One of the most asked questions on the internet about narcissists is how to deal with a narcissistic girlfriend or boyfriend. That’s why I decided to write this article. Most authors who try to answer that question give the most common answer which is; “leave the narcissist and never come back”. I personally consider such answers shallow and unrelated to the question. Of course in some relationships, leaving the narcissist may be the best choice to make but it’s wrong to assume that every person who has a narcissistic partner should end the relationship.
In this article I will tell you how to deal with a typical narcissistic boyfriend or girlfriend in order to have a healthy relationship with him or her. However, since each narcissist is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for dealing with every narcissist. That’s why understanding your partner as a unique individual is the most crucial approach.
I’m not going to talk about how to deal with an abusive narcissist, or how to leave a toxic relationship because I have already talked about that in some of my previous articles.
What is a healthy relationship anyway?
A healthy relationship with a narcissist or any other person is a relationship where both partners satisfy each other’s emotional needs. The relationship results in happiness and personal growth for both partners.
We can say that a relationship is healthy if it pushes both people forward in their careers, social life or any important field of life. On the other hand, if the relationship resulted in pain, suffering and abuse then it’s definitely a toxic relationship.
Why is it hard to have a healthy relationship with a narcissist
Most narcissists are usually so self-absorbed and busy with themselves in a relationship. This makes them unable to understand and satisfy their partner’s emotional needs. In a normal relationship, the couple tries to give each other a satisfactory amount of attention, love and appreciation. On the other hand, narcissists are usually so needy that they try to get their needs satisfied before everyone else’s. A narcissist may not look needy but they are so needy especially when they are not getting enough attention.
While an abusive narcissist can intentionally ignore his partner’s needs in order to hurt her, a non abusive narcissist can also ignore his partner’s needs because he’s trying to get his needs satisfied first.
How to deal with a narcissist in a relationship
One mistake that most people make when dealing with a self-absorbed narcissistic partner is that they try to force the narcissist to be less self-absorbed and pay attention to them.
The best way to deal with a narcissist is to give him the attention and the narcissistic supply he needs to feel good about himself, so that he feels satisfied. When you make a narcissist feel better about himself, he will be able to satisfy your needs, and he might develop the kind personality you want to see.
As long as the narcissist feels that he is not getting enough attention and narcissistic supply from his partner, he will always be self-centred or even try to get another source of supply. On the other hand when you become his source of supply, he will not only value you more but he will also try his best to make the relationship work.
As I said earlier, a narcissistic supply is anything or any person who makes a narcissist feel important. See: how to help a narcissist heal.
Don’t be codependent
The important point here is to satisfy the narcissist’s needs so that he satisfies yours. Co-dependency is when a person sacrifices his own needs in order to please his partner. This is totally unhealthy.
The fact that you should try to satisfy the narcissist’s needs first does not mean that you should prioritise his needs over yours. See: how to make a narcissist respect you.