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Surviving BPD Relationships: Understanding the Cycles and Maintaining Your Well-being

BPD Relationships and their Cycles: Understanding and Maintaining Them

Are you in a relationship with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)? Do you find yourself experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions and behaviors?

Don’t worry; you’re not alone. BPD relationships are known for their intense cycles, but with the right tools and strategies, you can maintain a successful relationship with your partner.

In this article, we’ll explore the average length of a BPD relationship and the seven stages of the BPD relationship cycle. We’ll also provide tips on maintaining a successful relationship, including coping with impulsivity and emotional outbursts, effective communication, psychotherapy options, understanding BPD, and setting boundaries.

Average Length of BPD Relationship: Two and a Half Years

According to research, the average length of a BPD relationship is about two and a half years. This is due to the intense emotional highs and lows that come with BPD relationships.

At the beginning of the relationship, there may be an intense attraction between you and your partner, but as the relationship progresses, the emotional rollercoaster begins. 7 Stages of the BPD Relationship Cycle: Attraction, Neediness, Withdraw, Devaluation, Breakup, Return, and All Over Again


Attraction: This stage is where you and your partner feel an intense attraction towards each other. You feel like you’ve found your soulmate and that nothing can tear you apart.

2. Neediness: As the relationship progresses, your partner may become increasingly needy, clingy, and dependent on you.

You may feel like you’re walking on eggshells around them, trying not to upset them or trigger their emotional outbursts. 3.

Withdraw: In this stage, your partner may withdraw from you emotionally. They may become distant, unresponsive, and not want to spend time with you.

You may feel like you’re being shut out, and this can be a painful experience. 4.

Devaluation: This stage is where your partner may start devaluing you. They may criticize you, belittle you, and make you feel like you’re not good enough.

This can be emotionally draining and can lead to feelings of worthlessness. 5.

Breakup: In this stage, your partner may initiate a breakup. This can be unexpected, and you may feel blindsided by it.

You may also feel heartbroken, confused, and angry. 6.

Return: After a breakup, your partner may return to you. They may apologize for their behavior, promise to change, and do everything they can to win you back.

You may feel torn between wanting to give them another chance and protecting yourself from getting hurt again. 7.

All over again: This stage is where the cycle starts all over again. You and your partner go back to the attraction stage, and the cycle repeats itself.

Maintaining a Successful BPD Relationship

Coping with Impulsivity and Emotional Outbursts

One of the most challenging aspects of a BPD relationship is coping with your partner’s impulsivity and emotional outbursts. Your partner may say hurtful things, engage in self-destructive behavior, and act unpredictably.

To cope with this, it’s important to not take things personally and understand that your partner is struggling with a mental illness. You can also encourage them to seek professional help and support them through their journey.

Effective Communication with Emotional Expressions

When it comes to communication in a BPD relationship, words alone are not enough. Your partner may struggle with expressing their emotions effectively, and it can feel like you’re speaking different languages.

To communicate effectively, it’s important to focus on the emotion behind the words rather than the words themselves. Empathize with your partner’s emotions, listen actively, and validate their feelings.

This can help build trust and strengthen your relationship.

Psychotherapy Options

Psychotherapy can be a helpful tool in managing BPD symptoms and maintaining healthy relationships. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of therapy that focuses on building coping strategies, emotion regulation, and improving interpersonal relationships.

Encourage your partner to seek out DBT or other forms of therapy to manage their symptoms and improve communication and relationship skills.

Understanding BPD

Understanding BPD is an essential part of maintaining a successful relationship. BPD is a severe mental illness that causes significant psychological stress.

Your partner may struggle with intense emotions, impulsive behavior, and low self-esteem. To support them, it’s important to educate yourself on BPD, its symptoms, and how to manage them.

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries in a BPD relationship is crucial for maintaining your mental health and protecting yourself from emotional harm. Be honest with your partner about your needs and limitations, express yourself honestly and calmly, and reinforce your boundaries when necessary.

This can help build healthy communication and trust in your relationship. In conclusion, being in a BPD relationship is not easy, but with the right tools and strategies, it is possible to maintain a successful relationship.

By understanding the average length of a BPD relationship and the seven stages of the BPD relationship cycle, as well as learning coping strategies, effective communication, psychotherapy options, understanding BPD, and setting boundaries, you and your partner can build a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Remember to take care of yourself and prioritize your mental health throughout the process.

Reasons for BPD Relationships’ Failure:

Lack of Diagnosis and Treatment;

Alternate Reality and Fact-Based Emotions

BPD relationships are known for their intense emotional fluctuations, which can make it difficult for both partners involved. Although there are ways to maintain a successful BPD relationship, unfortunately, the majority of them don’t stand the test of time.

In this section, we’ll explore the two main reasons BPD relationships fail: lack of diagnosis and treatment, and alternate reality and fact-based emotions.

Lack of Diagnosis and Treatment

Not everyone who has BPD realizes it – in fact, BPD is often undiagnosed, which can lead to relationship failures. When BPD is not diagnosed and treated, the symptoms of the disorder can worsen, triggering a negative impact on the relationship.

Your partner may struggle with intense emotions, difficulties with communication, impulsivity, and mood swings. These symptoms can cause severe distress for both partners.

In an undiagnosed BPD case, your partner may not understand the cause of their behavior, and you may become frustrated with their actions. There is no excuse for untreated BPD; therefore, it’s essential to encourage your partner to seek help as soon as possible.

It’s equally important to educate yourself about BPD and support your partner through their journey.

