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Starting a new relationship with BPD

(16 Posts)
whitecandles Sun 09-Nov-14 05:55:00

Not sure if this should be here or in Mental Health, really...

I came out of a long-term and largely unhappy relationship almost two years ago. It took a while to get over him, but I think I'm more or less there. There were issues on both sides and the relationship was never going to be good, so I'm glad I ended it. I moved abroad and I'm doing ok here.

Recently, I met a new guy, first person I've liked for ages. And luckily he likes me too. And he treats me really well, texts me all the time, is generally nice and caring, asks how I am every day, all that stuff.

The problem is that I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I have been in therapy for a long time and I have worked really hard on my issues, and I am way way way better than I used to be. Almost all of my issues are surrounding my family (who I barely see, so it's not that much of a problem) and romantic relationships.

I've only been seeing him for a month, but I am already starting to feel the symptoms of BPD cropping up again. Constantly checking my phone, wanting to give him the cold shoulder if he doesn't respond straight away, being annoyed that he doesn't have time to meet, suspecting him of being with other women (he's given me no reason at all to think that's the case), wanting to make him jealous, wanting to change my plans to fit in with his. I have so far basically resisted actually acting on any of these impulses, apart from this weekend I know I have been off with him - mainly because I just can't stand thinking about it any more.

If things don't work out with him, I'd be a bit sad, but that's not really the issue. The issue is that I feel like I'm never going to be able to have a relationship without it revolving around BPD.

Anyone else been in this situation?

whitecandles Sun 09-Nov-14 07:50:52


God, this sucks. I've been going back and forth all day about whether I should just break it off with him.

It's got to be easier than this.

It doesn't help that he is from this country (in Asia) and they are really sceptical of mental health problems. I feel like I can't even tell him what's going on.

SanityClause Sun 09-Nov-14 08:01:26

I don't know very much about your condition, but I didn't want to leave your post unanswered.

You mention therapy. I'm assuming you aren't currently seeing a therapist, so perhaps you could find one, where you are, to help you.

Your last paragraph rings warning bells, though. If he can't understand your condition, and you can't confide in him, I can't see a lot of future for the relationship. But perhaps if you do confide, you might find he is more understanding than you think he will be.

whitecandles Sun 09-Nov-14 08:24:29

Thank you for your reply.

I am still 'seeing' my therapist, but we correspond by email. It's not exactly ideal, but I trust her and we have a good relationship. I have looked here to try to find someone, but I couldn't find anyone who I thought was suitable.

I haven't even thought about telling him about the mental health stuff yet. Of course, if the relationship progressed, I'd have to. But for the moment, I just wanted to enjoy it, and I can't, because all the BPD stuff just crops up again and again. Doesn't seem to matter how much therapy I do, how many techniques I learn, the base feeling is always there.

candyce83 Sun 09-Nov-14 08:31:39

How long were you in counselling for? Sounds like relationships are a trigger for you as BPD is rooted in abandonment issues.

whitecandles Sun 09-Nov-14 08:36:43

I had various types of therapy over many years. I'm 32 now and I first saw someone when I was 18. I haven't always been consistently seeing someone, as my early to mid 20s were a mess, but I've been seeing this particular therapist pretty regularly for about 3 years.

Relationships are always a mess for me.

dreamingofblueskies Sun 09-Nov-14 09:37:24

Would it be possible to Skype with your therapist as I would imagine the 'face to face' contact with then would make it easier to talk openly. You can edit emails but not what comes out of your mouth so it ends up being more what you mean to say rather than what you think people want to hear, IYSWIM?

whitecandles Sun 09-Nov-14 09:40:08

It actually helps a lot writing emails, I think. Exactly because I can think about it more, rather than just get caught up in my emotions.

dreamingofblueskies Sun 09-Nov-14 10:56:56

Oh right, that makes sense actually! Sorry I have no helpful advice for you, I've just found out that my husband has BPD so your post caught my eye. Wishing you every luck.

