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Unsure if partner has BPD

Hi all,


I've spent all morning reading through posts about BPD on here and have felt some comfort knowing that others are experiencing similar things to me as well. It helps with feeling less isolated and that I'm not imagining my feelings.


My partner and I have been going out for five months, not very long in the grand scheme of things, but our relationship escalated very quickly and for the most part it has been great. We have plenty in common to bond over and I love the guy, but I have struggled to make sense of some of the disagreements we've had.


I think some context is also important to frame the arguments we've had. I grew up in a fairly liberal environment and have never thought that platonic friendships between men and women (or any person, whatever their gender or sexual preference) are inappropriate or out of place. I was always a bit of a tomboy growing up and as such had more male than female friends, and this is a trend that has continued into my 20s. This has never been an issue in part relationships, and I have always been open and honest about who my friends are with my partners. My partner, on the other hand, has completely different views on friendships between men and women – he finds them inappropriate, and that someone talking to a person of the opposite sex that is not their partner is disrespectful to the relationship and themselves.


I think all of the arguments we have had have stemmed from this issue. On my end, I feel as though I am behaving the same way I always have, including in other relationships, and am having a difficult time understanding what the boundaries are with him. He has stated that he does not want to control me, yet I feel there is an unstated expectation that I drop the majority of my male friends so that there will be no further cause for arguments. He has also accused me of sleeping with/being interested in other men... and the targets change depending on who is closest on the radar. E.g., He thinks that I am interested in an ex classmate simply because I am making a move to work in the same workplace (more due to the company than the influence of my friend). He has also accused me of constantly needing "male attention", that my phone is blowing up with messages from other guys constantly, and accused me of messaging other men when it's actually been family or girl friends.


None of his accusations are grounded in reality, and it wears me down so to have to constantly defend myself against them. And no matter how much I try to reassure him and show him that what he's saying is not true, he will either change the topic, deflect, or find an issue with my response to then use against me. Our arguments can start for reason A and by the end of it we've somehow gone through issues B through Z.


When we first met, and when things are good between us, he says the most loving things – that I am the best thing that has ever happened to him, that I made his pain go away. But when we have an argument, the things he has said to me have been incredibly hurtful – he has likened me to his ex multiple times (she treated him terribly on all accounts), says that I have completely destroyed him, and has said that if I break up with him that he will return to his ex. The yo-yoing between one extreme and the other has been difficult ot deal with. I have tried my best to show him love and care in the ways that I know how, but when we argue, all that seems to count for nothing – all he can focus on is what I've done "wrong" in his eyes. Since we've started going out, I've limited my interactions with certain male friends out of respect for him... but it's not something I would normally ever do, or even expect someone to do for me. He knows this, and that I'm doing it for him rather than for myself has also become a point of argument.


In past relationships I have made it my policy to be open and honest about my past, including other relationships, sexual or not. I have tried to do the same here but have found that things I have said in confidence have been used against me to prove a point. As a result I no longer feel comfortable communicating about certain things because I don't know when it's going to come back round to me. He has also criticised my perspective on a lot of things, telling me that many of the beliefs I hold about relationships are not normal, and that he has difficulty trusting me because of them. E.g., I have said in the past that I have no issue with people breaking up one day and deciding to sleep with someone else the next (to each, their own), and he seems to have interpreted this as me being willing to do the same to him in the event of a break-up.


After a really bad argument a month or so ago I started seeing a psychologist because I started getting anxiety about the whole situation, and not feeling like I could trust my own judgment anymore. During one of our sessions I brought along some text message exchanges and told her about other things he's said to me and she mentioned BPD somewhere along the way... I've done some reading since then and there's so much that just falls in line with what I've found. Whilst I know that my account of things and a few descriptions is nowhere near enough for anyone to diagnose anything, I can't help but feel that he certainly has some of the traits.


He is currently seeing a psychologist but I am not sure if our relationship is something that he talks about in his sessions (he sought help for other issues unrelated to me).


For my part, I don't know what to do. I love him and I genuinely enjoy being with him, but I cannot cope with the arguments and emotional yo-yoing. Sorry for the long post – I still have so much more to say because I feel there's so much nuance to everything as well.


Re: Unsure if partner has BPD

Heya @QBit  thanks so much for being so honest and raw on our forums, we really appreciate you sharing your journey and I do not doubt this community will have a tonne of incredible insight for you Heart 


Your story is more common than not, at one time or another many of us in this community have been in a very similar position. From the get go it sounds like your partner struggles with pretty deep-seeded pangs of insecurity. Insecurity is fairly normal, we all feel it from time to time, but like everything in life it exists on a spectrum. For some people, there's a wound that has formed that insecurity and it festers and festers over the years. I just want to give you huge props on maintaining your boundary, and sustaining your own identity and values even when it is hard for him to accept. 


Whether or not he has BPD could only be confirmed through an appointment with a qualified Psych, or through his own willingness to figure out what's going on for him. However even if this were the case, your same boundaries would need to stick. It can definitely help to know a partner's symptoms and how to approach them, but regardless of language, everything you are doing right now would still be spot on in my view. You're actually doing really well. Are you able to have a sit down convo with him about this? Do you feel comfortable to do so? How do you feel about his comments on returning to his ex if you two were to split? Look forward to hearing from you.


Re: Unsure if partner has BPD

Hi @nashy, thanks so much for your response, it's good to hear from someone else. From reading others' accounts on here I've been able to detach myself a little from some of the hurtful things he's said as well and take it less personally.


We've tried in the past to talk about this – not specifically about BPD or that he seems to have similar traits; but just about how I've felt during arguments when he's said hurtful things. He's also made an effort to talk more about what he struggles with, which has helped me understand and be more emotionally present for him, but I wonder if he has the self-awareness to reflect on our arguments and consider that his reality isn't mine or everyone else's reality. It's really the black and white thinking he has about a lot of things that I struggle with because there's just so much nuance that gets lost along the way, which I feel is critical to understanding and accepting where I come from as well.


There was a time where I felt more comfortable discussing things with him because I didn't worry about it being taken out of context or stripped or nuance to bite me, but now  do, so I've become more guarded with what I say in case it's something else that ends up being used against me in an argument. I don't like that I don't feel that I can be open about everything because it makes me feel like I'm hiding things, which I don't want to do, but at the same time I think it's just a way of protecting myself as well. But perhaps that's also a protective mechanism for him too, to make things my fault in arguments.


Re: returning to his ex – I don't believe that he will. He said that after a split but we ended up getting back together and he told me that he said it to try and get me to stay. I don't believe that he will ever get back with her, but at the time I was unsure enough of myself that it really hurt.


Thanks again for your response!

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