Do Narcissists Quickly Forget Their Exes?

When a narcissist breaks up with someone after a conflict or a fight, they usually cut all connections with that person and consider them non-existent. But does this mean that narcissists forget their exes quickly? The short answer is no.

In my article “why do narcissists seem to move on so quickly”, I said that one of the reasons why narcissists devalue and discard their relationship partner is to punish them and make them realize that they have lost someone valuable. The narcissist’s goal is to show you that they have completely erased you from their mind in no time so that you feel worthless and start begging for their approval.

Why Narcissists Don’t Forget Their Exes Quickly

Narcissists are not so different from other people. They also get emotionally attached to their partner, and contrary to what some people believe, narcissists are capable of love. One of the reasons why narcissists don’t quickly forget their exes is because their mental stability greatly depends on their partner. In other words, they need someone to love them for them to feel worthy and important. “If my partner loves me then I’m attractive, and important”.

Narcissists usually get so attached to anything that makes them feel important and superior, (also called narcissistic supply). While they can have other sources of supply, such as their possessions, friends and fans, these can’t replace a relationship partner, simply because it’s only a relationship partner that can reassure them that they are attractive and lovable.

Now, when a narcissist discards their partner, they don’t completely lose them as a source of supply. If they are sure that their partner still loves them and wants to be with them, that’s enough to make them feel important, and lovable. They actually think about the good times they spent together and recall the good feelings they had with their ex and miss them. This brings us to another important question. Why don’t they simply go back to their exes if they can’t easily forget them?

When Narcissists Don’t go Back to Their Exes If They Need Them

Actually, narcissists are more likely than not to go back to their exes after a breakup. When you hurt a narcissist in one way or another, they usually devalue you and consider you worthless. This is a defense mechanism that helps them feel less bad. For example, if you ignore them, they will devalue you and consider you worthless. Being ignored by a worthless person will hurt you less than being ignored than an important person, right? That’s how narcissists think. However, this devaluation doesn’t last long.

When the conflict or fight you had with them is solved, then the narcissist will automatically start seeing you as a valuable person again and they will try to attract you back. See: why do narcissists hoover?

Does a Rebound Relationship Help a Narcissist Forget Their Ex

You may be wondering if narcissists can simply find someone else who will fulfil their need for attention, love and affection and forget about their ex. As I said, narcissists are not very different from other people. While they can get into a rebound relationship, forgetting their ex that they were attached to and moving on is just as hard as it is for normal people.

The reason why a rebound relationship doesn’t help them forget their ex, is because they randomly select a new partner without considering if the new partner will be a good narcissistic supply or not. These rebound relationships are likely to end after a short period of time as soon as the narcissist or the partner realizes they made a wrong choice. In fact, narcissists seek rebound relationships in order to forget their ex, not because they truly love their new partner.

Bottom line

Some narcissists are so abusive in relationships and this article is not by any means meant to encourage you to go back to an abusive relationship with a narcissist. In the article “how to get a narcissist back” I said that you should only consider getting a narcissist back only if there was no abuse in your relationship and if you are sure that you can have a healthy relationship with them. In my book “manipulating the manipulator” I explained how you can become more attractive in your ex’s eyes again and get them back if you want to.