A researcher specializing in narcissism translates the common lies narcissistic partners tell in the dating world.
“I am looking for a serious relationship.”
I am looking to sleep with you but rather than going the easier route and finding a partner who also wants something casual, I’d rather find someone looking for a relationship who I can “conquer.” Did I mention my love language is physical touch? You are a conquest and a challenge, and I will do whatever it takes you to make you invest in me and attracted to me. It boosts my ego when I can sleep with a dating partner who is out of my league. It gives me a special thrill that I can con someone like you into liking me and my false mask because that means you’re finally showing interest in me, and I now hold all the power. After I’ve tricked and hooked you, I get to withdraw and withhold and watch you scramble for my attention. What fun! If we do ever end up in a committed relationship, rest assured I’d still continue to exploit you, just longer term.
“You’re my soulmate. We’re so similar. I could really see a future with you.”
You’re a great source of narcissistic supply and I love being able to extract whatever energy, labor, and resources I need from you to benefit me. I really enjoy love bombing you and getting you to believe there’s a future for us. I feed off your adoration. As a chameleon, I’ll morph into whoever you want me to be and whatever I sense you deeply desire. You actually are my mirror image because I know how to mirror you – your every interest, belief, dream, goal, preference, need. I will become you so you trust me readily. Really, you’re just falling in love with a conglomeration of yourself and the identities I’ve stolen in the past, including the identities of my exes.
“My ex was crazy and obsessed with me.”
I drove my ex over the edge until they didn’t even know who they were anymore with my chronic manipulation and deception. If they ever seem obsessed with me, it’s because they’re trying to hold me accountable for my heinous actions. But really, I am the one who’s usually stalking and harassing them to ensure they never move on from me.
“My ex cheated on me. I am afraid to get hurt again.”
Are you loyal? I am looking for a devoted partner who will be devoted to me, even when I commit numerous transgressions behind their back. My ex likely never cheated on me, but I am a master of projection. I am not afraid of getting hurt because I know I am not the one who will be disrespected in this relationship. Let the mind games begin.
“I would never lie to you.”
Moral grandstanding early on allows me to depict myself as everything I am not. In reality if a person was honest by default, they wouldn’t even be defending themselves preemptively like this, when we aren’t even discussing the topic of honesty. I think more about looking honest and trustworthy than the average person because I know I cannot be trusted, and I know I’ll soon be engaging in shady actions that make you doubt my character. So, I’ll need to safeguard your image of me so any evidence you see of my dubious morality is dismissed, minimized, and rationalized.
“I want to take care of you.”
I hope you’ll take care of me. Once this love bombing stage is over, I am going to be the one trying to exploit you for your finances, labor, and resources for my own gain. But first, I need a commitment from you. I need you to be willing to do the heavy lifting all based on a future faking promise and my superficial charm. I need my partners willing to give up all their other romantic options, move across the country, give up their careers, and any semblance of independence they once had so I can better control them and keep them under my surveillance and so they won’t search for anyone better or progress in their lives. You understand, don’t you?
“I know we went on a great first date, but I don’t get why dating has to be extravagant.”
I’ve impressed you enough. Now it’s your turn. I know I portrayed myself as romantic and chivalrous and promised you the world in the beginning, but that was all for show. I could have just easily chosen a partner with lower standards, but I’d rather pursue someone with high standards and try to convince them to settle for the bare minimum after lying to them in the first place. I should have been honest and upfront about who I really am and what I am willing to offer you, but I prefer duping and misleading you so you consent to whatever I want to do with you – even though that’s not really informed consent. In reality, I am stingy not just with my romantic gestures but with my willingness to make my dating partners happy in general. Let’s get this show over with so you can finally benefit me and give me what I want.
“I don’t believe in labels. Isn’t our love enough?”
I am having fun stringing you along without a formal commitment, whether that be a relationship or marriage. We could live together or even have a child together while you do all the work but why deepen the commitment when I have you right where I want you already? Under my control, compliant, and always trying to win me over. That’s exactly how I like it so you won’t go out looking for someone more deserving of you. Don’t even think of trying to get with someone else while I am prowling around, though – I am the only one who gets to explore my options.
“You’re paranoid and insecure.”
You’re catching on to what I am doing behind the scenes, so I’ll need to gaslight you to keep you under my spell. You’re actually a very secure and confident person for calling me out and asserting your standards and boundaries, but I’ll need to make you look crazy if I want this relationship to last.
“I miss you and I really want us to try again.”
I’ve left you or you’ve left me – either way, I feel like I’ve lost control over you. You used to fawn over me and give me all your attention. Now I see that you’re moving on to a better person or a better life, and I can’t wait to sabotage it. Once you’re ensnared back in the toxic cycle, I’ll punish you twice as hard for daring to be happy without me in the first place.