Although not all narcissists cheat on their partners, having a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) increases a person’s likelihood of cheating on their spouses. Narcissistic cheating patterns include acting defensive when their spouse inquires about their behavior, acting inappropriately online, exhibiting a lack of interest in their partner, or flirting with other people in front of their spouse. If you suspect your partner is cheating on you, you can look for narcissist cheating patterns in their behavior.
Narcissist Cheating Patterns
Recognizing these narcissistic cheating patterns can save you from additional harm in the future.
Narcissists are defensive about their behavior.
When you confront your narcissistic partner about infidelity, don’t anticipate an admission of guilt. Narcissists fear losing control and having their behavior called into question. They will act offensively, blame you that you drove them into lying, gaslight you, or outright deny it. When a narcissist cheats, they’ll assume you’re doing it too. Or may alter the story to make it appear that way.
Usually, they’ll do this while harassing, accusing, and harshly judging you for alleged adultery. Unfortunately, this typical narcissist strategy might work against you. Because you now have to defend yourself rather than face your narcissist’s adulterous behavior.
They employ stonewalling.
Your narcissistic partner will cheat if they are enticed to do so or believe it would be exciting. Even if it’s only a fast rush to someone’s house or in the trunk of a car, cheating requires time. But sending texts, making plans, getting ready, and everything else takes time. As a result, you could notice that your narcissistic partner will occasionally ghost you for a day or two. Without giving you a good reason. When they do reconnect, there is no apology or justification for the lack of response to messages. They will just stay out of reach for a few days.
Narcissists are dishonest.
Any sort of adultery involves dishonesty, lying, and secrecy, and narcissists are adept at deception. Your narcissistic partner probably created a false facade to win you over. But they are aware that this facade could come tumbling down at any time.
To avoid this, they will lie pathologically to keep up the ‘perfect’ image they have cultivated. Therefore, if you notice that your narcissistic partner is lying about trivial matters, there is a good chance that they are also lying about more serious matters. Like cheating.
Your partner gaslights you.
Even though you see them blush and flush whenever they talk about their coworker at work, they’ll outright deny being attracted to them. The narcissist will convince you that your discomfort with their cheating is your fault.
They will convince you that they didn’t cheat and that you are a paranoid fool, but if you catch them cheating, they will find a way to convince you that you are incorrect, oversensitive, or over-controlling. You paid them too much or too little attention.
They don’t provide any reassurance.
Your narcissistic partner is frequently so preoccupied with themselves that they are unable to separate themselves from their ego, minimizing your suspicions. It’s unlikely that they’ll ever affirm your fears of possible cheating, let alone feel guilty about it. The narcissist will ignore any requests for reassurance, leaving you feeling confused and doubtful.
Your partner asks for too much space.
When you first start dating a narcissist, you will frequently experience love bombing – your partner will shower you with extreme attention, affection, and love. However, because narcissists get bored easily and lose interest, this phase does not last long.
You may notice your narcissistic partner, particularly the grandiose type, withdrawing and “needing space” in ways they did not previously. It is a sign that they’ve had enough of you and are looking for new sources of excitement elsewhere.
They behave inappropriately online.
Narcissists constantly need to showcase themselves and seek approval from others, which is why they might love excessively using social media. It’s not unusual for narcissists to spend too much time in front of the television.
However, if they start acting inappropriately on social media, such as making profiles on dating websites, posting flirtatious comments on other people’s photos, and sharing excessive amounts of personal information with people you’ve never met, it may further support your partner’s involvement in infidelity.
Narcissists participate in dangerous sexual behavior.
Grandiose narcissism is strongly linked to various risky sexual behaviors, such as having multiple sexual partners, having frequent one-night stands, and having more unprotected sex. Narcissists typically believe they have a right to sexual pleasure in any way, shape, or form.
When their impulsiveness and openness to sex and infidelity are combined, it becomes a dangerous combination for everyone involved. However, if you are exclusive with a narcissist and contract an STD, it may be direct proof that they are cheating on you while also endangering your health.
They are reckless with money.
Narcissists, particularly the grandiose type, are often flashy because they have a distorted belief that displaying wealth and material possessions gives them “sexual appeal” and desirability.
As a result, you may notice your narcissistic partner making impulsive purchases and overspending on items such as luxurious gadgets, flashy cars, designer clothes, and so on. Successfully seducing the person or people with whom they are having an affair encourages this behavior.
The Bottom Line
If you suspect your partner is cheating on you and plan to confront them about it, remember that they’ll deny it, act defensively, blame you, and call you paranoid. Dealing with a narcissistic partner can take a toll on your mental health so take the time out to express your emotions and think of a constructive way to address the problem.
Have a structured conversation with them and let them know how their behavior has affected you. Knowing narcissistic people don’t take responsibility for their actions, consider leaving the relationship if your partner is unwilling to compromise or reacts violently. However, if your partner is willing to change, you can invest in couples counseling. Reach out to support groups for further help.