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Can 2 Borderlines have a successful romantic relationship?


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I'm guessing that there's a slight possibility that it could work with constant honest communication.But what if 1 is not diagnosed but is pretty self aware.I'm asking because I think I've met an undiagnosed one & if you read my other thread in the relationship section, he wants to refrain from sex until we gain more of an emotional connection.He said he knows that if we have sex too soon,that would be all our relationship would be based on.He said he is not used to caring about anyone but he cares about me.

I really like him but I am weary to get involved but for some reason,I always wanted to date another borderline after breaking up with my BPD ex.The connection can be extremely intense...but I also know that the breakup can be earth shattering & devastating.I'm really afraid but somehow,I cant stop wanting to make it work.He even told me that no matter what he does,he always ends up hurting someone or himself & that's why he's trying to approach this relationship differently.I am nervous.I was reminded of just how fragile I am when it comes to relationships,this weekend when I walked out on him & thought we were through.Men that I like have the capacity to influence my happyness & sadness too much & I'm just not sure if it's worth the risk.If I get hurt again-I just don't know if I'll be able to handle it.How do I detach myself enough to proceed?Or should I just not even try? Any thoughts?

Edited by BlurredBoundaries
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Knowing what's 'wrong' is half the battle.  It seems you both know your issues and borderline or not every person has issues with relationships and knowing the areas of concern, the self awareness and preparing is a huge success.

 

It could work out if you have a life independent of him and don't become overly dependent on him.  He would have to do the same.  Your concern is not unique to those with bpd.  Many have these concerns.  It's good you know yourself well enough to prepare and be pro active.

 

I have known several couples both heterosexual and homosexual, both having professionally diagnosed bpd, having been in long term as in decades relationships and what I've noticed is that both of them know themselves first and see themselves as having their own life apart from the other in addition to being one as a couple.

 

When one starts to get too dependent on the other, the other provides boundary reinforcement as in I am me and you are you and we are also one but you are forgetting the you are you part right now.

 

It can work out if you don't get the rejection blues from getting overly dependent on him and the same for him with you. 

 

Any couple can get unhealthy overlapping of selves not just a couple with both having bpd or bpd symptoms. 

 

How about taking a class in healthy relationships?  Also don't rush into it rather let it progress naturally without impulsive decisions. 

 

Relationships are reality and real.  Love is real, hate is real, joy is real, anger is real so therefore all of these are part of a relationship and you learn to make room for all of it and keep all of it in perspective and not base or change the relationship each time the hate or anger comes around.  You work through it.  Also each of you needs time with others; friends, family neighbors and don't become glued to each other 24/7/365.  Have mutual interests and individual interests. 

Edited by Brian803
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First, the guy isn't borderline just because you've diagnosed him as such. So that's one thing that makes this impossible to answer.

Second, every person is different and every relationship is different. I would venture that most people with BPD need to be in successful therapy for awhile before approaching the emotional landmines that are sexual relationships. Seeing that you were actively trying to fuck your therapist mere weeks ago and behaving in quite inappropriate ways tiward him, I would guess that you're probably not ready for a relationship.

With all that said, you're already being intimate with this guy and spending a lot of time with him, so the horse is already out of the barn, so to speak. Now you're just going to have to stop trying to find a crystal ball and just see how things go.

Edited by dianthus
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I'm not borderline, but I am really offended that you think that you can diagnose someone with a personality disorder based on your intuition and your personal understanding of what the symptoms mean. You can't base any relationship on those sort of assumptions, and you really need to be more humble about your psychological qualifications for making judgments like that. You are not qualified, period. 

 

I am concerned that you are basing your emotional interactions with this guy on a faulty premise, and if that's any indication then it may be very difficult to have a successful relationship because of your desire to pigeon-hole your partner into a diagnosis. 

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I think that there is a valid question here that does belong, and that question is - how can two emotionally intense people with a history of relationship issues have a healthy, satisfying relationship?

 

And I'm not going to lie, I really think the answer is excruciatingly good communication, a commitment to talking instead of acting, and lots of therapy for all concerned.

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I believe this fellow is showing a lot of maturity and wisdom in wanting to wait before sexual intimacy.  That is an excellent sign, in my opinion.  It might do you a lot of good to just date him, and enjoy the companionship and friendship.  Develop the friendship.

 

My husband and I did that.  The few months we waited seemed like a long time but it allowed us to develop a relationship based on conversation and humor.  It is fifteen years later and he still makes me laugh.

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I believe this fellow is showing a lot of maturity and wisdom in wanting to wait before sexual intimacy.  That is an excellent sign, in my opinion.  It might do you a lot of good to just date him, and enjoy the companionship and friendship.  Develop the friendship.

