You are currently viewing Will a Narcissist Divorce You?

Will a Narcissist Divorce You?

Reviewed by Karis A. Williams, MSMHC, LPC

The divorce rate in America is somewhere around 50%.  Interestingly enough, the divorce rate among narcissists is very much in line with the rate among more normally functioning couples.  Victims of narcissism who realize what is going on also clearly see the contempt that their narcissistic spouse has for them.  So, while we know that narcissists do get divorced, who divorces who?  Will a narcissist divorce you?

To answer the question as to will a narcissist divorce you, first think about the fact that if he is getting a good amount of narcissistic supply from you, he isn’t going to give up a good thing.  But on the other hand, if your narcissistic spouse has such contempt for you that he has chosen to discard you, especially because he is no longer getting a significant source of narcissistic supply for you, he can divorce you before you even know what hit you.  the true story usually lies somewhere in between these two extremes though.

Let’s take a deeper look that determines whether a narcissist will divorce you.

When a Narcissist Won’t Divorce You

I already mentioned that a narcissist won’t seek a divorce from you if they are still getting a good amount of narcissistic supply from you.  This includes words of encouragement, open forgiveness, letting him talk you into things, being seen in public with him, giving in to his demands, allowing him to gaslight you without calling him out, not calling out his lies to or about you, and many more things.  By now, you know what most of those things are.

As long as you try to get along well with your narcissistic spouse in spite of the difficulty, he will perceive that as you accepting his behavior and allowing him to fall back into his habits.  He misinterprets it as automatically affirming that you are on good terms with him without him having to do any of the hard work of healing.

This was probably one of the most frustrating things for me.  If I treated him kindly in spite of the abuse, even if I made it clear that we could not continue in the behaviors that were pervading our marriage, he would behave as though everything was perfect.  And he would get really angry at me if I didn’t allow him to carry on as though everything was fine.

I do want to clarify that I am not talking about holding things against him after they had been worked out.  It would be incredibly wrong for him to ask forgiveness, be working through his issue, and me not extend an olive branch and relate to him as though we are working in healthy ways on our marriage.  I am talking about when a narcissist apologizes with empty words and then expects to move on as though the problem is solved with no work or healthy pattern of behavior.

A Narcissist Won’t Divorce You if it Means he Loses Control of You

A narcissist also won’t divorce you if he thinks he will lose control of you.  For as long as he can control what you do, where you go, how much money you spend, who your friends are, or whatever else he is controlling, there is no need to divorce you.

I didn’t understand the control my narcissist had over me for lots of years because first, he leveraged his control, and second, he tricked me into thinking that I was the one making decisions that he was making for me behind the scenes.  Add to that, my Christian belief in submitting to my husband, and it was a recipe for disaster.  Let me explain.

He leveraged his control over me by giving me control of some things and making sure I realized it.  I did feel mostly free, especially in the earlier years.  I was allowed to do various types of work as long as they were in the home while I was raising our children.  And honestly, I loved working from home and did well at it.  And he liked that I was doing it because he was getting the benefit of the extra income.

He also leveraged his control over me by scheduling things for us to do instead of events with my friends.  And he would isolate and threaten friends and family while I had no idea.  I didn’t find this out until my separation went public and so many people came out to tell me what he had done with them.

Early on, he would talk through things with me and I would help him make decisions that we were both comfortable making.  Or so I thought at the time.  I realize now that our discussions were him gauging what he could convince me to do by the power of suggestion.  He would manipulate the conversation so that I would think the ideas were mine.  I actually thought that we were making decisions simultaneously.  As time went on, and I would occasionally disagree, the fireworks would come out.  And then he would play the head of the house card.  I would submit like the good little wife I thought I had to be.

As he grew more narcissistic and good decisions became rare, I would try to convince him of what would be better for the household.  And he would dig in even deeper.  Eventually all working together came to a complete halt as he got to the point that no matter how good an idea it had, if it came out of my mouth he would absolutely not do it.  And then he would demand control of whatever it was he wanted.  It was all him and none of me.  I had become his doormat.

A Narcissist Won’t Divorce You Because he’s Living his Best Life

By the time my ex got angry enough to force me into counseling so I would be a more obedient wife, we were not functioning on any level.  He would beg me to just pretend everything was fine so he could continue to live his life.  He was the king of his castle.

