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My Narcissistic Ex-Husband

Reflections on loving and living with a Narcissist.  Let our experts guide you toward the healing power of moving on and allowing yourself some time in the spotlight.  Get advice on healing from his behavior and finding yourself again.

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If you are or have been married to a sociopath or a narcissist, you’ve probably experienced "love bombing," whether you realize it or not. Love bombing is a common technique that narcissists and sociopaths use to gain and maintain control in a relationship.

In the Beginning

When you first meet, the narcissist uses love bombing to speed up your relationship. A normal relationship might unfold over a period of months, but narcissists typically work hard to hasten this process. The narcissist will spend hours on the phone, text you multiple times a day, and even take time off of work to be with you constantly. You tend to see it initially as his infatuation and deep love for you—love at first sight, soul mates, or whatever you’d like to call it. You get the feeling that you’ve known him for years, rather than days or weeks. You feel protected, understood, and safe.

All the Stuff He Says

Narcissists are nothing if they aren’t predictable. A narcissist in the midst of the early love-bombing phase has a set of classic lines that don’t change much from one narcissist to the next.

  • You understand me like no one else ever has.
  • I feel like I’ve finally found my soulmate.
  • I’ve never felt like this before.
  • My ex was a narcissist -- she was toxic.
  • I feel like I can finally trust someone again.

Blah, blah, blah.

It is the same stuff, meant to make you feel special and irreplaceable. You know how you’ve warned your kids not to take candy from strangers? Well, this is the equivalent of that.

When You’ve Had Enough

That moment when you’ve had enough, and you decide that you are done, he’ll pull the love bomb technique back out to try to keep from losing control. It doesn’t matter if he has been verbally abusive or physically abusive; the pattern will be the same.

  • I am sorry. I will change.
  • I never meant to hurt you.
  • I love you, and I can’t stand the thought of losing you.
  • You are everything to me.
  • You are my whole world.
  • I can’t live without you.
  • I promise I’ll ____________.

He’ll begin calling you on the phone, texting you, and showing up at your favorite coffee shop. You’ll get flowers. You’ll come home from work one day to find him at the house fixing the kitchen sink that you’ve asked him to fix for years.

And you become confused.

Has He Really Changed?

You begin to wonder if you were wrong about him, and think maybe he has really changed. After all, he’s so charming! He holds the door for you, compliments you, and listens to what you have to say. Your walls begin to crack and you feel like you did in the beginning—all warm and fuzzy, special, and loved. All of a sudden you are sure that you’re making a mistake, and you decide to give him another chance because this time it’s for real.

Obviously.

Only it’s not. It’s not for real, he hasn’t changed, and you are not about to get your happily ever after. You have been love-bombed—a form of brainwashing that has been used by numerous groups and individuals from religious cults to Ted Bundy. If you go back, things will soon be worse than they were to begin with.

Learn to Be Love-Bomb Proof

Rule number one is that you weren’t wrong about the narcissist. He is a self-serving, lying, cheating, bag of slime. He can shapeshift as much as he wants, but as long as you force yourself to trust your gut, he won’t be able to trick you ever again—not that he won’t try.

All of the rules for dealing with a narcissist apply.

  • Don’t engage
  • Ignore him
  • Cut off communication
  • Communicate through an arbitrator or lawyer whenever possible
  • Don’t believe him
  • Don’t allow yourself to feel flattered

Walk away. You are no longer his source, and you don’t want to feed the emotional vampire that he is on the inside.

Ah, the Drama

Keep in mind that narcissists thrive on drama, and it’s best if it is public. So, they’ll bring you flowers at your office so everyone can see what a witch (with a capital B) you are when your refuse these tokens of his affection. I know a narcissist who had a fight with his wife and was fine...until he got out into the driveway and decided to put on a show. He laid his head on his car and sobbed until numerous neighbors came to see if they could comfort him.

You will look like a class A creep—don’t let it bother you. Remind yourself that he needs the drama, and you need the relief. Don’t try to explain yourself, and don’t worry about what other people think. They don't know the whole story. 

