Why do we find narcissists so attractive (initially)?
A study has found that people who displayed strong narcissistic tendencies are also perceived as most desirable to dating partners.
Let us look at the reasons why.
Two kinds of folks will not be surprised that science has found that narcissists are more desirable as dating partners than the rest of us: those who ran out of luck and found themselves in a relationship with a narcissist, and narcissists themselves – because their belief in their own uniqueness is one of the key symptoms of their character.
This finding was published by Austrian researcher Emanuel Jauk, who conducted the experiment with speed daters.
Jauk indexed the participants’ narcissistic characteristics against the frequency with which their partners in speed dating expressed interest in seeing them again. His discovery: the people who scored the highest on the narcissism scale were also perceived as most wanted by those of the opposite sex.
However, as partners, narcissists are no walk in the park: their extreme self-love can crush all potential for vulnerability, and yet for all the bragging about how amazing they are, narcissists often have painfully low self-esteem. They are smothered by an inability to sustain truthful emotional connections with others. They are not able to empathize.
They are good at attracting partners, but total cripples when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships.
Nevertheless, we love them. But what is the reason?
Let us look at some of the main reasons why narcissists do well in the romantic market:
They unquestionably believe in their own attractiveness
Narcissists are attractive. Or, actually, they think they are – and this plays a major role in how they navigate through life: cocksure in their magnetic quality to be able to lure others into sleeping with them.
A good example of this is a man walking into a party, physically picking up a woman off the floor in a demonstration of his mindboggling confidence and complete indifference to the feelings of others.
Of course, physical appearance is vital in any relationship. However, the issue with being in a relationship with a narcissist is that they wear out their other halves with demands for attention and eventually begin seeking that attention from others. And this is why they may go back to online apps and websites such as Tinder (“just for a laugh”) and why, if you are seeking a monogamous relationship, being with a narcissist is the worst possible scenario.
They are masters of flattery
Narcissists are desperate for other people to believe they are smarter, better looking, and more interesting than everyone else. And in the first phases of a relationship they like to tell the person they’re with that she or he is wonderful, great-looking, interesting, and intelligent because they believe that it reflects well on them: they are amazing, and thus they choose amazing partners. The issue here is that narcissists cannot manage the inevitable result of that process: the development of your affection for them.
Fear that their deep-seated lack of lovability means that as soon as you start feeling close to your narcissist partner, they will start pushing you away. If you are fortunate, that means they will tell you that you are too clingy or needy and leave. The separation will be naturally confusing, upsetting and hurtful, but lighter than the effects of a long-term relationship with a narcissist that will eventually drive you to the edges of insanity.
They are incredibly charismatic
Regardless of having immense trouble with emotional vulnerability, narcissists like to surround themselves with people – they always have lots of friends, acquaintances, contacts in the professional sphere. There is nothing more appealing than a person who’s got thousands of friends. And what is better than someone who is the life of the party and has demonstrated that all sorts of people want to be around them, and still has the time to pay attention to you. In their eyes, maybe you are truly special. Until they decide you’re not that special any longer. Narcissists feed on attention, and once he or she has sucked you dry, they’ll be on to their next victim.
It can take time to understand that a potential romantic partner is a narcissist.
However, if you get the feeling that they might be one, here is something you can try in order to find out: ask them. If they are one, they will say yes.
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