Narcissistic Boyfriend: 28 Signs & Ways to Deal with a Narc Guy or Dump Him

It’s not you, it’s him! We’ll tell you how to recognize a narcissistic boyfriend and deal with him before he breaks your heart.

narcissistic boyfriend signs

Are you dealing with a narcissistic boyfriend and wondering what to do?

Love is a complicated thing. We all hope to be swept off our feet by prince charming and fall into a perfect relationship just like that. But the reality of love is rarely that straightforward and never as clean and simple as it seems in the movies.

Unfortunately, there will be no prince arriving on your doorstep to whisk you off to a better life *which is a major bummer*.

Real relationships are wonderful. But they also take work, empathy, compromise, and communication. And if your boyfriend is a narcissist, these critical relationship-building blocks are almost impossible.

[Read: 36 clear signs you’re in a narcissistic relationship and the most common patterns]

What is a narcissist?

You’ve probably heard the word ‘narcissist’ over the last couple of years or so, as it tends to be tossed around liberally. Some people call anyone they don’t like a narcissist, so it can be difficult to determine what the word actually means. 

Narcissism is actually a personality disorder. This mental condition presents itself as extreme self-involvement, a pathological need for praise, entitlement, an aggrandized view of oneself, and an inability to empathize with others.

This personality disorder exists in degrees and requires a mental health professional to diagnose. 

Because it exists on a spectrum, you cannot say “all narcissists do this or that.” However, it is generally true that narcissists struggle with interpersonal relationships, especially romantic relationships. 

What is narcissism?

A narcissist’s entitlement and inability to empathize make them terrible partners. Narcissists never admit to wrongdoing, and they’re likely to spend their hours gazing in a mirror, adoring their reflection.

Narcissism is more than just arrogance or pride, it is a pathological belief that they are simply better and deserve to be treated as such. [Read: How to quickly spot narcissistic traits in a relationship]

So when a narcissistic boyfriend blows into your life, you are in for a bad time. At first, you may be drawn in by what you perceive as confidence.

The narcissist can switch on the charm for a while, and may even “love-bomb“—which is wooing a potential partner with over-the-top gifts and proclamations of love. 

But love-bombing is not love, and a narcissist can never love anyone more than themselves. The truth is that narcissism comes with crippling self-doubt and insecurity, ironically causing the narcissist to be both needy and entitled.

They will put you down while simultaneously demanding praise, they will berate you for flirting with others and then cheat on you. When you catch them, they will twist the situation until it’s somehow your fault. 

The narcissist cannot accept blame or take accountability for their actions, and no one can maintain a healthy relationship with a boyfriend like that. If all of this sounds familiar to you, you might be dating a narcissist. [Read: The 20 right reasons to walk away from someone you love]

Is your boyfriend a narcissist?

As previously stated, narcissism is a personality disorder. Just because your boyfriend is selfish or arrogant, doesn’t necessarily mean he is a narcissist *though those attributes are perfectly reasonable reasons to dump him anyway*.

Only a mental health professional can diagnose a personality disorder. But a good test is this: How does your relationship with your boyfriend make you feel?

Do you find that your boyfriend always puts you down? Always yelling at you, scolding you, blaming you, and generally making you feel like shit? That’s not love. Love isn’t supposed to make you feel bad. Love isn’t supposed to hurt your feelings. 

If your boyfriend makes you feel bad, it doesn’t matter if he is a narcissist or not. All that matters is that you kick him to the curb and find someone who can love you the way you deserve.

To help you make up your mind, let’s look at the surefire signs of a narcissistic boyfriend. If you recognize them, it might be time to move on.

Signs of a narcissistic boyfriend

1. Too intense too soon

Narcissists think that the whole world’s population exists just to serve them. Everybody else is an extra in their movie – they’re the star.

So if you date a narcissistic guy, he’ll want to become your boyfriend super quickly. Too quickly. He’s the main character in this rom-com, so you’d better hurry up with being his romantic interest, whether you want to be or not.

2. Oversharing early in the relationship

This one goes along with a narcissistic boyfriend’s too-much-too-soon approach. Urban Dictionary defines Main Character Syndrome as a type of self-centered worldview where an individual has “un-accounted-for confidence and the belief that they are the main character of the world” and “should get away with everything”, just like the hero of a story.

