Can Psychopaths Fall In Love: Their True Emotional Capacity

Psychopathy is a complex personality disorder marked by antisocial behavior, a lack of empathy, and an inflated sense of self-worth.

The question is, can psychopaths fall in love? It has long been debated among psychologists, therapists, and the general public.

A psychopath’s ability to love differs from that of normal people.

But how do they differ from us in their emotional capacity, meaningfulness in relationships, and the intricacies of empathy?

Can Psychopaths Fall in Love?

Psychopaths can feel love, but it lacks the sincerity and vulnerability needed to form strong romantic bonds. Their shallow affect, limited emotional range, and manipulative and controlling tendencies separate their love experiences from normal emotional connections.

They understand the value of love and may even suffer its absence, but can only learn to navigate a relationship more normally if they go through therapy.

[Psychopathy is not recognized as a formal diagnosis in the DSM-5, but it is often linked to Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). So, even when both hold a natural disregard for social norms and rules, not all people with APD are psychopaths.]

Can Psychopaths Fall In Love

Can Psychopaths Experience Romantic Love?

Psychopathic people can and often do have romantic relationships, which often lack emotional depth and psychological intimacy in the traditional sense.

Psychopaths struggle with emotional bonding. They may desire love, but cannot form the deep emotional connections necessary for having meaningful relationships.

They tend to fear intimacy and have trouble letting people get emotionally close to them.

Their limited or non-existent emotional range also holds them from experiencing love as the rest of us do. This distinction is crucial in grasping the nature of a psychopath’s relationships and interactions with others.

So, given their limited emotional range and difficulties with attachment, a psychopath’s love is different from normal love.

Consider the following factors:

Psychopathic Love Has A Selfish Motive

For psychopaths, love may be more about satisfying their needs and desires than truly caring for another person. They may view their partner as an object to be used, rather than an individual with feelings and needs of their own.

Psychopaths Can Change How They Behave In Love

While psychopathy is often considered a stable personality trait, there is some evidence to suggest that psychopaths may change under certain circumstances.

Therapy and treatment can potentially improve their emotional capacity, allowing them to experience love more normally, if not genuinely.

Emotional Capacity of Psychopaths

Psychopathy is often characterized by a lack of remorse or empathy, shallow emotions, and deception. They are often skilled manipulators, using others for personal gain without remorse.

This can make forming close emotional bonds difficult for those with psychopathic personalities.

However, psychopaths can still experience emotions like affection and romantic passion, albeit differently from people without psychopathy.

Emotional detachment and maladaptive attachment styles are also common in psychopaths, leading to challenges in forming intimate relationships and feelings of love.

Despite these challenges, people high in psychopathy can still form romantic relationships, although the qualities of these relationships may differ from those of non-psychopaths.

Impulsive and irresponsible behavior can be common in psychopathic individuals, further complicating the formation of deep connections in romantic relationships. It is important to note that psychopaths’ approach to love may involve struggles with attachment, avoidance, and anxiety.

Psychopaths are known for their emotional detachment and superficial charm. However, their emotional capacity is not entirely absent.

Shallow Affect and Limited Emotional Range

Psychopaths exhibit a phenomenon called shallow affect, which refers to their limited emotional range and superficial emotional expressions.

They may experience basic emotions such as anger, frustration, and pleasure, but their capacity for deeper, more complex emotions like love, empathy, and guilt is significantly impaired.

Manipulation and Control

Psychopaths struggle with the ability to form secure attachments and emotional bonds.

Instead, they often use manipulation and control to maintain power in their relationships.

They may easily exploit their partner’s vulnerabilities, deceive them, and play on their emotions. This dynamic is not conducive to a loving, healthy relationship built on trust and respect.

Role of Cognitive Empathy

While psychopaths typically lack emotional empathy, they may possess cognitive empathy – the ability to understand and predict others’ emotions.

They may use this skill to mimic love and affection, creating an illusion of a loving relationship.

Psychopaths And Relationships

Psychopaths have maladaptive attachment styles in relationships. Their love can sometimes manifest as an unhealthy obsession, driven by control and personal gain rather than genuine affection.

Although it may be difficult for them to show emotions, they can feel something resembling affection or even strong romantic passion.

However, they are usually unable to fall in love or love someone in the way normal people do, due to their lack of empathy and compassion, limited emotional range, and self-absorbed personality.

While they may not experience normal love, psychopaths can temporarily mimic and simulate love and loving relationships to mask their true nature.


Do psychopaths have feelings of love?

Psychopaths can have feelings of love, but their experience differs from typical emotional connections due to their limited emotional range, shallow affect, and manipulative tendencies. Their capacity for love may be more focused on selfish motives rather than genuine care for their partner.

Can a psychopath be obsessed with someone?

Yes, a psychopath can be obsessed with someone, often driven by personal desires or a need for control. Their obsession may show up as stalking (offline and online), gossiping, public image manipulation, or excessive possessiveness. It can make the psychopath quite dangerous, so the targeted person must be cautious and vigilant.

Who are psychopaths attracted to?

Psychopaths may be attracted to vulnerable people because they are easier to manipulate and control. They may also be drawn to self-assured, successful people who offer a challenge or have the resources the psychopath seeks. In the end, their attraction is driven by personal gain and dominance within a relationship.

Can psychopaths love their child?

A psychopath may feel a form of love for their child, but it is distinct from typical parental love due to their limited emotional capacity. Their attachment may be based on control or personal gain, lacking genuine empathy and care for the child’s well-being. It is a challenge for psychopaths to nurture a healthy parent-child bond.

Can a psychopath be a good person?

The extent to which a psychopath can be considered a “good person” largely depends on their individual choices and actions. A psychopath’s capacity for prosocial behavior is limited by their personality traits, such as a lack of empathy and manipulative intents. However, some psychopaths may choose to engage in socially acceptable activities or avoid causing harm to others.

Can psychopaths be depressed?

Yes, psychopaths can experience depression, despite their shallow emotional range and affect. They are not immune to mental health issues, and the consequences of their behavior can contribute to feelings of sadness or despair. They should seek professional help for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Can psychopaths cry?

Psychopaths can cry, but their tears may not reflect genuine emotions due to their shallow affect and limited emotional range. They might use crying as a manipulative tool to deceive others or elicit sympathy. Context and motives should be carefully evaluated when assessing a psychopath’s display of emotions.
Why Do Narcissists Cry? The Answer May Surprise You.

Final Words

Can two psychopaths truly fall in love? It may seem strange, or not, but two psychopaths can fall for each other.

[By the way, Trully or Truly (Or Truely): Which One Is Right?]

Some psychopaths can form romantic relationships with others with similar traits, possibly due to their mutual understanding of each other’s personalities. (Talk of Bonnie And Clyde.)

In these relationships, impulsivity, explosive rage, and dangerous antisocial behavior can lead to high attachment avoidance and anxiety.

Finally, romantic relationships between two psychopaths may need immense self-control and sacrifice to stop outsmarting each other.

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Author Bio: Researched and reviewed by Sandip Roy — a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher, who writes on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).

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