Red Flag of a Narcissist #47: The Speed at Which They Move On

why do narcissists move on fast

RFN #47: The Speed at Which They Move On

In this video, I cover five main points:

– What “narcissistic supply” is
– The cycle of narcissistic abuse
– Why and how narcissists are able to move on so quickly
– Why they end things in such hurtful ways
– What Narcissists typically do after they move on

But before I get into those points, here are some examples of this red flag in motion:
– Them ending the relationship in an abrupt and unexpected way to where we feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us
– Them ending things at a highly emotional time (right before finals, on our birthday, or Christmas, Valentine’s Day, close to the birth of our child, or if a loved one is dying).
– Taking down pics on social media—replace with new partner—and erasing all signs of our relationship with them—even if we’ve been with them for years or decades
– Move in with new partner in a matter of weeks
– Huge level of “indifference” Which is really how a lack of empathy and lack of remorse comes across
– Selfish—why can’t you be happy for them?
– Entitled—they may even expect you to move out or for you to pay them alimony when you’ve given them everything and paid their way the whole time
– Blame you for everything wrong—and odds are they are accusing and blaming you of everything that they did. They might be calling you abusive, or manipulative, or even a narcissist. (This is called projection and this is something the vast majority of them do.) It feels like you are losing your mind and you will probably be wondering if you are remembering things wrong or wondering if there’s this side to you that you don’t know about.

– Blame circumstances. Must go take care of their sick ex or sick child, or must join the peace corps or volunteer, or go on this church mission.

– Blame you. Either by projecting all their behavior onto you (accusing you lying, cheating, stealing, etc.) Or blaming you for unrelated things you didn’t even know were an issue. Or blame you that you are never home, or don’t give them enough attention.

– Blame themselves. These are the true master manipulators. They may tell you that they don’t deserve you. That they could never give you what you need. That they love you so much but must go before they hurt you. The desired response is to get you to scramble after them, or to feel like they are this amazing person—this baby bird with a broken wing. …Of course this all plant the seed for a hoover if they circle back, because they’ll just pick up this soap opera where they left off, and generally talk about getting therapy, or needing you to stand by their side while they get better.

– You might find yourself throwing yourself at them. Promising to make whatever changes necessary and that you are so sorry, that you didn’t realize they were so unhappy.

What is “narcissistic supply?”
To a narcissist everything is about them. Everything. And they view the world through the lens of “what’s in it for me?” This includes people. Other people are only supply to them, and “supply” is generally some form of shelter, transportation, money, sex, public image, and/or social status. …In short, narcissistic supply is anything that either meets a physical need or feeds their ego.

Once a supply source has been tapped out, or another one comes along the narcissist attaches themselves to this new source of supply and then proceeds to drain them as much as possible. This “parasitic” behavior is in part where narcissists get the nickname of energy vampire.
The cycle of narcissistic abuse
I think perhaps the best way to talk about this red flag is within the context of what’s known as the cycle of an abusive relationship, which was developed by Lenore Walker.

The cycle of abuse runs the course of Idealize—Devalue—Discard. However, I think it’s helpful to flesh out that cycle a bit more to see a fuller picture of what tends to be a more common experience, and that is the idealize—Devalue—Replace—Discard.
So if we are experiencing them moving on at lightning speed, as thought the relationship meant nothing or like it never even happened, odds are it’s because they found a replacement for us before they upped and left. That’s why it feels so sudden for us, but in reality they most likely were either talking to the next person, or they were already in a relationship with the next person.


Why do they end things in such a hurtful way?
They end things in such a hurtful way most likely because abusive people are all about gaining and keeping power and control over others and over the situation. One of the ways they do is to end things on their terms. They end things in a hurtful way because it reassures them that they are powerful and the more we suffer to them the more it shows them how important they are.

How are they able to move on so fast, like our relationship with them meant nothing?
You might be wondering how is it that you feel like they are your soul mate but now you are wondering if they even liked you.
This is because narcissists wear masks. They are actors and puppeteers all at the same time. They manipulate others to think, feel, and act in the ways that they want—because everything is all about them.
Narcissists and other types of emotional manipulators have shallow emotions, meaning they don’t bond at a deep level with others. Remember during the love bombing stage (which is part of the idealize stage) where they were professing their love and there was all this talk about this perfect future with them?

None of this had real depth to it.  Anyone who is quick to hop into making major life decisions is probably also quick to hop out of them as well.

Narcissists are quick to promise love and devotion, because those terms might mean everything to them in the moment, but there is no long term depth or sincerity there—it’s about on the same level as a child promising to be devoted to a new puppy and that they’ll wake up early and take it for a walk, and clean up after it, and do whatever it takes.
The child is saying all the right things, and seems to understand what all is involved in taking care of a puppy, but you as the adult know that getting a pet can be a 20 year commitment, and so you are thinking about this seriously and long term whereas the child isn’t.

The child just wants a puppy because puppies are cute. And so what happens? They get the puppy and once the newness wears off they expect others to take care of it, and they generally aren’t holding up their end of the deal—there is no follow through.  The same goes for a narcissist.

What narcissists tend to do after they’ve moved on


To add insult to injury, narcissists often launch what’s known as a “smear campaign.”  This is where they spin things around to make themselves a victim of the whole situation.  You may find that the new partner as well as maybe even friends and family are giving you the stink eye. You may come to find out that they’ve been telling everyone that you were cheating on them, or that you were using them for money or that you were abusive or manipulative. (When the opposite was true.) Meanwhile they paint themselves out to be the saint.

This is crazy making and can be absolutely enraging if this happens. If you are feeling shocked and stunned by being so suddenly discarded, you are not alone. If you are open to joining a support group, I strongly encourage you to do so. There are many out there, and here is a link to mine:

Remember: You are not alone. You are not crazy. You really can heal from this.


