Narcissism is in the word of the decade.
These days, it’s colloquially and clinically bandied about, often and incorrectly.
But we’re not here to shake fingers at people using the word haphazardly.
Instead, we’re jumping into the conversation about abnormally self-absorbed folks, specifically regarding what happens when two narcissists date each other.
Do narcissists get along with other narcissists?
And if so, why?
It’s an exceptionally complicated dynamic, but we’re making sense of it all below.
Are Narcissists Attracted to Other Narcissists?
The hallmark of narcissism is socially unacceptable self-absorption. Other traits include:
- Charm: Many narcissists ooze charm when first meeting people. It’s the honey they use to trap their prey.
- Grooming: Appearances matter to narcissists, who spend a lot of time grooming.
- Superior Status: People with NPD believe they’re superior to others.
- Delusion: Ultimately, narcissistic personality disorder(NPD) is about living under the illusion that you’re superior to the folks around you.
People with the condition present on a spectrum — of which there are different types.
For example, someone may have narcissistic tendencies but not a full-blown narcissistic personality disorder. Furthermore, there are two main types of NPD: “vulnerable” and “grandiose.”
People who fall into the former category are more needy and sensitive, the latter more extroverted and domineering. Both focus on preening, peacocking, and pathologically concentrating on their needs and wants.
In terms of initial attraction, it makes complete sense that two similar personality types would find their way into each other’s arms — (or radar crosshairs, depending on how you look at it).
After all, they both probably look good, communicate similarly, and spy a potential asset in the other.
Do Narcissists Fall in Love?
Contrary to widespread assumption, narcissists often wind up in relationships with one another. Sometimes, it’s a matter of choosing among the willing — who are often similarly inclined.
Other times, folks with self-involvement issues naturally fall for each other (for reasons we’ll explore more extensively below).
It’s also common for two covert narcissists in a relationship to become very attached because they share similar traits. They may not know they’re narcissists but are attracted to each other’s self-absorption and status anxiety.
But falling in love and staying in love are different things. It’s rare for a narcissistic pairing to last long-term.
For starters, both parties need loads of attention and prioritization, making it impossible to find the balance required for a healthy partnership.
Secondly, narcissists thrive on pulling new people into their web, so infidelity is always a huge issue.
Two Narcissists in a Relationship: 15 Reasons They Are Attracted To Each Other
So why are many narcissists attracted to each other? Moreover, what is the relationship dynamic of these personality types? Let’s dive in.
1. Genuine Bonding Is Not Required
Most people want to bond with their significant other in deep and meaningful ways. On the other hand, Narcissists are fine with empty declarations of passion and other simulacrums of Deep Love™.
Resultantly, they don’t expect the other person to open up in a genuine capacity, which feels very comfortable in the relationship’s early stages because narcissists don’t appreciate being questioned.
2. They Have Similar Personalities
Like attracts like, so it stands to reason that narcissists attract other narcissists. Since they think, act, and philosophize in similar fashions, getting into a relationship is easy.
Furthermore, their priorities align. But again, this pseudo bond only lasts so long.
3. They’re Prone to Narcissistic-Tolerance Condition
“Due to perceived similarity,” explains an article in Psychology Today, “narcissists are more tolerant and fond of narcissistic peers.”
The piece explains that narcissists who “gravitate towards each other” may reflect “a viewpoint of narcissism as less objectionable than most people would perceive.”
In other words: Narcissists are more accommodating to other narcissists’ quirks. The concept is known as the narcissistic tolerance theory, and researchers are fairly certain it’s a verifiable phenomenon.
4. They’re Comfortable Manipulating and Being Manipulated
Narcissists aren’t known for their depth. It’s their shallowness that stands out. If there’s recognition to be had, narcissists want it — and they’ll go to great lengths to get it.
Malignant striving is different from ambition. The latter is a reasonable drive to succeed present in large swaths of the population; the former involves manipulating others at all costs for the sole purpose of raising one’s profile.
When two people with strong NPD traits join forces, they see nothing wrong with using each other for self-serving ends. And since both are willing, it can become a point of attraction.
5. They Derive Their Supply From One Another
Those with NPD require endless praise, recognition, and coddling to feel good. This medley of needs is known as the “narcissistic supply.” Without it, they’re erratic, reckless, and, in the worst cases, dangerous.
Two narcissists may be drawn to each other because they’re each willing to fill the other’s supply tank to receive the same in return.
6. Their Avoidance Tendency Levels Match
Most narcissists have avoidance tendencies, meaning it’s more comfortable to ignore things than to face them.
In some ways, it’s a survival instinct, and their goal — conscious or subconscious — is to shut down all memories, emotions, thoughts, and ideas threatening to vex or challenge their sense of stability and superiority.
Narcissists are less likely to demand deep, transparent conversations with their partners. After all, doing so can be uncomfortable, and they always look out for #1 — themselves.
Essentially, two narcissists in a relationship will gladly brush everything under the carpet together, which feels safer to them.
7. They’re the Perfect Mix of Narcissistic Types
Above, we touched on the polar ends of the NPD globe: vulnerable and grandiose. In short, the former is more outwardly insecure, and the latter is more convinced of their superiority.
