Dating can be a complex and tricky endeavor. Relationships require work, compromise, communication, empathy, and understanding. Things become even more complicated if you are dating someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
While the beginnings of a relationship with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder might take you to the greatest euphoric heights imaginable, it can also take you to the lowest lows. Knowing what to look for can help you to better maintain a relationship with someone with BPD.
How to Know if Your Partner Has BPD
According to Romeo’s Bleeding by Roger Melton, M.A., there are three distinct phases of being in a relationship with someone who is afflicted with Borderline Personality Disorder:
- The Vulnerable Seducer Phase: This phase depicts the person with Borderline Personality Disorder as a “victim of love.” They will use their previous experiences to denote a feeling or desire to be saved, noting how you are the only one who understands them. You’re “special” because you really “know” them, and this can feed into your empathy and your ego. The person with BPD can make you feel loved, needed, wanted, and elated because they want your attention, but also want to make you the center of their world. Things move at a whirlwind pace, almost too quickly, and you might find yourself in an intense relationship before you’re even ready.
- The Clinger Phase: As the person with Borderline Personality Disorder becomes more attached to you, you will notice changes over time. They may seem small at first, but they will slowly become apparent. Sure, your partner will be interested in you, but may no longer be interested in what you’re interested in. They’ll use physical and emotional ailments to keep your focus entirely on them, and their mood can start to swing suddenly, from euphoric highs to depth-defying lows. They’ll still think you can save them though, and use this to keep an emotional tether to you, putting their entire emotional and physical well-being in your hands.
- The Hater Phase: This is the last of Melton’s phases, and the most caustic one. During the first two phases, the hater won’t appear much as the person with Borderline Personality Disorder tries to maintain their best behavior. But as your relationship continues, you’ll notice the smallest thing will set them off — a look, a word, a touch. Their mood swings will become even more extreme and noticeable now, and all of their pain and suffering will be blamed on you, once again feeding the victim mentality.
Signs Your Partner Has BPD
Those phases are anecdotal in nature, but give a picture of what going through a relationship with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder might be like. Before it gets that far, however, here are some things you can look out for to see if your partner has BPD and if they need help:
- Excessive Mood Swings: Is your partner overly excited one day, only to be followed by a deep bout of depression the next? This could be characterized by extreme changes in opinion, such as one day everyone loves them, the next day everyone hates them.
- Excessive Behavior: Going along with the mood swings, does your partner engage in compulsive behavior, such as lavish spending sprees for no particular reason, impulsive needs to go on sudden trips, or even bouts of self-harm? The mood swings that occur in someone who has BPD can cause them to engage in a number of destructive behaviors, from spending to adultery to drug use, and even worse.
- Quick to Feel Abandoned: Does your partner feel intense abandonment at the slightest hint of you being late, or not being able to make an appointment? Are they quick to blame you for hurting them, or accusing you of ruining their day/week/life because of their intense feelings of abandonment at the slightest provocation?
- Intense Absolutes: Does your partner exhibit feelings that people or situations are completely right or completely wrong, with no in between? If you do something your partner perceives as wrong, are you suddenly the worst villain in the world, only to be the biggest hero the next day for doing something they perceive as right?
These are just some of the warning signs that you might be dating someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. If you feel your partner has BPD, encourage them to get BPD treatment. Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder varies for each person, but with the right amount of care, work, dedication, and love, your relationship can even survive BPD.