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Keeping your distance with a possible S.O.


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Background story: broke up with CRAZY boyfriend around Thanksgiving. He had schizoid bipolar and was not wanting to be in treatment. One of the last things he said to me was, "No one one but me can handle all your crazy sh*t."

 

There is a guy at work, two years older, that has admitted to me that he likes me but wants to take things slow and be friends for the time being since both of us just got out of serious relationships. We hang out every once in a while after work. Problem is, when he told me he liked me and we exchanged numbers, I went BPD crazy. "YOU LIKE ME?! YAY!!! YOU'RE WONDERFUL! I LOVE YOUR HUGS! LETS HANG OUT EVERY DAY." So of course, he freaked out and began to distance himself.

 

We actually talked about it and he said I was being overwhelming. I have been in DBT for about 8 months now, which has helped SO much with dealing with these types of situations. So I did freak out for a day but was able to check the facts, call down, and realize that how I was behaving was really not how I wanted things to go.

 

I don't need or want a relationship right now! I just got out of a horrible 1 1/2 of guilt-driven drinking because he made me feel horrible about who I am. But this new guy hasn't looked anything up, even though he knows I'm in treatment. He says he wants to get to know me, as a friend first. We're going out for drinks tomorrow.

 

How, as someone recovering with BPD, do you guys navigate through a new relationship when it's already been established that you like the person but really don't intend to become intimate and committed right away? I mean... for at least several months?

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My advice is:

 

Keep it in public, don't spend tons of time alone together.

Focus on dates where you can learn something/do something/experience something, rather than one on one talking.

Don't make promises you don't intend to keep.

Realize that sharing deep and dark personal intimacies is a way of making someone feel closer or getting them to reciprocate and get closer to you, so be aware if that temptation comes up.

Make sure you spend time with other friends and family.

Have hobbies and personal interests to get involved in.

Be honest if you feel as if he is asking something of you you can't give him.

 

If you can find someone who sees you for you, accepts you but refuses to take part in self destructive habits, that is a real treasure. It is rare to find someone who wants to get to know you instead of just starting something for his gain. That is a sign of character. And you don't know if attraction and chemistry will turn into a relationship, who knows. But I think if you didn't give this a chance or tried to push the accelerator, you'll regret not finding out what could have been. Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to say that you stuck to what was best for you both?

 

My best advice is; be honest with yourself. Yes, it' so easy to spin something like this into 'I'm so in love with him, it's so magical, he wants this too, he is a my new personal saviour' I have done that so many times. The mess created is in tons of old posts here about my fucked up love life. But bottom line, falling for someone you barely know is a selfish egotrip about you. When you don't know someone or take the time to know them, you are in a little daydream that is all about you and your need for love and validation. I had a parade of men, all so different and special in my head but they were all interchangable in reality because all I needed was a warm male body to pin all my fantasies onto. I hurt some nice guys by getting so wrapped up in what I needed and wanted, I didn't actually get to know them at all. I was in a lot of emotional pain with MI, I didn't do it deliberately cos I didn't care.

 

But my BPD and the pain is caused me meant I believed that love would save the day. I did some really dumb stuff, I broke some hearts, people broke mine. My own regret is not losing any of those guys (I'm glad they got away, lol) but all the years I wasted trying to fit all those guys into the 'happily ever after' box. It was after a broken engagement that I finally saw what I was doing and changed my ways.

 

If you care about this guy, be a friend to him. Make some memories to enjoy and savour if you ever do fall in love and get to a committed relationship. I used to think that time spent was a waste, it's a really precious time to invest in. He sounds great, so give yourselves a chance.

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