Myth: Never Date a Girl With BPD



We all know that Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) carries with it lots of stigma that causes its sufferers to often feel ashamed and ostracized  A great deal of the work that I do with this website and all over the world involves putting human faces to the diagnosis -- a dx that is so often grossly misunderstood.

That's why you can imagine how saddened and emotionally triggered I was last night when, during my daily perusing of the net for articles on BPD and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) I came across a blog post with the title, "Never Date a Girl with Borderline Personality Disorder."  (First off - don't Google it to click on it -- you'll only make the search engines think it's a topic we are looking for and possibly give the article a higher ranking -- the opposite of what we want to do with materials like this. The best way to reduce the presence of such materials is to avoid clicking through. It is also probably a landmine of emotional triggers, and ain't nobody got time for that. )

I didn't read beyond the title and formulated a response based on just the title alone.

Before I go on to that, I'll refer anyone who was attracted to this title because they have been hurt by a partner with BPD and consider such people to be "monsters" to read this post: We Are Not Monsters | Borderline Personality Disorder.

People with BPD (especially women, since they are more likely to be diagnosed and open about the disorder) have an enormous amount of stigma attached to their illness. Because of this, they often have feelings of shame, and others truly are afraid of them and their behaviors. The only way this can change is to continue to spread accurate information about the experience of having BPD and to have more of us share our stories in a human, open way. The other important component is that people with BPD (women and men alike) be afforded opportunities for recovery, such as DBT, and that they take advantage of such opportunities.  Through therapy, we can learn how to adapt our behaviors from dysfunctional to highly effective. It takes work, but it is highly possible.

You can watch my video on how I am in recovery from BPD here: Both Sides of the Borderline | My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder.

If you are a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder and are concerned about how this will affect your ability to find and maintain a relationship with a mate, keep in mind - first of all - the issue of boundaries.  The man or woman that you are establishing a connection with will likely be, as is normal in the context of relationship building, revealing increasingly private and deeper information as the relationship progresses.  

I'm not suggesting that you "hide" or "conceal" your diagnosis, as this only plays right into the shame and stigma -- and it's really not an option for advocates me once a potential suitor asks, "So, what do you do?" but sharing a mental health diagnosis early on in any relationship isn't necessarily the best course of action when you are getting to know someone. This is your private business that can be revealed once trust is established and sharing the information becomes relevant to the relationship at hand.

Please remember that although the suffering that comes with having a disorder like BPD can be very intense, your diagnosis is NOT who you are. It is just one PART of who you are. 

And to those who would be concerned to date us: Yes, we have our challenges. We are highly emotionally sensitive, but that often means we are also very passionate and highly empathetic. Just as there are potential "negatives" with the issues we cope with, there is a plethora of positive possibilities as well. Go beyond the diagnosis. Get to know the PERSON. Get to know their heart, their soul, their dreams, and intentions. Support them in receiving the help they need, and then remember what I've pointed out to them: they are more than their diagnosis and the collection of stereotypes that permeate the media about who they are.


Thanks for reading.
More Soon.

 
The author wrote this blog post several years ago. She is now in RECOVERY from BPD and thriving as an emotionally sensitive person. She teaches all she learned in her live, weekly, global ONLINE classes. Learn more  and sign up for a class at DBT Path. 

27 comments:

  1. I sooooo want this to go viral!!! You hit the nail right on the head. I was trying to think of how I could write a post roughly on these topics today, and you just said it so eloquently and effectively. THANK YOU.

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  2. The first internet research I did after diagnosis came up with books on how to end your marriage/relationship with a woman with BPD and images of a cartoon depicting someone running away from a girl with BPD. I was devastated as things were not going well in my marriage between his PTSD and my BPD (with two kids to boot). There's way too much negativity out there. After a rough patch (that we were already going through prior to diagnosis), my husband let me work things out myself, and through hard work and a lot of me just figuring out how to deal with stuff, I've been placed in "recovery." No one should think they are going to die alone, or never have a meaningful relationship. I have some of the best friends and family even though they don't always get me. Like I always tell myself whenever I think about the bad things I've done -- I honestly do have a good heart. And my spouse knows that.

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    1. Beautiful response, adwallis. Thank you so much. ♥

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  3. i've been with my BPD girl for over 11 years now (married for 1.5). she is awesome, but rarely wants to leave the house because she is afraid of the remote possibilities of what COULD happen to her, or what people MIGHT think of her.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing this. I feel for your wife. I understand the fear. I hope she will also read this article, realize she has so much to offer, and consider her boundaries around disclosing her diagnosis only to those who really matter and only when it is really relevant to the relationship and situation. I hope that she will feel freedom from her fear and that her life will grow in response. Thank you again for sharing. ♥

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  4. I was actually up front about it from the start, and we've now been happily married a year and a half. <3 But that was my personal choice, and not one everyone would make.