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I am a self-help junkie, former advocate for victims of domestic violence, current psychiatric RN, as well as being a recovering victim of Narcissistic abuse.

My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.

Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.

It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.
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About Dana 348 Articles
I am a self-help junkie, former advocate for victims of domestic violence, current psychiatric RN, as well as being a recovering victim of Narcissistic abuse. My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life. Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics. It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.


  1. Great post and video, and all on spot! The age difference, the completely different profile of the OW, the discard when my use value was drained, the timing of transition when our child was preparing for the toughest tests he would face in his life… at that time when he should have been focussed only on the child he was in the middle of a torrid secret affair and all hell was breaking loose at his workplace and at home…Thanks a lot Dana! The way in which you say all this makes it hilarious too, I mean it allows us to see the ridiculousness of their behaviour… and the analogy of the child and puppy is so accurate… they act like the child, though they do not have the innocence of the child.. they do know they are not honest/ sincere wishes..

  2. Hello Dana,

    Thank you for what you do.

    This “red flag” was very informative. It resonated with me, as every item you covered was in fact what happened throughout my marriage and as I bailed out of it. My ex-wife had her next target “primed” before she ever began what turned out to be a very well thought out plan. I made the mistake of feeling sorry for her and continued talking to her. The picture she painted was one of utter despair, lonliness, suicidal thoughts, etc. In reality, she never suffered a minute. She was doing weekend getaways, posting pics on FaceBook almost immediately etc. When I inquired, she claimed he was just a friend and they were no longer seeing one another, because she was a Christian and he was not. It soon became obvious she was not being truthful again. When confronted, she stated HE had become a Christian, they were attending classes together and had signed a, “purity contract.” I thought this odd, as several weeks prior she had admitted to intimate relations both during our marriage and within a week after I served her divorce papers. As she left for Martha’s Vineyard to, “find herself” I told her I knew she was not going to MV alone and she adamantly denied my assertion. Upon her return she admitted she had lied to me. Her new husband ( yes, they are now married) used to be her co-worker. His job brings her social status, stories of past events etc. Before marrying him, she wrote me and told me how her life was, “sad and miserable” but she had decided to take the next step forward in her life. She also stated in her letter she loved us both, but for different reasons. She was attempting to have the security of marriage, while maintaining a secret dialogue with me. Yes, it is very sick behavior. Talk about drama. Narcissists are the ultimate drama Kings and Queens. I am so very happy I finally severed all ties with her. No Contact is the only way to regain your me. They would be great actors and actresses. It is ironic that they go through life wearing masks and theater is represented by a happy and sad mask.

  3. This video really helped. I lived with a narcissist for 25 years but only last year was he diagnosed. I spent the entire time thinking I was the problem. He ended it new years day but due to circumstances to long to type. We hadn’t been living together for a year but talked on the phone everyday. .. if he is a true narcissist and so much of what I’ve been reads as he is hoe come he cries on the phone. He has moved on but nothing serious. I filed for divorce last week he refuses to talk to me either by text emails or phone. I’ve been totally erased. Yet I haven’t been able to make it one day without sending some kind of communication like a text etc. How do I break this addiction and move on and not love him anymore? Everything I’ve read said they will come back layer and like to keep you on the hook. Mine wants absolutely nothing to do with me in any way. Does this mean he’s not a complete narcissist?

  4. Hello Dana,
    First of all I like to thank you for being my total rock for the past 4 months.
    My ex narc was my therapist before he became my boyfriend
    I knew him for 2 years before we got in a relationship for 9 months.
    My question is:he totally discarded me I have gone to no contact in any way thanks to you,but he still contacts my adult son who is not his son is still friends with him on FB ,LinkedIn and recently on son knows what he did to me and is glad that it is over so I also don’t understand my son but why is my ex narc who doesn’t want anything to do me still so interested in my son?they didn’t had a close relationship so I am totally confused,is it a hoovering or is my son a flying monkey?

    Thank you for reading and I hope that you once again can help me.
    Love bruja

  5. I am wondering if you can explain my ex’s narcisist’s behaviour? We were together 26 years. We were technically separated due to incarceration for 4 years but letters constantly and phone calls. He had always cheated. After incarceration for the first time I turned to someone else and am still dealing with the guilt of that decision. He found out kept talking to me regularly on the phone but said we were done. Some days he would call 6 times then not for a day or two. Eventually I found him on a dating site. He said he was just looking for someone to share time with a friend that his life now is a very dark place and he is lonely. He didn’t want a relationship with anyone. He said he still loves me. I got a phone call saying all about the new supply but I don’t understand. He always wanted someone to contribute to finances but left me destitute. His new supply is on disability, is a recovering alcoholic, has been institutionalized 4 times and tried to commit suicide once, she throws up everything she eats due to an illness. The only thing I understand is she is blonde hair blue eyes which he always said he liked. I’m not. Then he says she has such a great sense of humour she makes him laugh. HOw she loves to cuddle and she has to be touching him all the time, which is what we were like. He said she has been called a trophy more than once, he always called me his trophy wife. He talked about having sex with and she has herpes so he has to wear a condom, he said it didn’t have the passion we had but it’s not about the sex. He said she didn’t have the indent of the small waist I had. Once I was crying he got off the phone. I don’t understand he never hovered he never wanted me back. He doesn’t check up on me, he doesn’t say he wants me back he says don’t ever think I don’t love you because I do we just have to much baggage to be together. I am in the process of going for divorce and it’s so killing me. He is going to fight it about everything, he won’t pay support, he is going to try and take the house from me, he made me unemployable so I had to move in with a step dad for free. He doesn’t try to text or call. Why isn’t he trying to get me back, is it because they can’t forgive.

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