Boyfriend has Borderline Personality Disorder and wants a "break" - now what?

My undiagnosed BPD boyfriend of 7 months and I got into a fight 2 weeks ago. It was a stupid argument that involved too much alcohol and a lot of misperceptions. He told me the next day he wanted some "space" but proceeded to text me every other day to let me know that he was "still alive" and "just sorting things out" in his head. He finally asked me if we could meet to talk, at which point he told me that he felt like (since I'm unemployed and he's struggling to make ends meet and we're both trying desperately to relocate together from the town we live in) that he felt like we have a lot to work on but that most of that work is within ourselves. He said he felt like we each needed to get our lives more stable before we could work on "us" and move forward. He said he felt like we should take a break but stressed very strongly that this was not for us to date other people and that he still loved me very, very much... that this would be a positive thing for us moving forward. He also tempered it with the notion that we could still "hang out" but that we should "chill a bit" until we were both "stable."

I'm so confused and am still trying to wrap my mind around what's just happened. I know that this is the BPD talking and that, for whatever reason (be it the argument or the stress he's under trying to get his new car [and other bills] paid for) he is slipping into the typical push/pull behavior. Since we decided to take a break 3 days ago, he has text me every single day: first to see what my friend and I were up to and who we were with, the next day to wish me luck on the interview I had today, asking when I was leaving and telling me to "be safe." It really is a roller coaster. I've been fortunate enough thus far to be in a relationship with a very functional BPD - he doesn't experience a lot of mood swings, there's no rage. He's very attentive and affectionate and, even in the wake of his "space" and this "break", he doesn't seem to be splitting (i.e., seeing things only in black and white, viewing me as "evil" as opposed to "good", etc).

Despite the circumstances, I am committed to making our relationship work. I am well-versed in BPD relationships and what will be required of myself to move forward in a relationship with this man. Despite the illness, I am happy with him and know that being together truly does make us better and happier people.

I guess what I'm asking is, what exactly should I expect now? Since we're only 7 months into this relationship I'm still a bit new at this. And know that the typical push/pull involves the BPD as being angry and raging and seeing the non as "evil", which leads to very uncivil communication. But ours has been anything but - I do not contact him because I want him to focus on taking care of myself right now, but it seems that there is no sign of the communication slowing on his part.

Any insight from those of you with experience in this area would be greatly appreciated.


Most Helpful Guy

  • If he's not been formally diagnosed by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional, it's not BPD. However much you've read up on the subject, you are not qualified to diagnose medical conditions unless and until you are a licensed professional.

    And I wonder if you're a "fixer" who's found a project with this guy rather than dealing with your own issues. It is not your job or obligation to make anyone whole and healthy.

    All that being said, I have several family members (immediate and extended) with severe bi-polar disorder. I know first-hand the danger and chaos of that condition. Were I in your shoes, I'd be gone from this guy unless he a) gets formally diagnosed by a qualified medical professional; b) gets treatment and therapy, c) makes measurable progress. That's it. I'd tell him, "I love you, but I can't stay in this relationship unless you get treatment. Let me know when you decide what you're doing." Then walk out the door.


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  • I think you should keep not contacting him because at this point he is going to take anything you say and possibly misinterpret it.

    He will come around when he will ask you a bunch of questions about you, meaning he gained some insight into his behavior and maybe realized he was being a bit selfish.

    Good luck!

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