Your narcissistic boyfriend’s Main Character Syndrome means that he thinks you need to be his emotional sponge and soak up his backstory ASAP.

[Read: How to stop flea-bagging & create a path to an amazing dating life]

3. Excessively vain

A narcissistic boyfriend thinks he’s the most perfect man ever to live. Handsome? The most handsome. Clever? The smartest. Talented?

You betcha, he’s the best at everything he ever did. And if you don’t happen to agree that he’s worthy of praise, he won’t be happy about it at all.

4. Obsessed with success

Not only is a narcissistic boyfriend *supposedly* the best at everything he does, but he’s also got to be the very best.

Thriving on competition and success is a clear symptom of a narcissistic personality. If your boyfriend makes everything a competition – and a very serious one at that – he could be a narcissist.

5. He doesn’t support you

When he has an important event coming up in his life, you do everything you can to support him. Say he’s trying to get a new job. You help him pick out a suit, coach him through practice interviews, and drop him off at the office.

But when it’s your turn to get some support, he’s nowhere to be seen. A narcissistic boyfriend doesn’t do anything to support you. Everything in his life is about himself. He’s always the star, and you’re just his backup singer.

[Read: Narcissistic supply – how to control a narcissist and cut their power]

6. Your personal life takes a back seat

Speaking of selfishness, a narcissistic boyfriend will expect you to live his life and forget yours. That means your personal life will take a back seat, as you drop everything that doesn’t revolve around him.

Suddenly, you’ve lost all the friends that you didn’t meet through him. You don’t do your solo hobbies anymore – only the things that he’s into. If it seems like you don’t have a personal life anymore, it might be because you have a narcissistic boyfriend.

7. Stonewalling

Stonewalling is a refusal to communicate or cooperate. When you bring up something your narcissistic boyfriend doesn’t like, he’ll turn to stone. It’s a developed version of the silent treatment, designed to shut you down and make you feel powerless.

If your boyfriend deliberately blanks you when you do or say some little thing he doesn’t like, he might be a narcissist. We don’t mean getting upset when you’ve made a legitimate mistake; that’s just being human. We mean depriving you of attention as a method of punishment or control.

8. Gaslighting

We’ll discuss this one more later. Gaslighting is manipulative behavior narcissistic boyfriends use to make you think you’re crazy.

They want you to think that their reality is true and that all of your misgivings are meaningless. If your boyfriend tries to control your mind like this, it’s a sign that he’s a narcissist.

9. Manipulation

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation, but not all manipulation is gaslighting. There are other methods narcissists use to control their victims, too. Maybe your boyfriend often talks or tricks you into doing things you don’t want to do. This can be in sex, in life, or anywhere at all.

Narcissistic boyfriends also use guilt as a weapon to manipulate their partners. Your boyfriend might make you feel bad about doing certain actions to make you change your behavior. That’s a sign he’s a narcissist.

[Read: What causes narcissism? The facts and theories behind narcissistic behavior]

10. Control Issues

Narcissists are incredibly controlling. A narcissistic boyfriend will want to constantly dictate where you go, what you do, how you speak, and how you dress…

Remember when we all found out that Kanye liked to pick all Kim’s outfits for her? That’s because he’s a famous narcissist.

A narcissistic boyfriend will have issues with control in general. He’ll become very aggressive when you do things that make you uncontrollable, and might even put you down to make you easier to dominate.

11. Risky and impulsive behavior

Narcissists are often known as “big” personalities. This means they like attention, and one of the easiest ways to get it is with risky and impulsive behavior. They’re only thinking of themselves, too, so they don’t care how much they make you worry.

If your boyfriend is constantly engaging in risky and impulsive behavior, it might be because he’s a narcissist.

He thinks he’s invincible, maybe even above the rules other people follow. So dangerous actions like heavy drinking, drug use, gambling, unprotected sex, and spending money he can’t afford are second nature to him.

So can a narcissist *ever* be a good partner?

You might be thinking of a time when your boyfriend wasn’t so narcissistic. He made you think he was Mr. Perfect, so surely that guy must still be in there, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes, narcissists can trick you into thinking they’re good partners.

