Did you wake up this morning, still reeling from the traumatic signs that the narcissist is cheating?
Perhaps you learned they went on a little tryst over the weekend and now you’re sick with fear that they will pull the same trickery in the near future.
Or, maybe you recently busted them for cheating and they promised to stop–but then, you found another email or text from their affair partner, and the cheating narcissist was so enraged that they used one of your worst fears as justification for their philandering.
Let’s not forget the all-time classic, “You kept accusing me of cheating, so I went ahead and did it!”
Seriously? Of course one would be suspicious if their partner lied and hid his or her questionable activities under a perpetual cloak of secrecy. (And they went ahead and did it alright, and have been doing it all along).
You may find this hard to believe, but the narcissist’s cheating ways have nothing to do with you. I’d bet, though, that you’ve been hearing all the reasons for why their cheating is your fault–ludicrous excuses that hit straight at the heart.
Below, I expose the signs a narcissist is cheating, the real reasons why narcissists cheat, and why they will never stop.
The REAL Deal
Narcissists will never accept accountability for their actions. Every negative thing they do will be inevitably traced back to some supposed flaw in YOU. This isn’t accidental, nor is it due to family of origin wounds that gave them so-called “fear of intimacy issues.”
(In spite of what they may tell you, you can’t love them out of their disorder, much less their cheating.)
They need to make you believe that their cheating is your fault because he or she is laying down the groundwork for when the relationship ends.
While you are left reeling in the painful aftermath of the breakup, they will be onto the next victim as if they’ve found the love of their life–and most often, the new partner isn’t really all that new.
It’s the ole, “See, it was her, not me! I’ve found this wonderful new partner who is the answer to my prayers. My ex was just a crazy, insecure psycho. Can you blame me for leaving her?” (Or, insert the pronoun “she” if you’re the victim of a female narcissist).
Perhaps you recently broke up and now the narcissist is flaunting their new partner around town (and around family) while playing the part of Ward Cleaver, complete with festive holiday social media photos.
It’s all an illusion—as well as a strategic move to make you look like a damaged emotional leper who will never be a good partner for anyone.
In their mind, all relationships eventually come to an end. It truly is unavoidable for them because they can only keep up the charade for so long before the cracks start showing and their partners catch onto them. This is when they begin devaluing their current partner and start searching for their next supply.
The ironic part is that while they are love-bombing the new victim, the narcissist generally keeps tabs on old supply sources from time to time, which is why they never seem to go away–even though they may have been the one to end your relationship. (They’ve been known to show up after five or ten years!)
But don’t be fooled. Many of them can keep up appearances for decades, all while they’re out playing the field and cheating on the new spouse, fiancé, or partner.
The reason they have such a perverse dedication to making the breakup seem your fault is so they can pretend to be insanely happy with the new person, therefore making you believe it was something you did or didn’t do that caused your relationship to crumble.
So, what are some practical signs you can be on the lookout for to know if they’re still cheating? Look for these ten bare basics:
Signs a Narcissist is Cheating
1 – They’ve cheated before. Maybe they gave you a sob story about how their ex treated them so badly, they were forced to find love and affection elsewhere. (Or, perhaps you’re the narcissist’s affair partner because they cried about how there’s no intimacy in their primary relationship.)
2 – Narcissists who cheat will often start keeping a different schedule. If the narcissist suddenly (or gradually) stops coming home on time when they used to arrive home at 5:30 p.m. sharp, it’s a red flag.
3 – They begin to work loads of overtime at work. If this happens, make a point to call them while they’re “working overtime”. If they never answer their cell during this time, or you can’t contact them on their business landline, it’s a sign that they’re cheating. Similarly, if they never answer their phone, yet quickly text back, they are likely keeping company with someone else.
4 – They suddenly start dressing more nicely, wearing a new perfume or cologne, and start working out.
5 – You find a random hair on their suit, or worse, on the furniture in your home. (If your hair is short and black, yet you find a long red hair on your living room sofa, it’s not a good sign).
6 – Be on the lookout for decoy gifts. If your partner suddenly starts bringing flowers home or other seemingly thoughtful gifts where they didn’t before, something could be amiss.
7 – They leave the room when they answer the phone. By the same token, they keep a military-style lockdown on their cell phone.
8 – They accuse you of having an affair (projection).
9 – They start giving you The Silent Treatment with increasing frequency. (Often fabricated by them so they can leave without explanation and visit their affair partner).
10 – You find texts and emails indicating there is funny business going on. And no, it’s not a wrong number, a phone fantasy with no action going on, or an “old” partner that suddenly started contacting them out of the blue. They’re cheating.
Faulty Moral Decision Making
Ever feel like you’ve been beating your head against the wall trying to “teach” the narcissist the basics of being good and decent, or worse, how to be an adult?
There’s a reason for that, too. While they may be successful at their jobs and have all the people in town fooled, narcissists are stuck in a state of arrested development. This explains the constant lying and conning, not to mention their thrill-seeking through numerous sexual conquests, putting you at risk of contracting STDs!
Narcissists never developed the ability to form a healthy attachment or bond with anyone. This partly explains their constant cheating, but another reason they cheat so much is that it’s a form of entertainment for them and is also why many of them are sexually deviant. They need constant excitement to fill their black hole of emptiness. It also gives them a sense of power when they successfully conquer those whom they have been in pursuit of–which may consist of both genders.
What to Do
It’s extremely difficult to watch the person you’ve shared your life with triangulating you and flaunting new partners under your nose.
The bad news is that there’s really nothing you can do to make it stop. They may go about pretending that they want a fresh start, but it’s only another charade. You can go to counseling with them, lose weight, gain weight, change your hair or wardrobe-and even learn fifteen languages-but it won’t save the relationship. It would only be a matter of time before you found more evidence of their infidelities.
You did not cause the narcissist’s choice to be unfaithful and you can’t stop it by changing anything about yourself.
The good news is that if you pay attention to the signs a narcissist is cheating and start planning now to leave the lying narcissist, you can be living a better life in as little as six months. That doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges ahead, but once you’re out of the toxic environment of narcissistic abuse, you can begin to rebuild your self-esteem and regain your passion for life.
Sick of the cheating? Check out The Essential Break Free Bootcamp and join the tribe of other survivors with whom you can join forces!