Is is selfish to break up with him or selfish to stay with him?
April 26, 2012 11:18 AM   Subscribe

We were in a wonderful relationship for 1.5 years. He went abroad. Sick with loneliness and old emotional problems (BPD) that came back when he was gone, I cheated on him. Then I moved abroad with him, where he found out. He forgave me and wants us to stay together, I'm not sure what the fairest thing to do is.

Now to begin with, if you hate hate hate people who cheat and lie - Please don't judge, I hate myself enough for everyone

So for 2.5 years now I've been in a really great relationship with a great guy, let's call him Tim. We're both 21 and got together when we were 19 at the beginning of college. This relationship was certainly predicated on exclusivity, as he explicitly made me stop dating anyone else before he would even date me.

I was so madly in love, we didn't move in together but we spent every day and night together for the first 1.5 years, were generally inseparable and the most stable and loving couple imaginable. We are both sure we don't believe in marriage, but have often spoken about a future together and kids, and I truly believe being with Tim would make me happy in the long run. He is extremely honest, trustworthy, hard working, understanding and he would always take care of me.

Before I was in college I had a lot of problems. I was diagnosed with BPD after years of self-harm, bulimia and suicide attempts. I had also been in a 2 year relationship in which I had been violently abused. When I got together with Tim it was as if all my problems had disappeared completely, and I was so happy for a long time. I never even once thought of cheating on him although I had cheated in all my past relationships, I truly thought it was going to be different.

Then, in the summer of 2011 I met Brian. He lived a few houses down from me with his girlfriend and another couple, and we all became friends. From the beginning there was a sense that Brian and I were interested in each other. Group conversations would get to the point where everyone would stop speaking but me and him, because they realised we were only focusing on each other. For whatever reason, I guess I could say I was pretty in love with Brian after a while.

In Autumn Tim had to leave for a year abroad in the US. It broke my heart. We had been so inseparable and now I was alone in the desperate UK, everyone around me including myself unemployed and depressed. I lost 40 pounds in a month. I was as depressed as I had ever been, neglected my schoolwork, didn’t sleep, and didn’t eat. Tim was truly my everything and I didn’t know how to function without him. I spoke to him on the phone but it was hard because he mostly got angry at me for drinking too much or doing drugs or not eating. I was really ashamed of being so emotionally dependant on him.

I started drinking heavily and taking valium with Brian and my housemates. One night in a drunk, depressed stupor I had a threesome with Brian and one of my housemates. That opened the floodgates, and I spent the next three months in a destructive spiral, had a tortured affair with Brian, slept with another guy, got arrested, dropped out of college and was date raped.

When Tim was back at Christmas I was so overcome with guilt I could hardly love him like I used to. I suddenly felt I had toughened and he would never know my true, evil character. I couldn’t tell him because it was such an impossibility for him, I didn’t know what would happen. Besides, I had booked tickets to the US to stay with him for the spring semester, I thought that would make it all go away..

Since January I’ve been here with him. In February I started voicing my doubts about being in a monogamous relationship due to the fact I have BPD and end up hurting people, and because I’m his first, and I don’t think it’s right for him to settle on me. His first girlfriend, his first lover. I don’t want to stop him from growing as a person. At one point I had packed my bags, but he begged me to stay. I probably should’ve left then.

While I had been in the US with Tim, Brian slept with 4 other girls, one of which told his housemates about me and him, forcing him to tell his girlfriend. He hadn’t been in contact with me at all for months, so I never had any idea what was going on. Then, one day Tim got an email from Brian’s girlfriend, informing him that I had slept with Brian. I didn’t deny it but I didn’t admit to the affair. After a few days of being furious with me and a lot of sleepless nights and crying on both our parts (but not wanting to kick me out) Tim forgave me. Now we’re back to normal almost, as loving as ever. He says he just wants to be with me.

Then a few days ago I had a long conversation on the phone with Brian, who I finally got through to. We were as always, really good friends, on the same page about everything, non-judgemental of each other (he owes me 700 pounds too) and he immediately asked me to stay with him when I return to England in a month. I said it would be inappropriate, but I can’t deny that I’d want to, and I can’t deny that when he said he was going to break up with his girlfriend, it made me want to break up with Tim. When I thought that Brian was still going to be in a relationship, I was sure I wanted to stay with Tim. This makes it obvious to me that if I were to break up with Tim, my true reason in doing so would be to be with Brian, and this is an elusive and illusory goal.

