Do you know the female narcissist cheating patterns and behaviors? Learn how to find them out beyond any doubt and handle the situation expertly.
Female narcissists are often overlooked in discussions about narcissistic cheating patterns, but they are just as capable of infidelity as their male counterparts, if not more.
A woman’s narcissistic cheating can take many forms, from emotional affairs to physical infidelity, and it can be difficult to detect.
Of course, not all female narcissists will cheat, and not all cheaters are narcissists.
Understanding the patterns of female narcissistic cheating (and what turns on a female narcissist) can help you recognize the warning signs and take steps to handle it appropriately.
Female Narcissist Cheating Patterns: 20 Signs of A Woman Narcissist’s Cheating
Female narcissists are often seen as masters of deception, outperforming their male counterparts in the cheating game.
Here are twenty signs of their cheating patterns:
- Subtle Behavioral Changes: Female narcissists show subtle changes in behavior, like wearing more make-up, buying new clothes and bags, or changing their hairstyle. Watch for unusual patterns of cheating that don’t relate to stress or daily life.
- Intimacy Pattern Shifts: Their intimacy patterns may change, and they may exhibit new bedroom habits. They may also withhold affection and mating, and play “frigid.” Suspect that they have found another person’s attention.
- Accusing You of Cheating: They accuse you of cheating and of having a “roving eye” to put you on the defensive. This distracts you from their actions and makes you overthink your possible infidelity behaviors.
- Increased Secrecy: They may start to spend more time online, keep their phone with them at all times (even taking it to the bathroom), change their phone access code, and lock their apps. They accuse you of invading their privacy when you want to know why they hide their activities. You may be certain that they are cheating on you.
- Constant Lying: Cheating female narcissists lie constantly about most of their activities, making it hard for you to trust their stories. They do not dispel your suspicions since they may believe their own lies, making arguments exhausting.
- Starting Major Fights: They start major fights to create distance or time alone. These frequent, unprovoked fights that finish with “I need time off from you” might be a big red flag for their adultery.
- Love Bombing: They may start to “love bomb” you with attention when they need something, especially if they are dependent on you for money. This can happen after a fight or when their other relationship ends.
- Unexplained Absences: They cannot convincingly explain where they have been. They might have elaborate stories or avoid talking about their whereabouts. If they mention they were with a female friend, you can be sure that this friend knows about their affair.
- Manipulating Their Affair Partner: They manipulate their cheating partner, often making them frightened by your dangerous temper. The other person, as a result, may deny the affair even with the proverbial gun to their head.
- Putting You Down: They put you down more when they have a new romantic interest. They might criticize your appearance or compare you to others.
- Conditional Attention: They only give you attention when you are “behaving.” This is their classic narcissistic technique to keep you from questioning their action or location. They may accuse you of stalking or spying on them even if you are not, in order to prevent you from doing so.
- Retaliation for Boundaries: They retaliate when you set boundaries for them, such as returning home by 8 pm or not having weekend dinners without you. They will accuse you of being controlling and try to make you feel guilty for reasons that “only God knows.”
- Habitual Lying: Cheating narcissists are prone to habitual lying. They lie unnecessarily about little things as well as major issues. They spin an entire web of deception so that you are too perplexed to prove their adultery.
- Defensive Reactions: They become defensive when questioned about adultery, refusing to even engage in a casual chat about an adulterous act on a TV show. They react in an oddly fierce way, accusing you of “wanting” or “scheming” to cheat on them, so you get self-protective rather than asking their thoughts on infidelity. (It is actually a narcissistic projection.)
- Loyalty Evasion: Narcissists do not promise their undying loyalty to you. Instead, they quickly turn the questions on you. They brush off your worries by saying things like, “I’ve had plenty of chances. Even some of your friends made a pass at me. Yet, I’m still here with you.” These comments don’t make you feel better; they just make you think twice about mentioning the issue again. make you hesitate to bring up the issue again.
- Demanding More Space: They demand more freedom and personal space, often quoting the reason as you have mentally, physically, and emotionally fatigued them. This may signal that they are getting more decisive about seeking time and pleasure with someone else.
- Odd Online Behaviors: They display odd online behavior, like creating many dubious social media profiles and flirting with others (even with you) through those. They may create dating profiles or overshare personal details about their personal desperation and relationship boredom.
- Flashy Spending: They may spend more money on flashy items to impress others. You may get surprise bills on your credit cards. This might mean trying to up their seduction.
- Indifference to Evidence: Female narcissists become indifferent when confronted with indubitable proof of their cheating. They show no remorse, blame you for “making them do it,” and even dare you to leave the relationship by threatening to file assault or nonconsensual abuse charges against you.
- Risky Sexual Behavior: Multiple partners, uncommitted sexual relationships like one-night stands, sexual aggression, and risky, unprotected sexual behaviors are often their default behaviors. Narcissistic people prefer short-term relationships over long-term ones (Reise & Wright, 1996). They might use some forms of sexual coercion to get more short-term partners (Holtzman & Strube, 2011).
