One couple walks into a restaurant and notices a mirror. They both look at the mirror ignoring everything else around them and only looking to find a place with the best view. Once they sit at the table, they enjoy the attention (which they falsely mistake for admiration) and quickly use their smartphones to check their reflection.
If you thought that these two peacocks aren’t having a great time, you are wrong. At least that’s what research says.
The aforementioned couple who looks for their reflection in the mirror may not have a diagnosis of clinical narcissism but definitely displays some narcissistic characteristics. Together, they are a better match than they would be when either one of them is coupled with someone who is not a narcissist.
And of course, we all know someone who has many narcissistic traits. Maybe you enjoy their company because of their charm, spontaneity and the excitement they bring to your life, but when it comes to love and relationships, they are not long-term relationship material unless paired with someone as narcissistic as them.
One research by Grosz et. Al (2015) have discovered that people who are attention and sensation seeking often get attracted to individuals who have a very high need for narcissistic admiration. Moreover, they found that narcissists are often attracted to people who have the same or a similar level of narcissism.
But, how long do these relationships last?
It is often thought that narcissism is connected to short-term relationships as opposed to relationships who are headed to marriage. However, in spite of this belief, research finds that narcissists could see other self-centered individuals as potential marriage prospects or long-term partners.
DeHart and Peterson (2014) write that narcissists tend to look for partners who are admiring and perfect because they believe that a ‘perfect’ partner will enhance their own self-esteem, like a sparkly new accessory.
Therefore, a connection between two narcissists could be considered as a match made in heaven when neither of the partners is ever caught without makeup, dressed shabbily, or not on their A game.
However, while there are many shallow, snobbish, and superficial narcissists out there, there are also individuals with narcissistic traits who are nice, generous and kind people. Their grandiose tendencies and desires are perfectly tempered with their many positive personality traits.
Finally, if you aren’t a narcissist you will probably struggle to make a relationship work with one. The most stable relationships are with those who are humble, focused on the partner, and authentically grounded.
[i]Igor Kardum, Jasna Hudek-Knezevic, Nermina Mehic, and Melanie Pilek, “The effects of similarity in the dark triad traits on the relationship quality in dating couples,” Personality and Individual Differences 131, 2018, 38-44.
[ii]Michael P. Grosz, Michael Dufner, Mitja D. Back, and Jaap J.A. Denissen, “Who is open to a narcissistic romantic partner? The roles of sensation seeking, trait anxiety, and similarity,” Journal of Research in Personality 58, 2015, 84-95.
[iii]Minna Lyons and Alyson Blanchard, “‘I could see, in the depth of his eyes, my own beauty reflected’: Women’s assortative preference for narcissistic, but not for Machiavellian or psychopathic male faces,” Personality and Individual Differences 97, 2016, 40-44.
[iv]Julie Longua Peterson and Tracy DeHart, “In Defense of Self-Love: An Observational Study on Narcissists’ Negative Behavior During Romantic Relationship Conflict,” Self and Identity 13, no. 4, 2014, 477-490.