Even if your partner is completely self-centered, change is possible.
In the beginning, he probably wined and dined you; put you on a pedestal where you stayed for, I don't know, six months or so until the cracks started showing through.
Suddenly, it wasn't all about you anymore. Instead of making reservations at a fancy restaurant for your anniversary, he expected you to cook for him, and then the steak wasn't rare enough, and the wine hadn't quite chilled to perfection.
Suddenly, the world seemed to revolve around him.
It's OK, you thought. He's simply getting comfortable in the relationship. So you resolve to give it more time, even though your inner voice keeps saying that something is wrong, only you can't quite put your finger on the problem.
Oh yeah, he is now putting his own needs ahead of yours.. .all the time. At this point, he asks you to marry him, and still you don't listen to your inner voice. You tie the knot anyway. And that annoying behavior gets even worse.
Can you turn him and the marriage around? Possibly, if you follow these steps:
1. Force your partner to put himself in your shoes.
When he makes some condescending statement, repeat back to him (in a nice way) exactly what he said.
For instance, if he says, "Why can't you be more like_____? She cooks so well for her husband." Turn it around and say to your hubby, "What If I said to you, Why can't you be more like_____? He provides so much better for his wife."
When he hears those words back, your partner might realize how much they really sting. Sometimes, we say things but don't stop and think how they affect the other person.
2. Make sure your spouse realizes how big the problem really is.
He could simply be taking your for granted and chalking up that self-centered attitude to, "Oh, everyone acts like I do in a marriage." You can point out that no, successful couples put their partners first, most of the time.
Sure, we are all a little selfish at times. But narcissists never put their partner's needs ahead of their own. Gently point out that while you go the extra mile for him most of the time, he rarely reciprocates.
Give specific examples of how you would like to see him change. Reiterate how important your relationship is, and that you have every faith in the world that he is capable of turning his behavior around.
But if he doesn't, the marriage is in jeopardy. That suggestion alone could be enough to rock his world and jar your hubby into compliance.
3. Give your partner an ultimatum, and stick with it.
If you say you are on your way out, you have to be ready to leave. Not that he has to undergo a metamorphosis in a matter of days. If you notice a changing attitude with every passing week, give it some more time.
But if your hubby refuses to budge and insists his way or the highway, you may need to take a break and separate while you seek counseling.
Changing narcissistic behavior is tough, but if he is ready to do the work and realize this behavior has to change, your marriage just might go the distance.
The other question is: How badly do you want to stay in a marriage if your needs are not being met? Your answer might actually make that decision for you.