Studies show that women with antagonistic features of grandiose narcissism can engage in coercion when they desire sex from romantic partners (Ryan et al., 2008). These women might use manipulation tactics, take advantage of intoxicated people, or even cause physical harm when their advances are rejected (Blinkhorn et al., 2015).
“Research suggests that narcissism is often associated with aggressive sexual behaviors in both men and women, although … our surprise finding (is) that narcissistic rivalry relates to higher levels of aggressive sexual behavior in women more than in men.”– Barnett & Millward, 2020
How To Identify A Cheating Female Narcissist
Female narcissists can be difficult to identify when it comes to cheating behavior. They are often skilled at hiding their infidelity and may even manipulate their partners into thinking they are the ones being unfaithful. However, there are some red flags and subtle signs that can help you identify a female narcissist’s cheating behavior.
Red Flags of Female Narcissistic Cheating
- Sudden change in behavior: becoming distant, less interested in spending time together, and constantly on the phone.
- Frequent lying: lying about their exact whereabouts, making excuses for absence, calling at odd times to inquire about minor things (actually to find out where their partners are).
- Increased attention to appearance: dressing up more, increased makeup use, or spending more time at the gym or yoga studios.
Subtle Signs of Their Cheating Behavior
- Increased criticism: becoming more critical or picking fights over minor issues.
- Devaluing their partner: comparing their partners with more accomplished people, belittling their achievements, or demeaning them in public.
- Shift in sexual preferences: Sudden new interests or decreased interest in intimacy needs, indicating needs met elsewhere.
Gaslighting & Denial In Female Narcissistic Cheating
- Gaslighting: Female narcissists may manipulate your emotions and perceptions, making you feel irrational or paranoid for suspecting infidelity. This psychological tactic can undermine your confidence and self-trust.
- Denial and Deflection: When confronted, they might vehemently deny any wrongdoing, deflecting blame onto you by accusing you of being unfaithful or mistrustful, further obscuring the truth and causing confusion.
Seek help from a therapist or counselor to navigate your troubled reality perception.
Gathering Evidence On A Female Narcissist Cheater
Please note that some of these methods may infringe on your partner’s privacy and can be considered invasive or even illegal, depending on your local laws. Do consider the ethical and legal implications before proceeding with these methods.
- Install home security cameras: Strategically place cameras to monitor their activities when you’re not around.
- Use geolocation devices: Attach tracking devices to their personal items, such as their car or handbag, to monitor their whereabouts.
- Monitor phone usage: Employ software to track call logs, text messages, and app usage for suspicious activity.
- Check bank statements: Keep an eye on financial records for unexplained or unusual expenses that may indicate cheating.
- Document encounters: Take note of any suspicious meetings or interactions, including date, time, and location for future reference.
Forms of Female Narcissistic Cheating
1. Emotional Cheating
Emotional cheating is a common pattern among female narcissists. They tend to seek attention and validation from others, especially from those who admire them.
They may engage in emotional affairs with multiple partners, where they create a strong emotional bond without any physical intimacy.
This behavior often leads to a sense of superiority and control over their partners, as they feel that they are desired by others.
2. Physical Cheating
Physical cheating is another pattern that female narcissists may engage in.
They may have multiple sexual partners or engage in one-night stands to fulfill their need for attention and validation.
They may also use sex as a tool to manipulate and control their partners, often leading to a sense of entitlement and superiority over them.
3. Financial Cheating
Female narcissists may also engage in financial cheating, where they use their partners’ money for their own benefit without their knowledge or consent.
They may use their partners’ credit cards, take out loans in their name, or even steal money from them.
This behavior often leads to a sense of entitlement and superiority over their partners, as they feel that they are entitled to their partners’ money.
4. Cyber Cheating
With the rise of technology, cyber cheating has become a common pattern among female narcissists.
They may engage in online affairs, sexting, or use dating apps to seek attention and validation from others.
They may also use social media to manipulate and control their partners, often leading to a sense of superiority and entitlement over them.
While not all female narcissists engage in these patterns of cheating, understanding these can help you spot the red flags of a toxic relationship that may need to be ended.
Understanding The Female Narcissist’s Cheating Behavior
Cheating is a symptom of a deeper problem in the relationship. What lies beneath are often issues like lack of communication, intimacy, trust, or security. Blah, blah, blah…
Those above are normal people’s issues, not narcissists, who will compulsively cheat and often have a long reputation for being unfaithful partners.
Research by Reise & Wright (1996) found that narcissists freely admit to seeking short-term relationships. The same study also found that unrestricted women described themselves as attractive but not ethically or morally consistent. They also admitted choosing to play different roles depending on the situation.
While not all narcissists cheat, the nature of the disorder is such that it makes them highly prone to infidelity.
How A Female Narcissist Handles Cheating Allegations
- Female narcissists plan their cheating overtures so carefully that it may take years, or even decades, for their partners to suspect they’re cheating.
