Dating with BPD is a tricky one, from my own personal experience I fall fast and find it had to cope with the emotions that come from dating. Dating for anyone can be confusing, do they like me? Why haven’t they replied? I think I’ve been ghosted and half of the time that person just doesn’t like you and doesn’t have the guts to tell you. I have always struggled to think rationally when it comes to dating, and I am always willing to give someone a chance. As someone with BPD, I do think I am easily manipulated and I know I give off those vibes, which sadly people use for their own gain. I find it hard to not know things, so when I am left hanging after a date whether it’s a few hours or a few days it makes me feel like there is something wrong with me, or I did something wrong. My best friend always said whilst I was dating I went after the red flags instead of avoiding which to some degree I can now see this is true. I like to try to fix those who don’t want to be fixed, I get attached to people who treat me badly and those who are actually nice to me confuse me as I don’t understand why they’re being nice.
I dated someone who was nice to me until I fell for him, acting like I meant so much to him. Then bam, he was gone, and only came back when he needed something from me. But in my head, this meant he wanted to come back to me and I spent the best part of 2 months being treated like a piece of rubbish by this person. It honestly felt so much longer too. I’ve never felt mistreated so badly by another human, and as innocent as he tried to play the whole situation, he knew exactly what he was doing. He was looking at other girls Tinder profiles in front of me, on dating apps messaging girls telling them they’re beautiful and acting like I didn’t exist. I am so glad to this day he finally cut me off or I am worried it never would have ended.
“Stop looking for happiness in the same place you lost it.“
I met guys on Plenty of Fish and Tinder who were great to chat to, but if we met in person they were nothing like they said, I met someone who was racist and another who kept ‘making jokes’ about how hot their sister was, claiming it was ok as it was only his half-sister, but that made no difference. Some dates it felt like we were both trying to find something to say, like about anything, including the age of the building we were in. I started seeing a guy who told me my issues were clearly linked to deeper issues than I was willing to confront. People liked to play therapist on me, telling me how I should feel and why I felt in certain ways, but they had no idea. I met guys who were great guys, but they weren’t the guys for me. I went through months of struggling with my own sexuality and wondering what this attraction to girls I was having was about and why I was still more attracted to guys than girls. I met people who taught me a lot of valuable life skills, I made friends with some of the people I dated, and I felt less lonely the more I dated.
The whole time I was dating, I had no idea I actually had BPD, I knew there was something more than the issues I had been diagnosed with at this point, but I didn’t know how to address them. Which for me was terrifying as I was just burying the issues deeper and deeper and hoping they went away. I became more reckless with meeting people I didn’t even really know and could have put myself in serious danger, but at the time I didn’t even care. Being a super bad place with your mental health and then going out to date isn’t something I’d recommend, as you’re not as well equipped to deal with the bad situations as you may be on a ‘normal’ day. I felt like my heart kept being broken over and over and put a clock on every one of the people I dated, like that Black Mirror episode but the clock was in my head and it was how long it would last before someone walked out. In a way, I think this was me self-sabotaging the good things to protect myself, but at the time I couldn’t see that.
It was around seven months into being ‘single’ and I was talking to this guy who would spend all night talking to me on Facebook video calls, we’d chat about normal things, and it turned out we went to the same college and did the same course just in different years and now did the same degree at university as me. We talked about the people we knew in common, and it turned out we probably met previously at college. We went on our first date at Starbucks and he offered to pay for my drink and although I turned him down, it was such a great first date and he was everything I thought he was, and all he wanted to was get to know me. Which for me was exactly what I needed, we took our time to get to know each other which is not something my brain was used to from past relationships. That person is Will, and we are still together now and I couldn’t imagine not having him by my side. He’s my best friend and more and I can say he saved me from myself.
“A simple hello could lead to a million things”
Dating when you have BPD is anything but smooth sailing, and although dating is confusing and hard for anyone who does it, doing it with BPD makes it 10x worse. To anyone who is currently dating with BPD or any other mental illnesses, I completely know where you are coming from if you need to talk to someone who has been where you are. I think it’s important to remember that your friends and family say things because often they notice the signs that you do not, and even though it sucks to hear it, they’re usually right and those who take advantage of your kind nature aren’t worth your time or energy, ever.