polyamorous narcissist

5 Cruel Ways You’ll Feel Destroyed by the Polyamorous Narcissist

Wondering how to deal with a polyamorous narcissist?

You are not alone.

Many online blogs and support groups for victims of narcissists have sprouted up over the years, as people have realized the damage a narcissist has done in their lives.

But, there isn’t enough material out there to keep up with the narcissist’s ever-evolving attempts to justify their many relationship crimes, the main one being infidelity. 

Narcissists are generally non-monogamous. While there are plenty of resources for victims of narcissists stating that narcissists are always cheaters and conduct their multiple sexual relationships in secret, what should you do when your narcissistic partner reveals that they are into polyamory? 

If you’re not sure what it is, polyamory means “multiple loves”. It is the notion that a person can have multiple emotionally and/ or sexually intimate relationships at one time and do so honorably, happily, and safely.

Unfortunately, when narcissists are involved in polyamorous relationships, it simply means that more people can be relationally harmed — and often be harmed even more deeply than in a monogamous situation.

Let me begin by saying that this article is not to imply that polyamory is a bad thing for those folks who follow the spoken (and unspoken) rules of engagement.  But polyamory isn’t for everyone, especially not those who are seeking long-term, stable, collaborative, and supportive relationships with a single partner. 

While your first inclination might be to join the narcissist’s love tribe to avoid losing him or her, you may want to think hard and deep about what you could be getting yourself into.  Because, truth be told, most narcissists who claim to be polyamorous are simply using it as an excuse to keep an ongoing string of lovers at their beck and call. 

And if you’ve caught your partner cheating and you suspect they’re a narcissist, the last thing you want to do is join their harem.

So how do you handle yourself when your cheating partner “confesses” they are into polyamory?  This is one of those times you’ll need to tame the compassionate part of your personality and examine your relationship with wide-eyed cynicism. 

Five Epic Reasons to Stay Far Away from the Polyamorous Narcissist

Before committing yourself to a lifestyle choice that has the potential to harm you exponentially, let’s examine five reasons why refusing to be part of a love circle with a polyamorous narcissist is a smart move.

1 – You will never come first

Most people who grapple to find balance in a relationship with a narcissist struggle, profoundly, due to the infidelities they uncover. 

People with narcissistic traits are drawn to polyamory mainly because they believe it relieves them of true intimacy and commitment, while providing them with copious amounts of attention. They use numerous relationships and drama to avoid the expectations of a monogamous relationship, and eventually cause harm and emotional damage to those who get close to them.

2 – They want the ego trip, not the relationship

True polyamorists invest a large amount of time to ensure everyone they’re involved with feels heard, cared for, and emotionally safe.  If a true poly determines that someone feels hurt by the arrangement, they typically find a gentle, caring way to end the relationship to avoid further harm to that person.

Narcissists, on the other hand, genuinely couldn’t care less about who feels hurt as long as it’s not them.  They are not willing to make compromises unless they are on the receiving end. 

Narcissistic individuals will often expect you to go along with the whole idea of their having as many partners as they want, but if YOU dare to take on another relationship, then all hell breaks loose.  They’ll accuse you of exacting revenge or doing it to “make them pay”. 

Remember, one person does not get to make all the rules in healthy relationships, regardless of the sexual tone of it.  If you are being made to feel wrong or difficult, then you are dealing with a greedy narcissist who wants to play the field, not a true poly.

3 – Beware the self-proclaimed “Spiritual Poly” who wants a ‘Sister Wives’ situation

This plays into #2.  Obviously, this applies to the male “polyamorous” narcissist. 

Curiously, there still exists a large demographic of narcissistic men who truly believe they are entitled to have as many women as they want because it’s their so-called “God-given right”. 

These men infiltrate and hide out in polyamorous circles.  They approach vulnerable poly newbies and begin grooming them for participation in their polygamous objectives.  Once you’re in their grip, they’ll start quoting old scripture and/or brainwashing you to believe this is how things are supposed to be.  You know, the whole “going back to the basics” thing.

