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 my ex 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 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 and every one who knows you knows 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 my ex 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. The victim often times gives up a perfectly good marriage, moves to be with the narcissist leaving their support network, friends and family behind. They give up an excellent job, invest with the narcissist and are blinded by love; willing to do anything to be with the “love of their life” believing what the narcissist is telling them, that they are soul mates and they have the kind of love fantasies and movies are made of.

Unfortunately this “honeymoon” period never lasts for long. Once the narcissist feels the victim is fully committed they 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. This is when the victim begins to think that if they just love the narcissist well enough he will go back to the loving attentive man they met. What no one seems to realize is; the narcissist doesn’t get off on your love and admiration, he feeds off of your pain.



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, (my ex 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 and worse.

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 firmly 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.

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. (my ex 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.

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.

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 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 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.

3,005 thoughts on “The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

  1. Nichole

    Well, finally a group of people that understands and or has been through the same thing I face. After my first husband died in a car accident I was widowed at 32. That marriage had a different set of issues. I was actually the insecure one. Never wanted to be left alone, go anywhere alone and I felt almost a panic whenever he wasn’t around. Well, after his death that all changed. It had to. So after 2 years I THOUGHT I was lucky enough to marry my high school sweetheart. Boy, if that’s luck then I have had it wrong all along!! In this marriage… to be honest.. he’s a pity party, a finger pointer, a “I didnt do a fu***** thing to deserve how I’m treated by you”, a FB fluzie… he posts a mile long post claiming he’s the victim and that I am just awful and a cheater and a liar. Of course since he posted the first nasty message on my wall I’ve actually blocked him so I cant read what he posts. I have people screen shot it and send it to me. I called he cops on him because he refused to let me out of his car. Guess What? He made an accusation about me to Mr. Officer and I actually went to jail. He expressed he thought I was acting out of control and that I must have been under the influence of some drug. Yeah, ok. Charges were dismissed, but I still had the shame of it hanging over my head. This man pretends to be a saint, bashing me every opportunity he gets. But all his past gets swept under the rug of course. I could tell countless stories, but my point is that I went from my first husband dying in a car accident to wanting to have my next one.. well… You can only imagine. Lol. It’s a vicious cycle and of course one feels guilty for wanting a divorce. BUT, if he has bashed me throughout the whole marriage.. Then what’s left to say after were divorced. Filed once, and I dismissed it. I know, stupid. This time… there s no dismissing. Even if I do come out of it with everyone besides the smart ones thinking it was my fault… apparently he has those people CONVINCED he’s perfect. I’ll patiently wait for karma to get him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cynthia june

      I lost my 1st husband to cancer he was 37 years old with a 4 month old son i was alone for 15 years and then i married my ( N ) he’s the same way he have screwed me out of my 18,000 to pay his house payments! He told me to sell my car so he cauld buy me a new one im carless he has kept me from my family hes gone all the time im starting to drink everyday and ive gained weight hes screwing around and when i. confront on it all in my head im making shit he says. he has left me with nothing and the sex is so degrading i can go on and on. im so lost .


  2. jennet courtney



  3. Josh

    Unfortunately I have just gone through stage 3 myself. I wish the article didn’t focus on “him” being the narcissist because it was a she in my situation. I article was really spot on for my situation. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Shiffler Inacio

    Im so thankful for every bit of information ive learnedfom all of many times i thought i was losing my mind,once to the point of an attempted suicide he had played such sick mind games with me and on two years this msy away from him..his abuse also which almost killed me thru a traumatic brain injury.on my way back to court one more time…this time to take back whats mine and keep on keepin on..To all of you still in it…Get out..they are sickening,dangerous,and will never change..ipray for his next victim

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Daura

    Do you need a hacker? Do you need to keep an eye on your spouse by gaining access to their emails? As a parent,if you want to know what your kids do on a daily basis on social networks (This includes acebook, twitter ,instagram, whatsapp, WeChat and others to make sure they’re not getting into trouble? Whatever it is,Ranging from Bank Jobs, Flipping cash, Criminal records, DMV, Taxes, Name it,he will get the job done.He’s a professional hacker with 20 Years+ experience.Contact him at or call/text to (862) 404-1374 …Contact him and Its done.Tell him Daura referred you


  6. Lori

    Omg !!!

