You’ve just started dating someone, and it’s going well.
You like their sense of humor, they like your company, and you seem to feel the same way about each other.
But then, one day, you start to notice something: they’re acting strangely.
They’ll seem really distant or suddenly become very angry with you over something that seems minor.
At first, you’re confused—this person is so different from the one you’ve been dating.
What if this person has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?
What are signs you’re dating someone with BPD?
Borderline personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by an ongoing pattern of instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning.
This can include intense episodes of anger and depression, impulsive actions and self-harm behaviors, frantic efforts to avoid abandonment (real or perceived), and unstable relationships with family members and friends.
People with borderline personality disorder often have very high expectations for themselves and others, but these expectations may be unreasonable or unrealistic—like expecting someone to be perfect all the time or expecting themselves to be happy all the time.
While some people may have mild symptoms of BPD that go unnoticed daily, others experience more severe symptoms that affect their ability to function normally in society.
Here are signs you’re dating someone with BPD:
7 Signs You’re Dating Someone With BPD
Their moods can change quickly and without warning
Mood swings are a major sign that you’re dating someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD).
People with BPD go through periods of extreme highs and lows.
They might be happy one moment, then suddenly, they’re sad or angry.
They can change their minds quickly and without warning.
Their moods can also change based on what’s going on in their life.
For example, if they fight with someone, especially with you, they may feel very depressed for several days afterward.
This is usually due to the fact that people with BPD have difficulty identifying, expressing, and managing their emotions.
They may also feel emotions more intensely than others do.
Because of this, their moods may be intense or unpredictable.
This is why it’s essential to learn how to recognize your partner’s triggers for these outbursts.
It will help you avoid making them worse by accidentally saying something insensitive or hurtful during an episode.
For example, if you know that your partner tends to get upset when they feel criticized, then it would be wise not to say anything negative about them in front of others when they’re already upset about something else.
Fear of abandonment
If you’re dating someone with BPD, you may notice that they tend to become overly attached to you and that this attachment can be overwhelming or even abusive.
This is called “fear of abandonment.”
Fear of abandonment is a common symptom of BPD and often manifests as clinginess in relationships.
Someone with BPD might be very concerned about losing their partner’s attention or affection, which leads them to act out in ways that make it hard for the other person to leave them alone.
For example, by constantly calling or sending messages throughout the day.
They may also behave like a child—asking for things like help with homework or other tasks or acting out because they’re bored or lonely.
A little clinginess is okay in a relationship, but if your partner is extremely and unreasonably clingy, they might have a BPD.
Impulsivity is a common symptom of borderline personality disorder (BPD).
This means that your partner may act without thinking about the consequences.
They may make decisions that have long-lasting negative effects or react to situations in ways that are not typical for most people.
They do this because they have trouble controlling their emotions and impulses and feel empty inside, so they try to fill that emptiness with external things like drugs or alcohol.
Examples of risky or impulsive behaviors include:
lashing out at people
hurting themselves physically
acting on sexual impulses without considering the consequences
being reckless with money and finances
jumping into a river that’s too cold to swim in
violent outbursts or fights with friends or loved ones
- Unstable relationships
If your partner has a history of unstable relationships, they may have a BPD.
People with BPD have difficulty maintaining relationships and may have frequent breakups and make-ups.
They may act like they want to be close to you but also do things that make you feel distant.
They might call you constantly, say they don’t want to talk, send you long emails, and then tell you not to contact them again.
They may even try to control the relationship by making rules for how it should work.
For example, they might say that if you’re not available when they call, you’re not serious about them.
They might expect you to spend all your time together even though this makes it difficult for both of you to meet other people and pursue other interests.
These behaviors make it hard for someone with a borderline personality disorder to maintain stable relationships.
5. Emotional outbursts
People with borderline personality disorder can be explosive and unpredictable in expressing their emotions.
If your partner has a BPD, they may act out of anger without being able to explain why.
They may be very emotional and cry easily.
They might also have an unstable sense of themselves and their identity, which can lead to emotional extremes—sometimes feeling like they’re okay, worthless, or unlovable.
They may even ask for reassurance that they are loved and appreciated, but you might not be able to give them what they need because you might be drained from their constant drama.
6. They’re very sensitive to rejection or criticism
If you try to talk with your partner with BPD about their behavior, they’ll take it as a personal attack and become defensive even though your comments were meant to help.
They are also very sensitive to rejection.
In fact, a perceived slight from you, such as canceling plans at the last minute or forgetting to call back, could evoke an angry reaction from them.
They may interpret it as you no longer being interested in them or breaking up with them.
They take things much harder than someone without BPD.
7. Suspicion and distrust
If you’ve been dating your partner for a while and they still don’t seem to trust you, that’s a sign of Borderline Personality Disorder.
People with BPD often struggle to trust anyone because they can’t be sure that others won’t hurt or abandon them.
If your partner constantly suspects you’re cheating on them or lying to them—even after you’ve proven that you’re not—they may suffer from BPD.
They may also accuse you of untrue things, such as accusing you of being flirty with other people or claiming that they’ve seen evidence of your infidelity when there was none.
Know that everyone with BPD is different, and not all people with BPD will experience all of these symptoms.
And these symptoms can be present in other mental health conditions, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a mental health professional.
If you love your partner, encourage them to see a professional to get help.
Be supportive as well, and don’t take their reactions personally because it’s not about you.