When we got to counseling, he told the counselors that everything was perfect for over 20 years.  And then I just suddenly stopped cooperating.  I explained that I had tried to talk to him about the issues for years.  And he acknowledged that was true.  But he said that even though I expressed concerns to him, he was the head of the house and what he said went.  Yep, he actually said that.  The counselors were stunned.  Especially as they tried to work through it with them and his answer was always that nobody was going to tell him how to run his household and family.

I realized many years later that to a narcissist, life is what they perceive it to be, even if it is the total opposite of their perception.  So, basically, the moral of the story is that as long as a narcissist is feeling like he’s getting his needs met, he will never choose to divorce you.

Now, let’s take a look at the flip side:  when a narcissist will divorce you.

When a Narcissist Will Divorce You

The bottom line of when a narcissist will divorce you is based on two things:  if he is no longer getting his needs met and/or if he feels such contempt for you that it will benefit him more to destroy you.  It usually ends up being a combination of the two.  It certainly was for me and most of the people who come into my support group.

Let’s take a look at the first point.  Say you have been married for more than ten years.  During that time, you dote on your husband, spend the day thinking about the dinner you will cook for him that night, make sure the house is perfectly clean, and even have a glass of wine and small cheesecake picked out for dessert by the fireplace.  Everything is perfect.  Days turn into months, that turn into years.  You are still trying to create the perfect scenario for the perfect life.  And your husband truly enjoys and loves all of those things.  But he returns little to none of those things.  Because he thinks you owe him.  And that he doesn’t owe you back because it is your job.

You actually probably think that he doesn’t owe you for doing those things either.  I didn’t.  But I did want to be appreciated and thought of in a reciprocal way.  It wasn’t a business deal.  But we did need to be speaking each other’s love languages.

In the case of a narcissist, there is no reciprocation.  Everything is for his own benefit.

Now, let’s continue this idea to its logical conclusion.  After years of a lack of your husband returning your love, you realize it’s never going to happen and you just give up.  You make meals for you and the kids, but don’t worry about cooking for hubby because he is coming home late from work (or wherever he actually is) late.  You are too busy with the kids to clean up the house.  And you and the kids ate all the cheesecake because it was soooo good.

You are no longer feeding the narcissist’s need for supply.  Now he feels invisible.  And that can’t happen.  He has to be the biggest, most noticeable person in the room.  And when he isn’t, especially for an extended period of time, it’s time to leave and find another source of narcissistic supply.

Now, taking a look at the second point, it actually draws from the outpouring of the first scenario.  Because after many years of caring so deeply for your narcissist, he has come to expect it.  And when he suddenly (or even not-so-suddenly) loses that attention and love, he begins to resent you.  You are no longer useful.  In fact, how dare you stop taking care of him.  That is your one job.  The bitterness creeps in.  And then it turns to outright anger, contempt, and hatred.  Now he needs to take  you down.  In the most painful, public way he can.  And that is when he decides to divorce you and move on to the next supply.  Not necessarily in that order.

This is certainly a simplified version of what happens when the narcissist decides to divorce you.  But the patterns throughout history always stay pretty much along this line.  And that pattern will continue for as long as the narcissist needs someone to  help him get through this life.  Or until he has burned all his bridges and cannot find anyone willing to marry him.

A distressed woman standing up hiding her face while her husband is yelling right behind her, signifying the name of the article, "Will a Narcissist Divorce You."

So is Your Significant Other a Narcissist?

Because we are all self-centered sometimes in our life, it can be easy to throw a narcissism accusation at someone who really isn’t narcissistic.  But for those of us that have lived with a narcissistic spouse, we may actually be doing the opposite.  We could be excusing their narcissistic behavior as normal.  If you aren’t sure, I have a book recommendation for you that could just save your whole world.  It is called The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick.

I recommend it in my DivorceCare support group all the time.  And so many have found comfort in Leslie’s words because not only does she give you the tools to determine if you are in a difficult or destructive marriage,  she also gives you the tools to get yourself to an emotionally healthy place regardless of the type of marriage you are in.  Truly, the best part is that no matter what you determine to be your case, you also get all the tools to heal and learn to connect in an emotionally healthy way.  Check it out as soon as you can!


