Healthy Dating with Borderline Personality Disorder
Dating with borderline personality disorder (BPD) may be difficult because BPD is marked by intense and stormy interpersonal relationships. It’s a part of the diagnostic criteria of BPD. In my own personal life, romantic relationships were often marked by drama and more drama. I brought drama and I attracted drama. So is it realistic for those of us with BPD to ever date again? Are we really capable of building healthy romantic relationships? With a little bit of work and commitment, I wholeheartedly believe this answer is yes. Whether or not we have BPD, we are human beings. And human beings are wired for relational connections, including romantic partnerships. Today, I’ll share some tips to keep in mind when dating with borderline personality disorder.
Dos for Dating with BPD
Do go slowly when dating with borderline personality disorder
I was reading a book recently about healthy dating on a spiritual path and the author used the term “crawling in love.”1 It’s a great read by the way if you’re working on healthier romantic relationships whether or not you have BPD. This was a homage to “falling in love” was the author’s suggestion to go very slowly. She wasn’t talking about BPD in particular but I think for BPD moving slowly is especially critical.
Do be honest in evaluating your readiness for a romantic relationship
There was a time that because of my BPD I was obsessed with having a romantic relationship. I really couldn’t live without one. I really wasn’t in a good emotional place, I was abusing drugs and alcohol, and I was suicidal a lot. This wasn’t a good place to be in to enter into a romantic partnership. I attracted other unhealthy people and I used people. And so, I made a choice to take one year off of dating. No men. No drama. No romantic connections. No sex. I focused on healing from BPD, building friendships, my career, and my spiritual life. I allowed myself time to be whole. I started writing this column, a lifelong dream! This time was sincerely one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given. I can say to you now that as a whole person, I’ve stepped back into the realm of dating.
Do send loving and compassionate thoughts to past romantic partners
As I’ve begun to date, old fears and memories around my past relationships surface sometimes. I’m not proud of some of my past and the way I treated my exes. When I think about them, I will often place my hand on my heart and say a prayer. I wish them well. I send them love, happiness, and peace as I embark on this new journey of healthy dating.
Do seek additional support if you need it
If codependent, unhealthy, or otherwise destructive relationship patterns are a part of your life with borderline personality disorder, you may consider seeking additional support. Group therapy can develop relationship skills or another free support group such as 12-step programs like SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous), CODA (Codependents Anonymous), or Al- Anon, may be able to help you with developing new tools to stay healthy and take care of your needs while in a romantic relationship. These are available throughout the country and if not in a city near you, there are even free phone meetings all over the world.
Do ignore the negativity on the Internet and have fun
I googled "healthy dating and BPD" just to see what would come up. It's unfairly negative and little is written by actual people with BPD who are healthily navigating dating. Despite our challenges, we can also be passionate, fun, and full of life. Enjoy yourself!
Healthy Dating with Borderline Personality Disorder Is Possible
I recognize dating can be a tender topic within borderline personalty disorder. I am proud of the work I’ve done to lay a new foundation so I don’t have to be a part of toxic relationships anymore. Our fear of abandonment can keep us in unhealthy relationships long past their expiration date. But, there is hope and we can learn new ways of relating to the people around us as friends, family, and yes, even romantic partners.
1. Kasl, Charlotte. If the Buddha Date: A Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path. 1999.
Easton, W. (2018, October 30). Healthy Dating with Borderline Personality Disorder , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2018/10/healthy-dating-with-borderline-personality-disorder
Author: Whitney Easton
I feel your pain. What has helped me in the past are several books: "Radical Acceptance" by Tara Brach and "Beyond the Secret: Spiritual Power and the law of attraction" by Lisa Love. You are not alone! We all feel the same from time to time. The key is to love yourself and know that we all have different paths in the life. You can be with a perfect partner and feel lonely..
I wish you all the best in your journey. You are not alone!