Maintaining a marriage is difficult enough without introducing the additional challenge of a psychological disorder. Remaining married to an individual with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can be especially challenging. BPD is described by psychology professor Dr. C. George Boeree as “a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects and marked impulsivity.” A person with BPD may participate in dangerous behaviors. They may experience instability affecting most areas of life and extreme mood swings, creating a chaotic marriage environment. Even though the marital relationship will likely be strained by BPD, you can stay happily married by being informed and prepared.
Learn all you can about your spouse’s BPD diagnosis. The more you understand about your partner’s behavior and thought processes, the more understanding you will be. Even though he may not have a physical ailment, your spouse is suffering from an unwanted disorder. You may find speaking with his psychiatrist or therapist helpful.
Seek both marital and individual counseling. Because the difficulty in maintaining relationships is one of the hallmark characteristics of BPD, remaining happily married may be extremely challenging.
Support your spouse in getting appropriate treatment. Treatment often includes psychotherapy, substance abuse treatment, medication and brief hospitalization. Although you should remain supportive, remember that your spouse must want treatment to be successful.
Nourish your relationship with your spouse. Take time to go on dates and enjoy each other’s company. Remember why you married and try to remain positive.
Take care of yourself. If you are not physically and emotionally healthy, you may be of little help to your spouse. Get rest, take time for the things you enjoy, and seek out your own sources of support. You may benefit from joining a support group for loved ones of individuals with BPD.
Tips & Warnings
- Immediately seek professional help if your spouse makes any suicidal threats. Keep the telephone number for your spouse’s psychiatrist and a suicide helpline in a convenient location.
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