Unless you want to be another woman’s sister and co-wife, you don’t mind your man sleeping with other women under your nose, and are willing to accept being hurt to have another person’s needs met…it’s best to remove yourself from the situation. 

4 – Prepare for triangulation on steroids

If you’re intimately involved with a narcissist and have uncovered evidence of their secret affairs, the last thing you want to do is agree to a polyamorous relationship.

The reason for this is you’ll ALWAYS be wondering about the Narcissist’s Ex or other partners whom they may be involved with at any given time…and wondering why the narcissist hasn’t chosen to be with you.  

In many cases, the new partner will be worried about you and you’ll be worried about the new partner.  Why?  Because Narcissists are cheating slimeballs, and you and the new partner have every right to be concerned.  And no, that doesn’t make you crazy, as the Narcissist loves to suggest.  

It’s not enough that most Narcissists are porn addicts and are constantly busted for surfing online dating sites, but they keep their partners perpetually enmeshed in a crazy love triangle, often promising both that they’re on the verge of leaving the other.

True polies don’t play these kinds of games.  There’s no triangulation or pitting one partner against the other.  No one is made to feel less-than.  However, the reality is that, ultimately, people who engage in polyamory must always choose who to be with and who comes first.  Is that something you want to ponder every day of your relationship?

On the other hand, if you’re being mocked because you feel uncomfortable and insecure or you’re being told how the narcissist and the other partner(s) don’t believe you’re ‘polyamory material’, that’s pure narcissistic manipulation.  And sadly, this kind of triangulation gives the narcissist a euphoric high – at your expense.

5 – The polyamorous narcissist will not honor basic agreements

If you agree to a polyamorous relationship with a narcissist, you will eventually learn that your needs don’t matter.  You’ll go into the arrangement expecting at least some level of compassion and consideration from your partner, only to realize you’ve been fooled. 

Not much different from a monogamous relationship with a narcissist, really. 

But, with a so-called polyamorous narcissist, basic needs and expectations will not be met…and can even put your health in danger.

  • They’ll have unprotected sex with their other partners, putting you at risk of contracting STDs or even AIDS
  • They’ll constantly bail out on plans you’ve made together, often without warning and mere minutes before your plans are supposed to transpire
  • They’ll expect you to go along with their rules, but should you bring someone else into your life, things will get rocky fast
  • Or, they may agree to your taking on another partner, only to fabricate a debilitating ‘devalue and discard’ later on

A dysfunctional relationship or marriage is bad for one’s health. People are often more willing to leave a bad job than they are willing to leave a bad relationship.

Toxic relationships stress the immune system, increase inflammation, damage DNA, and accelerate aging.  Symptoms include insomnia, adrenal burnout, weight loss or gain, IBS, chronic fatigue, repetitive illnesses, and fatigue, among other things.

You’ll become increasingly needy for basic relationship dynamics — compassion, reassurance, emotional support. Things you don’t want to admit you need from your partner, but the lack of which can reduce even the calmest and most collected person into a train wreck.

If you’re thinking you should stay the course even though your relationship is unfulfilling, remember that life is too short to stay unhappy when there is a way out.

You are not stranded together on an island in an episode of Naked and Afraid; you’re not the last two humans alive; the future of the world doesn’t depend on your staying together.

To what end are you sacrificing your own happiness?

If you’re ready to put yourself first and walk away from toxic love games, grab your ‘Beginner’s Healing Toolkit’ below!

Your healed life starts with one step...

Get immediate access to this FREE recovery series to receive:

  • My top resources for narcissistic abuse recovery
  • Tips to detox from painful relationships
  • Strategies to overpower your addiction to the narcissist
  • and More!

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  1. Katie

    Sorry this is soooo long. I’ve read a lot of articles on narcissism, I had to respond to this one though, because it blew my mind. Ultimately, I did try to put a gentle end to my relationship with my Narc who gaslighted, manipulated, controlled, lied, and projected in the end that I was “fake poly” only interested in hurting him. I was ripped apart when I was accused of “hurting him..” The whole reason I tried to discuss ending the relationship was because hurting him was the last thing I wanted to do. Oh my…

    That was when the mask slipped because. I was “wrong,” to end it with him. I.e him telling me how hurt he was was not designed to truly communicate about US. It was to color me wrong for having “many loves,” He never embraced the concept – figured it would be an advantage to himself. I have a paramour for 14 years (he met him) and deep feelings/love that we share. He even helped support us when my car was repossessed because my narc wouldn’t hold down a job..and I was paying all the basics. Roof, food, utilities..