[Read: Am I a narcissist? 17 signs of narcissistic personality disorder]

Narcissistic boyfriends don’t display their abusive tendencies at first. If they did, no one would stick around long enough to become their girlfriend.

If you feel that you have been duped by a narcissist, don’t be too hard on yourself. They are master manipulators, eroding your defenses over time. 

You won’t likely even realize he is a narcissist until it’s too late. Instead, you will think it’s your fault. Why? Because he will make you think that way. This emotional abuse technique is called “gaslighting” and it is a favorite among manipulative, narcissistic boyfriends.

What is gaslighting?

Fun fact, the term “gaslight” comes from an old Hollywood movie from 1944, called ‘Gaslight’. In the movie, the husband tries to make his wife think she is insane by constantly changing the brightness of the gas lights in their hallway.

We now use the term as a description of manipulative behavior in a relationship that’s designed to destabilize the other person.

Gaslighting is the act of manipulating someone into actually wondering if everything is their fault, sometimes outright lying. The goal is to make the victim question their own reality and perception. So, your narcissistic boyfriend will never be a good partner, no matter what he’s made you think.

[Read: The signs your lover is gaslighting and messing with your mind]

Effects of being in a relationship with a narcissist

Spending too long in a relationship with a narcissistic boyfriend isn’t just dangerous for your perception of reality. It’s dangerous for your self-esteem, mental health, and happiness too.

Firstly, you need to acknowledge that verbal and emotional abuse can leave scars as deep as physical abuse.

If you constantly tell somebody they’re not good enough and make them feel bad about themselves, that person will suffer from low self-esteem. It can take years to overcome the effect dating a narcissist can have on your perception of yourself.

Secondly, it’s important to know how narcissistic personality types affect the dynamics of a relationship. Narcissists are incapable of seeing their partner as a full and complete person.

This means they only see you in terms of how you can fulfill their needs – whether that’s their need for attention, affirmation, or sex. It’s inevitable that you’ll start to feel used, and this can make you very unhappy.

[Read: Narcissism signs – 73 red flag traits of a true narcissist]

Thirdly, living with a narcissist is like living with an unexploded bomb. Narcissists are naturally extremely jealous and controlling.

So, if you do something “wrong” in your narcissistic boyfriend’s eyes, he can lash out with cutting comments or dramatic behavior. This means people who’ve had narcissistic boyfriends can find it difficult to trust future partners and become terrified about making mistakes for fear of backlash.

Overall, being in a relationship with a narcissist will leave you unfulfilled, lonely, and taken for granted. You might start to feel that your needs aren’t important, because you’re used to them being ignored.

How to deal with a narcissistic boyfriend

So, how do you cope with the effects of dating a narcissist? Of course, the best thing you can possibly do is dump him. But not everybody can do that immediately.

Here are some strategies you can use to survive in the meantime and deal with your narcissistic boyfriend.

1. Don’t idealize your partner

Your partner was never, ever Mr. Perfect. That person was fake and made up to manipulate you. Always remember that your narcissistic boyfriend is a flawed, problematic individual that’s causing you a lot of pain. Don’t fall into his trap.

2. Establish clear boundaries

Even if you don’t express these boundaries to your partner, you need to establish clear boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable for you.

Some of these boundaries might be physical, like not allowing your boyfriend to touch you in ways you’re uncomfortable with. Some might be mental, like not allowing negative self-talk.

3. Communicate clearly

Remember, a narcissist can’t understand that other people have feelings.

So, if you want your narcissistic boyfriend to be aware that you’re upset, you need to communicate that to him very clearly. Don’t bother trying to drop hints, cause he’s incapable of getting them.

4. Avoid arguing

He’s not worth your energy. Don’t let your narcissistic boyfriend sweep you up into an argument, and avoid situations that might lead to conflict.

You need to conserve your emotional energy if you want to survive. So, don’t let him leech it from you with petty fights.

[Read: Narcissistic relationship patterns – the 7 stages you’ll face]

5. De-escalate fights with empathy

Of course, you can’t always avoid conflict. Sometimes arguments happen. However, if you do fight, always de-escalate things with empathy.