 

Except "not having sex" means doing everything but vaginal intercourse.  Though I agree with you wholeheartedly that not having sexual intimacy is a good idea especially for those of us who are emotionally fragile for one reason or another, once you've had oral sex, digital genital stimulation, etc., you're already far into sexual intimacy territory.

 

I agree that developing a friendship first would be lovely in this case, especially for two people who are emotionally fragile and damaged.  I think they are far beyond that, however.

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I guess it would be up to two people to define 'not having sex'.

 

Looking back at my twenties, I could have saved myself a world of hurt if I had only waited 5 dates before I had intercourse.  Cause lots of those people didn't last very long in my life and some were harmful to me.

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It is a great question for sure.  Most everyone wants to have some kind of romantic relationship at some point in their life.  This is as natural as the need to eat, drink, seek shelter from the elements and it's in all of us.  Just because someone is bpd doesn't mean they cannot, if they for real want to, have a good, positive long term romantic relationship.  It's going to take some real effort and some real boundary work but it can be.  What concerns me is the impulsivity and intense emotions that many with bdp have. 

 

If you can both get on the same page, take it seriously and want to be together exclusively for life then find a counselor or therapist or social worker willing to journey with both of you as having an objective, honest, third party can be very good for anyone.  I just know too many people with bpd having been together as in living together, and having good marriages or monogamous relationships for decades.  They all share that the first few years were rough, really rough but they stuck with each other and then learned how to minimize the intensity of it all. 

 

Not to get off subject but the want to have another and be with someone is in all of us and this includes those with mental illness, all mental illnesses. Also people without MI have tough times also with relationships so it's not just those with Mi.  Kinda interesting that I know long term couples with bpd and other mental illness having good marriages or monogamous relationships of decades and couples without MI that divorce or break up after only a couple years.

 

The fact is that you are looking and you seem to want to have a good relationship that works, which is great. Now it's up to you both to look objectively at your issues and work on them individually and together and be mature and have a give and take attitude.  It can work but it's up to you both and you both must be on the same page in what you want.  Do you want a monogamous relationship?  Do you want to live together?  Is marriage a possibility at some point?  What about finances for rent/mortgage, auto, food etc?  Find out if you are both mature enough to think through all of this and get a plan of action, follow it through and work together. 

 

I'd rather see you both be with each other if this is your will and work on things and your relationship  than either of you playing the singles game, online meetings and then real life hookups and all the rest. 

 

So yes, to answer your question yes, people with bpd can have successful romantic relationships but both must be willing to compromise, be mature, communicate and learn from mistakes instead of breaking up.  You both must  learn to not be so intense and have a healthy sense of humor when things start to get intense and laugh it off.  Healthy humor is good!   Good Luck.

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Let's keep this thread about the original question.

How is ignoring the pertinent background of the question (the "no sex" issue and the fact that the only way the second person is being identified as BPD is by the dx of the OP) at all helpful to the OP or others reading the topic?

While I agree in a general sense that two BPD people can have a relationship given therapy, communication, self-awareness, etc., I was under the impression that we don't encourage anyone to diagnose here, and by continuing to offer advice as if the OP were considering a relationship with another person with BPD is ultimately unhelpful.

Agreed that the definition of sex is somewhat of a sideline, but in my experience, it can be very damaging to think that putting a penis in a vagina is the only physical act that can complicate a relationship between two people who have difficulty being in and maintaining relationships.

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Yes. I don't see why not. But I think it would be good to refrain from seeing each other as two 'borderlines', even speculatively. You are two people, so like all relationships, respect, communication and effort are key. Try not to get so caught up with what is wrong with you both, focus on the wonderful things you both have to offer to each other. I think it's a personal choice if you want to withold from intimacy in all it's many shapes and forms. 

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Thanks for all the great replies!

First of all-

I want to apologize for self diagnosing someone.Let's just hypothetically say two people with BPD.

Also-

this topic isn't particularly about the definition of sex but if I offended anyone by that,I will whole heartidly apologize for that as well.I am sorry.Let's just leave it at that because I really want to keep this post only about the romantic relationship between 2 people with BPD

But to stick to the topic...I was encouraged by the replies but, I am also having my doubts today.I just keep thinking to myself,this guy may be self aware but, he is not seeking any therapy(that I know of anyway) at this time & I am not exactly in remission yet so, maybe it's just not a good time in my life,to be persuing any kind of romantic relationship.

I mean,I just keep thinking that I don't really trust him.He's going to a bachelor party with strippers this weekend & I am scared he would do something impulsive & sexual with a stripper,or any other girl,who he doesn't care to have a relationship with.