    My ex Narc Just took it as an invitation to bang anything that would have him.

    When he was in discard mode he called me fake poly, and I realized he was telling about himself.. he faked poly, and was just a garden variety cheater.

    I missed most of the signs because i introduced polyamory to him. Not the other way around. I have identified as poly for ten years before we met. He attempted to deal with two paramours (women) while we were together which I encouraged until:
    1. Said she preferred one on one relationships and suggested he leave me. He told me with great glee!!
    2. An older woman, she got bored because, well trauma bonding and lovebombing aside. Narcissist are pretty boring once you’ve heard all their canned stories.

    I never tired of his charms. I don’t mind a “messy” relationship because in my experience “authentic human,” is messy. I was devalued because I grew tired of demands for sex; him not working; blowing up on people in service positions; I was discarded when he began sabotaging my professional life when I had to work with other men. Who I had no interest in.

    I took him back, because the discard was so brutal and he came back six weeks later, just wanting to make it right. But really never tried. silent treatments were reprieve from his incessant attention seeking. So I let them pass on their own. I took his “cheating,” behaviors; I.e one night stands, parking lot blow jobs, neighbors who waited until I wasn’t home to approach, and customers of our family business as “opportunities,” for us to understand each other’s relationship values / sexual needs better. He took anything I said on these incidents as a confrontation because he did not want to be accountable for the “loving,”part the way poly people truly are. Then he took it all for my weakness because I would let it all drop, since I never could not wade through the demeaning defensive nonsense word salad that he specialized in, that was well … exhausting.

    In the end, he attempted to isolate me from friends, by starting arguments with two of my friends who were friendly with a woman he was grooming. The weird part is he introduced my friends to her to try to convince her to sleep with him. Then he triangulated with the same woman calling her a manipulative bitch; (she dint sleep with him) and told her never to call him again. Then the next week he was glad they were friends; and I was just being controlling by pointing out that based on his interactions with her perhaps she was not a good fit for us.

    I never knew about narcissists before this relationship. The final straw was he began introducing “punishment,” as a theme for our sex play and it seemed a not so veiled threat. That day I suggested we figure out how to go our separate ways with the least hurt to everyone. He said fuck you, I’m leaving and after six years he was gone and living with another woman by the end of the week. Eight months later I’ve been reading articles, and realizing how abusive it all was. Including “using “ my existing love’s ability to help support “ us.”
    The daily reality shaper “arguments” were the worst and made me think I was losing my mind.

    No. Poly ain’t for everybody. But it is fulfilling without narcs in the picture…

  2. Pingback: The Narcissist’s Secret Playground – Burning Man - Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed

  3. With all the info I have read on Narcs,I have never found info on adult narcs being puppetted, and manipulated and coming first in any relationship with their narc parent. The triangle relationship you enter not knowing that you are the third wheel with the parent never loan anyone else and the narc sibling to. I had believed this to be a European way of life no offence intended to anyone, As they were Croatian. I am gone from that relationship, thank God. But to deal with the pack was so much harder than just the one, I have had a few unfortunately. But because I thought some of it was culture it kept there to long.

  4. S

    Spot on! Thanks for sharing! This was so completely true about Narcissists!

  5. A.

    How?? It’s been going on for 5 yrs. I even reported him but my manager thinks he can do no wrong. what hurts is how cold and emotionless he is. He has hooked up with other co workers here but they ended up leaving b/c of how much he affected their work enviornment. Right now…he has another target. How do I know?? B/c he hasn’t given me the time of day and is constantly texting ‘someone.’ I know his patterns well and yet it still stings me every time. He is a very very sick human being.

