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Can a Sociopath be Faithful in a Relationship?

Updated: Feb 3

a sinister man

“We are your neighbors, your coworkers, and quite possibly the people closest to you: lovers, family, friends. Our risk-seeking behavior and general fearlessness are thrilling, our glibness and charm alluring ...

"We climb the corporate ladder faster than the rest, and appear to have limitless self-confidence. Who are we? We are highly successful, noncriminal sociopaths and we comprise 4 percent of the American population.”

This excerpt from M.E. Thomas's book, "Confessions of A Sociopath." gives us a firsthand view into the mind of a self-confessed sociopath.

If a sociopath can expertly navigate the professional world and blend in, what does that mean for romantic relationships? Can a sociopath be faithful in a relationship?

On this page, you’ll find:

Sociopathy 101: Is Your Relationship a Psychological Thriller?

Late at night, you're scanning the web for answers, deep-diving into article after article. Worst case scenario: Your significant other seems to have every trait listed - the over-the-top charm, the baffling lies, that eerie unemotional responses.

Naggings thought persist: "Am I dating a sociopath?" and "Can a sociopath be faithful in a relationship?"

Now, hold on. Let's pump the brakes and break this down.

The preferred clinical term is actually Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) as outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the bible for for psychiatric diagnoses).

Symptoms include:

  • An individual exhibiting an extreme version of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)

  • A lack a comprehensive moral compass

  • Manipulative, exploitative, or even harmful to others.

  • A captivating surface-level charm

  • Impulsivity

  • Limited emotional regulation

  • Tends to partake in unlawful, unethical or aggressive actions.

ASPD isn't about those occasional white lie. ASPD is a consistent pattern of behavior: a deep-seated disregard for others' feelings, frequent deceit, impulsiveness and a lack of remorse even after causing pain to you and others.

Lets look at the two types of sociopathy:

Low-Functioning Sociopaths: These are individuals who wear their impulsivity on their sleeve. Their erratic behavior, difficulty in maintaining jobs and often strained personal relationships make them more obvious. They might struggle with the law and are, unfortunately, more likely to fall into the stereotype most of us understand.

High-Functioning Sociopaths: Now, these are your chameleons. Educated, often successful, and sometimes even community leaders. They're charming, calculative, and can maintain relationships and jobs efficiently.

But don’t be fooled.

Beneath the polished veneer, there's a persistent pattern of manipulating others for personal gain, an absence of genuine remorse, and a calculated disregard for others' rights.

It’s crucial to remember: Not every successful, charming person is a high-functioning sociopath. Similarly, not every impulsive individual is a low-functioning one. It's about consistent patterns over time, not isolated actions.

Lets look at our friend "Alex" and his girlfriend "Mara's" relationship.

Have you ever clicked on a message you wish you hadn't? Mara did.

She found a labyrinth of texts and emails that cut her into ribbons. But this wasn't your run-of-the-mill cheating scenario. Alex's conversations with her were a masterclass in manipulation, spinning tales and gaslighting.

Here's the real kicker: Do these behaviors make Alex a sociopath? And, if it does, can a sociopath be faithful in a relationship? What was striking wasn't just Alex's promises of love to other women, but the calculated manipulations, the elaborate tales of woe designed to elicit sympathy, and the cold, strategic plays for affection.

Girls would say that his interactions seemed devoid of genuine emotion, almost as if he was running some sort of dark game.

Each woman, just like his girlfriend, was made to feel special and chosen because he mirrored their desires, adopted their interests and discarded them when the novelty wore off. If this is true, he is exhibiting sociopathic signs.

a scary man

The Sociopath-Empath Connection

Ah, the magnetic pull of opposites, a volatile mix akin to fire meeting gasoline. While the initial blaze might be mesmerizing, this pairing, while electrifying, can quickly hurt each other.

The sociopath, with their knack for manipulation, might drain the empath emotionally, reveling in their feelings. On the opposite side, empaths find themselves drawn to 'fix' or 'heal' the sociopath, assuming that others can feel as deeply as they do.