When they come to you to try to talk some sense into you, politely tell them it’s none of their business. Your explanations will not make a difference, and you’ll probably get a reputation as a complainer. He’s already told them you’re the crazy one.

Sex as a Weapon

The narcissist is very good at using sex as a weapon. In my marriage, sexual neglect was used to maintain control and keep me in a constant state of meltdown. I wanted affection more than anything, so that is what was withheld.

Well, until the time that I told him I needed to sleep in another room to clear my head. He begged me to sleep in our bed and promised to give me my space. It was literally the one time in our marriage I had specifically said that I did not want sex, I did not want affection, I did not want him to touch me.

I agreed.

Within fifteen minutes of getting in bed, I felt like I was at a drive-in theater with a 16-year-old male octopus. Within thirty minutes, I was forced to do the one thing I said I didn’t want to. Afterward, I was told that I made it clear I wanted it. I was humiliated, I felt weak, I felt controlled, and I gave up my thoughts of moving into a different room.

Sex went back to a normal schedule—once every couple of weeks or when he wanted it.

A narcissist is brilliant at using sex as a weapon. Be on your guard against it. No means no, whether you are married, divorced, or strangers.

No means no, no matter what.

Get Your Emotional Flack Jacket On 

A relationship with a narcissist is a war, and you’d better be prepared. Don’t be fooled by love-bombing, lying, and the drama. Talk to people who have been where you are and understand what a narcissist does and how he operates. Join First Wives World today for the networking and support that you need to get you through.

Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User : Emilie Rhaupp

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13 comments

  • Comment Link Elizabeth Wednesday, 01 November 2017 09:26 posted by Elizabeth

    I need to join this group

  • Comment Link AutumnG Monday, 07 March 2016 23:52 posted by AutumnG

    SO how can you tell the difference between real showers of affection and such from someone who is authentic in their enthusiasm? I mean, my bff and I met when we were 14 and became best friends that day and have been for 40 years now. We did have an immediate connection and really do love many many of the same things?

    I have been in two Narc marriages, but I do hope that there is a chance of a happy marriage someday. I hope to find him among folks who actually do enjoy the same geeky things I do.

    I'd hate to dismiss someone as being a Narc again when they were merely romantic and actually smitten. How do we know when we who have been hurt are seeing flags when there aren't any?

  • Comment Link lani Monday, 16 November 2015 06:44 posted by lani

    Very help full

  • Comment Link Oceanview Sunday, 06 September 2015 16:27 posted by Oceanview

    What a great article and reminder. The more I read, the more normal I feel. All of this,happened to me. Thank God for First Wives World. It helped me see the truth and stay sane before during and after my divorce. I am still treating through it....recovery will be a long road

  • Comment Link Diamondlady1 Tuesday, 28 July 2015 03:47 posted by Diamondlady1

    37 years together, 4 kids and 4 grandskids and I had only 5 apologies. Mostly he just said "I'm not saying I'm perfect, but...".

  • Comment Link Timi Monday, 22 June 2015 04:33 posted by Timi

    Thank you so much! It helps me a lot because I am only a beginner in this topic. After 14,5 years I have just realized that my husband is a narcissist.... :( The problem is that I follow God...so divorce is out of question.

  • Comment Link babe99s Tuesday, 17 March 2015 00:26 posted by babe99s

    I know how you feel just got out of a 15 years living with the devil, I couldn't take his lying and cheating anymore I put him out it's my house so he went alright but to his next victim he had on the side because he knew the day was coming soon. But he was going around town running after her like a dog in heat. He didn't care who seen him but he always denied it. He left came back the next day packed all his stuff and moved out only 3 weeks later did I find out he moved in with her. He came back for a couple of things he left behind he had great pleasure of telling all about his new love. He got aa smack in the face and I told him that he was looking old and going bald. H got his stuff told me he loved me and kissed me on the lips said it's over between us but still wants to be friends. He cheated on me with her and now the scumbag was cheating on her with me kissing me etc. It's hard everyday just trying to get up get dressed. 15 years of my life is gone. Month later he still trying to turn my friends and family against me for what did I ever do to him.

