Can psychopaths have successful romantic relationships? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Athena Walker:
We are somewhat difficult to deal with for a normally wired person. Intimacy can be a problem. I am not wired for outreach. When the cues are there for physical contact, a hug when someone is upset or just bonding intimacy, it is something I have to remind myself to do and even then I tend to be a bit awkward about it.
I am fiercely loyal and unlike the standards of psychopathic testing, I do not believe in cheating. I don't do it, and I will immediately remove someone from my life who would do it to me. I am difficult to fight with. I tend to manipulate, be aggressive in my attacks, know where to hurt a person the most and do so for the primary reason of pain infliction. All of this, plus much more, has to be tempered in order for the relationship to have a chance. I have to recognize these things in myself and make a conscious effort to counteract them.
I am a fixer. I don't want to endlessly hear about why you're upset with me. Tell me you are, explain to me without trying to emotionally manipulate me why what I did upset you and I will do my best to address it to the utmost of my ability. Don't fight me using emotion; it will not work. It will make you appear weak to me, and I don't like or respect weakness. However, fight with me. If you always give in to me I also will not respect you. You're too easy and you give up too quickly. I require that strength in my partner that shows me what they are made of. We may fight, but at least I know you don't submit to me because it's easier. The stronger someone is, within reason, the more likely I am to respect them, and the more likely I am to make concessions to suit them and their needs.
Still selfish, though. It's always going to be there. My first inclination is what I want. For that to be different I have to shelve my first reaction and decide I will choose something else to do. Everything is a choice. If the person next to me is worth my time I will allow myself to be moved by their needs by focusing on them and really trying to see what I can do for them. If they are not, on the other hand, I will move on, and they don't. They still come back years later. Every one of my exes has come back around.
We are work. We have to put in a lot of work, and the other person has an uphill battle to understand us. We are trudging up the same hill on the opposite side. We don't understand you. We simply don't. We don't know why you need so much attention, or physical contact, or endless listening to problems. Not one bit. If we care enough though, we will try to understand and put the work in.
You are not going to understand us. You will not know why you feel so broken after fighting with us, you will think we don't care about you because we don't understand or react to a given situation like you would expect, you won't know why we respond so matter-of-factly to something that makes you feel like the world is crashing down. If you try and understand that thinking in our heads, you will have a better chance of success.
Don't ever try and emotionally manipulate or extort a psychopath though. We are the masters of manipulation and can see it from miles away. If you try with us, you might bring out a very cruel side we may have. Emotional manipulation/extortion is an insult to us. If you are fine with insulting us, we will return the favour but without the pretence of, "just trying trying to get you to listen to me!" or "I love you, but don't think you love me because...". Don't do that. We hate that, and we hate people who try it. It's pathetic.