To be sure, most people with the condition are a mix of both and fall somewhere in between.
Sometimes, however, the cosmos align and unite two narcissists who complement each other’s type perfectly.
It usually involves someone with mostly vulnerable tendencies pairing with someone who’s smack in the center of grandiose and vulnerable.
In these situations, vulnerable narcissists lap up the initial charm and love-bombing of center-straddling versions, who likewise appreciate the more introverted parties’ admiration and attention.
Chaos can ensue when the more grandiose person unleashes something harsh on the vulnerable one, setting the latter into an emotional tailspin.
8. They’re Fine With Transactional Relationships
“Rob” wants a beautiful woman on his arm for the office holiday party. “Kate” desires a traditionally handsome man to highlight across her social media accounts.
Both Rob and Kate fall on the more severe side of the narcissistic spectrum, so neither is overly concerned about anything besides the facade. Ultimately, they serve each others’ purposes like a hand-in-glove.
This hypothetical scenario represents one of the more common narcissist pairing types.
9. They’re Both Very Attractive
Sure, not all narcissists are naturally stunning, but 99.9% of them put a lot of time, money, and care into how they look.
As such, they’re the best possible-looking versions of themselves, putting them toward the head of the aesthetic pack.
Since they value facades, narcissists prefer to date attractive people and find each other. But the couple that preens and grooms together don’t always stay together.
10. They Idealize One Another
Have you ever watched a narcissistic “influencer couple?” Their content is an exercise in performative fronting and glaringly devoid of self-awareness.
Sure, occasionally, they throw up an “I have troubles too” post to garner attention, but that’s all it is: a naked ploy to regain the spotlight. And 9.9 times out of 10, the alleged trouble is some variant of a backdoor brag.
We bring up the archetype because they’re the poster children for narcissists who idealize one another for personal gain. (What’s truly scary, though, is how many people fall for these types.)
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11. They Have Similar Emotional Patterns
A thread running through the reasons narcissists fall in love is similarity, and the same holds for this one.
Since both parties operate on the narcissism abuse cycle — idealization, devaluation, discard, and hoover — they each know what’s going on dynamically and react accordingly to feed their partner’s ego and keep the cycle intact.
They may even use similar speech patterns and mannerisms, bonding them further.
12. They Feel Safe in the Idea of the Relationship
Two narcissists in a pod may feel emotionally safe. Again, since they both abidingly observe the narcissistic abuse cycle, they can carry out the ritual without judgment or censure.
Moreover, narcissistic couples tend to fall in love with the idea of the relationship, which they see as a wonderful reflection of themselves. In other words, they shine by being together in what they think appears like an ideal pairing.
13. They Love Instant Gratification
When two narcissists land in each other’s…egos, things usually get serious quickly.
People with narcissistic personality disorder enjoy a deep appreciation for instant gratification.
They want what they want when they want it, and that’s that! To them, waiting isn’t something that superior people, such as themselves, should need to deal with.
14. They’re Both Status Obsessed
It’s not wrong to strive for things you want, but narcissists take materialism to another — wholly obnoxious — level.
Their identities are entirely wrapped up in what they own, where they vacation, and how they’re perceived. Resultantly, it’s not unusual to discover narcissists living above their means.
In terms of attraction, though, this mutual craving for outwardly facing success can draw people together.
15. They Love the “Power Couple” Spotlight
Pathologically self-focused people crave the limelight. Many insist that they don’t — especially vulnerable narcissists — but when the flood light flicks on, they want to be the one standing underneath it at center stage.
When two narcissists get together who value the idea of a “power couple,” they’ll see each other as a step that will boost their profile.
Problems When Two Narcissists Marry
While people with strong self-absorbed traits can fall in love, problems will eventually arise. It’s inevitable.
After all, when two deeply self-centered people with little-to-no self-awareness compete for attention and prioritization, things get dramatic quickly.
- Can’t Provide Genuine Care and Support: NPD is a terrible condition brought on by childhood trauma. That’s legitimately sad, and it’s good to have compassion. But because of their psychological leanings, narcissists cannot genuinely care for and support other people. It’s always about them. As you can imagine, it’s not a quality that promotes a long-lasting relationship.
- Explosive Fights: After the initial infatuation stage wears off, the fights will begin. Narcissists need to be center stage, which makes it difficult when two are vying for the same spotlight.
- Isolate Each Other: Since they need constant attention, narcissists may isolate each other from their loved ones. (Whether their “friends” and families mind is another discussion for another day.)
- Lots of Cheating: Remember what we said about instant gratification above? Well, that intense need leads to a whole lot of cheating on both sides when narcissists marry.
We said we wouldn’t lecture anyone about misusing the term “narcissism.” But we should point out that there are levels to the condition. In some ways, we all display some narcissistic traits. (If you’ve ever taken a selfie, raise your hand.)
So try not to haphazardly label people who are simply behaving in a 21st-century framework.
But if you do collide with a real-deal self-centered personality type, take steps to protect your mental health, emotional stability, and self-worth.