I am so in love with Brian because he is as instable as I am, and seems to have the same issues. At the same time we disagree on almost all everyday things. I don’t think I could ever be in a relationship with him, yet his friendship is so important to me, I would always regret giving it up. On the other hand he makes little effort to be with me, or more, I don’t know what he wants from me, so I feel like I’m running away from someone wonderful, stable who loves me and forgives me to someone who is not good for me and probably doesn’t want me.

But sometimes I think it’s more than that. I think I may be too young for a relationship and that Tim is too, we both need to roam more, especially since I'm his first, but he thinks he wants only me. I wish we could kiss goodbye and come back to each other in 5 years if we still want to. He sees that as impossible. Day to day life with Tim is fine, we are still the best of friends, but we need to decide whether to live together this summer when we return to England.

I am moving in with my sister, Brian is moving in with his brother in the same town. Tim has his doubts about living with my sister because of her wild lifestyle, and because of my friends left in that town who knew about Brian and me, including Brian. And I have my doubts about living with Tim because I still don’t know whether I want to be in this relationship. I love him, and I want to do whatever is best for him, but I don’t know what that is. I could stay with him, meditate, become a better person, love him as much as I can, forget about Brian and never cheat again, or I could say goodbye and work my problems out. I don't know what the more selfish choice is.
posted by mangoprawn to Human Relations (33 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Let's remove the men from the picture for a moment:

What are you doing in the present to treat your BPD, as well as any drinking/drugs issues?
posted by quivering_fantods at 11:30 AM on April 26, 2012 [40 favorites]


If you love him, let him go. He deserves better than what you're able to give him right now.
posted by jingzuo at 11:31 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Best answer: I can’t deny that when he said he was going to break up with his girlfriend, it made me want to break up with Tim. When I thought that Brian was still going to be in a relationship, I was sure I wanted to stay with Tim. This makes it obvious to me that if I were to break up with Tim, my true reason in doing so would be to be with Brian, and this is an elusive and illusory goal.

I am so in love with Brian because he is as instable as I am, and seems to have the same issues. At the same time we disagree on almost all everyday things. I don’t think I could ever be in a relationship with him, yet his friendship is so important to me, I would always regret giving it up. On the other hand he makes little effort to be with me, or more, I don’t know what he wants from me, so I feel like I’m running away from someone wonderful, stable who loves me and forgives me to someone who is not good for me and probably doesn’t want me.


Regardless of what you've done in the past (please forgive yourself) or what you could do in the future - the doubts and emotional infidelities that are represented here say that you don't love Tim enough to be a good partner to him. Or maybe you love him with your whole heart, and are just UNABLE to be a good partner to him at this point in your life. If you care about him as much as you say, both of you will be better off if you break it off. You might regret what "could have been" for the rest of your life, but what could have been is not what is, and wanting to be or feel a certain way doesn't make that reality.

Good luck.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Best answer: My honest openion is that you shouldn't be dating anyone until you get into therapy. Neither Tim nor Brian is going to fix you, and all you are going to do is hurt both of them until you're well. BPD isn't untreatable, but step one is getting it treated.
posted by empath at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


Response by poster: When I'm living back in England permanently I was going to go to therapy about the BPD... it's a requirement for me anyway if I want to get back into college.
posted by mangoprawn at 11:34 AM on April 26, 2012


Best answer: Imagine if someone asked you this question:

"I have emphysema, should I be smoking Marlboro Lights or Menthol?" What would your answer be?
posted by empath at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


Best answer: It sounds like you don't want to be in a relationship with Tim, and "I want to do whatever is best for him" sounds like a cop-out excuse for breaking up. Do what's best for you, and let Tim decide what's best for himself. It sounds like you want to break up with Tim. So do it; he'll get over it, and your lying to him isn't doing him any favors.

Brian also sounds like a really negative influence. Maybe it's best to not be in any relationship for a while.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:35 AM on April 26, 2012


I'd say the fairest thing to do is "get treated for the BPD."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:37 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I could stay with him, meditate, become a better person, love him as much as I can, forget about Brian and never cheat again...

