Dating Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder is one of the most difficult mood disorders to live with, and certainly presents a complication when it comes to love and relationships. If you’ve recently met someone you connected with who told you they have borderline personality disorder, you can certainly carry on a relationship, but tread lightly, and know what you’re dealing with. And definitely don’t date someone with BPD who isn’t participating in regular therapy for it—either through group or one-on-one counseling. It’s a manageable condition but it must be managed and not left to its own devices. There is a good chance that, at some point, you’ll take a liking to someone with BPD because they can be some of the most charming people. Here is what you need to know before dating someone with borderline personality disorder.
They don’t like sudden changes
Those with BPD often let their imaginations get the best of them. So when you make a plan with them, they have high hopes for it and have already gotten excited about particular details and ways they hope it will play out. So, if you tell them the morning of that the plan has changed, you’ll notice they shut down and emotionally retreat.
They can lash out
People with BPD don’t have the protective emotional layer others have—the layer that keeps possibly hurtful words from hitting us too hard. So even small criticism (even if meant to be constructive) of someone with BPD can result in them lashing back at you with malicious, critical comments.
They will fixate
BPD suffers fixate on things. If they got in a small argument with a friend, or got feedback from a colleague, or didn’t get the raise they wanted, it will be the only thing they talk about for a while. They will monopolize conversations with you, with your friends, and with anyone they encounter, with this topic. They don’t mean to be selfish; they just don’t have the ability to compartmentalize and put things aside that others do.
They’re very charismatic
People with BPD can be some of the most charismatic ones you’ve ever met! When they’re having a good day, they’re very positive, enthusiastic, adventurous, encouraging, and funny.
But friends may come and go
Because of that last note, those with BPD are often making new friends that they’re very excited about. But, many of their friendships don’t last because, again, if those friends disappoint the BPD sufferer in the smallest way (change plans, give a small critique), they lash out and ruin the friendship.
At times, they’ll be manic
When someone with BPD takes on a new project, they’ll be manic. They might stay up for days, devoting all of their time, energy, and attention to this project. This happens for a lot of reasons but often, this project is just a distraction from what’s really going on—some upset or disappointment.
And then, they’ll be depressed
When the project they manically worked on doesn’t bring them the satisfaction they hoped for (how could it? Since it wasn’t really about that) they’ll become deeply, darkly depressed. For them, it’s like they climbed a mountain, hoping to find a jewel on top, and when they got there, they realized they’d climbed the wrong mountain.
Holding down a job may be difficult
BPD sufferers have a difficult time holding down jobs. Their mood swings can incapacitate them for days, making it difficult for them to show up to work or uphold responsibilities. They may also lash out at bosses and coworkers.
Never point out their episodes
You cannot tell someone with BPD that they are currently having a manic episode, or that they’re fixating on something, or that they don’t mean what they said. When they’re having one of these episodes, they’re like a hurricane that you just need to let spin out. Only when they’re done, are they in a calm enough place to realize what they did.
They may lie to you
People with BPD can, unfortunately, lie a lot. They may do this when they’re having a manic episode. Say they are convinced they need to accomplish a certain project. They will do whatever they have to do so, including lie to people around them.
Only because they’re lying to themselves
Just know that, when they lie, they don’t feel the same way about it that others do. Ultimately, they’re lying to others because they’re lying to themselves. They’ve deluded themselves into believing the lie is true because they need to believe that to continue their manic episode and avoid whatever truth they cannot face.
Do not lend them money
Unfortunately, it is not a good idea to lend someone with BPD money. Impulse control is a major symptom of BPD. That means this person could, at once, spend all of that money on something they can’t afford and lash out at their boss, get fired, and lose the means to make back that money (and pay you back). You can provide emotional support but do not provide financial support.
They actually have huge hearts
People with BPD have huge hearts. Don’t let the description of the other behaviors make you think otherwise. They actually feel very deeply, are very empathetic, and will be the first one to lend someone else money or do a big favor for somebody else.
But their hearts can get them in trouble
Of course, their big hearts can get them in trouble—it’s all a part of that impulse control thing. They may invest money they needed for rent in a friend’s business idea, or let a problematic family member move into their guest room.
Alcohol and BPD don’t mix
Those with BPD should really try to stay away from alcohol—it only enhances all of the other already difficult-to-manage symptoms. The same goes for recreational drugs.