    I swear every time you post it becomes my new favorite post... :)

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    1. Thank you for sharing, Melanie, and for your kind words. ♥

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  5. One of the very first things I did when I met my boyfriend was tell him of my BPD and PTSD diagnosis. We're still together after 13 months and for the most part have a nice, quiet happy little life....in spite of the "storms" we weather as a result of my illness. By being open and honest with him, and risking rejection (which at the time I was almost sure would happen) our relationship began with no secrets (on either of our parts)and working together (and I know how difficult I can be when I have what we call my "moments" that can last for days and at times result in me dissassosicatiog). As I have not been fortunate enough to get any type of treatment as of yet, together he and I have made ways to get through when it gets really bad. The name "Borderline Personality Disorder" in and of itself stigmafies the illness. I don't share very many my diagnosis due to the stigma. As far as the "hate" sights....I have quit searching beyond what I have found here on your site as well as some of those you reccomend because it can send you to the 10th circle of h!ll when triggered, looking for help and finding such negative stuff is too overwhelming. Thanks for another very helpful post Debbie....and I hope you are doing alright today...prayers, Julie

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Julie. ♥

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  6. *Trigger Warning* (I don't know the community well enough to know if this is necessary)

    I've thought a lot about this topic. I dated someone with BPD for about 2 years when we both didn't know about the disorder. I discovered BPD and her diagnosis about 6 months ago, years after the breakup. After reading many books, forums, blogs, etc. and watching many youtube videos (thanks Debbie), I've come to some tentative conclusions that I'm open to revising. I haven't talked to her for years, but I still love her deeply and I've had enough time to gain some objectivity from the experience.

    If I was advising myself and others about dating someone with BPD, I would tell them this: Never date a girl with BPD... that is not aware of the diagnosis and is not currently seeking the best possible treatment.

    If I had BPD, I would only feel good about dating someone if:
    1) I was upfront with the person very early, not sure the exact time or anything, but sometime between when you can tell they care and when they are obsessed (lets face it, once someone starts "falling in love" they can't think objectively).

    2) I would then try to scare them away, by saying that we can only date if they read some books, various materials, forums for loved ones, etc.

    3) I would recommend they find a therapist with experience with BPD.

    4) And I wouldn't date the person if I wasn't in treatment of some sort that has reduced symptoms.

    While I understand that this is a tall order, the truth is I would've dated the person I was involved with even if she had disclosed every little fact about herself. I was desperately seeking a way of understanding how all the puzzle pieces fit together and knowing about BPD is vital to that process. The guys that are scared off, should probably be scared off. Even if you tell them all about the disorder, many guys will underestimate BPD and will be bound to try to "save" the person. And even if they read things on the internet, they will think the person they are with is unique and worthy of love, no matter how harsh a blogger's language is. Because, like Debbie says in the blog, people aren't defined by their BPD and almost always have many positive qualities that are very hard to find.

    I find this topic hard to write precisely about. I guess what I'm trying to say is that people with BPD deserve to have relationships, but they also have to be aware of how hard a relationship can be on someone if they don't understand the language of BPD (hope that's not an offensive metaphor). I view learning about BPD like learning a new emotional intuition that is necessary for the person to comprehend various things, so they can put the puzzle pieces together. I know for me, that had I known what was going on, many of the extremely hurtful things that happened would've been interpreted entirely differently.

    Thanks for reading, you can obviously delete this if this isn't the place for it, just my tentative thoughts.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to share your viewpoint. Thank you even further for being respectful and taking the time to add a trigger warning to your comment.

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  7. I had the misfortune of coming across this article a few days ago. I was diagnosed with BPD a few months ago - - but of course have been living with it much longer than that. Needless to say I found the article incredibly upsetting - - particularly the comments section - - which as even worse. I realize we're not easy to live with but that's also why -- at the ago of 37 I have rarely dated let alone had a relationship with a man - - for fear that I would lash out at him and be viewed as a monster.

    All these years before I knew I had BPD I felt as though I didn't deserve to be in a loving relationship because who could love someone like me? And that article came very close to validating those feelings.

    Thank you for posting this and for this blog. I would much rather come here and get the understanding and resources I need which will help me recover. Articles like the one you referenced -- and as I'm sure you know - - there are many others with similar sentiments - - only serve to stigmatize people with BPD even more.

