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Intimacy in Relationships with Someone Who Has BPD

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Intimacy and BPDAny relationship takes a lot of work to maintain. A relationship with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) may be even more challenging, and may leave you wondering if that person can ever become truly intimate with you.

If you’ve been in a relationship with someone who has BPD, you’ve likely experienced the unpredictable moods that are characteristic of the disorder. You may feel loved one minute and hated the next. You may have been told such things as, “I can’t live without you, now get out of here,” and “I hate you, please don’t leave me.”

This can understandably leave you feeling confused and angry, and put a strain on your relationship. What is important to keep in mind is that, while your partner may genuinely care for you, Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms may be prohibiting them from experiencing true intimacy.

Dramatic Shifts in Affection

Borderline Personality Disorder is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as involving “a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.” If you are in a relationship with someone with BPD, you will recognize this behavior being demonstrated as dramatic shifts between expressions of extreme love and intense anger or hatred.

This is likely a complete shift from the early stages of your relationship, when your partner probably focused on you excessive energy and displays of affection. During the honeymoon phase of the relationship, it is normal for someone with Borderline Personality Disorder to display excessive admiration, but these feelings can quickly change if you do not reciprocate. Your partner may feel that you aren’t expressing enough empathy or caring, which can lead to arguments and an eventual end to the relationship.

Maintaining a relationship with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder may not always be easy, and you may never feel the emotional intimacy that you crave. Encourage your partner to seek treatment for BPD to help them learn the skills needed to help your relationship thrive.

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