I recently recieved a long email from a lovely lady who has been going through a tough time with her girlfriend, who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. She was deperately asking for advice, and wanted to try and see things from the ‘Borderline’ point of view – and needed my help. As I was replying to her e-mail I realised I was actually covering a lot of ground, and that it might be useful to post on here as I may help a wider audience too. *I have the permission of the person involved to post this.

Obviously, I won’t be posting the original e-mail and I have slightly adapted the following in places to protect her privacy, but this was the e-mail that I sent in response;

Wow. Where to start.
I’m firstly going to assume that your girlfriend is 13 years younger than you other than the other way round, as you seem very level headed and sensible – this never comes hand in hand with Borderline and is only something that can be learnt by going over it, over and over again.
Let me first explain about my own relationship, and you can take from that what you need. All through my teenage years I had a ‘question’ over my sexuality although I never discussed it with anyone – I had a few drunken incidents which were fun and left me wanting more, but I never took it further until I met Jean. To begin with, we were friends, until things progressed. The reason why they did, I know now, was because she was that way inclined anyway, and just in denial, living with her husband and children. She had had a previous relationship with a girl and was desperate for another one. Me – I was just a confused (and undiagnosed) borderline, not sure what I wanted, searching for a mother figure and ready to cling on to the first one that came along.
I’m not saying that is your situation at all – but I am just trying to be honest and put it in perspective for you. The typical behaviour pattern in a relationship for a borderline goes as follows (regardless of whether it is a straight or gay relationship); We meet someone – We fall head over heels in love within days – we cannot imagine our life without them and profess our undying love and adoration (typical things I would say here are “I’ll love you forever”, “I want to be with you forever”, “I’ll do anything for you” etc etc – We bumble along in a blissful but sometimes destructive relationship for a while – Until of course that fateful day when the switch goes off and we change from absolute adoration to feeling nothing but being cold and detached.
I desperately wish I could explain this ‘switch’ to you. Perhaps it is a protection mechanism, perhaps it is something that is hardwired wrong in our brains. I have no idea, all I know is how destructive and damaging it is. That person who I told I loved and would be with forever, now accuses me of lying when I said those things as now I appear cold and uncaring – but I honestly wasn’t – It really was how I felt. Now even seeing them hurting doesn’t affect me, when previously I would have gone out of my way to destroy anyone who would even think of hurting them.
The escorting you mention doesn’t surprise me – as you will know, I went down that route too. Why? I honestly can’t answer that. Let me explain something else. As a borderline it is almost as though I am schizophrenic (perhaps I am, who knows?!). There are two sides to my personality which are so far apart from each other it is hard to believe they belong to the same person, and I can switch from one to the other in a matter of seconds. Part one – the anxious, quiet, caring and thoughtful me. I try to please everyone, I constantly try to do the right thing, I try to make people happy. I will go out of my way to help people. I don’t drink, I don’t believe in reckless sex (in fact I only believe in sex within a loving relationship) and I am loyal until the cows come home. Then there is part two, which I have learnt to know as ‘Summer’ (the name I went under when I was escorting). Summer is promiscuous to the extreme. She will go out and throw herself at men, not caring what happens to her, who she sleeps with, how much of a whore she is. She thinks of herself as a whore. She is confident to the extreme, she is articulate, she is flirty and knows all the right things to say. It’s not that she doesn’t care about hurting people, she is just so indifferent that she doesn’t even consider it. Summer was an escort, not me. Summer thinks of herself as a dirty whore, not me. I separate myself in order to protect myself. Unfortunately when people I know happen to meet ‘Summer’ they get hurt and don’t want to know me. I wish I could explain to them that that person isn’t me, but it is, so how can I explain that? Perhaps this philosophy will be useful to you in your situation, in understanding for your partner is acting.
When I met Jean, and she found out I was escorting, she made me stop. She didn’t ask me, she emotionally blackmailed me into stopping. I came to learn that that was how she rolled. She is one of the most manipulative people I know. Yes – I should have stopped for my own reasons but I didn’t, and would go back to it if I didn’t have the terrible self harm scars that I do on my arms and legs.
We (this might apply to you too) have a tendency to imagine things will be perfect and easy, before quickly realising that we can’t cope with them, then cutting and running. Perhaps the things you did made her feel pressured (yes I know that she asked you to do them, but you will quickly learn to questions things asked of you when with a borderline for their real motivation). Picking fights with you doesn’t surprise me. It is a typical behaviour for her. Perhaps she felt trapped, perhaps she didn’t feel good enough. Either way, she is making YOU leave her. She is taking the decision out of her hands and firmly placing it into yours.
Of course – there is only so much you can take. It stands to reason that you are going to snap. What you have to decide is whether you can deal with the crap that she is going to throw at you. It’s going to be a long journey, and she will only get better if she gets the right type of help, and it is consistent. Borderline isn’t a disorder you can treat with tablets and talking. Yes – it helps and it can manage the symptoms but at the very core is the fact that us Borderlines don’t have the skills to live normally and have normal relationships – for some reason we failed to learn them when other people did, leaving us emotionally stunted and immature – unable to have adult relationships which leads to chaos because at our age, it is assumed we will be able to.
She was testing you – pushing you to see how much you would take, and you broke, like she thought you would. Now she won’t trust you. This isn’t your fault, it’s a normal reaction. Now you have to be very honest and explain why you reacted why you did. Above all, you need to show her understanding as she will probably be feeling very out of control, and very vulnerable.
Her saying she doesn’t feel good enough for you comes down to self esteem (and does explain partly why she is escorting). She needs to be shown that she can respect herself for the person she is, and that she is equal to you, and therefore deserving.
What makes it more complicated is the fact that she has been through the awful experience of ******** (hidden for confidentiality) and god knows what that will have done to her – but I am afraid I can’t comment on that as I have no experience with that.
Our biggest fear as a borderline is people leaving us. And not to make you feel worse, you have done that already – twice. If you really love her you need to understand that you CANNOT do that again.
So anyway – what to do now. She probably feels very alone. My suggestion would be to find her, talk to her, and keep talking until she listens. As a borderline, I NEVER need space. I hate being alone. It makes me feel like people have abandoned me. But – this is if you want to make it work. I wouldn’t blame you if you walked away. It’s going to be one hell of a journey, and of course, there will be no guarantees you will have her at the end of it. I know how confused I was about my sexuality – of course I don’t know her but there could even be a question over hers – as Borderline causes a lack of identity.
I hope this helps. Do you mind if I post part of it on my blog (the bits not referring to your situation – I feel like I did a bit of soul searching in that!)
Lots of Love


