I was scrolling through our community forum and found this question: “Can a narcissist be faithful?”

This got me thinking about a survey I conducted recently about narcissists and cheating, and here’s what I’ve come up with:

It is highly unlikely for a narcissist to be faithful in a relationship because they are incredibly selfish, have an unsatisfiable need for admiration, lack empathy, are drawn to new and exciting experiences, and have a sense of entitlement.

In this article, I will guide you through these five reasons to help you better understand the reasons monogamous relationships aren’t a narcissist’s strong suit.

1.) They Are Incredibly Selfish

Narcissists often center their world around themselves and their desires. 

This self-focus means they prioritize their own needs and wants above everything else, including their partner’s. 

Imagine someone who, when making plans, only considers what they want to do without asking or considering what their partner might enjoy. 

A narcissistic man being selfish.

This is how narcissists act, and it goes above and beyond being inconsiderate; it’s their default approach to interacting with the world. 

They often neglect their partner’s emotional needs because they’re too caught up in fulfilling their own. 

When it comes to faithfulness, this self-centered approach can, and often does, lead them to pursue other romantic or sexual interests.

Especially if they believe it will satisfy their desires or boost their ego.

2.) They Have an Unsatisfiable Need for Admiration

Narcissists have a deep-seated need for admiration and validation from others. 

This isn’t just about liking compliments; it’s about relying on them to maintain their self-esteem. 

They crave being admired and often seek to be the center of attention. 

In relationships, this can translate into a constant need for their partner to validate and praise them. 

However, over time, the attention they receive from a long-term partner might not feel as exciting or fulfilling as it did in the beginning. 

This is where the problem with faithfulness can arise. 

To fulfill this unending need for admiration, a narcissist may seek out new romantic interests who can offer fresh admiration and validation. 

They might engage in flirtations or affairs to experience the thrill of being admired, which can lead to unfaithfulness in their current relationship.

3.) They Lack Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. 

It’s what makes us consider how our actions affect others. 

A core characteristic of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a lack of empathy.

They might understand on a surface level what someone else feels, but they struggle to place any real importance on those feelings.

Especially if they conflict with their desires. 

For example, suppose a narcissist wants to pursue a new romantic interest.

A narcissist being unfaithful.

In that case, they might recognize that it would hurt their partner but proceed anyway because their own excitement or interest is a stronger motivator than their partner’s pain. 

This lack of empathy means they don’t fully feel the guilt or remorse that might stop someone else from being unfaithful. 

They’re focused on what they gain, not what their partner loses.

4.) They Are Drawn to New and Exciting Experiences

Many narcissists are drawn to new and exciting experiences. 

This thrill-seeking behavior is about more than just liking adventure; it’s about needing constant stimulation and novelty to feel good about themselves. 

In relationships, this can translate into a desire for new romantic or sexual conquests, seeing each as a thrilling challenge or a way to avoid boredom. 

The pursuit of a new partner is often not about the person themselves but about the excitement of the chase and the novelty of someone new admiring them. 

This can lead to a pattern where, once the initial thrill wears off, the narcissist seeks out another new relationship to experience that high again. 

Their drive for these experiences can make it difficult for them to stay committed to one person, as they’re always looking for the next exciting thing.

5.) They Have a Sense of Entitlement

A sense of entitlement means feeling deserving of certain privileges or special treatment regardless of one’s actions or efforts. 

Narcissists often believe they are inherently deserving of more than others, including in their relationships. 

This belief can manifest in various ways, such as expecting their partner to cater to their every need without giving much in return.

Or believing they are entitled to pursue their desires outside the relationship without consequences. 

A narcissistic woman trying to justify her unfaithfulness.

For instance, a narcissist might cheat and justify it by thinking they deserve to have their needs met, no matter how it affects their partner. 

This sense of entitlement makes it hard for them to acknowledge boundaries or adhere to the commitments expected in a monogamous relationship. 

As a result, they might see their actions as justified, regardless of how it breaches the trust in their relationship.

For more helpful information like this, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse today.

My Closing Thoughts

I want to end this by thanking the community member who inspired me to write this article and by restating the five reasons it is unlikely for a narcissist to be faithful:

  • They are incredibly selfish.
  • They have an unsatisfiable need for admiration.
  • They lack empathy.
  • They are drawn to new and exciting experiences.
  • They have a sense of entitlement.

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or comments, I encourage you to comment below. Engaging with you is something I truly value and look forward to.

If you’d like to learn more about romantic relationships with narcissists, please take a look at our latest article about this topic (see below).

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About the Author

Hey, I’m Elijah.

I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years. 

I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.

Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.

Unfilteredd has strict sourcing guidelines and only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our content. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, actionable, inclusive, and trustworthy by reading our editorial process.

1.) Can a Narcissist Be Faithful? 11 Reasons It’s Unlikely

2.) Altınok A, Kılıç N. Exploring the associations between narcissism, intentions towards infidelity, and relationship satisfaction: Attachment styles as a moderator. PLoS One. 2020 Nov 13;15(11):e0242277.

3.) Can a Narcissist Have a Happy Marriage?

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