  • Comment Link Tana Thursday, 12 March 2015 15:55 posted by Tana

    In the process of finally divorcing the sociopath(Narc)..once my prince charming, the perfect man in society, the man with the mask. The social butterfly and entertainer, but an empty, draining wanting needy shell, when with me. In the 20yrs I spent with him, I one day cried, I sat outside the house and tears ran down my face, I sobbed uncontrolably, as I realized that I never knew him. The lies, deceit 'trust me blindly' meant, I had to stay on the straight and narrow lonely path, whilst he cheated on me habbitually. He came outside the house, picked up a metal chair and swung it to my head.. I jumped up and screamed at him 'are you insane?!' He laughed, 'i just wanted to show you that youre not sad and crying, you are angry..you are a monster!' That was yrs ago. Why did I stay? Every day was a living nightmare, I had to give and give all of myself, receiving sex in return, a roof over my head and the honor of being a stay-@-home-mom..isolated from the world..a kept woman. The wife he would show off with when he felt like it..the other times he told people we were 'done' and he would socialize and party alone till morning hours...dare I ask where he was..

    He agreed many times to marriage yrs of counselling..after 7yrs of marriage he agreed to intense marriage counselling..he only used it as a platform to make himself look perfect, lied about his unstable, abusive childhood..he used it to get to know me. My deepest needs, my biggest fears..He sat a whole year in counselling with me, to be able to deprive me of all which makes me 'me' an human. He used Interim Protection Orders granted by Domestic Violence courts, to abuse, humiliate, provoke and even have me arrested infront of our 2 children. He told us, we must fear him.

    I now left his control, I ran to my parents, which I am blessed to have..I had to leave my children behind till a court order will force him to pay child support, which I doubt will happen, as his deception and arguments in court is unbelievable.. He is the master of deceipt..

    He already replaced me very long ago on a emotional level, but sexually he would use me as he pleased. Even boasting to his other sexual conquests of how good his 'super model' wife is in bed..

    He destroyed me at his friends and colleagues, telling them lies about me, because they all liked and adored me...which made me a 'threat'..

    I look at the woman, a colleague whome he seduced out of her marriage, he parades her around with our children..I look on as the oustander, divorce not settled..

    Two years ago, all was to much, the hurt the mental and physical torture..being tormented everyday, the silent treatment, the constant rejection then love bombing for a day or 2, then nothing again..the rollercoaster was to much, I attempted suicide, in my half unconscious state, I heard him laugh at and mock me as he rased me to the ICU..'you coward, you can't even kill yourself!'.. I faught with the medical staff as they 'detoxed' me and I woke.. 'I DON'T WANNA LIVE!!! PLEASE DON'T SEND ME BACK TO HIM!!! PLEASE!!!' They couldnt relate, this handsome caring husband..

    I have life, I have me, I am free coz I saw, I believe and I know, what you see is not always what you get. I will never be the same, but I thank God that I survived and can help others see...

  • Comment Link GoingForHappiness Thursday, 19 February 2015 01:06 posted by GoingForHappiness

    This is so spot-on. Great article, thanks for writing it. I will have to know for next time that this kind of behavior is a narc. It's a bummer that I keep attracting them...guess I have to figure out what is wrong with me now!

  • Comment Link savvy1 Friday, 13 February 2015 14:24 posted by savvy1

    I have been divorced for over 6 months and my ex-husband is still sending me love messages through the guy who works at the car wash that we both go to.

  • Comment Link Saffy Sunday, 08 February 2015 11:12 posted by Saffy

    Brilliant article. So accurate.

  • Comment Link nlooze72 Thursday, 05 February 2015 21:41 posted by nlooze72

    What I don't understand about a lot of the articles I read is, my husband is very self centered - to the core - but I NEVER get an apology for the stuff he does. Is he not a NARC and something else? Does anyone else have a partner like this?

  • Comment Link Tmjohn22 Tuesday, 03 February 2015 01:17 posted by Tmjohn22

    I would like to retire the term "love bombing" and replace it with "affection bombing". After all there is no love involved in anything a narcissist does.