Do borderline personal disorder (BPD) relationships work? It depends on the partner’s level of tolerance and acceptance.
In most cases, BPD relationships are very intense and emotional. At the same time, it is often a conflict-laden and chaotic love relationship. Romantic BPD relationships exhibit numerous ups and downs resulting from frequent mood swings.
If you are in a relationship with a BPD woman or man, you need to be well aware of this mental disorder and how to deal with it. You can have a happy romantic relationship with a borderline personality woman or man.
Borderline Personality Disorder Relationship
What makes a relationship with a BPD person unique and special?
Without a doubt, borderline personality disorder is a unique category of mental illness.
Unfortunately, most victims of this mental disorder fail to recognize their emotional outbursts depart from typical human behavior.
BPD patients miserably fail to understand the implications of their behavior on a person with whom they live. Usually, they don’t realize the relationship issues arising from their mood swings, unpredictable behaviors, and intense reactions.
Furthermore, your relationship or romantic engagement with a BPD patient can have recurring conflicts and crises. You become like a hostage under obligation to fulfill the whims and fancies of your partner. You try to appease your lover or friend for fear of their violent behavior.
Most importantly, managing your relationship with a BPD person requires a lot of patience and tolerance. You need to have skills and a knack for deescalating crises and improving the mental health of your partner.
Common symptoms and behavioral traits
How can you tell your partner is a BPD patient?
Symptoms: In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the mental health professionals conclude from a series of diagnoses, the chief symptoms of BPD include “intense, unstable, and conflicted personal relationships.”
Indeed, only a psychiatrist or competent mental health professional can accurately diagnose a personality disorder.
However, you can easily know if your partner is a BPD patient by learning about the BPD symptoms. Some of those prominent traits and symptoms are:
- Extreme mood swings such as euphoria to intense self-criticism
- Quick changes in attitude towards other people
- Strong fear of separation or rejection
- A sudden feeling of fear and smother in intimacy; leading to withdrawal
- Makes threats of suicide or self-harm
- Unsafe behaviors like drug abuse, reckless gambling, overspending, or violent sex
- Sudden and frequent outbursts of anger
- Lack of empathy for others
- Fear of cheating or lying by the partner
- Highly impulsive and unpredictable behavior
Is it possible to have a romantic relationship with BPD?
Many are unaware of the difficulties of entering into a romantic relationship or living with a BPD partner.
First of all, despite several intense and impulsive symptoms, people with BPD are kind and caring individuals. They have strong emotions and an intense feeling for the partner.
They are normal people most of the time with positive qualities and outlooks. They have a strong passion for love and romance.
In addition, many say that a romantic relationship with a BPD is exciting and passionate. Despite the ups and downs in the relationship, it is possible to have an intense romantic relationship with BPD persons.
Treatments for BPD
There is no reason for you to become disappointed and frustrated if your partner has borderline personality disorder issues.
Obviously, both of you may require the help of a mental health expert for helping you manage the relationship.
Fortunately, there are several proven therapies and treatments that can very well help your partner with BPD.
Mentalization therapy (MBT)
MBT is a specific type of psychodynamically-oriented psychotherapy meant to help people with BPD. It helps people to differentiate and separate their own thoughts and feelings from those around them.
Mentalization therapy involves a close examination of the current emotional status of a person. It examines the relationship between emotional states and behavior.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
DBT provides clients with the required skills to manage painful emotions and reduce conflict in relationships. It tries to develop the patient’s key behavioral skills such as mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
There isn’t any specific medication available for BPD treatment.
However, doctors may recommend anti-anxiety or mood uplifting medications to help improve interpersonal relationships.
Some medications might help in dealing with depression, anger, mood swings, and impulsive behavior seen in BPD patients. For instance, mood-stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotic medications may reduce certain BPD symptoms.
How can you make a BPD relationship last?
Long term relationship with a BDP person is not easy. Everything goes well at the initial stages of the relationship.