- They are skilled at deceit, lying, and dishonesty, so they role-play their way through it, from playing a hapless victim to their cheating partner to blaming their true partner for not fulfilling their relationship needs.
- Even if their partner suspects it, she will create such a high-octane drama that it becomes impossible to distinguish fact from fiction.
- Ultimately, their partner may be too afraid to raise the issue again and may simply accept the things (learned helplessness).
Advantages of A Female Narcissist In Cheating
The advantages of a female narcissist include:
- Female narcissists have more options than male narcissists, such is our society. They tend to use their sexuality as a means to manipulate and control men, skillfully leveraging their beauty (using make-up to meet social standards of attractiveness) to entice new lovers. They cheat on their partners to fulfill their need to get attention, admiration, and affirmation.
- When caught cheating, they often rationalize their infidelity by crying, pleading guilty, exploiting their emotional vulnerability, threatening with gender-based harassment, or discarding their partners if they have found a better partner.
- Research shows tend to have greater emotional awareness, activity, adeptness, expressiveness, and comprehension compared to men (Croyle, 2002; Mirgain, 2007; Venkatappa, 2012). This could stem from their evolutionary edge in emotional interactions, as they needed to socialize and protect their young while men were away hunting. Female narcissists know this and use this to their advantage.
- They may leverage their emotional arsenal to manipulate and gaslight their partners more easily and effectively, using guilt, shame, and fear to maintain control. This keeps their partners reliant on the narcissist for validation and love, making it difficult to break free from the unhealthy relationship.
Why Do Female Narcissists Cheat?
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is marked by self-obsession, superiority, addiction to fantasies, and disregard for others’ needs.
This study found that people with NPD have trouble with emotional empathy, but their cognitive empathy appears mostly unchanged.
To be fair, the relationship behaviors of female narcissists largely mirror those of any narcissist, stemming from their personality traits such as limited empathy, inflated self-image, insatiable need for praise, self-centered exploitation, and a grand sense of entitlement.
So, female narcissists cheat for many of the same reasons male narcissists do.
- They may feel entitled to cheat because they believe they are special and unique and that the rules do not apply to them.
- They may also cheat to boost their self-esteem and sense of power and control over their partner.
- Female narcissists may also cheat as a way to punish their partner for perceived slights or to get revenge for past hurts.
- They may also cheat as a way to escape the boredom and monotony of a long-term relationship and to seek out new sources of excitement and validation.
Of course, not all female narcissists cheat, and not all cheaters are narcissists.
However, if you are in a relationship with a female narcissist, it is important to be aware of the potential for infidelity and to take steps to protect yourself emotionally and physically.
Dealing With A Cheating Female Narcissist
Dealing with a cheating female narcissist can be a challenging, highly confusing, and emotionally exhausting experience.
Try these strategies to deal with a cheating female narcissist:
Set strict and specific boundaries.
They will likely have a sense of entitlement, which means they believe they are above the rules and can do whatever they want without consequences.
So, communicate clearly that their behavior is unacceptable and will result in consequences.
For example, you might tell your partner that you will no longer tolerate cheating or lying and that if they continue to do so, you will end the relationship.
It is also crucial that you follow through on your boundaries and enforce consequences if necessary.
Seeking Professional Help
This is a reminder that you may not be enough on your own to handle them. Reach out to friends and family and well-wishers, but beware of the narcissist’s flying monkeys.
Seek the help of a therapist or counselor. They can provide you with the tools and resources you need to cope with the situation effectively.
They can also help you identify and address any underlying emotional issues that you may not be aware of, and give you helpful strategies for setting boundaries and managing your emotions.
If you are in an abusive relationship, dial the domestic violence hotline or a similar helpline, or the national emergency helpline.
Seeking help from a lawyer can provide valuable guidance when dealing with a cheating female narcissist. A legal professional can help you understand your rights, protect your interests, and navigate any potential legal issues that may arise from the situation.
Leaving the Relationship
If your partner keeps cheating or acting badly even after you set boundaries and get help, you might need to end the relationship. Leaving a narcissistic partner is hard but important for your happiness and health.
Make a plan when leaving. Find a safe place to stay, take care of your money, and get legal advice if needed. Rely on friends and family for emotional support and encouragement during this tough time.
“A narcissist will never be accountable for their actions. They will always blame someone else or justify their behavior in some way. You can’t change them, but you can change how you respond to them.” – Shannon Thomas
Here are 3 take-home messages:
- Stay vigilant for red flags: Recognize subtle and obvious signs of cheating, enabling you to address issues promptly and protect yourself from harm.
- Reach out to your well-wishers: Discuss your concerns and feelings with those who care about you, and get their objective opinions of your relationship dynamic and personal well-being.
- Prioritize your happiness and health: If destructive behaviors persist, consider ending the relationship and rely on friends and family for support during this challenging time.
• • •
Author Bio: Researched and reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy, an experienced medical doctor and psychology writer focusing on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy. His expertise and empathetic approach have helped many mental abuse survivors find happiness and well-being in their lives.
√ If you liked it, please spread the word.