He may be having doubts about me as well-because of what I said this past weekend(the stupid remark that I said I can't wait for sex forever)

I know he is scared too & even though he texted me a few times throughout the day,I feel like it's just different now.He is taking longer & longer to reply to texts.Anyway-I know not to get carried away trying trying to read secret meanings between electronic communication but the point is,I am up & down about this.

I texted him this a little while ago "I wonder if we were thinking the same thing today" and he replied "I bet we were..." So far-we have read each other perfectly & felt the same ways on different days(even both had derealization 2 Saturdays ago when we were not even together-it's kind of spooky) but I hope today he was not feeling the exact same way I was & we are both afraid to even ask what the other was meaning by that.I know that's a lot of assuming but hey-the point here is,I may not be ready,he may not be ready but I believe 2 people with BPD can be successful with all of what you others mentioned.Communication,therapy,self awareness,similiar values,impulse control,plus one more thing I'd like to mention...a matter of good timing...but I think those things apply to people without MI as well.Love's a bitch!

Edited by BlurredBoundaries
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Thanks for all the great replies!

First of all-

I want to apologize for self diagnosing someone.Let's just hypothetically say two people with BPD.

Also-

this topic isn't particularly about the definition of sex but if I offended anyone by that,I will whole heartidly apologize for that as well.I am sorry.Let's just leave it at that because I really want to keep this post only about the romantic relationship between 2 people with BPD

But to stick to the topic...I was encouraged by the replies but, I am also having my doubts today.I just keep thinking to myself,this guy may be self aware but, he is not seeking any therapy(that I know of anyway) at this time & I am not exactly in remission yet so, maybe it's just not a good time in my life,to be persuing any kind of romantic relationship.

I mean,I just keep thinking that I don't really trust him.He's going to a bachelor party with strippers this weekend & I am scared he would do something impulsive & sexual with a stripper,or any other girl,who he doesn't care to have a relationship with.

He may be having doubts about me as well-because of what I said this past weekend(the stupid remark that I said I can't wait for sex forever)

I know he is scared too & even though he texted me a few times throughout the day,I feel like it's just different now.He is taking longer & longer to reply to texts.Anyway-I know not to get carried away trying trying to read secret meanings between electronic communication but the point is,I am up & down about this.

I texted him this a little while ago "I wonder if we were thinking the same thing today" and he replied "I bet we were..." So far-we have read each other perfectly & felt the same ways on different days(even both had derealization 2 Saturdays ago when we were not even together-it's kind of spooky) but I hope today he was not feeling the exact same way I was & we are both afraid to even ask what the other was meaning by that.I know that's a lot of assuming but hey-the point here is,I may not be ready,he may not be ready but I believe 2 people with BPD can be successful with all of what you others mentioned.Communication,therapy,self awareness,similiar values,impulse control,plus one more thing I'd like to mention...a matter of good timing...but I think those things apply to people without MI as well.Love's a bitch!

I'm so glad you are aware of all of this. But that is only a bit of the battle. My boyfriend has bipolar and I have BPD, which can be quite similar. We have been together for a little over a year now and have definitely been through ups and downs. The greatest thing that has helped has been to communicate, which I can be horrible with. It's definitely a lot of work. I have been in DBT for almost a couple months now and it's already helping.

 

If you are able to communicate and fully trust each other, I think it can work. But it sounds like both of you aren't ready for this. So, do the hard thing, and focus on yourselves. And seriously, push him to do therapy for at least a couple months. My boyfriend dropped out of therapy and it practically broke us apart because he wasn't working anymore. He finally turned around, and we have been working back toward fully connecting again. And just know that even with your emotional mind telling you irrational thoughts, like he hates me or I'm a bad person because he won't try, sometimes things go down and you feel distant. But you CAN get back on track. 

 

I know it seems a bit off topic, but sex is a huge part of this. As a BPD, I pushed for sex the first night we met. He, however, wanted to truly get to know me and decide if we were a good fit instead of jumping in feet first. It was a smart, smart move. Connect emotionally first because with BPD, sex can just be sex and becomes an act instead of making love and connecting intimately. At least, that's been my experience. Then I think if he doesn't want to have sex, he isn't attracted. And that's not true, sometimes it is, but it really isn't as much as you think. If he truly has impulsivity problems, I think you guys would have done it by now, regardless of feelings.

 

So you're completely right: communication is number one, find a good therapist, keep aware of your symptoms, make sure you're keeping your impulses in check, and just ENJOY each other instead of focusing on all this chaos and negativity that can happen. If the timing truly was right, enjoy the beauty of it!!

 

Good luck!! You can do it!

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