New Study Offers Surprising Insight Into Why You Fell for a Narcissist

Written by Angela Atkinson

If you have ever been involved with a narcissist in a toxic relationship, you already know how fast and hard you might’ve fallen for him or her – but did you know that there’s actually science behind the “why” of it all?

So, we already know that narcissists are great at being the center of attention in most cases. That’s why they’re highly represented in the entertainment industry and politics – not to mention that they tend to be quite comfortable as entrepreneurs. Plus, they statistically have more sexual partners than those who aren’t classified as narcissistic.

According to a new study done on a group of speed daters, led by Emanuel Jauk, an Austrian researcher, people rate narcissists as more attractive and more dateable.

The Study

Jauk and his team gathered a group of 90 people who participated in three evening events, for a total of 691 dates over the course of the events.

Prior to the speed dating events, the participants each took online surveys which covered basic demographics, Big Five personality traits and their sexual orientation – plus, whether they had “dark triad” traits, including:

During the surveys, participants were asked to rate the physical attractiveness of the other participants, on sight alone.

When it came time for the 3-minute dates, participants were asked to rate each person they dated, including how much they wanted to be friends with the person and whether they’d be interested in pursuing a short-term relationship (such as a one-night stand, FWB or “booty call” – and finally on whether they’d be interested in a longer-term relationship.

Then, researchers asked them to decide whether they’d like to see that person again – and if they did, authors of the study decided that category would be described as “actual mate choice.”

While 48 percent of the ladies got a “yes” from the men, only 30 percent of the guys got the same from the women.

So what did they find? Well, there are three big reasons for the unexpected preference a majority of the people had for their preference of narcissists for dating.

Self-Perception: Narcissists Think They’ve Got It Going On

Essentially, because narcissists believe they are attractive, they are more confident in their ability to attract others, and they are more likely to expect that they can make others want to have sex with them. This makes the narcissists APPEAR more attractive than they might otherwise.

So yeah, physical attractiveness is important in any relationship – but obviously when you date a narcissist, there are SO many other issues to consider – the demands they put on their partners for attention and the constant need for “new and exciting” – which often leads them to cheat. Not so good.

The Love-Bombing

Since narcissists are all about making everyone think they’re super-awesome (moreso than everyone else, at least), better looking, smarter and generally more interesting than everyone else, they also tend to tell whoever they date how amazing they are – and maybe they do it because they think it reflects well on them – but I think it has a lot to do with the love bombing phase of the narcissistic relationship cycle.

That cycle is ugly – check out my videos and articles on love-bombing here or videos on my YouTube channel.

The Charisma of It All

Whether we like to admit it or not, a lot of narcissists are super-smooth and people (who don’t know them well) find them charming and charismatic.

What’s more appealing than someone who has lots of friends and who loves to be the l fie of the party? And when they want to PAY ATTENTION TO YOU? Gosh, you feel pretty amazing.

But what about the next steps in the cycle? The devalue and discard phases, for example, which tend to happen right about the time you decide you’re in love with your soulmate – who turns out to be an attention-seeking vampire who sucks you dry before moving on to the next victim in his long line of relationship hell. And, if you’re unlucky enough to marry one – you’re on the long road to becoming a primary narcissistic supply.

Interesting stuff, right? So what do you think? Are you dealing with a narcissist? Have you dealt with one before? Do you think this study is on-target? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below.

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  • Angela Atkinson

    Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own. Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves. Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.

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