Tips on dating for when YOU have BPD
I’ve seen so many articles and posts on “how to date someone with BPD”, or worse “warning signs your partner has BPD” or “how to recover from dating someone with BPD”. But I could only find ONE article giving advice to people WITH BPD in relationships. So, I’ve made my own. Here are some tips on maintaining a good relationship when YOU have BPD:
- Be open. I know you’ll be scared that if you’re too honest, you’ll scare the partner away. But you need to be truthful, or you’ll end up bottling things up, and then they explode.
- Saying that, sometimes it’s okay not to express your fears. Small fears such as how your partner hasn’t texted back as fast as normal, don’t need to be expressed when they occur. Once you’ve calmed down, take the time to express it. Say “It makes me a bit sad when you don’t reply fast, but I understand that sometimes that happens” This way, your partners understands your fears, but also knows that you understand their limits too. Sometimes our fears are small and go away if we wait, so take a minute to thing logically (if you can).
- It’s okay to show symptoms! Don’t be mad at yourself if you have a mood swing in front of your partner, it;s not your fault
- Avoid expressing when you’re splitting. It’s hard not to let every things out when we’re mad and splitting, but try not to if you can. Try and suppress for a little time and express your feelings once you’ve settled. This way you can express them neutrally, without bias, and make sense when you do so.
- Keep reminders of your partner’s care for you. Screen shot texts and keep them in a folder. When you feel unloved or the person isn’t responding, read through these to remind yourself that they love you
- Ask your partner to give you small reminders. Ask “every now and again, can you remind me you love me?”. This isn’t a big ask- a small text once a day is not manipulative or needy, and your partner should be ahppy to as this makes you happy
- Set guidelines. It’s okay to have certain things you get paranoid about. Tell your partner that there are some things you don’t like- e.g. “I don’t like it when you use full stops, it makes me think you’re angry, could you avoid doing so? I understand if you mess up though.” A relationship is about caring for each other and making each other comfortable, so your partner should be ahppy to make small changes to make you happy, just as you’ll make small changes to make them happy!
- Be prepared to compensate. Sometimes we get paranoid about things that we just have to let happen. We get worried when our partner talks about other people, when they see other people. It’s okay to express this, but we have to learn that we can’t stop our partners doing this. This is hard, and something I struggle with myself, but it’s needed to make our partners feel comfortable. If your partner is out doing something you don’t like, distract yourself.
- Find someone else, with BPD is best, to vent to. I have a close friend or 2 who I vent my worries to, and they have BPD as well. They understand and validate my fears, so that I don’t feel needy or mean. This way you can express these fears without controlling and hurting your partner. E.g. I say to my friends “My partner is seeing his ex today. I get that’s his right to but it’s pissing me off and I just wanted to tell someone.”
- Remind yourself it’s okay to express yourself. Telling your partner you’re scared they’re going to leave you isn’t automatically abusive or manipulative, it’s true.Tell them you feel suicidal isn’t manipulative, you deserve support and love.
- When splitting, learn to distance yourself. If you notice you’re splitting for an unfair reason, it’s okay to distance yourself. It’s okay to walk out a room, to stop replying for a minute to compose yourself. This way, you won’t lash out, and you can avoid getting more angry. Inform your partner you are splitting, so they can give you space.
- Don’t let yourself be invalidated. If your parter says something invalidating, mean, or hurtful, tell them. We get scared that if we tell our partners they hurt us they may leave, but it’s important not to let our partners hurt us.
- Tell your partner about your BPD- and if not that- about your symptoms. Tell them you split (you sometimes hate people for no reason), tell them you have abandonment fears (get scared they’ll leave you). This way your partner can adapt and help you. Give them tips to help you. e.g. “If I’m scared you’ll leave me, tell me you love me, and tell me why you love me”
- Learn to say sorry. Sometimes we lash out, sometimes we get irrational and hurt our partners. this may not be our fault, but it is our responsibility. Learn to say “I’m sorry I lashed out”.
- You deserve someone who’s willing to help you. You deserve someone who is willing to send you little messages, who is willing to validate and support you. Don’t settle for someone who gets mad at you for your mood swings or invalidates your feelings.
We deserve a kind, loving, supporting relationship as much as anyone else.