Leaving a Narcissist? Here’s What to Expect When You End Your Affair
Are you thinking of leaving a narcissist you’ve been having an affair with? Ending any romantic relationship can be challenging, but when it involves a narcissist in a secret relationship the process becomes uniquely complex. Narcissists are known for their manipulative and self-centred behaviour, making the conclusion of an affair particularly difficult.
In this blog, we’ll explore what you can expect when ending a relationship with a narcissist so you find guidance on your journey to peace and healing.
If you’re ready to open up about the difficulties you’ve had ending an affair, let’s connect on a discovery call. These 15 minute calls are totally free—it’s simply an opportunity for you to open up about your story and find support, no commitment required.
How to Protect Yourself When Leaving a Narcissist
One thing it’s important to remember when breaking up with a narcissist (or someone with narcissistic tendencies) is that they don’t handle rejection well. Understanding these dynamics can help you prepare mentally and emotionally to cut off contact for good—and reduce the potential you’ll be subjected to psychological harm.
Narcissists lack empathy, so the whole breakup is about them and their needs—without taking you and your needs into consideration. Narcissistic married men have a constant need for admiration, and show a tendency to manipulate others for personal gain. So when you end your affair with a narcissist, they will probably have an intense reaction and try various tactics in an attempt to regain control over you which can leave you feeling like it’s safer to stay in the affair than to face ending the affair.
Leaving a married narcissist in your rearview mirror may not be easy, but it will be worth it to free yourself from the unhealthy relationship dynamics you’ve been exposed to. Moving on from your narcissistic affair partner means you get to fully exhale, find freedom, discover yourself again, and rebuild your self esteem.
Prepare for resistance when ending your affair.
Narcissists are notorious for their resistance to accepting rejection.
As you prepare to end the affair, be prepared for a range of reactions—from attempts to guilt-trip you into staying to grand displays of self-victimisation.
Keep this in mind and stand firm in your decision and prioritise your well-being.
If you need support, reach out to trusted family members, friends, or a group of women who understand what you’re going through.
“I thought we had something special; I can’t believe you’re throwing it all away.”
“I can’t do it without you”
“You’re leaving because you found someone better, right?”
“I can’t handle this pain. If you leave, I don’t know what I’ll do to myself.”
Expect an emotional rollercoaster.
The aftermath of ending an affair with a narcissist can be an emotional rollercoaster. You may experience a mix of emotions, including relief, guilt, anger, and sadness. Understand that these feelings are normal and part of the healing process.
And remember: Just because a breakup is painful doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong decision. Sometimes doing the right thing for yourself is tough emotionally too.
Allow yourself the time and space to process them without judgement. Activities like meditation, journaling, creating art, or finding relief through my YouTube videos can serve as an outlet during the emotional ups and downs. Remember: You have every right to fully move on from your affair partner (AP) on your own timeline.
And it’s completely understandable if you feel bad, guilty or doubt your decision but that doesn’t mean you should tolerate a relationship that you can’t fully feel safe for you to be in.
Establish clear boundaries.
Setting clear and firm boundaries is essential when dealing with a narcissistic ex affair partner. So when you break up with your AP, you can expect him to push your boundaries and attempt to get what he wants: Back into an affair relationship with you… where he can love you and then discard you on his fluctuating schedule.
If you decide to go no contact with your affair partner, his attempts to reach you and get back together may intensify.
You can’t do anything to prevent this behaviour, but you can stick to your boundaries and the consequences you’ve set alongside them.
Be unwavering in your commitment to healthy limits, and if needed consider seeking support from an Affair Recovery Coach to help reinforce and keep you accountable to these boundaries.
Expect gaslighting and manipulation.
When your affair with a married narcissist is over, he will sense he is starting to lose control over you. In an attempt to gain it back, expect him to employ his skills of gaslighting and manipulation to distort your reality in hopes you’ll begin to doubt yourself and your decision.
He’ll say something like: “I can’t believe you’re treating me like this. You don’t think I find this hard, I’m locked in with kids, a wife, a house, it’s not like it’s easy to end a marriage. Can’t you just work with me a little.”
It’s not always easy—especially because he knows exactly what to say to make you question yourself or feel insecure. Stay grounded in your truth, and consider documenting your experiences and emotions. You can always fall back on your own words when you need a reminder of all the reasons you chose to end your affair.
Know you’ll need to rebuild your self-esteem.
Ending a relationship with a narcissist can take a toll on self-esteem. It’s crucial to engage in self-care and surround yourself with supportive individuals who uplift and validate your worth.
Rebuilding self-esteem is a gradual process, but with time and effort, you can emerge stronger and more resilient.
Signs a Narcissist is Done With You
How do you know when your affair with a narcissist is really over? When it comes to ending it with someone who has narcissistic tendencies, there are usually signs to indicate they are moving on too.
- Lack of Interest: When a narcissist is moving on, they may show a sudden lack of interest in your life, activities, or concerns. You can almost feel them become disengaged, indifferent, and cold very quickly. Sometimes they will even ghost you or block you on all platforms without a proper goodbye.
- Increased Criticism: When you’re dating a married man with narcissistic tendencies, it’s not uncommon to experience a harsh, judgmental attitude from them. But when the affair ends, they may become even more critical of you. This will often show up as constant fault-finding or belittling behaviour. This criticism is a reflection of their character, not you. Don’t let this manipulative tactic get the best of you. It’s an extremely unhealthy way of creating space when one doesn’t know how to communicate healthy boundaries.
- Idealisation of Others: When a narcissist is moving on from an affair, they might start idealising other people or sources of attention—like other women. They have a deep need for ongoing validation and admiration, and if they’re not getting it from you they will pivot to find it somewhere else, but don’t be fooled as this is often an intentional way of buying back your attention (narcissistic supply).
- Sudden Discard: When narcissists no longer have your attention and focus, they might suddenly end the relationship without warning or explanation. Even when it’s for the best, this sudden discard can leave you feeling confused and hurt. They can also immediately block you or ghost you after their wife finds out. This can be incredibly painful because often you may have had years or daily contact completely stopping without notice in an instant.
Just because a narcissist has left you doesn’t mean it’s easy to move on. The gaslighting, manipulation, and hurtful actions and words can still sting when the affair ends, no matter who leaves who. That’s why when the affair ends it’s more important than ever to reach out for support and find people who can validate and encourage you.
It’s Time to Move on From Your Narcissistic Affair Partner
Leaving a narcissist and cutting ties for good might be a process—and that’s okay. It takes time to pick up the pieces and move on from a narcissistic affair partner, even when you know you deserve better.
Getting through this difficult time can be alot easier when you have the right support. Plus, it significantly decreases your chances of going back to him in moments of weakness.
As an Affair Recovery Coach, I’m here to provide guidance, validate your experiences, and offer coping strategies to help you move on with your life in a positive way.
Book a free discovery call with me and let’s figure out your next steps together. You’re not alone.
More resources for helping you end your affair relationship: