So, all you fellow BPD sufferers out there will be with me when I say, for normal people, maintaining a healthy, happy and intimate relationship is difficult. When you add BPD into the mix, it is damn near impossible, but I have come up a few simple rules that seem to help me, maybe they will help you too;
1) Never rush into things – no matter how much you ‘don’t ever want to live without’ your new boyfriend/girlfriend, understand that this is BPD talking, not you. I have learnt the hard way (matching tattoos, breaking up families, almost financial ruin) that rushing into things too early can be very damaging. On the other side of it, when I have wanted to rush into things, but something has prevented me, I have been eternally gratefully – when I think perhaps I could be married with children (if I had followed my heart) to a man that makes my skin crawl. BPD makes you want acceptance and normality more than anything else, but that comes after time, and you can’t rush it.
2) Don’t say ‘I love you’ when you first feel it – This is what I find the most difficult. When I first meet someone, and they show me kindness and affection (particularly if it is intimate) I want to tell them I love them. And at that point, I really truly mean it. But the next morning, the feeling will have passed. For us BPD’ers it is safe to follow the rule that we should only allow those words to pass our lips when the ‘honeymoon period’ has passed and we really are in love, and not in lust, and that love has stood the test of time. I now follow the 6 month rule – if I feel consistently good about a person for that long, then maybe, perhaps, my feelings stand a chance of staying consistent. It’s a small chance but it’s all I have.
3) If your partner tells you you are beautiful, believe them – It is within us to hate our bodies, but we have to accept that not everyone feels that way. There will be someone out there who loves you, inside and out, and for that, you owe it to them to believe them when they tell you.
4) Say no to sex if you don’t want it – One of my biggest mistakes in a relationship, was having sex with my boyfriend ‘to keep him happy’. Fair enough, most married women would agree they do this too, but for the BPD sufferer, this will be lethal for a relationship. It will lead to resentment, bitterness and regret. If you do it, you will lie there feeling used and dirty. You will feel like a whore, worthless. I have also made the decision to avoid having sex when I am drunk or highly medicated – I had a situation with my ex-boyfriend where I found several used condoms in my bin. When I asked him about it, I found out we had been having sex every night (after I had taken sleepers). I had no memory of it, and find it hard to understand how he could have thought I was ‘corpus mentus’. I don’t blame him, but it drove a big wedge between us, which was the beginning of the end for our relationship.
5) Be honest about how you feel (taking into account the previous points) – Admittedly, this will be quite confusing for your partner. Some days you will be up, some days you will be down. Some days you will be both, following the rollercoaster of your emotions like every BPD’er does. The secret to making a healthy relationship is to be completely honest about those feelings, no matter how confusing they may be. I recently made the mistake, when trying out internet dating, of trying to be someone else. Trying to be ‘normal’. Until I realised the key to making a relationship work is not trying to be someone else to enable someone to love me; but for someone to love me because I am the way I am. They might not like it, and yes, they might leave you. But if they leave you – they weren’t the right person, and they weren’t worth worrying about it the first place. It is the worse feeling in the world needing to talk, then having to hide how you feel to maintain the image of yourself you have created for someone. And always remember: Don’t cry over a man, and a man who makes you cry, isn’t worth your tears.
6) Do not let their issues become yours – The worse thing for a Borderline, is to be in a relationship with a fellow borderline. You might think, brilliant, he/she will understand me, understand where I am coming from, we will be perfect together. It doesn’t work like that. I know from experience you bounce off each other, his feelings become yours and vice versa, you get trapped in a never ending cycle of mood swings, self harming and manipulative behaviours. By all means – follow your heart – just be aware, and be careful. You need to keep yourself safe.
7) If they don’t love you, let them go – I know how you feel. I know you don’t want to be abandoned, or alone. How you will do anything to keep hold of them, to make them stay with you. Please, please don’t make this mistake. Don’t make grand gestures, buy presents, threaten to kill yourself, get pregnant. If they don’t want you – you aren’t going to change their mind. But them not wanting you doesn’t mean you are a bad person. It means they don’t feel they want you want them to. And yes, it might hurt to begin with, a time in a great healer. It obviously wasn’t meant to be, and I am a great believer in fate. Bide your time and you will find out that the pain you go through will bring you to the person you were meant to find.
Take Care. x