Do narcissists care if their ex moves on? A simple answer is yes but not always. Narcissists’ self-esteem, satisfaction with life and happiness greatly depends on the position they think they hold in other people’s mind. Of course we all do care about other people’s opinion to a certain extent, but the difference between a narcissist and a non-narcissist is that, a narcissist can never feel happy and satisfied with life if he thinks that nobody cares about him that much.
In my article about narcissists and attention, I said that feeling invisible is one of the narcissists’ worst fears. A narcissist doesn’t have to be locked up in a dungeon alone to feel invisible. Getting ordinary attention like a normal person can make them feel invisible.
So, what does all this has to do with narcissists and caring if their ex moves on? If you understood how someone thinks on one side, you can easily join the dots on the other side. Narcissist’ thinking pattern affects them in all their life areas including relationships and breakups.
Do Narcissists Mind If You Move on?
A narcissist would never want to lose attention and narcissistic supply from someone they value, like their partner. Even if for some reasons they break up, the narcissist may devalue and discard his partner but he usually tries to get the narcissistic supply indirectly from him/her without really initiating the relationship.
As I said in my previous post (how narcissists feel when their ex moves on), for narcissists, breaking up alone does not mean total loss of narcissistic supply from their partner. As long as they still get some tell-tale signs that their ex has not moved on yet, it can still give them a sense of attention and narcissistic supply even if they may not be willing to bring him or her back in their life.
Now, moving on brings to an end this free indirect supply they had been getting from their ex.
Do Narcissists Always Care If You Move on?
Narcissists hate it when their ex moves on only when they themselves have not moved on yet. When a narcissist breaks up with his partner or when he devalues and discards her, he usually put on a mask of having moved on and forgot her in a blink of an eye, but in reality, narcissists don’t move on that quickly.
Of course if a narcissist and his ex went no contact and never saw each other again after the breakup, there is no way he would tell that his ex has moved on or not. But if they still have any form of contact, a narcissist can still manipulate them and get the narcissistic supply under the façade of having moved on quickly.
What Do Narcissists Do When Their Ex is About to Forget Them?
Narcissists like anybody else; they hate to lose what they already have. As I said earlier, because believing that their ex is still obsessed with them can give them a boost on their self-esteem, they would never want to lose this source of self-esteem boost.
When a narcissists senses that their ex is about to forget them for good, they usually try to lure them back again (also called hoovering), although, most often, they take this decision impulsively. They usually take this decision without thinking about whether they really want a serious relationship with their ex again. Since the main motive is to prevent the loss of attention and narcissistic supply, once the goal is achieved, the relationship is less likely to be productive. When the problems that led to the previous breakup are still present, fights are likely to arise sooner or later. This usually lead to another breakup(discard).
Some people fall victim of this narcissists’ hovering, thinking that maybe the narcissist wanted them back because he had a second thought after the breakup and decided to change, while in reality, he may be looking for a quick self-esteem fix. In my book “manipulating the manipulator” I explained how you can read people’s hidden intentions including narcissists.