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BPD and Relationships

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month

    It is a sticky situation when it comes to having a relationship with someone who has any sort of mental health disorder. Whether that be a friendship, family member, or an intimate relationship, it comes with its challenges. Many people who suffer from mental disorders experience good days and bad days. 

    Unfortunately, rather than having good days and bad, some experience a change in mood hour to hour. It is very hot and cold and can be tough to manage for both parties in the relationship. This is a common condition with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). When it comes to a relationship with someone suffering from BPD, it can seem like you’re constantly walking on eggshells. 

    What is BPD

    Borderline Personality Disorder, more commonly called BPD, is a well-known mental health disorder. BPD is a condition that affects others around you just as much as it, does you. Someone with BPD has trouble interpreting emotions, causing constant fluctuations in one’s mood.


    Along with the constant mood swings, someone suffering from BPD has intense behavioral problems. This consists of random outbursts of anger or episodes of intense anxiety and depression. Impulsive and extreme thoughts and behavior are the norms for someone living with BPD. It is tough living with BPD, but some may say it is harder on the ones around you.      

    Constant reckless behavior, and not knowing what personality or emotion you are going to get from your partner or friend can be stressful. Someone living with Borderline Personality Disorder experiences life and emotions to the extreme. If someone experiences something happy, someone with BPD has a heightened and more extreme happiness sensation. The same goes for a bad or unhappy experience. For the others around you this may seem chaotic, and can potentially lead to a conflict-filled relationship. 

    What to Expect in a Relationship with Someone with BPD

    It is extremely difficult to live a “normal” and healthy life when suffering from BPD. It is even more difficult to have a stable and healthy relationship when living with this disorder. Being in a relationship with someone who has a mental disorder is nothing short of a rocky and dysfunctional road ahead. Each day you may experience a completely different person than the one you fell in love with.  

    Below are some common ways BPD can wreak havoc on one’s relationship:

    • Unstable Self Image

    Self-identity and self-image are constantly changing for someone who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. Your goals and values can be different from one day to the next. Loving your job and life but hours later feeling empty and without purpose is a constant battle.

    When your values and goals change within a matter of hours, this can set you up for self-sabotage. Someone with BPD may be happy with their career choice, but decide days later they hate their job. This causes an impulsive behavior of getting themselves fired. Sadly, and too often, these unstable thoughts lead to self harm or suicidal thoughts.  

    • Fear of Rejection/ Abandonment

    When suffering from BPD the fear of abandonment and rejection is extremely heightened. They will analyze everything their partner does, and any sign of unhappy or changed behavior will cause destruction. This can be something as little as not wanting to eat at the same restaurant. Unfortunately, this little change can cause someone with BPD to believe their partner is unhappy and ready to abandon. In turn, causing them to withdraw from the situation and isolate themselves. 

    At the same time, this constant fear of rejection also comes with obsessive behavior. People with BPD tend to idolize their partners, which can become overbearing. They believe obsessing over their relationship and partner will prevent them from leaving them, but most of the time pushes them away. This obsessive behavior usually ends up with heartbreak and unfortunately abandonment.  

    •  Constant Mood Swings

    Imagine having to constantly tiptoe around any little trigger that could potentially set your partner into a storm of emotions. When being in a relationship with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder this could be your reality. Intense mood swings going from happiness to anger or depression can last hours or even days. These episodes can be hard to cope with for your loved ones and the people around you. 

    This pendulum of ever-changing moods and emotions, especially anger, is a recipe for disaster. When someone with BPD feels angry, there is no such thing as a little tiff. These episodes result in outbursts of rage no matter where it takes place. Not only can this be uncomfortable for your partner, but the onlookers around you. The worst part is, most of the time the person suffering from BPD does not think that this behavior is wrong. 

    • Impulsive Thoughts and Behaviors

    Impulsive and risky behavior is not uncommon for someone living with BPD. With this comes unsafe and unhealthy behaviors such as gambling, unsafe sex, and substance abuse. These behaviors and ideas not only put themselves at risk but their partners too. Oftentimes than not, when your partner begins with this reckless lifestyle it never ends well. 

    Behaviors like these often lead to drug addiction, jail, and worst case, death. The person suffering from BPD may get a handle on these problems, but as their emotions, it is an up and down battle. It is easier to get clean than stay clean.

    How to Make it Work?

    When finding out your partner or loved one has BPD it is a lot easier to convince yourself to walk away. Being in a relationship with someone with this mental disorder can be a day-to-day battle to make it work. People with BPD do deserve love and happiness and will return these emotions, but patience and knowledge are key. 

    Of course, your loved one living with BPD can seek treatment and psychotherapy to help with their emotional state. Medications can also be prescribed to help alleviate these symptoms. Consider getting involved in therapy as well to learn how to cope and adapt to your partner’s mental disorder. Not only does this help you learn more about the mental disorder, but it also shows your support for your partner with BPD.

    People suffering from BPD will sadly have to battle this disorder for the remainder of their lives. These constant uncertainties and emotional battles make life hard to bear. With the support from family or a partner, it will make the road a bit easier.