Empaths are individuals with a heightened sense of sensitivity who are intuitive to the point of sensing others' emotions without them saying anything.

Can a Sociopath be Faithful in a Relationship?

Can a sociopath ever stay faithful? Beyond a simple 'yes' or 'no,' factors like their personal motivations, emotional depth and impulse control weave a more intricate narrative around their commitment.

1. Personal Gain vs. Genuine Affection

For some sociopaths, relationships are more transactional than emotional where they might see their partnership as a contract - and faithfulness just happens to be one of the clauses, which they'll abide by as long as they're receiving what they signed up for in return.

For a high-functioning sociopath, faithfulness might be a strategic choice whereby they're maintaining a particular relationship because it offers social, financial or emotional status and stability.

They see the benefits, and they remain faithful for that reason.

2. The Fluidity of Impulses

On the other hand, low-functioning sociopaths, driven more by impulse, might find faithfulness difficult because their actions are often dictated by the immediacy of their desires rather than long-term strategy.

If they find a new relationship or experience more pleasurable, they might veer off without much thought.

3. The Sociopath's Perception of Relationships

For many sociopaths, relationships aren't about emotional connection in the traditional sense, but they tend to see loved ones as alliances. They enter agreements or even transactions with them.

If being faithful matches their idea of what the relationship should offer them, they'll remain faithful. If not, they might stray.

4. Their Reputation & Image

Sociopaths, especially those that are high-functioning, are acutely aware of societal perceptions - potentially faithfulness enhances their image, or cheating risks tarnishing their carefully crafted persona. In those instances, they might stay loyal to protect their reputation.

5. Emotional Depth

It's a myth that sociopaths are without emotions. Attachments, although perhaps based on different reasons, can still result in faithfulness to a partner, especially if that partner provides them with something they value.

6 Strategies For a Healthy Relationship with a Sociopath

Entering a relationship with a sociopath may seem like treading on thin ice, but for those already entangled, use the following strategies.

1. Take A Break When You Need To

While this might seem contradictory to the idea of having a relationship, there are moments when taking a break and cutting off communication eliminate the possibility of you being subjected to further manipulation or emotional drain.

This strategy is useful after explosive arguments or when you feel overwhelmed by their behaviour.

2. Set Firm Boundaries

Outline what's acceptable and what's not by making them understand that any manipulation or disrespect will not be tolerated. But you have to stick to your word.

If you don't hold them accountable for when they test the waters and push the boundaries, they will lose respect for you and walk all over you.

3. Educate Yourself

As you are doing right now, keep researching and reading to arm yourself with strategies. These books below are some of the most illuminating books I've read on the topic of sociopathy (particularly "Confessions of a Sociopath" - please let me know in the comments what you think of this book!)

4. Try Therapy & Stay Connected With Family

Recognize the signs when you're feeling exhausted and make time to recharge. Maintaining a support system with your friends and family as well as getting therapy (couples therapy or individual) will keep you grounded.

5. Look After Your Mental Health

Self-care is crucial. Consider journaling or doing meditation to ensure you're staying in tune with your needs.

6. Recognize the Signs: Know When to Exit

If you've tried everything, but your relationship has become toxic, like in many kinds of relationships, sometimes the healthiest choice is to part ways. If at any point the relationship turns abusive or threatening, plan to exit immediately.

Let this guide be a stepping stone in that journey of your understanding and, ultimately, healing.

Do you believe you're in a relationship with a sociopath? Or do you believe you are a sociopath? Share your relationship stories in the comments below.

1 commentaire

Scott Sitton
Scott Sitton
10 mai

I'm convinced I was in an affair with a female scociopath she convinced me to leave my wife of 14 years just to abruptly with no warning. Actually was saying how great it was going to be when we started a new life together , not hours after that excommunicated me. If you want to hear my story or think you can help feel free to email. I CAINT tell my while story any more and not have any answers to role tend not to believe me or understand the severity of my destruction by he's hand .devestation is not even close to what I am feeling

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