Home Narcissism Why Narcissists And Psychopaths Stay Friends With Their Exes, According To Science

Why Narcissists And Psychopaths Stay Friends With Their Exes, According To Science

how narcissists treat their exes

Although it may seem quite the norm when your former boyfriend or girlfriend wants to stay friends, studies have proven it may mean they are a psychopath, or worse, a narcissist.

These types of people are prone to ego-boosting behaviors that are not only strenuous for them but for those they spend time with as well.

A narcissist or psychopath can sometimes be easily spotted by their “me, me and only me” behavior. However, that may not always be the case, which is why caution must be taken when dealing with these individuals.  

You may know someone who maintained contact with a former partner for friendly reasons. While that may not be the most farfetched thing you have ever heard, research carried out at Oakland University in the United States proves that these “friendly” relationships may hint at narcissism.

Referring to the study, these types of people partake in “dark personality traits”, which in turn make them desire to pursue a friendship once both parties have called it quits.

The study at Oakland University asked 860 individuals to clarify the reasons for their aspiration to stay in contact with their former partners, screening those who implied dark traits.

According to the Daily Mail reports, the people who “score highly for these traits are more likely to pick friends for strategic reasons, and prefer short-term relationships”, and those who carried out the research were curious to know if it can also be applied to relationships with exes as well.

Subsequently, the researchers requested people to rate their motives for staying in touch with their exes by the level of significance.

The study showed that the majority claimed that these people impacted their lives because they were “reliable, trustworthy, and of sentimental value.”

Nonetheless, the more interesting thing the study found was that those with “measures of dark personality” were more inclined to keep exes in their lives due to “practical and sexual reasons.”

According to the study, “men rated practical and sexual reasons for staying friends as more important than women did”.

If you have ever found yourself in this type of situation, this may sound utterly familiar. We all have that one ex that just will not give up. Either they will text you out of the blue asking to “hang out” or just wanting to know how you are.

During the time in which we receive those messages, it may seem legit and even courteous. Nevertheless, if we step out of the box for a minute and look at the bigger picture, we begin to grab hold of the real situation at hand.

During the time spent with our former partners, we may have noticed some odd character traits like selfishness and egoism, but we may have brushed them to the side, referring to them as “flaws”, which we chose to accept.

Yet, according to psychology, these individuals all have similar traits.

Narcissists and psychopaths are referred to as the dark triad, which contains a group of three main personality traits: psychopathy, narcissism, and at times even Machiavellianism.

What this means is that they lack empathy, can be cruel and selfish and possess egotistical and pride-like characteristics. Notwithstanding, narcissists tend to be disparaging, manipulative, and cunning. Therefore, the word dark is used to predict their vindictive nature.

You may be asking yourself why someone would want to remain in a friendship with someone such as the one described above. For one, these types of people are very witty, which means they have the ability to mask these traits with kindness and affection.

Other times, they may not be a bad person, as seen in the study. For example, most of the people interviewed claimed that they remained friends with a former partner due to reliability and trustworthiness. This implies that the person on the other end of the story may not be the monster they are made out to be.

However, when viewed from a darker point of view, the study also concludes that those with indications of a dark personality were more inclined to keep relationships at the touch of a button for less tasteful reasons.

The research showed that quite a few people stated reasons for maintaining the relationship to be “sexual and practical”.

Therefore, the next time your ex tries to lure you into spending time with them or doing something for them, drop everything and run. You may have a psychopath on the loose.

When speaking of narcissism for an interview with Broadly, expert Dr. Tony Ferretti explained why individuals with dark personality traits would want to keep links with a past relationship. “Narcissists hate to fail or lose, so they will do what they can to maintain some connection if they didn’t make the choice to end it,”

Dr. Ferretti said: “They can experience narcissistic injury when rejected by a partner and have difficulties letting it go or healing from it.” Dr. Ferretti also stated that “People who are in deep, close, healthy, and intimate relationships tend to be happier.”

Narcissists often cling to those who are more empathic, compassionate, and understanding. As a result, when such a relationship ends, they feel the need to stick around.

It is not uncommon for these type of people to make an effort to keep their ex partners around. Therefore, the next time your ex tries to initiate contact, make sure they do not check the boxes of the characteristic traits.

Read on if you want to know more about how narcissists treat their exes!

How Narcissists Treat Their Exes

So, you broke up with a narcissist? Then, get ready to be lured in and manipulated even more because narcissists never let bygones be bygones, especially when you were the one who broke up with them. The narcissist will always seek revenge. And here are some ways narcissists tend to treat their exes after the separation. 

The majority of narcissists tend to go in and out of their exes’ lives. Why? Because we all know that narcissists are unpredictable. They are immature and fickle. They make decisions in the spur of the moment, and that’s how they decide to come back to their ex or disappear if things don’t go as they planned or they get bored. So, if you have broken up with a narcissist, expect them to return sooner or later. 

