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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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1,495 responses to “The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

  • Anonymous

    I had met this girl back in October 2009. We fell for each other at first sight. Everything was great for the first 6-8 months as it was a long distance relationship at first. When she moved closer to me after school and I wanted to head out of town with family without her that’s when I had my first experience of a behavior I couldn’t understand. I couldn’t get in contact with her the whole time while I was away until she finally called me as I was coming home to inform me she was in a hot tub with a bunch of guys. I didn’t fall for it and after that it was back to normal.

    As time went on she became heated very easily if I didn’t do something correctly. This could be as simple as being a few minutes late to pick her up due to traffic, buying her something that was the wrong color, buying her flowers when she didn’t like them or maybe even just buying something unhealthy to eat. Just stuff that people should get over easily but usually ended in a blood bath.

    Three years into the relationship I found out she had been seeing a guy for a few weeks as she was acting really strange during that time. I couldn’t do anything right and there was always something negative towards me. Obviously I was heartbroken, but I had invested so much time into the relationship and I wasn’t ready to let go. Of course the excuse that she went with the guy was because he treated her well. Knew how to spoil her and I wasn’t doing any of that. I was told that if I ever wanted to see her again I would have to buy her something nice. It turned out to be almost $1500 worth of stuff and it was never good enough. This situation was so bad I had to seek a counselor for three months just to understand that I did nothing wrong.

    So the guy had left town and after that everything was fine again. I did notice she had joined a dating site around about the time she had met that guy and that she was still on it. I just didn’t need to worry about it as she was with me most of the time. I brought it up a couple of times and it just never goes well. Almost a year to the date I found out she was with that guy, I found out she was with him again. I suspected something was wrong and confronted her about it, but all I got was lies.

    So once again things get back to normal after the second time while she is still eager to always demand and never put back into the relationship. I have been called an idiot and moron to my face for ridiculous reasons. She actually told me once during an argument that when she says jump, I need to ask how high. I always have felt as though I have been walking on egg shells for everything I do. She has a severe lack of empathy it’s just disgusting. A short time ago we got into an argument and I opened my mouth about what she has done to me and how badly she treats me. I did say it was best for her to leave me alone. She of course went off on a rage and proceeded to belittle me. At this point I’m just exhausted.

    At the moment we are not talking. I do feel that she went back to the guy I caught her with originally. I know that he is feeding her ego and spoiling her which is why she has just dropped me. She can never just be out alone somewhere and typically always has a male friend with her if I’m not around. I just will never comprehend how you can drop someone after four years and immediately be with someone else. It’s just a cold feeling. I was always very affectionate, caring and thoughtful. I always went out of my way for her. I’m a strong person but I feel like the life has been sucked out of me. She describes herself as a princess, thinks very highly of herself and is easily influenced by friends. I’m doing my best to leave her alone, but I just know once something goes wrong or an argument happens I will probably be receiving a text. I miss her very much. But this behavior is not something I want to deal with for the rest of my life. I do believe she will continue on this path and I will not tolerate it anymore.

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    • ellie2013

      You sound young and like a “good guy”. I understand that you care for the girl very much but just begin to tell yourself over and over that she jut doesn’t care about you, or the other guy either. it’s all about her and always will be. Being young is the BEST time to break away from the N pattern. You can and will get over this and her if you go no contact. If you block her on your phone then you won’t know if she tries and contacts you. And that will be a blessing . you will be able to get on with your life and eventually find someone that deserves you.

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  • Stacy W

    It’s been almost 2 years since I left my Narc/BPD relationship. One of the most painful parts was having to physically leave the place that I loved, my home because I knew after many years that if I stayed physically in the same place as him I would always be manipulated back into the same bullshit. I’m reading and writing because though I am in a healthy relationship with a wonderful, kind person now I still feel haunted and often have dreams that make me relive the pain over and over again. I have been perplexed because it’s been so long. I should be over it, right? Well, I’m not and I feel guilty and weak that I’m not over it. Right after I left Brett Gyllenskog swooped up one of my good friends, she was moved in with him within a month of me leaving. I thought that she was one of my best friends. I just have to remind myself that I also fell victim to his manipulation so many times. I thought it was my fault that I wasn’t good enough and that perhaps she is but I know now, from lots of therapy, that there is NO good match for a narcissist!! She is now in the same pain I was and although my hurt and anger are still here ultimately I feel pity on her.
    I just wanted to thank all of you that have commented and to those who wrote the article. Especially all the parts about, sleep, reactive depression, nightmares, etc.. I thought I was crazy and totally lame that I still carry the pain around and dream of him and her so often still.
    All of this has helped me feel okay about where I’m at and helped me to see how damaging these people and relationships can really be. I don’t have to feel so crazy and weak anymore about still reeling from this experience.

    Research characteristics of “REAL” Narcissistic/Borderline/Anti-social… Personality Disorder!!! It’s not just someone who think’s they’re pretty awesome and likes to look at themselves in the mirror. It’s so much more.

