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BPD, Break up, and Moving On

Hello folks,

I'm a 20 year old woman diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). In May this year, my ex-girlfriend broke up with me after more than a year of being together and 2 years of knowing each other. We are now best friends but I am not entirely over her. BPD affects moving on in many ways.

She told me today that she is dating someone casually. They hug and hold hands. I find it very hard to accept this and be okay with it and with her. She stressed that I am still her best friend and she told the new person that they need to be okay with me because I am important to her, and because I am her best friend. She usually isn't one to label people in this manner.

Prior to this, I have been gradually starting to accept that she isn't into me anymore and she has zero intention of getting back together with me, but the thought of her dating someone makes me feel many negative things.

Jealousy: someone else now has something with her that I can't have, namely the nature of their relationship and physical intimacy.
Possessiveness: this is really mean, but it's along the lines of 'if I can't have her, no one else can'.
Inadequacy: I feel like I am not good enough for her and now someone else has replaced me.
Fear: of abandonment, that I might lose my best friend, of the new person potentially becoming her go-to person instead of me.

She is speaking at an event next weekend and I originally wanted to go to support her, but the new person will be there as well. According to her, they would hold hands. I don't think I am able to be there physically and stomach that.

I want to move on and accept this. But communicating with her brings up all these memories and thoughts. Today, when I was trying to do my work, thoughts and images of her and the new person kept permeating my mind and I couldn't shake them off.

I'm sure many people have experienced similar things, and I hope to hear from all of you. What advice would you have for me and what are some things that helped you move forward in your own experience? Also, how can I continue to love and hang out with my best friend when all I can think of is how she is dating this new person?
 

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Grumpy old bastard
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My mother has BPD.

I TRULY admire how you can disassociate yourself, and look at the situation objectively. Truly, I admire how much work you have done on yourself, and I admire your ability to wish your friend the best.

When I break up with a girlfriend, it is TOTALLY normal for me to need space where I do not hear from her for a while. I like her, I love her, I wish her the best, I want desperately to hang, but for me a healthy thing is to go our own ways for a while.

With time, and a bit of distance, I can work through my feelings and find separation, and find me again.

It does not mean I will forever not talk to her - it means "for a while" I need space to find me and figure out my emotions. With time, I have usually been able to stay friends.

For BPD, it is often an all or nothing thing. And the "all" can be "For right now I need space." And your friend will understand that.

Hugs.
 
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My mother has BPD.

I TRULY admire how you can disassociate yourself, and look at the situation objectively. Truly, I admire how much work you have done on yourself, and I admire your ability to wish your friend the best.

When I break up with a girlfriend, it is TOTALLY normal for me to need space where I do not hear from her for a while. I like her, I love her, I wish her the best, I want desperately to hang, but for me a healthy thing is to go our own ways for a while.

With time, and a bit of distance, I can work through my feelings and find separation, and find me again.

It does not mean I will forever not talk to her - it means "for a while" I need space to find me and figure out my emotions. With time, I have usually been able to stay friends.

For BPD, it is often an all or nothing thing. And the "all" can be "For right now I need space." And your friend will understand that.

Hugs.
Hey there, thanks for sharing and for your kind words.

Do you think it's better to cut off contact entirely during the period where you're trying to distance yourself? Or could you still communicate/ hang out with the person but just reduce the frequency?

My friend and I have always texted everyday, multiple times a day and we hang out once a week. I'm trying to reduce the frequency.

There is a part of me that feels like if I reduce communication or cut it off, or not show up for the event, then it will only be the new person who interacts with her and support her at her event. And I'll slowly fade away as their relationship grows stronger.
 

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Grumpy old bastard
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A friend on this site who offers me great advice on occasion is @Animal. Perhaps she has some ideas.

I know for a while it tears me apart to see her. Then after a while it is ok to be around her, but there is indeed separation, and for me that is a good thing.

Hugs, I have no easy answers.
 
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MOTM Jan 2014
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Hey there, thanks for sharing and for your kind words.

Do you think it's better to cut off contact entirely during the period where you're trying to distance yourself? Or could you still communicate/ hang out with the person but just reduce the frequency?

