If your partner has had an affair, or worse yet, a series of affairs, you are probably shocked, devastated, humiliated, and perhaps confused. Perhaps you feel as if you don’t know your partner the way you thought you did. Even if you had an inkling that something wasn’t right, or had suspicions, it is still shocking and painful to have the facts laid bare before you. Yet there may be more to the story than the affairs themselves. What drives someone to behave that way, particularly in the case of the more compulsive types of sexual behavior like serial adultery, when in a marriage?
Sometimes, this kind of behavior is a sign of a bigger issue. There is a certain segment of the population that is afflicted with personality disorders, like narcissism and sociopathy/psychopathy. In a case where someone has one of these personality disorders, there is a set of characteristics and behaviors that are common to such individuals, and this can include compulsive or impulsive behaviors such as affairs. While only a licensed mental health professional can diagnose a personality disorder, it is helpful to have an understanding of some of the major signs. Here are 9 signs of personality disorder.
1. Lack of empathy. Your partner may have difficulty putting him or herself in someone else’s shoes. This leads to callous and self absorbed acts.
2. Lack of remorse or guilt. This can allow the individual to live with things that would disrupt ordinary people’s consciences. Your partner may be sorry about getting caught, but there is no true remorse for hurting others. If anything, your partner may express that he or she has the “right” to behave that way since the victim was “weak.”
3. Poor impulse and behavioral controls. This can lead to compulsive activities, like drug and alcohol abuse, or affairs.
4. Tendency toward boredom and risk taking behaviors. Your partner may need stimulation and be unconcerned with taking risks, even if they cause harm to others.
5. Consistent irresponsibility. Your partner may have difficulty holding down a steady job, paying bills on time, or honoring commitments, like marital.
6. Grandiose sense of self worth. Your partner may exaggerate accomplishments, expect preferential treatment, crave admiration and praise, have a sense of entitlement, adopt a haughty or superior attitude toward others, and expect to associate with special people or institutions.
7. Conning, manipulation, and compulsive lying. Your partner may lie about everything and anything, to further his or her agenda.
8. Idealized or extreme thinking. Your partner may fantasize about ideal power, beauty, and love. You may be idealized for a time, then completely devalued and treated as worthless.
9. Failure to conform to social norms. Your partner may have the attitude that the rules or law and society do not apply to him or her.