Sometimes a relationship with a narcissist can be frustrating because no matter what you do they seem unsatisfied. Knowing what narcissists want in a relationship is a crucial step in making a relationship with them work. Every person has his own psychological needs that must be satisfied by his partner for the relationship to be a healthy one. These needs are usually developed in childhood and the person tries to meet them throughout their adulthood.
One common need is the need for attention. If a child never gets enough attention from his parents, he may grow up with a need for attention. As an adult this child will try his best to get this need met. As you might have already guessed, one of the best sources this person can get attention from is his relationship partner.
If this person manages to get a partner who showers him with attention, he will be happy and satisfied in that relationship. On the other hand, if he meets someone who is self-absorbed, he won’t even fall in love with her in the first place.
In real life, people usually have many psychological needs. This was just one example. Getting only one need or two met may not be satisfactory.
What narcissists want from their partner
First of all it’s important to understand that every narcissist is unique. Even though there are some needs that most narcissists have in common such as the need to feel important, each narcissist will have his own unique needs. Below are some of the things most narcissists want in a relationship.
- Compensation for the bad past: as I said in some of my previous posts, for a person to become a narcissist, they must go through a very harsh life experience that makes them feel inferior and worthless for a long period of time. This life experience may be something such as being bullied at school maybe because of a short body stature. A narcissist who went through such an experience will definitely develop a need for acceptance. In relationships, this narcissist will want a partner who accepts him for who he is.
- A replication of a good past: a person can also develop narcissism for a totally different reason. For example, if a child was pampered and overly praised by his parents, he may grow up believing that he is special and superior to everyone, therefore becoming a narcissist. What this narcissist will want in a relationship is a spouse who treats him the same way his parents did.
- The opposite of their bad side: Narcissists usually see people in zeros and ones. Someone is either totally worthy or totally worthless. This is not only how they see others but also themselves. They usually have something they hate about themselves that they always try to hide. This might be something such as believing that they are not intelligent enough, having a bad body shape and so on. To compensate for such a real or imagined flaw they look for a partner who doesn’t have it.
- Intimacy: Intimacy is a basic emotional need that all humans have. In my post “how to make a narcissist miss you” I said that even though a particular narcissist may be surrounded by dozens of friends and fans, emotional intimacy between them is usually superficial. This makes them live with unacknowledged deep hunger for real emotional intimacy.
Why some narcissists fail to get what they need in a relationship
No matter how their partner may be perfect for them, some narcissists are never fully satisfied in a relationship. This is simply because some of their characteristics are in conflict with what they need. For example, even though they need emotional intimacy and closeness, many of them are too afraid to make themselves vulnerable by opening up to their partner. However if you really want to have a healthy relationship with your narcissistic partner, it’s possible to teach them emotional intimacy.
A healthy relationship is a relationship where both partners satisfy each other’s needs. If you are not happy in your relationship that means that your needs are not being met. Even though this article is about giving a narcissist what they want, I’m not saying that you should ignore your own needs. See: how to make a narcissist happy.