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Am I Married to a Narcissist? 26 Signs, Effects & Narc-Spouse Must-Knows!

Getting married might seem like one of the best decisions of your life. But sometimes you might be wondering if you’re married to a narcissist.

am i married to a narcissist

Ever walked down the aisle thinking you’ve found ‘The One,’ only to realize you might have just married the ultimate selfie enthusiast? Yep, if you’ve ever whispered to yourself, ‘Am I married to a narcissist?’, you’re not alone.

What Exactly is a Narcissist?

Before we dive into the world of ‘I, Me, and Myself,’ let’s first break down what narcissism really means from a psychological standpoint.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder *NPD* isn’t just about being a little too into oneself.

It’s a genuine condition where people feel a heightened sense of importance, crave constant admiration, and might struggle to step into someone else’s shoes *emotionally speaking*.

And guess what? Not everyone who’s a tad self-absorbed has NPD. At its core, it’s characterized by a profound need for admiration paired with a distinct lack of empathy towards others. [Read: 10 Main types of narcissism and 18 steps to treat and help a narcissist change]

It’s not just about being self-absorbed or seeking attention occasionally. Rather, it’s a consistent pattern of behavior that affects interpersonal relationships profoundly, especially in the intimate setting of marriage.

Signs You’re Married to a Narcissist

So, maybe you’re sipping your morning coffee, glancing over at your spouse, and wondering if those quirks are just endearing little habits or signs that you’re married to a narcissist.

Here’s a guide to help you discern. [Read: 46 Secrets to deal with a narcissist, break them, and handle their petty games]

1. Lack of Empathy

You come home from a challenging day at work, eager to offload and find comfort. Instead, you’re met with a vacant stare or an impatient shift in topic. This isn’t just about not “getting” a bad day.

Being married to a narcissist might mean frequently feeling emotionally unsupported or unseen, especially during the times when you crave understanding the most.

2. Grandiosity

Celebrating achievements is one thing, but when every minor accomplishment is heralded as groundbreaking, it can feel overwhelming. [Read: 20 Non-negotiables in relationships you shouldn’t ever compromise on]

Imagine your spouse making a basic dinner but expecting applause as if they’ve just won a culinary award. This constant need for acknowledgment can be exhausting in a marital setting.

3. Need for Admiration

Everyone appreciates a kind word, but if you find yourself constantly having to commend your spouse for basic acts, it’s a concern.

If every morning feels like a required appreciation ceremony for their attire choice or another mundane act, being married to such a narcissist can feel like running a perpetual compliment marathon. [Read: Attention-seeker – 25 signs, behavior, and psychology of drama-loving people]

4. Sense of Entitlement

Shared household chores? They might always have an excuse for why they shouldn’t contribute. Maybe they believe their tasks are more demanding or that their time is more valuable.

This disproportionate sense of entitlement can strain the partnership and equitable sharing that marriage often demands.

5. Manipulative Behavior

Think about those times you’ve been subtly nudged to agree or those occasions when you found yourself always compromising. [Read: Duper’s delight – how to read the signs and avoid getting manipulated]

This isn’t just about being flexible in a marriage; it might be a sign of being consistently maneuvered into fitting their narrative or desires.

6. Jealousy Overdrive

It’s one thing to have an occasional flash of envy when you mention a coworker.

But if regular, innocent interactions lead to in-depth interrogations or unwarranted suspicions, you might be navigating the turbulent waters of being married to a jealous narcissist. [Read: Jealousy in a relationship – how to accept, deal, and overcome it in love]

7. Passive-Aggressive Communication

The dreaded silent treatment after a disagreement or those snide under-the-breath comments can create an atmosphere of tension.

Communication is key in any marriage, but with a narcissist, messages might often be cloaked in passive aggression, making honest dialogue challenging.

8. Never Wrong Syndrome

Remember that dispute about who missed paying the utility bill? Even with evidence, they might spin the tale, painting themselves as blameless. [Read: Narcissistic victim syndrome – what it is and how to escape the mess]

Being married to a narcissist can mean constantly juggling these skewed narratives, where they’re perennially the victim or the hero.

9. One-Way Conversations

If your dinner chats are more soliloquies about their day with minimal interest in yours, it’s concerning. Marriage is about mutual sharing, but with a narcissist, the scales might always tilt in their direction, leaving little room for your voice.

10. Comparison Game

Those casual mentions about how someone else’s spouse did something remarkable can wear you down. [Read: Narcissistic abuse – what it is, types, 58 signs, and ways they hurt and break you]

Constantly being compared, especially unfavorably, can strain the marital bond. This need to compare might stem from their urge to maintain an upper hand or a sense of superiority.

11. Emotional Highs and Lows

One day, they’re the epitome of affection, and the next, they’re distant and cold. This erratic shift in emotional availability, especially without clear reasons, can be a distressing aspect of being married to a narcissist.

12. Withholding Affection

The withholding of love, whether physical or emotional, as a tool for control or punishment is manipulative. [Read: Emotionally manipulative boyfriend – 24 BIG signs and reasons to leave this man]

In a marriage, this can create a feeling of walking through a minefield, never sure when warmth will be given or retracted.

13. Gaslighting

Those moments when you’re made to question your recollection or feelings, despite being certain. This subtle twisting of reality, making you feel uncertain, is a potent tool in the narcissistic arsenal, undermining the trust foundation in a marriage.

