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How I'll Explain My Borderline Personality Disorder to My Future Husband

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I expect we’ll have the conversation early, during the dating phase of our relationship. I’ll want to disclose my mental illness early in the relationship for several reasons: to give my future husband the opportunity to truly understand me, to see if there’s a chance he would possibly stigmatize me and to give him the option to go in the other direction.

Hopefully I am wise in choosing who I want to marry, and I choose someone who will accept and love me despite my mental illness. I hope my future husband does both of those things, and will open his ears and his heart and truly hear me as I explain my borderline personality disorder (BPD) to him.

I’ll start the conversation by telling him what BPD is: a personality disorder that makes it difficult for me to regulate my emotions. It’s characterized by unstable moods, behaviors and relationships.

After giving him the definition, I’ll encourage him to not be wary, and tell him that most of the time, it isn’t as bad as it sounds. I will be honest with him, though, and say that for me, sometimes, it is exactly as bad as it sounds.

After defining BPD to my future husband, I’ll describe my symptoms. I’ll be honest about how unpleasant they can be, and be up front about how they may affect him and our relationship.

I’ll start by listing the symptoms I experience most often: emotional instability, feeling worthless and insecure, impulsivity and mood swings. I’ll go into detail about each one and explain how each symptom affects me. I’ll explain how my emotional instability makes it hard for me to express myself. I’ll tell him that my feelings of worthlessness and insecurity sometimes make me hate myself. I’ll describe how I act when I’m impulsive, spending money I don’t have and being dangerously spontaneous. I’ll explain that my mood swings are hard for me to deal with, and that they may be for him, too.

I’ll remind him not to be discouraged, that not all of those symptoms surface at one time and that all of them are manageable.

I’ll be honest with my future husband about my treatment, because it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’ll list my medications and their benefits and side effects, and be open about going to therapy.

I’ll tell him I’ve learned to cope on my bad days, and tell him how; I busy myself, write out positive affirmations and practice mindfulness. I’ll also tell him what he can do to help me cope, too, by giving me space when I need it, by encouraging and supporting me, and by being busy with me.

I’ll tell him about how I may act out on a bad day. I’ll be honest and tell my future husband that when I manipulate or lie to him, I don’t mean it. I’ll tell him that at times, I’ll be at a loss for words, so I may choose the wrong ones. I’ll explain that sometimes I will be easily offended, that I’ll take everything personally, and that I will overreact.

I’ll ask him to please call me out on my poor behavior, because in order to catch myself next time, I need to be made aware of my hurtful words and actions.

I’ll explain that on my good days, I’m overzealous about almost everything, more excitable than usual and overly ambitious about my daily and life goals.

I’ll let him know that my love for him may seem exaggerated on a good day, but that he should take it as truth, that I really do love him that much.

Finally, as the conversation comes to an end, I’ll ask him to be patient with me when my symptoms become hard to tolerate. I’ll ask him to please be compassionate and patient with me as I experience them.

I’ll ask him to forgive my shortcomings, my outbursts, and every time I slam a door in his face. I’ll ask that he forgive me, but also be honest about his feelings, especially when they are hurt, so I can make it right and forgive myself, too.

I’m not afraid to tell my future husband about my BPD. I’ll do so in detail because I believe honesty is the best policy.

I’ll explain every aspect of my illness, but I’ll save the most important part for last: when I don’t love myself, I will always love you, no matter if my words or actions say otherwise.

Image via Thinkstock Images

Originally published: July 26, 2016
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