Most people know that the narcissist is nearly always a cheat. He is constantly grooming more and more narcissistic supply (love, adoration, fear, admiration) from those who are willing to bless him with it. He collects friends on Facebook and at work - friends who can serve as alternate partners. He even tests the waters with long-term friends from childhood, despite being sexually unattracted to them for all intents and purposes.
Nearly anyone is a potential partner for the narcissist. He will consider dating friends and coworkers, even those who are married to someone else. The narcissist tries to always remain in contact with past lovers. He poses as being their "friend" even long after he discards the relationship. He might use children in common to control a past lover to cause them to remain in contact with him even when they don't want to be in his life.
The narcissist could not continue having a relationship with them, lest he be smothered or get bored with them by daily contact with them. But he keeps them around to serve his own purposes for most of his life. He knows that it is not easy to get friends and lovers, thus the narcissist is hesitant to let anyone from his past go. He must keep them around in case he gets too old to gain new friends and lovers, thus his narcissistic supply might run out if he does not keep the old ones still in his loop.
To understand the need for contact with past lovers, one must understand the hoarding and collecting habits of the narcissist. Maslow's hierarchy of human needs pyramid shows sex, love, affection, personal security, and other things which are crucial to the survival and happiness of a human being. This pertains to all human beings, including the narcissist.
The narcissist has severe needs deprivation for much of his life, both due to his caregivers being narcissistic and due to his own deficits. He is deprived by his parents of physical touch. He is deprived by his learning deficits. He is shunned by his peers. He is outcast. He rarely ever fits in. He does not understand social cues. He does not understand the intentions of others. These concepts are out of reach to the narcissist.
One might think that the narcissist is intelligent and that he has a high IQ. The truth of the matter is that most narcissists, in fact, have lower-end IQ levels. They often specialize in one or two things that they are extremely intelligent in (usually the sciences or technology), but they are not a jack-of-all-trades type of personality. They cannot easily learn and adapt like others with a high IQ can learn and adapt.
The narcissist is rooted in a life of repetitiveness, compulsiveness, obsessiveness, inattentiveness, impulsiveness, and inane routines. The narcissist freaks out if his routine is broken.
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