What To Expect When You’re In A Relationship With A Narcissist

How willing would you be to date someone if you knew they were a big-headed narcissist? Even though most of us would immediately refuse to be associated with someone who sees themselves as superior, in reality, this characteristic can be attractive, in the beginning, at least. But can a relationship with a narcissist work?

If you're in a relationship with a narcissist, you will recognize both her sides.
How far can a relationship with a narcissist go?

The Two Ways A Relationship With A Narcissist Can Go

A recent study, titled “Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Concept”, which was based on a series of investigations conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Munster, in Germany, sought to examine the two different sides of narcissism: admiration and rivalry.

The Admiration side is all about the narcissist’s desire to win and keep the approval of others and enjoy the benefits of being liked by people. The Rivalry side, however, is a lot darker and it refers to the tendency of narcissists to constantly seek to do better than others and to defend themselves from a negative self-view by openly derogating others.


There is no denying that our society promotes ambition and confidence. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that those who (at least superficially) present these characteristics are viewed as attractive and desirable. A narcissist, in other words, can win you over at a first glance, with their Admiration side looking (and most of the times managing) to impress and win you over. The study found that narcissists also consider themselves to be good as romantic partners, which also makes their magnetism stronger to those who don’t know them well.


The darker side of narcissism is Rivalry. As much as Admiration may make a person fetching, Rivalry seems to do the opposite in time. The study found that even RivalryRivarly can destroy a relationship at its early stages, it usually rears its ugly head later on, since people start by becoming infatuated by the Admiration aspect of narcissism and slowly recognize the Rivalry side. Which explain why rivalry is the most probable reason why narcissists can’t hold together a long-term relationship.

In A Nutshell

Despite the fact the research did not follow the course of long-term relationships with narcissists, it found that rivalry can create a number of problems in the long term, as the narcissist tends to be unwilling to forgive even the most minor transgressions of their partner; usually wastes no time getting into arguments to get what they want; and adopts a critical attitude toward their partner, believing to be superior and always in the right.

The authors compared the relationship with a narcissist to a rich chocolate cake that tempts you to eat it, but which you later regret eating because it’s so full of calories and bad for you. They also concluded that of the two sides of narcissism, Admiration is far less poisonous for a relationship than Rivalry. That’s because you can think of yourself as high and mighty, but as long as you don’t resent or thwart your partner’s own greatness, your relationship isn’t doomed. But how often does one side come without the other?