No, you probably couldn't. It doesn't work that way. You can't just flip a theoretical switch and start being less self-destructive.

Being with somebody doesn't fix you, unless that somebody is your therapist or psychiatrist and you are getting treatment.

So, if you want to stay with Tim because you think it'll fix you, I'll tell you that is not true, and that should not be a reason to stay with him. If you have other reasons to stay with him other than "I think he's good for me," or "I think it's best for him," then you might want to give it a try.

I am so in love with Brian because he is as instable as I am, and seems to have the same issues.

Does instability on top of instability really seem like a good idea? Obviously not. It's a blueprint for disaster.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:38 AM on April 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


I still don’t know whether I want to be in this relationship.

To my reading, this doesn't seem true. You said that you're in love with someone else. You said when that someone-else told you he was leaving his relationship, it made you want to leave yours to be with him. Those don't sound like the feelings of someone who wants to be in your current relationship.

Sure, you've identified some benefits to being in this relationship, but that's not the same as wanting to. You don't sound like you want to. (At least, to my reading.) If that's the case, it's a pretty big deal and worth thinking about. Everybody deserves to want their relationship. And everybody (i.e., Tim) deserves to be wanted.
posted by cribcage at 11:39 AM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Best answer: or I could say goodbye and work my problems out

But that doesn't sound like what's going to happen, it sounds like if you leave him you will go back to Brian and that self-destructive lifestyle. Having BPD isn't something that you just "work out", its a mental illness. (are you being treated? You don't mention that) You're not evil, you're ill and you need a stable influence in your life and Brian isn't it and by the sounds of it neither is your sister. Being drawn to Brian is just a symptom of your illness, you want him because he's bad for you.

Tim sounds like he is very good for you, maybe you aren't the best choice for him, maybe there are better girlfriends out there who wont cheat and don't have a mental illness that compels them to do harmful things but he is a grown up and he gets to decide what he wants. He wants you. He forgave you and wants to stay with you so if you break up with him, break up because that's what you want, not because you think its what's best for him.
posted by missmagenta at 11:41 AM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Best answer: The fairest thing to do here would be to end things with Tim, do not start anything up with Brian, and get yourself into therapy. Nothing you do right now is going to matter worth a damn if you don't start digging into what's behind these patterns of behavior and understand how to stop them.

The patterns in your relationship with Tim aren't good ones. You need to be the bigger prson here and end it. It sucks that you met this wonderful man now, and might not have the chance to have something healthy with him, but he'll be okay and so will you.

Establishing healthy behavior in your own life needs to be the number one priority for you right now and probably for a long time. That won't be easy but you need to do it. I'd really suggest avoiding trying to start a serious relationship with anyone at least until you've started therapy.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:42 AM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Best answer: Look, Tim sounds like a great guy, and Brian sounds like a problem you're going to keep returning to. If you're thinking of leaving Tim for Brian then leave Tim regardless of what you do with Brian. Tim's committed to you, and if you can't return that then go.

But realize this: if you leave, you're doing it for your own reasons, not out of fairness to Tim. You're thinking of breaking up with him. Whether that's fair to him, or right for him, doesn't enter into it. You're not committed to him, and that's all there is to it. There's nothing wrong with that, even though it would hurt him. That's how things go. So do what's right and leave, as kindly as you can. Don't act like it's for his benefit, either, because that sucks. The first thing he'd think if you say that would be "it can't be for my benefit because I don't want it" and it'll make him think the relationship could be rekindled. be clear that you need to leave for you.

At some point in your life you're going to want someone who loves you and accepts you knowing your flaws and past. But before then you have to work on yourself from the inside. You have to learn to accept yourself for who you are, and to live your life regardless of who you're dating. You definitely have to stop spiraling into out of control substance abuse, and using sex to dull whatever your daily pain is. You need to get yourself on track to take care of yourself as a whole person, and then that whole person is what you'll be bringing to a relationship with someone who loves you. Tim, again, sounds like a good guy. But he's not your path to health. He's not therapy, and however good he may have been to you, staying with him right now will only make HIM what you base your stability on, instead of your own strength and agency. For yourself, leave him and become a strong and stable person who loves herself. Then you can be with someone without them becoming your whole world again. Otherwise, this is a pattern you'll always have.

