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.


2,998 thoughts on “The 3 Phases of a Relationship With a Narcissist

  1. Hi, everyone
    I have a problem…. I have been away from my ex girlfriend for 2 years now! I find out on Facebook she was pregnant in May of 2016. Last I had sex with her was the last time I saw her in late Sept of 2015. But she left me for her ex boyfriend which she is still with. She is a true narcissist! She abandoned me when we were together! Thing is I just want to know if the baby is mine. That’s all I want to know…. She is very childish though she was having sex with me and her guy she has now at the same time. Her picture on Facebook was may of 2015 and she looked close to being due. She will not talk to me or anything! I do not want her back! But if this is my child I want to see my child! If the baby is not mine I am ok with the result. Thing is the guy she is with is a drug addict and so is she. That’s really how they coexist. I’ll say it again I do not love my ex girlfriend!! I have moved on with my life and things are going good! I have never been married or had any kids at the age of 40. My ex will not communicate with me and ignores me… I just want to know the truth… If the baby is my child I want too see my son or daughter! Thanks everyone


    1. Corey, you are going to have to speak to Social Services and stump up some cash for advice from a solicitor on this one.

      On a personal level, yes Narcs do tend to come back and target you if they want to screw you for more money, but they also like to torture. As she knows you think the child might be yours she is probably getting immense enjoyment by keeping you hanging.

      Although this is upsetting for you I do not think it is an insurmountable situation, but you do need to take professional advice to move forward.

      Good luck.


    1. They absolutely destroy you mentally, emotionally, physically. My relationship with my N was only a year plus but he has done so much damage it feels like 20 years. I finally caught him cheating, but I know he had cheated before at least 3 times but they have a way to manipulate and lie beyond understanding. I would have never thought I would allow a man to treat me the way he did. He has a new victim now and I truly feel for her but she will not believe me that he has been sexting me daily while sitting next to her.
      I am just glad that I was able to catch him in one of his thousand lies because I am now able to know that I was not crazy and my insticts and gut feelings were right all alone. In the road to recovery


  2. I’ve been scouring the internet to try and find comfort and understanding of what I’ve been going through with my husband. This basically describes him to a T. With the exception that he never tried to get rid of me in the literal sense. He just strung me along for 25 years just dangling the carrot here and there to kept in the mess I was in. It all exploded 7 months ago when a women he’d been seeing for two years showed up at our house. This was the second time in 15 years that happened. Everything came out and after all the abuse emotinal, sexual and physical I finally filed a protective order. He’s been to jail 3 times for bresking it with this last time him beating me in the head before getting arrested. Now he’s sitting in jail and sending letters to our kids,saying God’s redeemed him because I’m a cheater to. He saw me get out of a car with a guy from my church who I literaly just went to get something to eat with and had no other involvement with but that. But yet according to him I’ve been cheating this whole time and got the protective order just because he had an affair. This man has never aplogized to me for raping me twice, choking me punching me and verbally threatening to kill me. But somehow I’m the cheater? This is a sick twisted mess. And I’m comfored to know I’m not alone but sad at the same time that this is so common. Its also very hard to see someone you loved try and make you into the bad person when all I did was try to love him and be what he wanted. But clearly with mental health issues they are not rational.


  3. Alot of the things said fit my relationship almost perfectly. I’ve been with my husband for 8 years. He made me feel like I was the only woman on the planet who mattered and I fell in love, fell so hard in love. About a year and half ago i caught him cheating on the phone. Gave him another chance, and once again caught him. He goes on live chat/sex sites and contacts escorts all the time!!! I have so much prove, black and white proof of all his cheating but yet He still denies everything. He tells me I’m crazy and i have no clue what I’m talking about. I can’t ask him anything about it cause he completly freaks out on me and then he will walk out of house and be gone for hours like he is right now. We can’t talk, I walk on egg shells to not upset him. He says I’m always mad at him and all i ever want to do is fight. Everything I do seems to annoy the crap outta him. I kinda feel like he can’t stand me or my voice anymore. I can’t do anything right anymore, even if I have a different tone in my voice he will turn that into a fight. Kinda like he wants to fight so he can walk out of house and be gone for half the night. There is so much more but i will stop. Does it sound like he falls under the description of a narcissist or is he just a compulsive liar and cheater who is obsessed with escorts? I’ve hoone into such depression, I also think of just ending it sometimes but then i think of what that would do to my 3 kids. And i can’t!!! I don’t know myself anymore. And he knows what it’s doing to me but yet continues to do it. Why??


    1. You will do better on your own. Your kids can see your stress your pain. He will never change and he is cheating it is not on your mind, trust me many of us have been there.


  4. I have been married for 33years and this has been my life up until the last 3 years when his abuse became much stronger, I now have a name for it, he is defenitaly in the Discarding phase. He wants me to leave with nothing and treats me like I am the worst person on this planet, I am scared of him and his mouth and what comes out of it.