  6. Forrestforthetrees

    OMG!!!! I feel like we dated the same LOSER!!!! He would always say he ‘values’ privacy and doesn’t need to share his personal life w anyone (me). Yet, he would try to convince me we should have sex and shouldn’t feel bad about it bc he doesn’t sleep around or with ‘just anyone.’ He has stood me up multiple times, cancel plans b/c he was busy working on his car, Jenny, and can’t drive. We work together! It’s miserable b/c he comes at me strongly for several months then w/o warning stops talking to me, texting, or looking at me; then starts talking to other co workers about drama w this “new girl.” This lasts for a couple of months then the cycle repeats again and again and again.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Sounds to me like you need to cut this guy loose and let him stir up drama elsewhere. You may even want to start looking for other employment.

  7. Lorie

    Hold on to your faith. She was never your soulmate. God has great plans for you.

  8. Lorie

    Been there done that! We’d barely been married a year, but my husband didn’t call 911. He packed his clothes & drove 5 hours back to his dope & skanks. My neighbor took me to ER. He’s the perfect loving husband when he’s in jail!

  9. Jane

    James, I felt heart broken for you when I read your words. I am a Christian too and although I do not claim to know what God demands I do know this……He is the Alpha and the Omega….the Beginning and the End….He knows what His children need to experience to be in His will. Maybe you were God’s way of working in her life to bring about His will and an offer of grace and redemdemtion? Forgiveness is what God provides for us……but forgiveness does not equal reconciliation, change, or sainthood. The bravest thing I have ever done is forgive someone who never asked for forgiveness and did not care if it was granted. Is this not what God did for us? Trust her Father loves her and is making a way for her and move on. I can only speak this because my Father has asked the same of me. Trust He knows what they need and loves them enough to provide it. No contact is hard and the pain can be excruciating, but we were designed for greater things. The fact that you went no contact proves you have a greater destiny that no one can destroy. My prayers are with you, James. You are right where you are suppose to be…..in God’s hands. Blessings………!

  10. Rosa

    Omg. This is so real. I was involve with a man like I didn’t know these types of men exist till I met him. He said that I should not worry about this other woman. Convince me but I didn’t buy. Something in his lack of empathy for other women and me felt put off. Though I agree at first, I was wait for an convenience excuse to get out and make sure he gets scared coming back to me. I did that 17 days ago and I feel better now that I want to heal myself completely. This is a long overdue article. Thank you.

  11. Ian Fullerton

    Wow I thought it was only my Ex that was like this.
    You are giving me hope everyday

  12. Kathryn

    Thank you for this post! Narc abuse is bad enough, but throw in sexual coercion, and this adds another layer to add to recovery. I’ve read Narcs are generally exceptionally good in bed. A manipulation to make you stay. **some content may be a little graphic**

    My Narc would brag about being able to last all night…. and he could. In the beginning, I enjoyed our intense ‘sessions’. As time went on, he would want to add a little ‘spice’. Innocent experimentation between two people deeply in love and I was willing, if not excited about the prospects. As time went on, we no longer EVER had a ‘normal’ session of ‘love-making’, in fact, if I did not agree to his requests, he would become angry. There reached a point I was not willing to cross and then sex became something I tried to avoid or would even cringe at the thought.

    I learned that men who could last ‘forever’ generally masturbate multiple times per day, which was his case. Of course, porn was not nvlved. If I didn’t want to participate, he would get angry and say, “the least you could do is sit there naked while you use your hand (edited).” Like I owed him to be submissive.

    I began to feel there was something wrong with me because I no longer wanted sex, and he would back that up, putting me down and telling me something was wrong with me, and on some occasions, threatened to go get a hooker if I did not participate in his twisted games. One day I finally told him to go ahead, because NOTHING I would do or participate in would please him…. more and more and more.

    I found out after seeking therapy that this is a form of sexual abuse. Coercion… to keep the peace, or threatening cheating, or worst, physically harming their victim, rape. For those seeking an Order of Protection, there doesn’t have to be physical harm, just another thing to add to your list.

    This is one of the least talked about abuses, and I thank Kim so much for bringing this up!!!