We understand how frustrating it can be to be with somebody who doesn’t understand when you’re hurt. But don’t try and show him in an argument – you can’t! Instead, let things cool off and try some clear communication.

6. Don’t take things personally

It’s not you, it’s him. When your narcissistic boyfriend behaves badly, don’t take it personally. It’s his personality disorder that causes problems in your relationship, not anything you’ve done.

When you find somebody who really loves you, you’ll understand that there was never anything wrong with you at all.

7. Focus on self-care

The most radical thing you can do to deal with a narcissistic boyfriend is to practice self-care. Do things that make you happy. That can be the typical things like long bubble baths, or just some me-time to focus on your own hobbies. If he won’t show you compassion, you can always show it to yourself.

8. Trust your own sense of reality

This is super important if you want to combat gaslighting. Don’t let your narcissistic boyfriend warp your sense of reality. Trust your gut to tell you what’s true because most of the time you’re right.

[Read: Why do we fall for narcissists? Here’s what makes them so addictive]

9. Seek professional guidance

It’s not a sign of weakness if you get professional help. A therapist can show you how to cope with your narcissistic boyfriend, and coach you until you’re ready to leave him. They’ll also be able to give you support to recover your self-esteem.

10. Reach out and connect with others

Isolation is one of a narcissist’s most powerful weapons. Narcissistic boyfriends will often try and cut you off from your friends and loved ones because it makes you easier to control.

It’s a lot easier to gaslight somebody if there’s nobody connecting them to reality. So, make sure you stay connected.

11. Learn about narcissism

Educate yourself about what a narcissist is. There are tons of resources online about what causes narcissism, its effects, and how to cope with it. If you arm yourself with the right information, you’ll be better equipped to deal with your narcissistic boyfriend.

12. Know when it’s time to leave

Above all, the best way to deal with a narcissistic boyfriend is to leave. If you stay in a relationship with him, you’ll cause yourself emotional and psychological damage.

Eventually, he could even start to warp your sense of who you are. So be strong, and know when it’s time to leave.

[Read: Malignant narcissists – 48 scary traits, causes and what makes them so bad]

How to dump a narcissistic boyfriend

Ending a relationship with anyone is hard. It is especially hard with a narcissist. Because you believe you have seen their good side, you want so badly for them to change and to understand that they are hurting you. 

The problem with that is narcissists don’t empathize. They have a set of rules for how others are supposed to treat them, and a different set of rules for how they treat others. In short, your narcissist boyfriend knows that his behavior hurts you. He just doesn’t care. 

This is where your friends and family come in. Listen to them. They’re not criticizing your boyfriend because they don’t like him, or just to be mean. They’re telling you because they can see what you can’t. 

You might even have a nagging feeling from time to time, but he’ll rope you back because he can sense you’re on the brink of leaving. Read on to learn how to break the cycle and ditch your narcissistic boyfriend for good.

[Read: Hoovering and the games narcissists play to suck you back in]

1. Break the cycle

Once you realize what you’re dealing with, you need to be brave. While there are many treatments for narcissism, the truth is that those who suffer from it often don’t believe there is anything wrong with them and are unlikely to seek treatment. 

If you have a narcissistic boyfriend, the best thing you can do is walk away. Break that cycle and realize that you deserve better. How do you break the cycle? You cut them off. Walk away, take your things, and do not go back.

That is going to be the hardest and most important part—do not go back. [Read: How to set boundaries with a narcissist and weaken their hold over you]

Immediately after, you will start to regret it and wonder if you did the right thing. You’ll lay awake at night, but you are in the right here. Get a friend to steer you through those first couple of days to a week or even a month, and as your strength grows, the sense will come to you and the clouds will clear.

2. Cut him off

Delete his number. Block him on social media. If you have friends who might help him find you, cut them off too.

Keep your boundaries and do not listen to his begging or insults as you walk away *they will come, especially when he realizes you’re serious*. Most of all, do not give him any way to find you.

That is how you cut off a narcissistic boyfriend. It might sound brutal, but there is a high likelihood that your narcissistic boyfriend will react badly to being dumped, and you need to get yourself out of harm’s way.

After all, narcissists cannot handle any criticism. Your now ex may try to win you back, and then he might resort to threats or even violence. While not every narcissist is violent, you need to protect yourself from this possibility. Cut him off, and don’t look back.