You can do this. You're not broken or anything like that. You have it within yourself to accomplish the life you want, and when you're strong enough to be the engine that moves your life in the right direction, then you'll be strong enough to be with someone else as a committed partner. Your partner, whoever that ends up being, will then have someone they can rely on for support and you'll have the same, and neither of you will be dependent on the other in an unhealthy way.

best of luck to you.
posted by shmegegge at 11:45 AM on April 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


It sounds to me as if your relationship with Tim has probably run its course, but I don't feel that I can really tell. As for Brian, you say:
I have BPD and end up hurting people
and you also say:
I am so in love with Brian because he is as instable as I am, and seems to have the same issues

So, you have tended to hurt people because you are unstable and have certain issues. He's just as unstable and has similar issues. Conclusion? People who get involved with Brian (as he is right now, anyway) are very likely putting themselves into a painful situation. Do not do that. Do not volunteer to get hurt. It won't make up for hurting anybody else; it'll just hurt. You have enough on your plate. Go get into treatment for BPD.
posted by sculpin at 11:47 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Break up with Tim. You shouldn't be in a romantic partnership with anyone until you've gotten some traction on your Borderline Personality Disorder issues. It is selfish to keep the relationship with Tim going just to bolster your self-image; you don't really want to be with him, you just don't want to see yourself as a bad person for ending things.

This is bullshit. He will be better off if you end things, so that he can move on and find a partner who's as into him as he is into them. Of course your BPD sees this as a narcissistic injury, because the BPD is fucked-up like that, but you are not your illness and you don't have to listen to its static.

As for Brian, dude is bad news and you should stay away from him for your own self-protection. Seriously, you should take time away from dating until you're in a solid therapeutic relationship.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:49 AM on April 26, 2012


Time to stop worrying about what's "fairest", and start worrying about what's best for you, which sounds like "not Brian, and not Tim until you get into treatment for BPD."
posted by davejay at 11:50 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is not about what is a "more" or "less" selfish choice, this is about realistically evaluating possibilities and yourself.

You have BPD and substance abuse issues. It sounds like you are interested in treating them, since you're saying you want to go to therapy. But here are the life options you're laying out here for us:

- Brian, who enables your issues and carries issues of his own
- Tim, who is fueling any sense of drama you have by being the "good guy" when you want the "bad guy" and he's so good for you but you just don't know if you can be good for him and you're each other's first loves but you're so young etc etc etc
- Living with your sister, who I take shares some of the lifestyle choices that are fueling your BPD and substance abuse

Do any of these options sound like they will have helped you become a healthier, more stable person a year from now? Do any of them sound like they will remove confusion and drama from your life? Removal of confusion and drama is a necessity for recovering from mental illness and addiction issues. Do any of them make your life easier, in that they provide a relaxing environment in which you can exist and work on yourself without causing a lot of anxious, agonizing talks and overwhelming nights where you don't sleep because you're wondering about whether it's the right choice and give you any impetus to make more poor choices?

And be realistic with yourself--you have to consider those questions in the context of who you are now, not who you could be if you just meditated/stopped doing drugs/stopped liking Brian/loved Tim more/whatever.

Honestly it sounds like you are just presenting a lot of "choices" for yourself that you're saying are ostensibly about finding the best solution for everyone but are really just a series of equally dramatic and destructive situations in which you can throw yourself. It is not a good thing that those are the only options you give yourself and indicative of possible subconscious urge to put yourself in the middle of these kinds of dramabombs. You have to be aware that it's happening and resist it. Can you find a fourth path that is not any of these things, and hopefully involves you disconnecting from all of these influences?
posted by schroedinger at 12:19 PM on April 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


I just want to make this clear: when you're recovering from mental illness, you need to accept that illness and make choices that are good for the person that you are now, not choices that will be good choices provided you become someone else.

To give my own example--I attempted to attend university while suffering from untreated ADHD, major depression, and a variety of other issues. The result was me failing all my classes. Yet I kept trying school again, semester after semester, take a break, then try again, because before each attempt I told myself it would be different this time because I would be different and make different choices. Despite the fact that I had addressed none of the underlying problems that led me to making my poor choices and failing in the first place. I was banking everything on the idea that I would magically change as a person during my next round without actually doing the work to change myself. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that. When Einstein said "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result," he really wasn't kidding. You gotta keep that in mind when you're deciding the best path to wellness.
posted by schroedinger at 12:26 PM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


First off, break up with Tim. You like him, sure...you were happy...then you weren't. And you can't be committed to him while also wanting to be with Brian.

