting back to him, thank it for reminding you of the old you and then look back at that list and remember the new you wont tolerate being put anything but first and treated correct. Anything in life is possible. We can only think one thought at anyone time, make them positive and keep investing in yourself.
    If however you decide to stay at work you need to work them acting skills and act happy and confident, act the person you want to be and eventually it will come natural ….I want to say loads more but my baby as just woken up …..keep reading and know not one person on this blog as had or will have an happy outcome if they stay with the crumbs we was offered …..be strong x


  • Ellen

    Thank u so much for the reply. I have terrible OCD which has been triggered by this – can you please tell me – are all men like this? I find it so hard to believe I will ever trust anyone again. I just don’t see it happening because in my mind I feel that no matter how much I may love someone I will never be enough and there will always be something going on behind my back?? Please tell me if you think Erika is lucky?? Is it her name?? Its more exotic than Ellen!!


    • Carrie Reimer

      Ellen, Fee gave you excellent advice that I can’t add to, she covered it perfectly. It has nothing to do with a name. It has nothing to do with the woman. With a narcissist all women are interchangeable because they care about no one but themselves.
      I think you need to get to your doctor and speak with a therapist to get a grip on this, now! I am not sure if this fellow is a narc or not but you have focused so totally on this guy you have made it your life. Not that you are wrong to feel what you do but you are counting on him to make you happy or miserable. no one, even if they love you should be made responsible for your self of well being or determine your self worth.
      It is hard to give up the dream of how wonderful your life would have been if he only would have loved you but really no one is that wonderful, it isn’t even fair to the other person to expect them to carry that load.
      Something has happened in your past, abuse as a child or a parent that abandoned you or something that made you feel you aren’t of value if you aren’t loved by the object of your affection. I hope you will find a therapist who will help you heal that inner child.
      hugs and prayers


  • fee

    Ellen, your name is beautiful….I don’t know where you live but in England it is spelt Helen and with your spelling your name stands out anyway :)
    Your OCD wont be helping, you will be obsessed with over thinking everything….I do know how that feels. What you want to know about are all men like this………..NO they most certainly are not….many men wouldn’t lead on someone and then ignore them or try to get them to react or become jealous….its called game playing and I don’t know like carrie if he is a narc but I am guessing he as low self esteem too and this is why he loved the boost while his girlfriend was away. If your honest with yourself who doesn’t love a boost? flirting and having someone think your wonderful. Its just I don’t agree with doing it when you have someone to that degree going on about erections and the like….it was out of order and you need to focus on yourself.
    With your self talk to yourself…..am not good enough, why me, what if I change my name etc etc…..nothing like this is helpful to you…why? because self negative talk breeds negative emotions, that breed negative reactions that make you more likely to meet another arsehole.
    I remember shaking my head in disagreement everytime I got a compliment as I didn’t believe anything nice or positive…..guess what….I left home from an abusive father, met my ex hubby at 17 and put up with crap, nearly 18yrs of it…..then met another man who openly eyed up and commented on anyone…..telling me I should be more like them, look like them, how I could be better if I dressed that way….and lost weight (at that time I wasn’t fat)….he destroyed me because I let him. I spent 3 yrs on my own (didn’t sleep with anyone) and tried dating but I couldn’t get past an hour…something they said would put me off and I made an excuse of my negative emotions…..instead of getting confident. I kept asking myself would I only attract married, lying arseholes or cheats and abusers…guess what I got after 3 yrs….yep…liars, cheats and abusers.
    I give birth 6 weeks ago and all through the pregnancy I was a mess. He wanted me back but after being treated so crap I kept coming on here when I felt I would fall soft and carrie and ellie talked sense and I wasn’t stupid….like many women here…I had the tools in me….just as you have…..and being a qualified hypnotherapist/life coach I went between kicking my own arse to loving it. I was lost. Then came the birth of my baby and I nearly died and the pain was out of this world. I decided from that moment no matter what I wouldn’t go back, therefore I no longer had to worry what dave would think about anything. He acted vile and he wasn’t going to change and he proved that by sleeping with other women while I was pregnant instead of working on himself….narcs don’t change they blame and cover up……some men in general are pretty shit…..as are some women.
    CHANGE your self talk. I am studying laws of attraction now….where you get what you ask for….even if your constantly saying I don’t want a cheat or this and that….you will get it…..DONT MENTION WHAT YOU DONT WANT…..ONLY FOCUS ON WHAT YOU DO. Make it happen. Some people love being stuck and will blame and move from one bad experience to another…..you have to change yourself to bring about change….and I don’t mean haircuts and losing weight….I mean loving yourself, expecting praise, believing in you….and not tolerating people around you who tells you negative things. Only you can change you…..the first step is wanting to change. x

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ellen

    Thank you Carrie and thank you to Fee. Just hearing that others see him as an asshole helps because I’ve blamed myself for 5 long years. I’ve lost myself. It’s like I’m looking for permission to move on and not make a mistake. If he’s not a narc – what is he?? And if he’s not a narc does that mean I’m wrong?? Does that mean I’m unjustified in wanting to leave my job and unjustified in my pain?? I just constantly feel like my heart is bring stabbed – and really don’t know what permission it is I need to walk away once and for all?


  • freedwithin

    I am not qualified to say if someone is a narc or not but what I can see is a man who was with someone else leading you on and telling you behind his girlfriends back that he as an erection and the likes…that’s past harmless flirting in my view and its no wonder you felt it was leading to something more. HE IS A JERK.
    I would start over, move on and get a new job…but in order for this not to happen again really put some work into yourself. Love you and accept and work on your flaws. You feel like your heart is being stabbed because your hurt and want answers….the only answer that matters now is will you go on and not learn anything from this and find another jerk….or will you work on yourself enough to atleast give yourself a chance of avoiding it again. x


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