7 Reasons Narcissists Stay Friends With Their Exes

You’ve just had a nasty breakup with the narcissist, but a few days later, they come back into your life, claiming they want to stay friends.

You’re actually quite perplexed by this behavior. Not too long ago, they were full of insults toward you. They told you how awful you were, and how they deserved better.

Why do they want to be friends now? It turns out that there are several reasons a narcissist stays friends with a former partner.

Of course, in typical narcissist fashion, they have something personal to gain from being your buddy.

We’ll explore this more below. 

Top Reasons They Remain Friends 

When you’re dealing with a narcissist, everything is about what’s in it for them. Choosing to stay friends with an ex can bring benefits to the narcissist.

As such, they might buddy up for one or more of the following reasons.

To boost their ego

The narcissist’s fragile ego relies on external validation. If they keep you in their circle of friends after a breakup, they can use you to boost their ego when it suits them. 

Being able to contact you for validation, support, or some sort of favor enhances the narcissist’s self-esteem. They delight in knowing that you’re still there despite the breakup when they need you! 

For reputation management

The narcissist doesn’t want to be seen as a bad guy. So, they’ll stay friends with an ex just to keep up their reputation.

When they maintain a friendship after a breakup, it makes them look like agreeable people. This helps them keep up their sociable, kind, and caring facade. 

As a backup source of supply 

Narcissists are all about sources of supply. People who provide supply can boost the narcissist’s ego by offering validation, attention, or admiration.

The narcissist may keep you in their circle of friends so they can obtain supply from you when needed. If other love interests aren’t working out, they may need to return to you for much-needed attention. 

To maintain control

Narcissists don’t care that a relationship has ended; they still want to maintain control over you. The narcissist cannot relinquish control, because having power over others makes them feel superior.

They’ll keep you around as a friend so they still have some power over you. 

The narcissist may even try to tell you where you can go and who you can hang out with. They’ll use a guise of caring about your wellbeing, claiming that the people you’re spending time with aren’t good for you.

In reality, they’re just trying to stay in control. They don’t want you being swept away by other people. After all, they might need you for something! 

To use you for triangulation 

If the narcissist has a new love interest in their life, they need to be able to triangulate. If you’re not familiar with the term, triangulation occurs when the narcissist uses a third party to manipulate someone.

Often, the purpose of triangulation is to create jealousy so that people will conform to the narcissist’s demands. For instance, if their new partner doesn’t give them something they want, the narcissist might tell the new partner that you would do it for them. 

So, the narcissist will stay friends in case they need to triangulate with you. You need to be at least somewhat present in the narcissist’s life so that the new partner falls for the triangulation. 

In case they want to get back together

Even if they wanted the breakup, the narcissist can never be completely done with you. They need to keep you on the shelf in their basement, in case they need to dust you off and use you again.

The breakup probably happened because the narcissist felt that something better came along. If that doesn’t work out, they may need to rekindle their relationship with you.

Staying friends allows them to weasel their way back into a relationship should it suit them. 

Simply to manipulate you

Sometimes, narcissists keep you around as a friend merely for entertainment. Maintaining a friendship might allow them to string you along, making promises to some day get back together.

This manipulation serves to fuel the narcissist’s ego. They love knowing they can control you by dangling a carrot in front of your face. 

This not only provides them with entertainment. It also allows them to continue to extract favors from you while you stay committed, hoping that someday you’ll rekindle your love. 

Should you remain friends?

The question of whether to remain friends after a breakup is common but also complex. Even in a healthy relationship, staying friends after splitting can be challenging.

Maintaining a friendship can be next to impossible if someone still has feelings. Furthermore, staying friends with an ex may interfere with future romantic relationships.

The decision to remain friends after a breakup should be based on emotional readiness and mutual respect. 

If two people decide that they can cope with being just friends, and they’re prepared to respect each other’s boundaries, friendship might not be all bad.

The trouble with staying friends with a narcissist 

The problem with narcissists is that they don’t respect you, and they have no concern for your boundaries.

Staying friends with them after a breakup violates the basic guidelines for maintaining a friendship after a romantic relationship ends. 

The narcissist certainly won’t care about your emotions, and they have no intention of respecting you. In fact, they’re only remaining friends because they have something to gain from it. 

The narcissist’s underlying motives 

Remember, when a narcissist wants to remain friends, it’s because they have ulterior motives. They want to use you to boost their ego, make their new love interest jealous, or gain attention from you. 

They’re also interested in maintaining control and keeping you on the backburner if they decide you’re worthy of their love again.

Don’t fool yourself into believing the narcissist cares about you and wants to maintain a connection. If you choose to remain friends, recognize that the narcissist doesn’t have genuine motives. 

What should you do? 

The bottom line is the narcissist is keeping you in their life to use you. Given this fact, it might be best to avoid them altogether. 

If you give them the reward that is your friendship, you must set strong boundaries to protect your emotions. Don’t expect them to give you much in return; don’t fall for their games. 

When they make promises to get back together, or they try to control your time, recognize this for what it is: narcissistic manipulation. Distance from this friendship to invest in people who truly care about your wellbeing. 

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