Not that you should be with Brian either. He's a red flag factory that produces nothing but gigantic red flags. (And how could you trust someone who know would be okay with cheating?)

The person you should be with is yourself. Get treatment for your BPD and get right with you. Then you can be an equal partner in a relationship.
posted by inturnaround at 12:51 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Break up with Tim, and please get yourself some help. Brian will make your life worse. You won't be happy until you get help.
posted by cnc at 1:01 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brian is not your friend. Stay as far away from him and people like him if you want to get better.

Brian is not your friend. Got it?
posted by jbenben at 1:08 PM on April 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


I would suggest you stop framing your choices around the notion of what is "selfish vs. unselfish" or "fair vs. unfair," and start framing them around what is healthy. What is the healthiest choice (or series of choices) you can make, starting right now?
posted by scody at 2:14 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Does your disorder mean you're unable to be single? I say this because the idea of
being single seems not to occur to you and you seem to have hooked up with Brian because he was there. You are also talking about staying with Tim as if it's because he is there. Whereas Brian is the one you want because he enables your illness. (The part about breaking up with his gf for you is probably a joke to fool you into breaking up with Tim, so Brian can dump you and enjoy sadistic hilarity at your expense.)

It is inherently selfish to date anybody while you are like this. I suspect the idea of dating nobody seems out of the question to you, though, which is why you need therapy, but I wonder if you think you can't do therapy until you sort your life out by deciding who to date.

Echoing other posters:
- Brian is not your friend.
- Your question is exactly like someone with emphysema asking which brand of cigarettes are healthier.
- Therapy first.
posted by tel3path at 2:33 PM on April 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


You don't want to be with Tim, so you should break up with him.

Brian is bad for you, so you should not be with him.

Which leaves being single and working on your issues. Or meeting someone else and working on your issues.
posted by J. Wilson at 2:57 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Regardless of Brian's situation, you shouldn't be with Tim. It's obvious that you're using him as a placeholder, a "consolation prize" because you can't have Brian. Does he really deserve to be treated that way? Based on your description of him, there are plenty of women who would consider themselves lucky to have him, and it's horrible of you to treat him like somebody whom you're settling for. If you really cared about him (as you claim to), you'd break up with him so that he can find a healthier relationship.

As for your psychological/sexual issues, it seems fairly obvious to me that monogamy is not for you. You seem to have trouble honoring your relationship commitments, and yet you keep on making them. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Instead of getting into relationships that require commitments, why not look for an uncommitted relationship? You'll feel better about yourself when you accept your nature and stop getting into situations where you're constantly hurting people.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 4:01 PM on April 26, 2012


Best answer: You're wounded. Time and Brian are just band-aids.

It doesn't really matter what HE wants, or what Brian wants, or even what YOU want... what matters is what you NEED. And what you need is to fix yourself. Therapy. And a lifestyle change. Do you have anywhere else that you could stay that is with people who are more stable than your sister and are not acquainted with Brian or Tim?

But I suspect, even if I hope that it's not so, that your question is framed around the relationships you are in because you are much more interested in resolving that area of your life than fixing, well, your entire life. So..

It's selfish to stay with either. It's self-destructive to be in a relationship at all.
posted by sm1tten at 5:20 PM on April 26, 2012


Just one more voice saying this isn't about the guys, it's about you needing to tend to yourself and learn to manage your emotions and your boundaries. If you don't prioritize that, it's likely you'll end up doing this over and over to different people, and won't ever feel peace in your relationship life. It's job one.
posted by Miko at 7:36 PM on April 26, 2012


I'm not convinced there's no hope for you and Tim, though I'll Nth that independent of him, Brian comes across as a dismal human being.

Tim wants to give it a go, why not?

Understood that mental health stuff is nettlesome, but you don't have to make poor choices. Really.
posted by ambient2 at 11:37 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Best answer: I dated a girl for 1.5 years, and much of your story mirrors our relationship. Long story short, we had developed a massive co-dependency (sounds like Tim) and yet when I was finally going to end it, she convinced me to stay on condition she get therapeutic help. What do you know, diagnosis of BPD (at age 23, if it makes a difference.)