NoMarymary Sun 09-Nov-14 11:24:27

Please walk away from this. It's a road to nowhere. It's not worth the risk. I think this is just another example of your finding difficult relationships.

candyce83 Sun 09-Nov-14 12:15:47

Are you doing dbt in your counselling? You sound very aware which is more than most pd individuals have a grasp on. An xdp of mine had BPD and while I really tried hard to understand (as I think most people do) I couldn't tolerate being an emotional punchbag so left a lot which triggered her abandonment fears. We brought out the worst in each other so ended up splitting. Maybe you're not quite ready for a relationship yet?

whitecandles Sun 09-Nov-14 14:36:05

dreaming, sorry to hear about your husband, hope he gets the help he needs.

nomarymary - it could be a bad thing in the end, it could be a good thing, but i would never not want to try. i want to be happy, i want to have a normal life. to me, it's totally worth the risk. i trained to be a teacher last year - i was told that that was a bad idea as it would stress me out too much. but here i am, a qualified teacher. and i am willing to take a chance on this guy too. because even if it hurts in the end, i'd rather take the chance.

candyce83 - no, i don't do dbt. i wish i could access it, but i've never been able to on the nhs and i can't afford to pay privately to do it. i'm only aware after struggling with this for so long, for my entire life really, and i've always been so desperate to get better so i've always read a lot about bpd and about mental health in general, and i saw how badly my behaviour affected my ex and i am determined not to let that happen again.

but i do wonder if i'm ready for a relationship. especially one with someone from a totally different culture where there are going to be issues anyway.

Blue2014 Sun 09-Nov-14 14:54:56

I wonder if maybe you don't have to disclose your BPD diagnosis yet but could tell him about some of your experiences (ie. I've had some difficult experiences in life that can make me anxious or afraid in relationships, sometimes it might make me angry or want to push away) even in a culture where mental health difficulties aren't understood surely personal experiences still can be?

Also could you ask your therapist for any self help books on DBT (lots of it is skills training, if you already have an understanding of your difficulties you may well just be able to identify the skills that help) It may also be worth considering mindfulness if you haven't already? Some people also read "reinventing your life" which is a schema therapy self help book (it's sometimes triggering as it will lead you to think about any abandonment or mistrust beliefs you have but it can also help)

Honestly, relationships can often be -a Trigger but that doesn't mean that you can't be happy - it's just harder work sometimes.

whitecandles Sun 09-Nov-14 15:08:38

blue, thanks. that is basically what i've been doing, and he says he understands. i told him that my last relationship was bad and that it made it hard for me to trust people, and he knows that i had some problems with my family, and i told him that i was sad one day and he was really concerned. he's told me some stuff about his past and his job at the moment that's not the nice, cheery face they like to show here, so i know that he's not going to judge me on feeling bad at times.

i did do a mindfulness course which helped a lot, actually. and meditation. maybe meditation was the thing that totally changed how i felt, actually.

i will ask my therapist for some dbt books. i think i maybe read reinventing your life, but some years ago when i was really too sick to get properly well.

thank you so much for your post, it really helped me think about stuff.

candyce83 Sun 09-Nov-14 15:21:24

whitecandles…you really sound like you have a good head on your shoulders…awareness is the first step. My ex did the usual promises of getting help when she was trying to hoover me then of course never followed through. She will never get help, it is a very sad scenario.

Its a shame the nhs doesnt offer dbt as that is specifically for bpd. Cbt can actually prove harmful to bpd sufferers. Meditation and mindfulness is one of the best things you can do so stick at it. Bpd is so deep rooted in the subconscious but it is completely treatable..You are doing very well, you should be proud of yourself! Maybe try and seek out some group therapy if at all available to you in your area. Online dbt courses are also available as well.

NoelJose Sun 09-Nov-14 22:08:13

Hi White, not sure what I can add but your post resonated with me so I thought I could offer a hand hold if nothing else! I have BPD but I haven't had any therapy, there was none to be offered on the NHS so it was kind of "you have BPD, bye!" So I have been left with searching the Internet forums and I bought a book - dialectical behaviour therapy workbook, which has helped a bit but I also find a bit patronising tbh.
When you say "the issue is that I feel I will never have a relationship without it revolving around BPD" I would agree, but that doesn't mean it isn't workable.
since my diagnosis I have become much more self aware, as it seems you are. I can recognise my triggers and am now able to differentiate (sometimes)between what would be reasonable and what is me being an emotional mess. So I have started to work with my DH on it, for example if I feel intensely angry where before I would say hurtful things and strop about and not talk or listen, i now say "I need to go and sit on my own for a bit because I am feeling too intense". And I go and ride it out and it's really hard because I so want to go into the stroppy child that I am comfortable with but I know it will pass and I will be able to see things more clearly in a short time.
I guess what I am saying is that it can work but it is a slog and I think it always will be and it takes lots of honesty on both sides.
Sorry for the massive rambling essay,this is like a minuscule amount of what I wanted to say because it's such a bloody complicated thing!

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