  13. Mary

    In the beginning when I first started no contact I wasn’t sure if I was going to survive. Its been 6 months of no contact and on Easter he showed up at my door. I somehow had a feeling that it would happen and I didn’t answer the door. It was as though I was warned and was able to pass the big test. I felt a sense of pleasure knowing that he did not get the satisfaction this time around.
    I still have times of stress being unsure if and when he might show up because I blocked his number on my phone. My question to you is what do you do if the narcissist does show up and I open the door not realizing it is him? What if anything do. I say, or do I just close the door and say nothing?

    1. Kim Saeed

      I’m sorry, Wendy. I know exactly how you feel. If you aren’t in any healing programs right now. I’d love for you to join us in The Essential Break Free Bootcamp. I think it will help you tremendously.


      Kim XoXo

    2. Kathryn

      Wendy…. I can empathize 100%. I attempted suicide three times. One particular, I cut my wrist, laid down, and waited for sleep. I thought my XN had left, but he never actually did, found me, and called 911. I think that is about the lowest you can get without being successful.

      I applaud you for reaching out!! You can’t do this on your own. I have sought counseling, started medications, and began my internet search. After a while, I came across Kim’s blogs and I really have to say she is a part of the reason I am still around. In counseling, I found out about No Contact. I didn’t take it seriously and it took two years and Kim’s help to realize that to get my life back, No Contact is a MUST!!

      I still suffer residual issues, but I’m Narc free and on the road to recovery. I wish you the best and just know you are one of many… this is an epidemic. Keep reaching out and reading!!!!

      Love & light,

    3. Ian Fullerton

      You can do it Wendy.
      I have spent many sleepless nights in Tears, but pulling through.

  14. Julie

    This is the FIRST time I’ve seen an article about what it’s like to love a narcissist who claims he needs an open relationship style. Thank you.

    My Nex did every single one of these things but you forgot to specify the lying and holding of secrets under the guise of ‘privacy’. He would repeatedly lie/withhold the things he had been doing in order to triangulate. Such as asking a friend for nudes and then trying to put us into a car together for a day, not telling me that he had done so. Not acceptable in any style of relationship.

    He wouldn’t reveal that he had a partner, not acceptable in any style of relationship but it’s MUCH worse in an open style.

    He hid behind the idea of it in order to fulfill his desperate need for drama and attention. The silver lining is that I now know that if I were ever to try that again, the base would have to be beyond rock solid before even talking about it. I doubt I ever will though, because the whole thing has been tainted in my eyes.

    1. James

      This is really totally gut wrench, there are moments when I just wanted to let go of life, just to stop the pain. It’s bad enough to come to the realization that the person that I’ve Loved for the last 15 + years as done nothing but lie to me and deceive me and cheated on me. However, I can get over the majority of that the thing that makes me sick to my stomach is the knowledge of the sexual infidelity. Where we had both pledged to be celibate until we were married I find it on the only one that honored that pledge and because of that even though it’s hard to go no contact this is the one thing that will always and forever more keep me away from this person. My Christian beliefs demand that I forgive her and I have no problem with that the thing that bothers me is that I know deep within myself that I will always love her but never have any kind of relationship with her again. This is so very hard.

  15. Judy

    Thank you for writing this article. I’m sure many of us can relate to this. I feel like finally someone understands. The other thing a narcissist does is gaslight you into doubting yourself ,saying this is all normal and there is something wrong with you if this isn’t something you like, or that you are just overly jealous. I caught my husband signing up for a “dating” website membership (it pretty much advertised “get some sex tonight”) . When I confronted him he said he was just curious. Oh RIGHT! Then I logged into his email account and saw all the numerous porn that him and his buddies were passing around and bragging of their tales of flying girls to Thailand to have 3 ways. One of his

    1. Kim Saeed

      I’m sorry, Judy. You definitely deserve much better.