14. Lack of Boundaries

Finding them rummaging through your personal stuff or making decisions that impact both of you without consultation breaches the trust and privacy expected in marriage. [Read: 29 Secrets to set boundaries with a narcissist and typical ways they’d react]

This blatant disregard for boundaries signals a lack of respect and understanding.

Effects on the Other Half *aka, YOU* When Married to a Narcissist

Being married is like joining a club with its unique set of challenges and rewards. But when you’re married to a narcissist, it can sometimes feel like you’ve unwittingly signed up for an advanced course in emotional endurance.

Let’s break down how this might manifest.

1. Self-Doubt

Ever found yourself replaying conversations in your head, wondering if maybe you’re the one overreacting? [Read: Overcoming self-doubt – 26 signs and best ways to stop doubting yourself]

When “Is it me or is it them?” becomes your daily mantra, it’s a sign that your self-assurance is taking a hit. This constant questioning can erode your confidence, making you second-guess even the most straightforward decisions.

2. Walking on Eggshells

When planning a simple outing or discussing mundane topics feels like navigating a minefield, you’re likely treading lightly.

Being constantly alert, trying not to trigger an outburst or upset your narcissistic partner, can be draining. It’s like trying to maintain balance on a seesaw that’s always tilting unpredictably. [Read: Walking on eggshells in your relationship? 18 Signs and how to fix it]

3. Feeling Unseen

Remember those moments when you’ve shared a personal achievement or sorrow, only to be met with indifference? Being in a relationship where you feel more like an accessory than an equal partner is heartbreaking.

Marriage is about partnership, but when one partner consistently overlooks the other’s needs or feelings, it can lead to a profound sense of loneliness.

4. Chronic Stress

The tightness in your chest, the restless nights, the anxiety about the next disagreement – sounds familiar? Being married to a narcissist can mean always being on guard, leading to chronic stress. [Read: Relationship stress – how it feels, 38 signs, and the best ways to fix it as a couple]

This isn’t just the usual marital spat stress but a deep-rooted tension stemming from the unpredictability of your partner’s reactions.

5. Emotional Exhaustion

Giving more than you receive, especially emotionally, can be tiresome. If you find yourself constantly trying to appease, comfort, or win the approval of your partner, it can lead to emotional burnout.

Just like a phone battery constantly on low, you might find your emotional reserves depleting faster than they recharge. [Read: Emotionally exhausted? How it feels, 41 signs and reasons why you’re drained]

6. Loss of Personal Identity

Have your hobbies, passions, or dreams taken a back seat? Over time, you might notice a shift where your life’s focus becomes predominantly about managing your spouse’s needs and moods.

This can result in a gradual distancing from your sense of self and what once brought you joy.

I’ve Diagnosed My Spouse *Unofficially, of course*! Now What?

You’ve had those moments, sitting across the dinner table, pondering if you’re truly married to a narcissist. [Read: 35 Crucial must-knows to live with a narcissist, survive, and not fall apart]

While your thoughts might not come with an official psychology degree attached, they’re valid, and navigating this terrain requires some tools.

Let’s equip you.

1. Education is Key

Knowledge truly is power. Diving into trusted resources can offer insights into the complexities of NPD.

While not every self-centered act tags your spouse as a narcissist, understanding the disorder’s depth can guide your interactions and reactions when married to a potential one. [Read: 73 Red flag narcissism signs and traits of narcissist to read them like a book]

2. Seek Professional Help

It’s easy to wear the hat of an armchair psychologist, but getting a professional’s perspective is invaluable.

Couples therapy isn’t just for those on the brink; it’s a tool for understanding and growth. And remember, just because you see some signs doesn’t cement the diagnosis. Let the experts weigh in.

3. Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries

Being married to a narcissist might sometimes feel like a never-ending tug of war. Setting clear boundaries about what you’re comfortable with is essential. [Read: 23 Secrets to set personal boundaries and guide others to respect them]

It’s not about shutting them out but defining the playing field’s lines, ensuring mutual respect and understanding.

4. Self-Care

Amidst the whirlwind of managing a relationship with a narcissist, it’s easy to forget the person staring back in the mirror.

Prioritizing self-care is not selfish; it’s survival. Whether it’s a hobby, time with friends, or just moments of solitude, remember that amidst the chaos of being married to a narcissist, YOU matter. [Read: How to take care of yourself emotionally and avoid falling apart]

5. Consider Your Options

Every marriage has its ups and downs, but there are limits. If you consistently feel devalued or stressed, it might be time to evaluate the relationship’s longevity.

Seeking guidance, whether through therapy or trusted confidants, can offer clarity when the path ahead seems foggy.

6. Build a Support Network

No one should walk this journey alone. Friends, family, or support groups can provide a listening ear, share experiences, or offer a fresh perspective. [Read: True friendship – 37 real friend traits and what it takes to be a good, loyal one]

Being married to a narcissist can feel isolating, but remember, there’s a world of support out there waiting to embrace you.

The Final Word

Navigating the intricacies of being married can be a challenge, even more so when you suspect you might be married to a narcissist. It’s important to remember that every relationship has its quirks, and no one is without their unique traits.

However, when these behaviors start to affect your well-being, it’s essential to be informed and proactive.

[Read: Narcissistic husband – 45 signs, bad effects, and the best ways to deal with him]

If you ever find yourself pondering if there’s something off in your relationship, or that maybe you’re married to a narcissist, don’t dismiss those feelings. Instead, arm yourself with knowledge, look for the signs, and remember that understanding and self-awareness are crucial.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...