In fact, BPD persons show a lot more emotion and care to their partners than normal people. They begin to idealize their partner as the best match for them.
However, the bonhomie between the partners soon dies out because of the dichotomy in the behavior of the BDP partner.
If your life partner is a BPD patient, here are a few ways you can build up a happy and lasting relationship.
Try all possible ways to recover
Recovery from borderline personality disorder implies the elimination of its symptoms. It involves getting rid of the threats of self-harming and the intensity of behavioral disorders like emotional outbursts.
The process of recovery will involve psychotherapies, medication, and constant efforts to recover from the disorder.
Restructuring the home environment
Make your home environment calm and relaxed. Family members should avoid everything that can cause anxiety and stress in the person especially when the patient is in crisis mode. It is better to avoid any discussion on the disorder and the issues arising from it.
People with BPD should get enough opportunities to express their feelings and opinion at family gatherings.
Family members and the life partner should spend a lot of time with the patient in leisure activities involving a lot of fun and laughter.
At home, never make the patient feel like his or her mental illness is a serious problem.
Prevent the occurrence of conflict
Indeed, you can avoid conflicts in your relationship with BPD by listening and reflecting. If you have to disagree with your partner, then do it most courteously and politely.
When you begin to acknowledge the other person’s emotional perspective, there will be little room left for conflicts. Also, ask your BPD friend open-ended questions which prompt them to share their problems with you.
Make good communication during a crisis
When your BPD person unreasonably argues or reacts, you should not become defensive and react similarly. It is because BPD patients struggle to compromise with the different perspectives of other persons.
In such situations, you should take time to patiently listen to his or her points and cause dissent. Do not take any personal offense to such arguments.
Acknowledge their points and make courteous suggestions to improve the matter in the future.
Obviously, when the individual feels like they are being heard, the crisis subsides.
However, if the crisis or argument escalates into threatening or flare-ups, then just walk away from the scene. You may resume the conversation and friendly chat only when your friend is calmer.
Skillfully tackle their attempts to hurt themselves
At the peak of a crisis or emotional breakdown, a BPD person may threaten or attempt to hurt themselves. It happens when the individual is saddened or cannot express emotions verbally.
Furthermore, you must take the initiative for providing psychiatric or medical aids to treat such issues.
Never talk about suicide or self-harming behavior of the individuals lest you don’t put such thoughts in their minds. Instead, let them open up themselves and give them professional assistance if necessary.
In addition to this, Give due importance to suicide or self-harming threats made by your lover or friend with BPD. It may be attention-seeking, but they can have a strong inner compulsion to harm themselves.
BPD romantic relationship break-up
Breaking up a romantic relationship with BPD is troublesome.
Borderline personality disorder people have a strong fear of abandonment and rejection. It can break the mental stability of the person leading to desperation and pondering over suicide.
The BPD person knows the gravity of an unhealthy relationship, yet he does not let the relationship go. The pangs and fear of break-up are very high in marriages or long-term relationships.
Undoubtedly, it is necessary to take the help of a psychiatrist to counsel the patient. It eases out the aftermath of feelings of bitterness and abandonment.
The Bottom Line
The key to maintaining a relationship with someone with BPD is to find ways to cope with the cycles of crisis and normalcy. Also important to encourage your BPD partner to get professional help to reduce these cycles. Couple therapy may help BPD relationships to last.
Contrary to general belief, research has confirmed that individuals with BPD are capable of ardent romantic relationships.
But, there will be a lot of ups and downs in their relationship with sudden mood swings and tantrums.
It should be noted here, some studies suggest that women with BPD are capable of strong relationships but prone to frequent conflicts. Those with extreme BPD symptoms find it hard to maintain a friendly relationship with others.
Evidence from the research also shows that BPD personalities, especially women have less interest in sex.
In conclusion, people with BPD should remain in continuous prognosis including both medication and counseling. It is difficult to overcome this issue fully. However, the relationship with BPD can still be happy if the partner understands and addresses the issue in the right manner.
Related Article: Living With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Individuals