      Kim XoXo

  16. Katy

    This is long. I apologize for that, but really, even if nobody reads it, I feel better having wrote it out. It is partially sharing my story but mostly venting, getting something out that I have never told anybody, ever. I am still married to this man. Separated, but somehow still struggling to get to no contact. After writing the below, it seems incredulous that I am still “stuck.” And even with all that I have written, it is just the tip of the iceberg in how my abusive marriage to a narcissist has played out over the last 12 years. How I wish I’d have read something like this 12 years ago. Although it probably wouldn’t have helped. I was so enmeshed in my relationship that everything was shaped for me by my husband, who I blindly followed. Now that I look back I see how meticulous, careful and conniving my husband was in getting me to participate in being a part of the “swinging” lifestyle. I know that it is different from polyamory, but I related to this article so much. It feels like a knife in my heart thinking about how I did participate, for years, before slowly backing out and eventually refusing to be a part of it anymore. The first time we engaged in an encounter with other couples (an experience in which the whole time I felt so out of place and uncomfortable and exposd as if I were standing in the middle of a football stadium of people naked-a feeling that, year after year never went away), on the way home my husband held my hand (something I often asked for but rarely got) and gently told me how the experience made him feel so close to me. Oh how I soaked that up. The feeling of comfort I got from him being kind and gentle like that somehow erased the ugliness of the night for me. From there “we” participated in many, many events and parties, and, the worst part, regularly, very regularly, invited strangers into our home for sex. I never got used to it. I always hated it. He knew I hated it and ignored that fact. If I protested too much he would tell me how this was something he was going to have in his life and if I didn’t want to be a part of it I could divorce him. One time when I was talking to him on the phone on my way home from work, he got so angry about me saying no, I didn’t want to invite a strange couple over that night, that he told me not to come home and had changed the locks by the time I got there. I coped by getting as drunk as I could to get through the sex, and set boundaries that I thought were clear and firm but that he crossed over and over and managed to talk his way around it and blame me for not being clear enough. Twice I was so drunk that I passed out in stranger’s homes and when I woke up after searching for him found him in bed having sex with other people. Once I was raped. I didn’t know it at the time; I blamed myself-how could I not? I couldn’t tell anybody either. My participation in the lifestyle was shameful to me (I do not in any way judge anybody else who finds it enjoyable and fulfilling within a healthy relationship) and nobody knew about it, only my husband. When I told him about the rape, he accused me of wanting it, and mocked me about it for years after. Reading this now, thinking of others reading it, it seems so ridiculous, so sad, so infuriating that I would settle for this, put up with this treatment. I want to be able to go back in time and grab myself by the shoulders and shake as hard as I can shouting, “Don’t you see how he is doing this to you?” He had me so terrified that he would leave me that I did anything and everything at his beck and call. Even this. And still I struggle to cut the final ties. Ugh.

    Kim, thank you so much for this article and for all of your writings and work. I hope that this article reaches many, and helps others avoid going through the pain and self-hate and fear that I went through. I continue to follow you and read and re-read everything you have in hopes that soon I can be strong enough to finally let go so I can fully move on.

    1. A.


      I hope you see this comment. This gave me chills and had me in tears. I can relate to your pain. I understand completely. Even though my story is different, the feelings, the shame, anger, and regret are the same. Please know you are heard and validated. In time you will be able to cut ties with this person. It isn’t easy, I know I’ve been there. Keep reading blogs like this, journal your experiences to remember b/c it’s easy to forget or be blind to reality. Most importantly, work on forgiving yourself – when you forgive a part of yourself you will start to reclaim some of your power.

  17. Peter

    Amazing revelation reading this. On the 3rd occasion of getting back together with my Narcissist girlfriend she brought up the subject of polyamorous relationships totally out of the blue whilst we were out on a date. I had never heard the term and wondered why she had brought this up. Maybe she was testing the water or maybe she was pursuing the idea ?

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Peter…Probably laying the groundwork for when you discover she has been cheating and/or seeing other people. This is their new thing now that the concept of polyamory has gained some traction.

      1. S

        Yes, this is exactly what my ex-narc was trying to pull over me! The whole polyamorous love thing where I was supposed to accept his ex girlfriend, whom he was cheating with, and engage in an open love orgy. When I resisted, he told me I was a high-maintence, controlling neurotic! Thank God I had the strength to end it and it now has been five weeks
        Thank you Kim for your daily emails! I look forward to them every day.

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