What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) refers to a chronic psychological condition that affects a person’s emotional range and stability. An individual with BPD typically exhibits symptoms of unstable behaviors and frequent mood swings. They are easily triggered by emotionally taxing situations and often take long periods of time to recover from this state. Due to these characteristics, it is often a challenge, if not nearly impossible, for a person with borderline personality disorder to lead a normal life, let alone succeed in marriage.
How Common Is Borderline Personality Disorder Marriage?
Various studies in the United States found that among middle-aged BPD sufferers, about two-thirds are married, which is lower than the percentage of those who do not have BPD (85%). However, this is not true for the divorce rate of those who have BPD, which does not differ much from that of non-BPD people at 35%. It is nevertheless half as likely for people who suffer from BPD to remarry once they divorced – only 10% of those by the age of 40 actually remarried as compared to a 20% for the general population.
What Is It Like To Be Married To Someone With BPD?
Various accounts from the web offer interesting insights on the experience of being married to someone who suffers from BPD. Michael J. shared a story of his 20-year-marriage with his wife who has BPD. He described the marriage as an ordeal that was blissful for about five years and started to fall apart afterwards. The most tiring aspects of the later stages of his marriage were the untenable nature of his spouse’s expectations and her tendency to bring up all past mistakes whenever a conflict arose. On top of this, there were frequent and sudden outbursts of emotions and arguments during family meals which were un-called for and took him totally by surprise. His wife would get jealous of her own sons for apparently taking away his affection. She would also snap and start yelling randomly during phone calls. The marriage ultimately ended in divorce and his advice was never to enter in a marriage with someone who has BPD.
In another account, Darek M. described his marriage with his BPD wife as both the best and worst moments of his life. As someone with BPD, she was initially able to be passionate in almost everything that had to do with emotions. She would write love letters, cook delicious meals, and their nightly intimate life was great. However, he recounts that once this happy phase had passed, his wife would start showing signs of serious BPD symptoms. She would love a place or food one day and completely hate them the next thinking that it was perfectly normal. In these episodes of borderline emotional states she was only able to see these feelings and nothing else. As these occurrences began piling up, his wife’s feelings gradually changed and all the previously great things that she used to do for the marriage started to diminish and eventually ceased completely. In the end, his wife received counseling and was put on medication. Even though there were ups and downs, they still remain married to this day. His rationale was that he was still attracted to her inner characteristics which were innocent and passionate, and the fact that they had many common interests and could find enjoyable things to do together.
How to Deal With a Borderline Personality Disorder Marriage?
There are multiple factors that affect a couple’s chance of overcoming the burden and mishaps that come with a BPD marriage, and love might also come into the equation so some marriages might work out and some might end in divorce.
There is no clear cut answer when it comes to the likelihood of success of a marriage where either or both spouses suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. If the rate of divorce is used to predict this possibility, one would inevitably overlook the quality of the marriage which was more often that not described as exhausting and emotionally draining, or inconvenient at best.
From all the reported stories, it can be said that being patient and understanding is a good way to cope with your borderline personality spouse and improve the quality of your marriage life. Another must-do is to seek professional medical and psychological help for the spouse with BPD. This consists of the usual BPD medication and treatment, as well as ongoing marital counseling to maintain a healthy family dynamics and prevent the marriage from falling apart.