My friend and I have always texted everyday, multiple times a day and we hang out once a week. I'm trying to reduce the frequency.

There is a part of me that feels like if I reduce communication or cut it off, or not show up for the event, then it will only be the new person who interacts with her and support her at her event. And I'll slowly fade away as their relationship grows stronger.
I have great relationships with most of my exes - we range from good friends who go to each other for advice, to musicians who can still play together, to fans of each other's art or music or whatever, to "cool with each other" but not friends. I only have two exes I'm not cool with and these were both people I dated briefly during a rough time in my life - I had to cut them off 'forever' because they were dangerous/ mentally unwell/ etc. But the sane ones, still consider me a friend, and the ones I was truly close with still consider me a true friend even if they've moved on.

The key is that after a breakup, we don't talk for a while. It never works any other way. Every time I have tried to keep talking with an ex after breakup, there's jealousy, fights, issues, bad feelings.. either from one of us or the other , or both. And there's a lot of back and forth .. like getting intimate (oops!) or feeling like I want to touch that person but can't.. just a lot of bad tension. Obviously a new person in the picture is usually what causes things to be really horrible. I tend to need a long time to heal between relationships, so I'm not usually the one to move on first - though once I do move on, its thorough, because I took that time to heal. The other person might move on but then they will bounce back to me and feel like I was better and they made a mistake and start beggging and confusing me because I'm almost over this person.

I'm 34. Since about age .. 24? or so? I've had a rule that if I break up with someone, we can be friends in the future but not now. I usually explain this to them. I tell them -if you are in serious trouble and really need me, and no one else can deal with it but me, of course feel free to call me. But otherwise talk to someone else for a while. Then in a while when we're both cool.. we can be real friends again. It works every time.

The thing is though, I'm usually the one who ends the relationship. There have only been two guys I've ever been really hung up on after breakup. And the first one always loved me but circumstance was tragic. The second one, he didn't care as much as I did and it tore me up. I kept trying to see him, be around him, stay in his life just like you described. I kept at it.. just wanting to retain my position as his closest person.. and being jealous.. etc.. and guess what.. now we're not friends. And that's a huge loss because we made amazing music together and we had a really great connection. If I could have stayed out of his face we could have just been friends later on. He has nothing against me or anything. He has respect for me. It just got to the point where he didn't try anymore and needed to clear that space for his new relationship. I've written a lot of posts about that heart break and I can PM you if you like with a story .. as casual as I might sound right now there was nothing detached or casual about it at all.. he broke my heart in a billion pieces.

I wish you luck . I'm sorry youre going through this - its the worst feeling in the world.
 

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My advice would be to take complete space for a while. That way you can continue getting over her instead of getting sucked into negative feelings. Just be honest with her and tell her why you're taking space. You're obviously really important to her, so she should understand. Once you're more over her, your relationship will be healthier and will probably end up lasting longer. Also, knowing that your ex is seeing someone new is one of the hardest things for anyone to deal with, let alone someone with BPD physically seeing their ex with someone else. Every time she brings up her girlfriend, it's gonna bring up those feelings of jealousy, possessiveness, inadequacy, and fear, so why put yourself through hell by exposing yourself to that? Maybe this is extreme, but I either have BPD or have very strong tendencies, and when my then-ex-boyfriend and I had been broken up for a couple of months, he told me that he had been on a date. That's literally all he said and all I knew, and I was so devastated that I wanted to kill myself and told him to never forget that if it happened it would be his fault. I genuinely thought that with his words he was knowingly and nonchalantly nudging me towards suicide. When the negative emotions pile up, BPD can take people to some really messed up places and can get so piercingly painful, so I'd just let myself heal if I were you instead of trying to see how much I could handle.
 

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Thank you, miller, animal and username, for responding and for your advice.

How long do you think I cut off contact for? I really am scared of the idea of her just having that new person in her life and not me if I cut off contact. I also fear that I may never fully get over her, and that I'd always be drawn back.
 

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Smiles, "normal" for me is I go my own way for a while. then reconnect a bit, get hurt, and go away again for a while.

Eventually it works its way out.

If you are honest you will keep your wonderful friend in the long run.
 
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