    Our society’s casual idea of what Narcissism is NOT the reality! They will manipulate you every time you try to leave. You feel like you can’t go on without them because they have groomed you to feel that way. That’s not real! – even though you feel physically ill and overly fearful at the thought of leaving. I promise that It will never end! It is impossible for them to change because of the type disorder they have does not allow them to look at themselves the way that we can and they NEVER will be able to.

    So ultimately please hear my advice…(I do realize that kids and marriage make this even more complex and difficult)…

    BUY YOURSELF A PLANE TICKET TO SOMEWHERE SAFE AND AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT….BECAUSE IT DOES!!!….even if it means leaving everything you love and where you want to be.


    IT’S A LIE!


    REMEMBER THEY ARE NOT WELL – THEY ARE MENTALLY ILL….you can expect “normal” behavior from them. So STOP TRYING!

    Love yourself and don’t look back.

    Lots of love and kind regards to all of you xoxo

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  • Miles Jameson

    I am so happy to be free from my ex, It’s been about 18 months since we parted ways and 6 months since we last spoke. I have accepted that she never truly loved me and never cared about my feelings. I can accept that the whole thing was a lie and a shambles. I can accept that my ex is a liar ( in so many ways ). Now that i see the real her, believe me i am so ashamed of myself. The signs were there from the very beginning and i ignored them, thinking that this was love. The fact that i got charmed, worshipped and then abruptly discarded, does’nt bother me anymore. What i find hard to deal with is the fact that 6 months ago she had one of her SUPPLIES threaten me. I am carrying some deep routed anger and there are times when i wish i could do my ex and her SUPPLY some serious harm. I hate them both. I know she has lied about me and made me out to be sick and twisted. I can just see her crying to her SUPPLIES and behaving like she’s at the end of her tether. People have no idea. All i ask is that something or someone shows her how wrong she has been and how evil she is. I hate her and it’s not because she broke my heart, it’s because she has a rotten character but she pretends to be an angel. She can very easily enjoy playing with your emotions, she can very easily enjoy playing with your mind. She can very easily enjoy hurting you and she would NEVER care. All i have is my experiences, believe me my ex is an idiot. The most childish 30 year old ever. It has been 6 months NC, and i will never speak to her again. She has been trying to contact me up until a 5 Or 6 weeks ago and i haven’t replied in any shape or form. She thinks that after throwing me under the bus, she can still commuicate with me. Surely she is not well. Either way she is very dangerous and it’s in my best interests that she stays away from me. Like i say I’m fine most of the time, but there are times when i feel serious anger. I guess i want justice and i want her to pay for TRYING TO DESTROY ME. I Let her back into my life only for her to HURT ME SOME MORE and when i retaliated she HAS ME THREATENED. You couldn’t make it up. What an asshole. Anyway i guess i feel better now that i have vented, but the fact remains that i am carrying some deep routed anger and i want justice. Don’t worry i won’t do anything stupid, i have ambition and i love life and regardless of what i been through, i still love humanity. Take care and all the very best to all victims and survivors. I hear ya. You couldn’t make it up. I just don’t want to think about her anymore, but i am still so angry. All opinions and advice are more than welcome

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    • Carrie Reimer

      Miles, thank you for commenting, I think anger is a problem many victims end up stuck with and why not? They have every right to be pissed right off. You have every reason to be pissed right off and they have such a cocky attitude about it too, flaunt their new live in front of us while we are mopping up the mess they made and trying to put the pieces of our life back together. I get angry just reading about thing like the situation you just described.
      I have read the book Mars and Venus Starting Over by Dr. John Gray PhD. He says that sometimes a person gets stuck on one of the 4 healing emotions we go through Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Sorrow. He said that sometimes a man will feel uncomfortable feeling his fear, sadness and sorrow but because he is a man anger is a more acceptable emotion. So he gets stuck feeling angry because he hasn’t worked through the other emotions and until he does he will continue to pack the anger.
      Now that is what the book says, I don’t have a clue but it makes sense to me. but only you know if you have dealt with all the feelings etc.
      I think part of the anger stems from not getting any closure or admittance of guilt from them. They take absolutely NO responsibility for anything. The only thing I can think of is to get help from a counselor or support group, maybe there is a way to release that anger in a healthy way. Have you tried yoga? or meditation? I can give you some links to sites where they are survivors of N abuse and are into that sort of thing. Have you been to Paula’s Pontifications? or Kim Saeed’s site? they might have some ideas.
      Good luck and let me know how you are doing.

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  • Miles Jameson

    Hi Carrie, many thanks for your reply. You are right when you say that no closure and admittance to any wrong doing, can stem the anger. My ex does’nt do apologies and never explains her ill behavior. It’s like she really does believe that she has a devine right to be mean towards me. Carrie, you know another thing that really gets to me…My ex is the perfect lady with her SUPPLIES (All men mind) so respectful and polite, but with me…..i get Satan. This is the first time since I’ve known her, that i have rejected her like this, she always thought that i couldn’t resist her. Now that I’ve seen the sickness, the attraction i once had for her, faded out. A PRETTY FACE DOES’NT ALWAYS MEAN A PRETTY HEART. I learned the hard way. Many many thanks Carrie, you have no idea how much you have helped me with my recovery. All the very best and keep this going, it can save lives. Take care, God Bless

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