    I’ve been trying to put on paper my past life of 28 years experience’s with my Husband almost ex . When I came across your story, yes my mouth is open during the whole read , I swear I thought someone stole my life story and put it down for me. Thank you so much for sharing , I feel validated, I’m not crazy, I didn’t imagine everything I’ve been through and am still trying to wrap my head around. I’ve kept journals from 1989 to this day 2019 not every day but something through all the years of my life with my husband . Now I’m in the middle of packing stuff from our home that I put my heart and soul into and ran across them and started to read them , in this I could see a pattern that I seem to be blind to through the years , now I feel like a fool and stupid so blind, I believed in my vows my commitment my love my devotion to my marriage, my “soulmate “. To me , I wasn’t to him. I thought we’d grow old together, I thought he would change one day and finely choose me , family, instead of Himself always first , he invested in himself and all his joys and hobbies, health and fun. This has been the loneliest marriage, I’ve felt like a single married wife , a single married mother raising our daughter without him. Through the years I’ve accepted the scraps of love he’s throwin my way , I’ve begged him to love me , touch me be intimate with me , crying myself to sleep with him next to me when he was actually home. Our now grown children watched their mommies sadness always lonely for their Daddy who was always gone , hunting, fishing , lifting weights, going out to eat, going to casino’s , different out of state trips , but he always made that house note so there !!! He did his part !!! Did it matter that I also worked and took care of the home raised the kids and all the school activities and doctor and dental appointments plus paid all the bills except the “house payment “ and paid all the bills to raise the kids , I was also told I never did enough, or as much as him , because he paid the house payment, I never had enough money left over to go on trips or buy play things that were just for me. We were just living our life after the kids were out on their own , we weren’t fighting it’s was just like our whole marriage when I had to go help our daughter with some health issues and he was getting ready to go on his yearly mix 3 months hunting trip to Illinois so he chose that instead of hospital and doctor appointments for our daughter, it was a no brainer for me “mom” . One day he was saying good bye and I love you before his regular travel to Alabama for some fishing and rabbit hunting on his family’s land , uncles and aunts and cousins live on his mothers side, then he went ghost for 4 days me and our daughter started calling all the family and friends telling them that we were fixing to file a missing persons report with the Alabama police, then…. I got a call … a 3 minute call … where he tells me that he doesn’t love me anymore and hasn’t for a long time … I was in literal shock… he was claiming that I knew this was gonna happen ??? Then he tried to blame me with some difficulties through our marriage that had been past , nothing big enough to end a marriage that’s for sure, I asked him who she was !!! And he laughed and swore he came to the conclusion himself. I had to start my investigation because this was so outta the blue , I thought maybe he got some one pregnant, well anyway 4 days after that call I got a call from a divorce lawyer, his divorce lawyer!!! What ??? Then long story short , I had his other iPad that was signed into his Apple ID and connected to his cell phone and other Ipad , I followed every where he went and hotels he stayed at , all his internet searches, phone calls , I was able to pretty much shadow him. He had been having an affair with his first cousin from Alabama for the past 2 1/2 years , she is 36 and married with a 6 year old daughter, the 4 days he ghosted me he was in Biloxi Mississippi at the casino laid up in a fine room with her , she lend him to believe that they had a future together and that’s when he outta the blue for me ended our marriage. Now she didn’t leave her husband they are trying to work on their marriage, he was so pissed that he stayed close to their home and finely told the family and called her husband and told him , he threw away his family and marriage, and she wasn’t gonna get away without everyone knowing her sin’s !!! Now just imagine what I went through those 2 1/2 years that he was involved with her, so much makes sense now , he became cruel and more distant mean and hateful, provoking fights and arguments with me , then when I’d react he’d make out like I was crazy , he would use it against me later as the reason our marriage was over. Now I’m working on moving on , I’m 53 and can’t believe I’m having to start my life over , it’s just a real shocker for me , I’m a little in limbo right now , but happy that he didn’t wait until I was 60 or even older or with some bad health issues. I’m thankful for the shared experiences of those before me so I will keep my sanity. God bless and wish y’all the best .


  7. Dan

    You’re definately spot-on with the phases. Where you use the word “man,” I’d put the word “narcissist” and where you use the word “woman,” I’d use the word “victim,” because it’s exactly the same with genders reversed! Supposedly, men are more likely to be narcissists than women, but I believe it’s probably about even. It’s just that men aren’t readily perceived as abuse victims. I’ve been telling my story as a male victim of a female narcissist at


  8. hurtbyaheartbreak

    I was with someone for 9 years and we were engaged. Reading this felt unreal as the words jumped at me for every feeling I felt during the relationship and uncovering everything I missed. I loved this person so much and thought they were my best friend but I was completely wrong. He was cheating on me and at the end had a whole cover story that his own family fell for and disregarded my feelings and my families.

    I stumbled on this page because I was crying and asking myself how can him and his family throw me away like garbage. How can someone be this cruel? For someone who knew having good values were very important to me felt it was okay to not only cheat but play the victim and not own up his fault.

    How does one heal from this? Everyday is a struggle with different emotions of anger to sadness. This person took my confidence and self-worth away and I am trying to slowly bring it back. I think about this person bothers me knowing all of this. Any tips will be helpful 😦


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      I am sorry you are going through this, but, you will survive and it is possible to actually come out of it stronger, more confident and self aware than ever before.
      Read up on narcissist so you fully understand that this had nothing to do with you.
      What you value, who you are, your value had absolutely nothing to do with the relationship. There is nothing you could have done to change the outcome, except to walk away sooner.
      Women are all interchangeable to a narcissist. Their whole life is a lie, a huge orchestrated play and you were one of his players. His family hears his version of the relationship, they don’t know what truly happens. He is a pathological liar. You can bet there is a whole other story for his family, another for his friends, and another for the next woman. He is always the victim. And he can cry real tears like turning on a faucet. You fell in love with a man incapable of guilt or empathy, an award worthy actor, who takes great pleasure in causing pain in people’s lives.
      If he can get a reaction, anger, fear, hate, love, joy, depression, then he is in control and feels powerful and superior.
      He doesn’t see kindness and love as positive traits, he sees them as weakness and something to be used to exploit his victims to his advantage.


  9. s Richardson

    I know this is an older post. I just found this and wanted to say thank you. It has given me so much clarity. I am 3 days into my girlfriend of 9yrs leaving me. The snooping, the accusations all of it. I am so thankful to find this because I was stupidly trying to get her back. Now I know why she tossed me away, after she and I had many conversations about this exact thing having happened to each of us in the past, because I was not “feeding” her narcissistic needs. I don’t feel quite so used and stupid. Thank you for the information. You have saved what little is left of this man’s heart and soul. Fingers crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hurtbyaheartbreak

      I emphasize with you as I also was with someone for 9 years and it’s been a month and a couple of days. I can tell you it’s going to be hard and you’re going to go through every emotion. But you can get through this. Surround yourself with family and friends.

      Do things that will make you happy. This blog helped me open my eyes and peel every layer of what I was conditioned to think was healthy. One thing I can say is your going to notice less stress and a clearer mind.

      Liked by 1 person


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