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    1. I saw your post on Facebook as well. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. ♥

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  8. Thanks for making this. It enlightens me A LOT to have read this. I am guilty as charged and had looked up "should a borderline personality never date?" I was deeply hurt by what was posted, but came upon this page and am so happy to see this. Thanks so much for making this.

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    1. So glad that this article also came up on your search. It's the reason I put it out there. ♥

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  9. i once went on a date with a DOCTOR and when he found out I had BPD he stopped talking to me, shouldn't a health professional know better? i hadnt even acted crazy or anything around him. that really angered me, not coz i cared about him or anything, but because of the snap judgement.

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    1. Wow. I think this says more about his lack of information than you as a person. I'm sorry you had that experience, and thank you for sharing.

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  10. I have PTSD, no sense of self worth and have doubted my own mind for like 8 years from being with a person with BPD. My point is your condition is very dangerous, so if you get into a relationship you should know this and try to get treatment and educate the other person about your condition. BTW, I think this girl is a sweet girl. But she messed me up, and caused me to lose years of my life.

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    1. Hi William. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this post. I totally hear where you are coming from. Before I was diagnosed and knew I needed help, I'm sure people in intimate relationships would also have referred to me as "dangerous" in many ways. I am now in recovery and no longer meet enough of the criteria to have the diagnosis. Not everyone is there, and some may sadly not get to the point of seeking help. I am so sorry you had this experience, and I appreciate that you were able to acknowledge that the woman you were with was a good person who was suffering and that this had an effect on your life, too. Thanks again for sharing.

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  11. I cannot begin to describe how amazing I found this to read. This entire site just puts things into words that I had struggled to articulate for a long time.
    I've been with my girlfriend for 4 months and while she knew, trying to research was hard for her as she came articles like the one mentioned above, "Never Date a Girl with Borderline Personality Disorder."
    Linking her to this article, was like a breath of fresh air for us both and we've both crawled through the site talking to each other about things we've read and I believe we've grown closer for it.

    Thank you so much for everything you have done for people like me, I can't imagine doing this was easy, but I just wanted to let you know how much respect I have for you, for doing it. Love Kira

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    1. That is so wonderful. Of course, I am very encouraged to read how this post and site have impacted you in such a positive way, Kira. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and letting me know! ♥

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  12. I enjoyed this article. My relationship of around 3 months just ended, and after we were broken up (she broke up with me) she divulged that she has BPD. This is the first relationship that I have been in for years (by choice), but I really believed that she may be the one for me. She had a few episodes where she lashed out, or got angry, and I never snapped back. I tried to be understanding, and she told me I was perfect, and that she couldn't get me out of her mind, etc. Then all of a sudden, about 2 weeks before she broke up with me, it was like something drastically changed, like she totally lost interest in me, and I was devastated. I was considering the possibility of love for the first time in a long time, and it just wasnt there for her, despite her telling me that everything we had was real and beautiful. We have been trying to maintain a friendship since the break up, but last weekend I went to a concert in Athens, GA and she lives in Atlanta. I live in Birmingham, AL. I asked if it would be okay if I crashed at her place and she said I was always welcome. We talked throughout the day and everything was fine, up until I left the concert to head back to Atlanta. I then received a text feom her saying that she got "really fucked up" at a friend's house, and that she wouldn't be able to drive home to allow me to crash at her place. She offered to pay for a hotel for me, but kept rejecting my calls, so I had no idea where she was or even if she would be awake when I got back to Atlanta. We talked after that and she apologized countless times and told me the reason she did what she did was because she thought I was trying to get back with her. That couldn't have been further from the truth, even though I do still have feelings for her. She has since told me that she has BPD and that hopefully it would explain her behavior but not an excuse for her actions. I'm glad I never reacted in a negative way towards her because I do truly believe she is a beautiful person. She told me during the relationship that she had issues she wasn't comfortable telling me about yet, but I accepted her for who she was without knowing of her condition. Her reasons for breaking up with me were because she is extremely stressed and in medical school with lots of expectations and just a very demanding schedule/routine, and that she could not handle a relationship right now. That is understandable and I have accepted that. That being said, I still want to be her friend and I feel sorry for her for having to deal with this all the time. I think she deserves love just as much as anyone else.

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  13. Thank you so much for this. Dating eith BPD is so hard because I feel like a monster. Thank you for reminding me of all the great things I have to offer!:)

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  14. Thank you so much for this article.It made my day and was very uplifting! I often feel like a monster. This reminds me that I have so much to give and deserve the same love that I have to give. Thank you a million times :)

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    1. hello
      anyone know of a book for having a relationship with a woman who has BPD?
      or to chat ..
      here is my email pwmansfield@hotmail.com

      this is a wonderful site

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