So, to answer the question, “will a narcissist divorce you?” you need to realize that you are only an item, a means to an end to your narcissistic spouse.  As long as you are useful to them, they will never even consider divorcing you.  But the minute you become a liability to them, or not worth what little narcissistic supply you are giving them, they absolutely will divorce you.

The only way to not end up divorced from a narcissist is for you to agree to live an emotionally draining and unhealthy life.  And once you realize this fact, the thought of divorce may seem more like a godsend than a tragedy.  Even though it will be an immensely painful process.

Are you in the middle of a divorce with a narcissist?  Just beginning?  Or maybe all the way over to the other side of the divorce?  I would love to hear about your experience and how you are working or worked your way through it.

Do you think you may be in a relationship with a narcissist?  If you think so, take this test  with instant results to get a better idea of whether you are indeed involved with a narcissist and what healing you will need to pursue.

if you think you are in any danger in your relationship, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).  Or you can visit online at

Blessings and love to you,

I have a FREE 57-page e-guide to divorcing a narcissist that I offer to those who follow my blog.   It includes a checklist so you can make sure you don’t miss anything in the process.  It will give you tons of tips to make the whole process easier on you.  To download a copy or get more information, click here or on the book pic below:


If you found this article valuable, I think you will also love the following articles:

Divorcing a Narcissist After 30 Years

Do Narcissists Die Early?  The Whole Story

What Happens to Narcissists in the End?

5 Signs Your Husband Wants a Divorce and How to Prevent It

5 Signs Your Wife Wants a Divorce and How to Prevent It

Is My Husband a Narcissist or Just Selfish?

Guarding Against the Narcissist’s Divorce Tactics

Scriptural Ways to Deal With a Narcissistic Husband

What is the Narcissist Divorce Rate?

Who Does a Narcissist Marry?

How Many Times Does a Narcissist Marry?

Narcissists and Marriage:  The Complete Picture

How Does a Narcissist Stay Married for so Long?

Does Narcissism Worsen With Age?

Does a Narcissist Realize What They’ve Lost?

Do Narcissists End up Alone?

Can a Narcissist be a Good Father?

Can a Narcissist be a Good Mother?

Will a Narcissist Hurt Their Child?

Can Narcissists be Good Parents?

Can Narcissists Love Their Children?

How Can You Tell if Someone is a Religious Narcissist?

Can Two Narcissists be in Relationship With Each Other?

Understanding the Tactics of a Religious Narcissistic Father 

Dealing With the Trauma of a Religious Narcissistic Mother

When Narcissism Becomes Pathological

Will God Punish a Narcissist?

What to do When Your Narcissist Threatens You

The Bible Used as a Weapon Against You:  You Can Overcome! 

What Does the Bible Say About Abusive Husbands?

The Link Between Spiritual Abuse and Narcissism

Why Narcissists Want to Appear Godly

What Healing From a Narcissist Looks Like

Why Narcissists Love Going to Church 

How Religious Narcissists Think

Are Narcissists Evil?

Narcissistic Behavior:  What to Look Out For

Praying for Your Narcissistic Husband

Are Spiritual Narcissists Overt or Covert? 

Religious Trauma Syndrome:  How to Preserve Your Spiritual Journey

How to Navigate Religious Narcissistic Parents

What Happens to the Soul of a Narcissist?

How to Heal From a Spiritual Narcissist

Can You Maintain a Relationship With a Spiritual Narcissist? 

Can Narcissists Have a Spiritual Awakening?

How Will God Judge a Narcissist?

When the Church Says to Move Back in With Your Narcissist

What Can we Say to a Christian Friend Who’s Divorcing?

Why Does God Hate Divorce? 

12 Ways the Church Helps Narcissists Abuse Their Victims

When Your Church Believes the Narcissist’s Lies

23 Reasons Why Narcissists are Drawn to the Church

What Does the Spiritual Narcissist do When You try to Leave?

When the Church Doesn’t Recognize Narcissistic Abuse

Will the Church Support Divorcing a Narcissist?

Are Narcissists Demon Possessed?

What Does the Bible say About Narcissism?

Can a Narcissist be a Christian?

Can a Spiritual Narcissist Heal?

What is Spiritual Narcissism?

Follow me!


Hi! I am the founder of Navigating Religious Narcissism after being raised under a narcissistic mother and married to a narcissistic man for 31 years. It is my prayer that I can be as valuable on your journey to healing and peace as were so many who crossed my path of healing.

Leave a Reply