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The Cost of Loving a Narcissist

Cost of Loving Narcissist

One of the major signs of narcissistic abuse and also one of the most overlooked ones probably is financial abuse. In order to understand how narcissists financially abuse their victims, it’s also important to know what is financial abuse and what are the signs of financial abuse.


  • Financial abuse is one way for a narcissist to gain and maintain control in a relationship.
  • Narcissists cannot feel empathy, so they won’t care about another’s debt or financial ruin.
  • Brand names and price tags are more important to a narcissist than actual love.

Amongst a narcissist’s many obsessions, money ranks as one of the most important. Not only does money provide security and stability, but it offers narcissists one of their favorite tactics: control.

Financial abuse is quite common in narcissistic relationships and can take many forms, from hiding assets during a divorce to charging for rides to the store. What many people don’t realize is that financial abuse can happen even when just casually dating and far ahead of the wedding bells or divorce bills.

Related: Narcissist Financial Abuse: How They Create A Monetary Hierarchy

Dating a Narcissist

Dating is already very expensive. From finding a mate to preparing for the actual meeting, getting ready to impress someone is not for the faint of heart or light of pocket. When you end up dating a narcissist, you can expect your costs to skyrocket.

Many dating sites are free to sign up for initially, but eventually, end up costing money to upgrade or message other users. The sites vary in membership fees from a few bucks per month to longer subscriptions of monthly bundles, such as offered by JDate or Match (Healthy Framework).

In 2017, singles reported that they spent an average of $1,600 on dating which includes dating apps, date activities, and hair/makeup/clothing (Allan, 2017). However, while most of these costs have changed or adjusted due to the pandemic, 44% of singles in 2019 said their date finances have stayed the same (Singles in America, 2021).

So, whereas dining costs have gone down, for example, singles may be spending more on other things, such as gifts for their date.

If you wonder if your new partner is a narcissist, look to see how your pocket money is being spent. Are they ok with having a glass of wine with dinner or just an iced tea, or do they need the entire bottle regardless of price? If you show up with carnations, are they pleased or did they expect roses?

Narcissists are obsessed with appearing better than other people, which means your dates and gifts will be posted on social media as soon as possible. These individuals have very low self-esteem and self-worth and instead project a false persona to the public. They are deeply jealous of what other people have, but at the same time believe people to be jealous of them.

In addition, the expensive gifts and comments made on their photos feed their insatiable need for admiration (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

financial abuse
The Cost of Loving a Narcissist

The Importance of Brands and Price Tags

Narcissists are also not the type of partner to be ok with accepting an off-brand. They must have the best of everything or the brands that are popular within their circles.

Obsession with brands or insisting on only one type of label is a hallmark behavior of narcissists. You can’t just buy your narcissistic partner a pair of slippers from Target for Christmas; they must be Ugg brand for triple the price. Winter coats must be North Face or Columbia, purses can only be Michael Kors, and summer sandals can’t be the knockoffs from Walmart but can only be purchased from the Crocs store.

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Kristy Lee Hochenberger

Kristy Lee Hochenberger is a doctoral student of psychology at Capella University and a member of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. A graduate of prestigious Wells College, Kristy Lee is also a licensed funeral director and co-founder of Salt City Legacy Scholars, Inc, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that awards scholarships and financial assistance to young women across New York State. In addition to her Bachelor's degree, Kristy Lee has an Associate's Degree in Occupational Services as well as a Master of Business Administration. A native of Queens, NY, she currently resides in upstate New York where she is an adjunct faculty member at Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) and University of the People.View Author posts

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