Some narcissists remain friends with their exes. They do so, claiming they don’t want drama and they want things to end amicably. However, this is their tactic to leave the door open should they start wanting to come back in the future. The real truth is a narcissist has a sense of superiority, and they believe they can go in and out of other people’s lives as they please because they are irreplaceable. 

A narcissist will flirt with their exes to test the waters and see if they are still desired. A narcissist is always curious whether their ex still wants them, and when they see that their ex hasn’t moved on, it gives them the ultimate satisfaction, and it boosts their ego like nothing else. Their flirting is also a tactic to lure their ex back in if they sense they are about to move on with their life.

Narcissists are prone to spreading lies about their exes. They do that in order to save face and look like the ‘good guy’ after the breakup. Their self-image is all they got, and they will do anything to protect it because their ego depends on it. And, without their ego – they are nothing. 

After the breakup, narcissists resort to playing mind games to keep their exes on their toes. It is very hard to break away from the toxicity of the relationship with a narcissist because the narcissist will continue to torture you and emotionally manipulate you. They will love bomb you only to ghost you a few days later and then love bomb you again. The cycle of abuse is difficult to end because narcissists are very skilled at toying with their partner’s emotions and keeping them under their thumb. 

Finally, some narcissists will blackmail their ex-partners, using anything they have against them to have their way with them and get what they want. 

Will A Narcissist Miss You?

If you are wondering whether a narcissist will miss you if you break up with them, it is hard to say. As I said before, a narcissist is a very unpredictable person. However, while everyone says that narcissists are incapable of loving anyone but themselves, they do struggle when things change, so the separation can affect them, especially if you were the one to break up with them. 

A narcissist may feel sad, but they won’t ever admit it. 

Now, a narcissist may miss you and want you back, but only for selfish purposes. They need you to validate them and give them an ego boost. They need you because they need someone they can manipulate and stomp all over. So, they don’t miss you per se; they miss how you used to love them unconditionally and fulfill all their needs. 

Why Do Narcissists Keep In Touch With Their Exes?

Narcissists stay in touch with their exes solely for selfish reasons. They need validation. And a validation from an ex-lover always feels nice and exciting. 

The narcissist may pretend that they have changed and act differently from how they used to act in the past. However, all that is a mask to get their ex-lover back in their trap. They want their ex-lover’s love and attention. They crave it. And if their ex decides to give them another chance, the narcissist will drag them back into the same patterns of toxicity and abuse. 

Another reason why narcissists stay in contact with their exes is due to their abandonment issues. A narcissist is deeply insecure at their core. Because anyone who has a solid sense of self doesn’t feel the urge to go back to someone from their past in order to feed their ego. Narcissists do have that urge, especially if their ex was someone who was popular, rich, powerful, sexy, attractive, and younger than them. 

Why Do Narcissists Talk About Their Exes?

A narcissist will talk to you about their ex to “teach” you how to behave. Namely, they will say something along the lines of, “My ex was very jealous. She never wanted me to go out with friends. That’s why we broke up. I’m glad you are not like her.” By saying this, the narcissist will imply that you are not allowed to complain when they go out. 

When you are at the beginning of a relationship with a narcissist, it is easy to think of those comments as compliments to you. But don’t be fooled. This is pure manipulation from the narcissist to keep you bound to them and have you completely obedient and servile to them. 

The narcissist wants to make you scared of them leaving you as they did with their ex, so you will find yourself in a situation where you will watch what you say and do to not make them angry. This is called conditioning, and it is a toxic and evil way of manipulating someone and messing with their psyche. 

How Do Narcissists Feel About Their Exes? 

Most narcissists do feel bad, and they are sorry when the relationship with their narcissistic supply ends. However, they mostly feel bad because they have lost the love and attention of their ex. And they feel bad only when they realize their ex has moved on. 

If their ex is sending messages and signals to them that they still love them and want to reconcile with them, then the narcissist will not feel sorry. Instead, they will feel glad that their ex still loves them, and that will give them the ego boost they need. 

Do Narcissists Ever Go Back To Their Exes?

Anyone in a relationship with a narcissist will realize sooner or later that they are better off alone. And when they do decide to leave the narcissist and experience the world without pain and anxiety, they know they made the right decision. However, the narcissist may eventually try to come back into their lives and ask for another chance. Why? 

Because narcissists don’t forget their exes. In fact, they like to think that they always have someone to turn to. That’s why they keep a set of people who satisfy their needs and then shuffle them over time, going in and out of their lives as they please. 

In conclusion…

If you are in an on-again, off-again relationship with a narcissist, it is time to MOVE ON. Break free from the toxicity and the manipulation of the narcissist. I understand that it is difficult because this vicious cycle is so addictive and intoxicating, but you have to do it! 

After all, what is the point of having someone in your life who is not loyal and you know will leave you sooner or later?