I’ve been in a stable relationship with my boyfriend Craig for 3 and a half years. We met via Tinder (cringe!) and quickly became a couple. I had already been diagnosed with BPD a few months before we met, and I told him about it early on. Not surprisingly, BPD has played a significant role in our relationship, and I wanted to highlight the good and bad ways it has manifested. Obviously, I’m not going to go too personal here, and I like to keep my relationship private. And I’m only really talking about my own behaviours, not those of my partner, as obviously I can’t speak for him.
- Passion: anyone who knows much about BPD knows it leads sufferers to feel emotions intensely. This can be positive within a relationship. I fell in love very quickly, and have always committed 100% to our relationship.
- Compassion: having BPD means I have a ridiculous ability to experience empathy. When my partner has been through hard times I have literally felt the pain in my bones. I have been able to provide him with support and validation for his emotional experiences, even at times when I haven’t had solutions for his problems.
- Perceptive: Partly due to my BPD, and partly my previous career as an assistant psychologist, I pride myself on being emotionally perspective. I am able to acknowledge themes in conversations/behaviours. Again, this adds to my ability to be in tune with my partner and his needs.
- Intensity: Similar to passion, I feel all emotions intensely. This means during good times, I am able to commit and be present in the moment with my partner. Goofing around with him feels like heaven!
- Safety: Being around my partner, who is by his nature very protective and loving, is one of the first times in my life I have felt safe. I feel I always have someone in my corner.
- Fear of abandonment: I have this chronic feeling that I do not deserve my partner and that he could do better. This means I spend a lot of time expecting him to leave me and panicking about this. Obviously, this can be exhausting for him.
- Seeking reassurance: due to my fears of abandonment, I often seek repeated reassurance from my partner, that he loves me and is committed to me, which again, can really grate. I also seek reassurance on my emotional reactions, as I struggle to identify if they are appropriate or a BPD response.
- Overreacting: my intense experiences of emotions and fears about rejection mean I often overreact to small arguments or disagreements, whereby they feel like the end of the world. This can often leave my partner feeling he has to tread on eggshells to avoid an explosion.
- Black and white: Black and white thinking in BPD is hard to manage. With my partner, I often feel he loves or, during arguments, hates me when really he experiences a whole spectrum of emotions towards me. I can be hard for him when to be painted in such a black and white manner and feel invalidating to his emotions when I suggest this.
But largely, our relationship works well, and the intensity and passion I feel mean the negatives are hugely outweighed by the positives. I am incredibly happy and fortunate to be with someone who understands my behaviours and their origins. I want to reassure any fellow BPD sufferers you absolutely can be in a steady, functional relationship with BPD.