How Borderline PD Affects Long-Term Relationships
Managing a long-term relationship with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be challenging. You have to cope with the usual relationship challenges while managing difficult BPD symptoms like fear of abandonment, wildly fluctuating emotions, and general instability. However, it is not impossible to maintain a long-term relationship with BPD.
The Challenges of a Long-Term Relationship with BPD
I have been married to my husband for approximately seven months. Previous to that, we dated exclusively for around nine months. However, things have not always been smooth sailing in our relationship, often because of my BPD symptoms. One of my disorder's hallmarks is unstable relationships, where multiple romantic unions and friendships can end quickly and explosively.
One of my biggest issues in relationships has always been insecurity and fear of abandonment. I have struggled with feelings of low self-worth for many years, which sometimes makes me believe that I am without value to anyone. If I fight with my partner, I have a deep-seated fear that he will no longer want to be with me. This fear of abandonment increases if the argument is more severe or if he has to walk away from me during the fight.
I also have tumultuous emotions on a day-to-day basis. I can swing wildly from sad to angry and numb, particularly if my hormonal changes are also impacting my mental state. In the past, these explosive emotions destroyed previous relationships. If I was dating someone who was similarly emotional and struggled with their mental health, we would feed off each other's negativity and compromised mental state.
It can be challenging when I am hyper-aware of my emotional state and limitations but seemingly unable to change anything. I would cycle through the same patterns of self-destructive behavior, insecurity, and fighting in many previous relationships. Only after many years of therapy and actively working on my current relationship can I now have a functional marriage.
The Positives of a Long-Term Relationship with BPD
In the past, one of my biggest problems was believing that I was unworthy of my partner. This mindset made it very difficult to feel secure in the relationship, and it also made me value myself less. Today, I can see that I bring many positive contributions to my marriage and am worthy of a functional relationship.
Because I am more emotionally sensitive than many people, I am more attuned to my husband's mental state. I can usually tell very quickly if he is upset or angry about something, regardless of if it has to do with me. I feel that we also have more freedom to be emotionally open and expressive with each other. I can also appreciate that I am resourceful, responsible, and always planning for the future. I am a good partner in our marriage, regardless of my mental illness. Now that I have a better relationship with myself, I can accept that I do hold value and bring positives to my husband's life.
Setting Long-Term Relationship Boundaries with BPD
In the following video, I discuss what my husband and I do in our relationship to keep it healthy despite my BPD symptoms.
Are you in a long-term relationship with BPD? What strategies do you use to keep your relationship functional and healthy?
Beveridge, K. (2021, March 29). How Borderline PD Affects Long-Term Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, July 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2021/3/how-borderline-pd-affects-long-term-relationships