Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder Relationships

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that affects a person’s ability to regulate their emotions, behavior, and relationships. It is estimated that about 1% of the population in Australia have BPD, and it is more common in women than in men.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

BPD is a personality disorder that is characterized by intense emotions, unstable relationships, and impulsive behavior. A person with BPD may experience intense mood swings, difficulty in maintaining stable relationships, and problems with self-image and identity. BPD is often diagnosed in people who have a history of childhood trauma or abuse.

Some of the symptoms of BPD include:

  • Intense fear of abandonment
  • Unstable and intense relationships
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Self-harm
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Difficulty controlling anger
  • Paranoia or dissociation

BPD and Relationships

Borderline Personality Disorder can have a significant impact on a person’s relationships. People with BPD often have extreme and unpredictable emotions that can make it difficult for them to maintain healthy relationships. They may have a tendency to idealize and idolize their partners, only to quickly devalue and discard them when they perceive a slight or mistake.

People with BPD can also be impulsive and engage in risky behaviors, such as substance abuse, gambling, or promiscuous sexual behavior. These behaviors can put a strain on their relationships and cause mistrust and feelings of betrayal.

Another common symptom of BPD is fear of abandonment. People with BPD may have an intense fear of being abandoned or rejected by their partners, which can lead to clingy or controlling behavior. They may become jealous and possessive, and may have difficulty respecting their partner’s boundaries and needs.

Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder Relationships

Treatment for BPD typically involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Medications such as antidepressants or mood stabilizers may be prescribed to help regulate mood swings and other symptoms of BPD.

Psychotherapy is an important part of treatment for BPD. One type of therapy that has been shown to be particularly helpful for people with BPD is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on helping people learn skills to manage intense emotions, improve communication, and develop healthier relationships.

Other forms of therapy that can be helpful for people with BPD include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Schema Therapy, and Psychodynamic Therapy.

Tips for Partners of People with BPD

If you are in a relationship with someone who has BPD, it can be challenging and stressful. However, there are some things you can do to help support your partner and maintain a healthy relationship:

  • Encourage your partner to seek treatment for BPD
  • Learn about BPD and its symptoms
  • Be patient and understanding
  • Communicate openly and honestly
  • Respect your partner’s boundaries and needs
  • Avoid getting into arguments or conflicts when your partner is in an emotional state
  • Take care of yourself and seek support from friends or family members


Borderline Personality Disorder can have a significant impact on a person’s relationships, but it is important to remember that with the right treatment, people with BPD can develop healthier and more stable relationships. If you or someone you know is struggling with BPD, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional.


What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental illness characterized by unstable moods and relationships, and impulsive behavior. People with BPD have difficulty regulating emotions, causing intense and unstable interpersonal relationships. This can lead to an unstable self-image, mood swings, and self-destructive behaviors.

How can BPD affect relationships?

BPD can severely impact relationships by causing intense and often unpredictable mood swings. These mood swings can create a lack of trust, fearful abandonment, and frequent conflict in relationships. Impulsive behavior can also lead to erratic decision-making, which can cause further rifts between partners. It is essential for individuals with BPD to seek treatment to manage symptoms and improve relationships.

How can partners of someone with BPD help with the relationship?

Partners of individuals with BPD can support healthy relationships by learning about the disorder and encouraging their loved ones to seek treatment. Additionally, practicing good communication skills, boundaries, and other coping mechanisms can help facilitate a more stable environment. Partners should also prioritize self-care to maintain their own emotional well-being. With patience, empathy, and an understanding of BPD, relationships can overcome the challenges associated with the disorder.


1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

2. Fossati, A., Borroni, S., Maffei, C., & Rizzi, R. (2009). Is borderline personality disorder a temperament? A study on the relationship between the Temperament and Character Inventory and the Diagnostic Interview for Borderline Patients. Comprehensive psychiatry, 50(1), 16-22.

3. Zanarini, M. C., & Frankenburg, F. R. (2007). Factors associated with borderline personality disorder. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 195(6), 461-466.