Dating a Person With Borderline Personality Disorder

Dating a person who has borderline personality disorder isn't easy. However, some tips can help you out.
Dating a Person With Borderline Personality Disorder

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) makes life difficult for many couples. However, it’s not impossible to keep a relationship. You just need to keep certain things in mind so that your relationship can be healthy and unfold in the best way.

Most importantly, you must be very aware that helping your partner with BPD doesn’t mean you’re going to change them but instead help them improve their day-to-day lives, as well as improve your relationship. You need to do this with the help of a professional.

You need to know that this is a lifelong disease. There will be relapses and also moments when you’ll hardly remember it. However, the disease will always be there.

Typical behavior of a partner with BPD

A couple arguing.

We’re going to begin with discussing the most common behaviors for couples in which one of the partners has BPD. Often, they hurt the other partner. Unfortunately, this makes them worse and encourages the symptoms to continue.

Remember that we’re talking about individuals with a great emotional instability and a very polarized thought process. As a result, you need to be especially careful how you treat them.

  • Threatening that they’ll leave their partner (and not doing so) or ending the relationship and going back to the other person when they accept that they’ll change their behavior. This increases the emotional instability of BPD.
  • Ignoring behaviors that they consider unacceptable. This favors the continuity of the pathological behavior.
  • Seeking balance by letting themselves be guided by the BPD. They feel guilty if things don’t improve, believing that it’s their own fault.
  • Opting for silence, not talking about the problem with their partner and even hiding day-to-day actions from family or friends. They keep their partner with BPD from being aware of what’s happening.
  • During problems or crisis, they believe that the other person loves them deeply and that the difficulty lies in the fact that their partner isn’t responsible for their behavior.

Unfortunately, the majority of these approaches are wrong. In some, you’re participating in the problem. In others, you’re justifying their actions and not saying anything. As a result, their actions won’t change.

Act like a mirror, not a sponge

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with this disease. This is especially true if you tend to react in the ways we mentioned above.

Certainly, you want to protect your partner. However, this isn’t the best way to do it. Of course, living with a person who has a personality disorder is very difficult. As a result, you need to be conscious of how you act towards them.

Your goal is to help them subdue the symptoms so that they don’t continue. To do so, it’s necessary for you to be true to your beliefs and values. If you think that what you partner is doing is wrong, you need to tell them.

It’s wrong to justify their behaviors. As a couple, it’s important to establish a line that you won’t to cross, no matter what. Communicate clearly that you aren’t able to tolerate certain behaviors and stay firm on this. If you’re weak, everything will go wrong.

Threats don’t work

A man in therapy.

Talking about the problem is necessary. This is because it lets the person with borderline personality disorder know where you stand. After that, you can come up with a solution. However, sometimes, they can annoy you, causing you to turn to easy threats. But this should never happen because you’ll make the situation worse. Plus, you’ll increase their emotional instability.

Learn to say “no”. Also, learn to voice what you feel. Most importantly, never feel responsible for the behavior of your partner with BPD. If you feel good and stop trying to treat the other person as a fragile person who needs protecting, everything will start to flow.

Keep being you. Be careful with negative behaviors like lying, misleading, or not trusting the person who has borderline personality disorder. Remember that their thought process is polarized. Their emotions are sometimes out of their control. Act according to your principles. Establish boundaries and don’t let yourself get carried away with the external disease. This will guarantee balance in the relationship.

It’ll be difficult, a path full of roadblocks and pitfalls. However, if you’re willing to be with this person, you need to be aware of everything we mentioned above.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Paris, J. (2012). Borderline Personality Disorder. In Encyclopedia of Human Behavior: Second Edition.
  • Paris J. Borderline personality disorder. CMAJ. 2005;172(12):1579–1583. doi:10.1503/cmaj.045281
  • Brüne M. Borderline Personality Disorder: Why ‘fast and furious’?. Evol Med Public Health. 2016;2016(1):52–66. Published 2016 Feb 28. doi:10.1093/emph/eow002
  • Chapman J, Jamil RT, Fleisher C. Borderline Personality Disorder. [Updated 2019 Jun 7]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from:

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.