  5. Oh my Lord. I have a N and married to him for over 31 years. He’s secretive always on his phone, controls sex, goes through my closet, drawers… probably my purse. This morning I foun my credit union statement that he opened and lied and said I had no mail. I think he’s having an affair with out female young neighbor. Something is fishy. She avoids me all the time … even her husband avoids eye contact with me. I think he told them something negative about me. It’s strange he has no close friends that I’m exposed to but he’s the most friendliest man you could ever meet in public. But at home he seems detached. He’s now retired and he’s getting worse to me. He goes missing in action and never tells me the full details air truth. Strange things are happening at my house and he denies them. I work full time and he’s the only one at our house but he tells me that I’m insecure or crazy. I’m now taking anti depressants because he have started making me doubt myself. I now take photos to prove to myself that I am not crazy. We have a wonderful life financially but my God. I have started going to bible study to deal with this man who swept me off my feet at the tender young age of 17. I always trusted his judgment and advice. Now I see that it’s always has been about him controlling my mind. I finally have 2 strong girlfriends who have helped me open my eyes. He used to always try to seduce any female friends I made. That’s why I can’t bring anybody around him. He always managed to get between my friendship s.


  6. Wow this has opened my eyes My wife told me in June she wanted to split which came out of the blue. We have been married 10 years and have 3 kids. Then I found out she had been having an 8 month affair with my sisters husband. I have had to leave the house with just my clothes and the kind loving person I met and loved has gone. It’ like she has died. She is really vile now and has confessed her new partner is the love of her life. Just like she did with me 10 years ago when she love-bombed me She acts perfect in public but is far from it. I get lots of texts that are nice then BAM a horrible one that knocks me for six. It has been really hard to take but reading this has made me realise what has happened


    1. I am so sorry. “Like she has died,” I know the feeling. It really is like a literal death and because they are not dead, people do not understand the grief.

      My ex physically looks like a different person now. It’s as if his face has reshaped itself and his energy is completely different. The person I knew truly does not exist any longer. I still grieve for that person I knew but not for who he is today.


      1. My wife has moved her new partner in to my house and I’ve only moved out 8 weeks ago. She said it was for financial reason as she was struggling but she has bought a new car and is talking about moving away. I’m stuck living at my parents whilst looking for somewhere to live. She has told me just to get over it as she is happy now and I just need to move and find someone else. It would be easier to walk away from all this if I did not have the kids. Her appearance has changed drastically too, she is harsh looking and I cannot look her in eye.


  7. It’s as if narcissists all follow the same playbook, unbelievable….if I hadn’t experienced it first hand. My ex-N put me through all these phases as described to a tee! Right now I’m about to have him served for the thousands he owes me. I’m fortunate to be in a position to be able to cover attorney fees, and I know he definitely isn’t. Unless a new GF/victim is as generous as I was, I can’t imagine he will have the means to defend himself or want to put in the cost and effort to fly back (he lives in another city) for court. It will be interesting to see how he responds- will he ignore me and risk collection, or attempt to “win me back” with the hope I’ll fall for him once again and drop charges, or decide to fight meatier all? We shall see….


    1. Oh my gosh! I could have written what you’ve written about suing! I am struggling back and forth about filing suit and going after my money – that I was naive enough to give him after the breakup (cringe) while he was courting another woman! (Cringe again!) This was before I knew about narcissism and thought he was suffering from a concussion he’d gotten months before while we were on vacation. I thought he’s snap out of it, get better, come back. Please let us know how it goes. I want to sue but my ex shook me to my core last time we spoke and because I realise I didn’t really know him the whole time we were together, I have no idea what he’s truly capable of in retaliation.


      1. Ugh, I’m so sorry! Our behavior really is cringeworthy in retrospect, but it shows the power of the Narcissist, that he/she can get otherwise level headed people to do things they never thought they were capable of. You trusted someone pathological and deceptive, and you’re most definitely not alone!
        It is a tough decision to decide to bring legal action against an N. Yes, because of the cost, but when it came down to it, I had to admit to myself it was because I didn’t want to do anything against him because I still (cringing too!) had feelings even after he discarded me (he ran out and left me in another city by myself and canceled the hotel room where we were staying so I’d be forced to either reschedule my flight to get home or pay for another night) and risk getting him so mad that he’d never want to speak to me again- the “final” discard. Even after sending him the initial demand letter (which he didn’t respond to) I begged that we work it out like “reasonable” adults so that it wouldn’t have to go any further. Then he came at me with lame BS, feigning suicidal thoughts to get me to feel sorry for him and drop it, and when that didn’t work he just got lazy and said he simply couldn’t give me more than xx amount of $$ every week, case closed. At that rate, it will take him 20 years to pay me back!!
        I say depending on the amount, there are times it is better to cut your losses and walk away. In my case, the amount in question is way too great to simply walk away from. Also, the likelihood of my ex to fight me on this is low. True, I don’t know that for sure, but it’s a chance I have to take. These bastards get away with too much!
        Keep you updated and I’d love to know what you decide to do as well.


  8. I truly hope my ex.N gets what he deserves one day. I KNOW THERE IS A GOD. And prepare for the wrath that is going to be bestowed up me….when he finds out im pregnant my 4 and his 1st and ex.N is 45 God stay with me…………..


  9. When my spouse left me,I was praying for marriage restoration. I was given the opportunity to get my Ex back by the help of Dr. Mack, He took the obstacles out of the way. i want to say a big thank you to Dr.Mack for what he has done for me for giving us a reason to smile after all that happen when my lover left me but since contacting Dr.Mack, l can boldly say my lover is back to me just within 48hours, Am short of words on how to say thank you for saving my relationship. contact Dr Mack for relationship problem at“.,,,


  10. This describes this pig I thought I was in a relationship for 11 months. I didn’t know he was married until his wife found out and threatened me. Your stages are absolutely accurate. I am still overwhelmed at the idea that someone could be so cruel, so hurtful. I have to stop trying to understand why. You described this sad situation so well. Thank you.


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