Maintaining a relationship when someone has Borderline Personality Disorder is difficult. While all relationships have challenges, the symptoms of BPD can make even the most stable moments tumultuous. However, just because someone has Borderline Personality Disorder does not mean they cannot have meaningful and intimate relationships or are doomed to cheat.
Here is everything you need to know about Borderline Personality Disorder and cheating.
What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
In order to understand how Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) affects relationships, you need to know a little more about this mental health disorder. People suffering from BPD struggle with a poor self-image, abandonment issues, reactive moods, and unstable interpersonal relationships. Those with BPD are also at a higher than average risk of suicide.
When stressed, people with BPD may display psychotic-like symptoms that cause a breakdown of reality. They may, for instance, feel that a family member suddenly loathes them when the person is only mildly annoyed.
Since BPD sufferers have issues with abandonment, they often take on an all-or-nothing approach to relationships. Be it with friends or a significant other, they will compete for acceptance and attention. Even when in a stable romantic relationship, they may feel lonely and insecure. Furthermore, they tend to hold others responsible for the pain they will inevitably feel if and when the relationship sours (even when this is not true).
BPD And Infidelity
There is a myth out there that those with BPD engage in affairs more often than others. However, there is no concrete evidence supporting this claim. Research has yet to find a connection between BPD and infidelity.
Yet, how did this assumption occur? It is based on the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. Due to the mental condition, most people with BPD struggle to maintain relationships with friends, family, and partners. They often feel unloved and unwelcome, and, because of a poor self-image, think badly of themselves whenever something goes wrong.
BPD also causes impulsive behaviors and a lack of self-control. Upon feeling abandoned,
individuals with BPD may engage in risky behavior, such as gambling or unprotected sex. In some cases, an individual with BPD may seek out sex as a way to self-medicate instead of self-harm, which is common.
Why Does BPD Cause Trust Issues?
Although people with Borderline Personality Disorder are just as susceptible to cheating as those without the condition, they tend to suspect their partners cheat on them more frequently. While those with BPD feel empty inside and are constantly looking for love and acceptance, they also don’t believe themselves capable of being loved. In other words, they also assume the ones they love most are going to reject them eventually.
Unfortunately, many people with BPD come from dysfunctional families and environments. They learned, either from nature or nurture, that their emotions and the people in their lives are untrustworthy. Since BPD symptoms often begin in early adulthood and worsen over time, they may never learn how to regulate their own emotions in a healthy way.
Combating BPD With Couples Therapy
Borderline Personality Disorder and cheating do not always go hand in hand. That said, the traits of BPD do put stress on those in the relationship. When left unchecked and untreated, BPD can make even the strongest of relationships fail. Therefore, the first step to counteracting the negative effects of Borderline Personality Disorder on a relationship is to receive help from a therapist or mental health provider.
Treating BPD is one of the best ways to deal with the symptoms. Medication and therapy can curtail the impulsivity that could potentially lead to infidelity. Moreover, going to a therapist together can help you both connect on a deeper level, as you would learn healthier ways to communicate. A couples counselor could also help you work through the toughest of times.
Does having BPD put someone at a higher risk of infidelity? No. Borderline Personality Disorder and cheating are not connected, though certain symptoms of BPD could drive someone to cheat. That said, if you and your partner are willing to work through the challenges of BPD and go to therapy, then there is no reason your relationship can’t succeed.
There is nothing that a little cooperation, compassion, and communication cannot overcome.
With our unique counseling programs, Couples Academy can teach you how. Get in touch with Couples Academy today!