Well, in her situation, therapy did not work while we were still together... I was her crutch. She could not be honest with her therapist while still dating me, she couldn't be honest with herself while still dating me. It took me finally ending it for her to come to grips with her illness, open up to her therapist, and get the treatment she needed. While we do not communicate anymore (no contact was really the only option), we remained Facebook friends, and it appears now about 6 months later (granted this is thru Facebook) that she is happier, has a better social life, has hobbies, and is generally "doing better." (This is in comparison to the morbid and depressed updates she used to make.)

I was her crutch because I was the only person who ever appreciated her, including herself. Through treatment, and without me, she is learning how to appreciate herself. I am so happy for her, and one day hope to catch up and see how she is doing, but I fear my intervention would undo any progress she has made.... if she reaches out to me, I will respond openly (I've since moved on though, and wouldn't entertain a romantic relationship.) I'd imagine Tim would move on too, and would be happy for you if you were able to get better.

I wish you the best of luck, and urge you to not be ashamed of your actions or your illness, because your actions are a symptom of your illness. The sooner you realize that, I think, the sooner you'll be on a path to recovery and a happier life.
posted by el_yucateco at 7:16 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some respondents would do well to research the information out there on BPD.

Does your disorder mean you're unable to be single? I say this because the idea of
being single seems not to occur to you and you seem to have hooked up with Brian because he was there.


A huge symptom of BPD is fear of abandonment, and yearning for acceptance. So yes, but part of recovery is learning that its OK to be single, and you don't require validation from another person to love yourself.

As for your psychological/sexual issues, it seems fairly obvious to me that monogamy is not for you. You seem to have trouble honoring your relationship commitments, and yet you keep on making them.

That is not necessarily true, as risky substance use and impulsive sexual actions are yet another very common symptom of BPD, and can change with treatment. I dont think she wanted to cheat on Tim, hence the massive guilt (and I'd assume self harm?)

I am not a psychologist, but I did do extensive research on the condition when I found out the person closest to me had it.
posted by el_yucateco at 7:54 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The real question is: does having a treatable mental disorder that you apparently aren't treating entitle you to do whatever you want to anyone regardless of how that affects them? Personally, I don't think so. Learn some personal responsibility and get treated.
posted by speedgraphic at 11:13 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by taz (staff) at 2:20 AM on May 1, 2012


Best answer: First and most importantly, THERE IS HOPE. You will be able to work on this and feel better. Read my whole comment with that in mind.

The primary driver in this issue is your fear of abandonment and inability to tolerate the distress that comes from being alone. It leads you to

--Participate in sexual activity with inappropriate partners simply because they're available
--Attempt to dampen your emotional distress with various substances
--Make major life decisions irrationally, based solely on avoiding being alone/abandoned
--Short-term, fear-based thinking instead of focusing on larger goals
--Lash out and rage at loved ones who "abandon" you, sabotaging relationships

Unfortunately, this fear of abandonment is on a deep level that is highly irrational. When your boyfriend left you experienced it as abandonment and responded very poorly. Now you will have a hard time trusting him and feeling close/bonded to him because part of you sees him as someone who left you.

Being with a boyfriend 24/7 will keep you from experiencing this pain, but unfortunately as you have seen, it is unsustainable. You both deserve to lead healthy lives and be open to new experiences. Following other people around and trying to hold on to them desperately no matter what is no kind of life. It is empty of your passions and desires, for one, and for two, it will open you up to predators and other unhealthy people who will take advantage of your desperation.

For that reason, no matter where you end up living or who you end up dating, you need to learn a few skills that will allow you to be separate from your loved ones. The current therapy that is used for borderline personality disorder is called dialectical behavioral therapy. It focuses on teaching you skills that allow you to be independent and strong. One of those skills is called distress tolerance, for example. It means that when something hurts (like being away from your boyfriend) you can still be okay and self-soothe and avoid the cycle where you make poor decisions, lash out, and damage the relationship that you are so desperate to keep.

Good luck, and it WILL get better. Borderline Personality disorder tends to mellow with age no matter what.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


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