  1. My experience with BPD has come late in my life. I am 14 years older than the man that Ifell in love with. He professed his undying love for me over a ten year period of time (during his incarceration) when we finally had time together starting 2 years ago . He lives nearly 200 miles away and we did not see each daily . but the intensity of our feelings seemed to grow exponentially until about three months ago. Last year as I recovered from a major illnes he came to stay with and nurse me back to health then he broke up with me because i didn’t believe the depth of his love. Since that time he has repeatedly left me, over a myriad of issues like my not being as affectionate as him, my need to be alone when I first arrive home from work, my lying to him, and the latest was my bad mouthing his family. The problems are mostly introduced into the relationship by me and I admit that I have bought into his criticism of me by either acquiescing or blowing up myself. He has teased me repeatedly on topics that I am sensitive to. His last departure from the relationship was spurred by his assertation that he not only thought that we couldn’t live together, were too unalike, accusations of me lying again, and then of disrespecting his family. I am flawed but not any worse than others he was so uncaring toward me, using issues that I am very sensitive to when I let him off the hook. Now it seems that he hates me when I thought of him as the answer to my prayers…thinking that I had finally found the ONE. Your blog has given me insight into his disorder but I must strongly declare that those of us left in the wake of BPDs lack of regard for the hurt they spew is even sadder because they can not see their part in order to make corrections or amends. He has declared his goal of killing himself when his mother dies and because of his vehement treatment of me I can not even report his desire with hope that his family will get him help.

  2. Literally two weeks ago, I thought I was bisexual, got into a relationship with a friend and then, when I came back to reality, I realised just what a big mistake I had made 😦 how do you forgive yourself? How do you move on when you hurt the ones you love, albeit unintentionally?

    1. What you did was make a MISTAKE. You didn’t do it intentionally, and it was two weeks not two years… it sounds as though you have some bridges to build but be as honest as you can. Explain it wasn’t working for you. BPD can cause confusion over your identity and sexual preferences like this. xxxx

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