Alternate Reality and Fact-Based Emotions

BPD relationships suffer from another factor when it comes to failure: alternate reality beliefs and fact-based emotions. Partners with BPD often have an intense fear of abandonment, paired with other negative emotional symptoms.

To cope with these intense emotions and control their environment, they create alternate realities that do not match the facts of the situation. For instance, your partner may believe you’re cheating on them even if you haven’t shown any signs of infidelity.

This belief can trigger manipulative behavior like gaslighting and other emotionally abusive measures. On the other hand, partners with BPD have fact-based emotions in which a small occurrence can trigger a significant emotional reaction.

In this case, you may not have an idea of what to say or do to comfort them. This behavior can be challenging and emotionally draining for both parties involved.

Long-Term Relationships with BPD Partners:

Challenges and Difficulties;

Mutual Understanding and Patience;

Knowing When to Leave

Long-term BPD relationships come with their own set of challenges and difficulties. In this section, we’ll explore these challenges and the importance of mutual understanding and patience in maintaining a successful relationship.

Challenges and Difficulties

One of the significant challenges in BPD relationships is finding a middle ground between both partners. People with BPD often have intense mood swings, which can make it difficult for their partners to keep up.

Additionally, BPD relationships often include a high level of emotional sensitivity, which can make healthy communication difficult. The challenges of long-term relationships with BPD partners can be a toll on the other partner’s mental health as well.

Therefore, it’s essential to maintain healthy communication, set healthy boundaries, and prioritize self-care. These measures can help you in balancing the emotions and setting mutual respect.

Mutual Understanding and Patience

In a BPD relationship, mutual understanding and patience are key to maintaining a healthy, fulfilling partnership. Your partner may struggle with intense emotional outbursts and impulsive behavior, but with your help and support, they can learn to manage these symptoms.

It’s important to show love and patience towards your partner when they’re struggling. You must be understanding about the disorder and help them through their journey of managing the symptoms.

In this case, mental health professionals can provide the necessary support and coping mechanisms to create a healthier relationship dynamic.

Knowing When to Leave

In certain circumstances, staying in a BPD relationship may not be feasible for your wellbeing. Even though you love your partner, the relationship may become toxic or unsafe.

If you reach that point, it’s essential to have the strength and support to leave. In such a case, psychotherapy services can provide the necessary emotional support.

In conclusion, lack of diagnosis and treatment and fact-based emotions can trigger reasons for BPD relationships’ failure. However, with patience, mutual support, and psychotherapy services, you can maintain a long-term successful BPD relationship.

But also knowing when to walk away with respect and safety in mind can be crucial. Importance of Self-Care in BPD Relationships:

Finding Personal Coping Mechanisms;

The Three Cs

When you’re in a relationship with someone who has BPD, it’s easy to focus all your energy on supporting them.

However, it’s important not to neglect your own well-being in the process. In fact, practicing self-care can be essential to maintaining a healthy relationship.

In this section, we’ll explore the importance of finding personal coping mechanisms and how the three Cs can help you prioritize yourself.

Finding Personal Coping Mechanisms

One of the most valuable things you can do for yourself in a BPD relationship is to find personal coping mechanisms that work for you. Self-care is about taking the time to prioritize your needs and create a healthy outlet for managing stress or negative emotions.

Finding what works for you may include, but not limited to, exercise, meditation, journaling, reading, listening to music, or other self-soothing activities. These activities can help you reduce stress, maintain healthy habits, and even improve self-confidence.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol and substance use are not viable alternatives and can trigger more damaging outcomes. Instead, find positive stress relief strategies that can keep you healthy and ready to cope.

The Three Cs

Another essential aspect of self-care in a BPD relationship is following the three Cs: I didn’t cause it, I can’t cure it, and I can’t control it. In short, the three Cs refer to the understanding that you’re not responsible for your partner’s behavior, you can’t fix their BPD, and you can’t control their emotions or reactions to stress.

These concepts can help you prioritize your own needs and understand the direction of where your control and responsibility end and begin. The three Cs concept promotes healthy boundaries while reminding you that you’re not at fault for your partner’s actions.

When dealing with BPD symptoms, it’s ok to feel overwhelmed and out of control with your partner’s emotions. However, understanding that you can’t control them and focusing on personal stress relief strategies can help you create a healthy relationship dynamic.

Further, in cases where managing the stress and emotional pressure is too much of a burden, it may be imperative to seek support from outside one’s relationship.


In conclusion, self-care is essential in maintaining a successful BPD relationship. Finding personal coping mechanisms, practicing healthy habits, and reminding yourself that you’re not responsible for your partner’s behavior can help you prioritize your own well-being.

BPD relationships come with their own set of challenges, but with self-care and support, you can build a healthy and fulfilling relationship while protecting your mental health. In conclusion, BPD relationships can be challenging, but it’s possible to maintain a successful and healthy relationship with the right tools, strategies, and self-care practices.

Understanding the average length of a BPD relationship and the seven stages of the BPD relationship cycle, as well as learning coping strategies, effective communication, psychotherapy options, understanding BPD, setting boundaries, and finding personal coping mechanisms, are crucial to maintaining a sustainable relationship. Additionally, understanding that you are not responsible for your partner’s behavior and reminding yourself of the three Cs can help you prioritize your well-being.

Even though BPD relationships come with their difficulties, it’s important to prioritize self-care, promote healthy boundaries while seeking support from mental health professionals, and build a fulfilling relationship while maintaining good mental health.

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