- Some narcissists’ charisma, attractiveness, and boldness make them desired short-term dating prospects.
- Reflect on your reasons for feeling attracted to a narcissist and assess whether the relationship is healthy.
- What may appear as similar interests and habits could be a ruse to create a disingenuous connection.
Narcissists can exude confidence, charisma, and charm, which can appeal to many people. A study published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin showed that some narcissists’ magnetic personalities, physical attractiveness, and social boldness make them desired short-term dating prospects.
However, it’s important to remember that behind the facade, narcissists often lack empathy, can be manipulative and controlling, and can have a distorted sense of self-worth. Contrary to how it may seem, they might not actually value or prioritize a partner’s needs or feelings.
Being in love with a narcissist can be complicated and confusing. It’s important to reflect on your reasons for feeling attracted to a narcissist and assess whether this relationship is healthy and fulfilling.
Here are three research-backed reasons you may be pulled toward someone with narcissistic traits.
1. You have a need to be entertained.
According to an article published in Social Psychology and Personality Science, narcissists have a unique ability to entertain others, as it helps them satisfy their grandiose cognitions. This makes them an attractive choice for those seeking constant stimuli from a partner.
A person looking to distract themselves from negative emotions, or cope with boredom or dissatisfaction, may find themselves in relationships with people (e.g., narcissists) that create emotionally intense stimuli (positive or negative). This comes across in many forms, such as:
- Enjoying humor via memes and/or other media
- Sharing interests and engaging in fun activities
- Being attracted to horror movies or violent media
While sharing moments of excitement and passion with a partner can help build positive memories, an over-reliance on them – to the point that it starts to feel like escapism – may be signs of:
- Lacking emotional intimacy or connection
- Deeper unresolved issues
- Addictive and/or unhealthy patterns of behavior
Exercise extreme caution when choosing a partner based on their ability to entertain you.
2. You feel the need to be protected.
This phenomenon can be understood much like the "damsel in distress"plotline, where one partner prefers to be deferential to and dependent on the other partner.
Each partner needs to carry their own weight in a relationship. Often, when the dependency equation goes out of whack, it’s a sign of:
- Low self-esteem or self-compassion
- A lack of self-confidence
- Skewed knowledge of what a healthy relationship looks like due to a lack of healthy role models
While you may feel a sense of protection in the presence of a self-assured narcissist, remember that they will always choose to assure themselves before assuring you.
3. You possess similar traits
An unsettling truth for people with a history of being attracted to narcissists is the possibility that you may be attracted to a version of yourself. A study published in Personality and Individual Differences found that it is normal for couples to share traits with their romantic partner.
We naturally look for people who feel familiar to us and can share things with us. It creates a feeling of comfort and understanding and can lead to fewer conflicts. However, when this instinct steers you towards a relationship with a narcissist, this can be problematic because a narcissist’s way of loving also mirrors your behavior to get close to you. What may appear as similar interests and habits could be a ruse to create a disingenuous connection.
That said, it may be less of an issue if you genuinely possess narcissistic personality tendencies. Other research published in Personality and Individual Differences shows that individuals with narcissistic traits tend to find an ideal partner in someone with similar self-absorbed tendencies.
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