[Read: How to get a narcissist to walk away from you using the grey rock method]

3. Talk it out *with someone else*

If you have been in a relationship with a narcissist for a long time, you have likely downplayed their terrible behavior to friends and family. Or maybe you haven’t, and you have been broadcasting your miserable relationship for all to hear. 

Either way, now is the time to talk it out with a close friend, or even better, a therapist. While you are ignoring your narcissistic now-ex-boyfriend, discuss the whole terrible relationship with someone you can trust.

By laying it all out without your ex clouding your vision, you can finally see your relationship for what it was: terrible. [Read: 16 signs of narcissistic abuse you may have overlooked]

4. Have hope for a better future without him

A breakup with someone who is bad for you is still a breakup. After you cut off your narcissistic boyfriend, you are likely to feel lonely, lost, and confused. You may question if you did the right thing. You may wonder why doing the right thing feels so bad. 

In order to heal, you have to have hope. It feels bad now, but it won’t forever, and it would feel a lot worse to waste more time pouring love into someone who is incapable of loving you back the same way. Hope for a better future, and it will come. [Read: Feeling unappreciated? 31 satisfying quotes to empower you to move on]

5. Forgive yourself

When you are in a relationship with a narcissistic boyfriend, there is a lot of blame. They will blame you for everything. If you catch them texting their ex, they’ll twist it around to make you the bad guy for going through their phone. Suddenly you are begging for forgiveness for being cheated on. 

When you finally get away from your ex, you will probably continue that cycle. You’ll blame yourself for the relationship, blame yourself for not ending it sooner, etc.

If you take nothing else away from this list, know this—blaming yourself is only going to make the situation worse. So forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself for falling in love with your ex and putting up with their bad behavior, no matter how atrocious.

Try to remember that you were wronged, and you are not at fault for falling in love with the wrong person. Think of this relationship as a lesson, not a failure or a mistake. You learned a lot about yourself and about what to not put up with in the future.

[Read: How to break up with a narcissist]

Can a narcissist change?

When your narcissistic partner is begging you to take them back, they will likely promise to change. This can be tempting, but please, do not fall for that trap. The truth is that your narcissistic boyfriend will say anything to get you back into their clutches, and it’s all a lie.

[Read: Powerful counterblows to hurt a narcissist hard]

Sometimes, guys can be narcissistic because they’re young. The world is engineered to benefit men – this is a structure known as patriarchy – and young men are the biggest winners in this.

Living in a world geared around you can give you a pretty big head, and it makes a lot of young guys quite narcissistic.

This might mean that your narcissistic boyfriend could settle down and change over time. However, most narcissists form their narcissistic behavior when they were children. If your narcissistic boyfriend hasn’t grown out of it by the time he’s got to this age, why would he grow out of it in the future?

You deserve to find happiness with someone who loves and respects you. That will never happen with a narcissist. So, as difficult as it may seem, you need to break the cycle.

Move on with your life, and soon you will wonder why on earth you put up with that behavior for as long as you did. 

When to seek professional help

Sometimes a narcissistic boyfriend can be too much for you to handle on your own. There are certain scenarios when you need to seek professional help.

Experts like psychologists and therapists can help you recover from the effects of dating a narcissist, and learn to love in a healthy way again. You don’t have to let your bad relationship hurt you in the long term.

But remember, it’s not your responsibility to “fix” your boyfriend. Narcissism isn’t an illness, it’s a personality trait. So every bad thing he does to you, and every bad feeling he makes you feel is his problem to solve. No amount of therapy will stop him from being a bad person.

Learning about narcissism should be a tool you use to keep yourself safe, not to “treat” him. Once you’re armed with this knowledge, a therapist can give you strategies to help you break things off with him safely.

Most importantly, your narcissistic boyfriend should never be violent or abusive towards you. Domestic abuse is a crime.

So if you ever feel like you’re in danger, or fear for your safety, contact a professional. You can even go to the police if you feel his behavior is a threat to you.

[Read: Early warning signs of a bad boyfriend to watch out for]

So, to answer the question, how do you deal with a narcissistic boyfriend? You dig deep and you leave him. Lovely lady, you deserve so much better.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...