Having BPD + a platonic FP = a non-existent dating life.
Navigating love can be challenging as it is, but trying to have a healthy dating life when you have a personality disorder like BPD can make it even harder.
As a quick refresher, an FP (or favourite person) to someone who has BPD is the most important person of their life, whether they’re conscious of this or not. Their whole mood revolves around this person, so if they’re on good terms with the FP, then it’s all happy days; if things aren’t great between the borderline and the FP, then the whole world is against them and everything sucks. (You can read more about my personal experiences with FPs at this link here.)
FPs can be in the form of a romantic partner, but if you’re like me, your FP manifests in platonic friends, family members, or even celebrities. This is where the main issue that I personally face arises when it comes to dating.
To set the scene, for example, let’s say I’m dating someone named Oliver. We’ve been seeing each other for a couple of months and everything there is going great. However, my FP is my friend named Bruno. While there is no sexual or romantic attraction to Bruno, he has become my entire life and my happiness solely depends on Bruno, and I constantly want to be around Bruno – even moreso than Oliver.
And thus there lies the problem. Even though I’m dating Oliver and there is a genuine romantic interest in Oliver, in my head, Oliver doesn’t even compare to Bruno.
To be completely transparent, I am 29-years-old and still don’t know how to completely navigate life and relationships as someone with BPD, and I definitely am not an expert on navigating love and dating with a platonic FP. Currently speaking, I have a platonic FP and because my focus is so centered on him, I find it very difficult to even attempt a dating life.
From the outside looking in, it is very easy to assume that I have romantic feelings for my FP because my mind essentially becomes obsessed with them. I get it. I truly get it. In fact, growing up without the diagnosis, I had always assumed my strong feelings for my FP were romantic when that isn’t necessarily the case. I’m constantly seeking his approval and validation, my senses are almost heightened whenever he’s around, and I’m acutely aware of every small thing that is happening when he’s near. On the flipside, when he does the tiniest thing that could lead my borderline mind to think he’s abandoning me, all of a sudden he’s the worst person and I’m thrown into a bout of depression just because of this one man.
Taking all of this into consideration, the normal person with little to no understanding of BPD could hypothesise that I in fact am harbouring romantic feelings for my FP. And while it’s true that I crave their attention and would be happy (or irrationally angry) by having them constantly around me, that’s where it ends for me. I can’t picture myself in a relationship with my FP, or getting intimate with them, or even building a life with them that wasn’t strictly as friends.
Passing it back to my love life, it’s essentially non-existent. I’m not seeing anyone, talking to anyone, or engaging in conversation with the attempt to bonk with anyone. It’s completely dead, and I’m not sad or miserable about it at all. I have Tinder downloaded on my phone, and every now and then I’ll swipe through profiles for about 10 seconds, and then close the app. During this rinse-repeat cycle that I’ve established, I’ll get matches, but I won’t do anything about it because my heart’s not in it. It’s as if I’m going through the motion because it’s expected of me as a young, attractive 20-something-old to want to date and find that special someone. But the truth is I don’t really want to, because I make myself happy, and if I don’t, then my FP will.
If I’m invited to an event where I get a plus one, I immediately think of bringing my FP as my date. If someone were to ask me to think of someone special in my life that I want to give a gift to, you guessed it, my FP shoots to my mind.
It’s almost self sabotage, really. I’m blocking myself from potentially finding happiness with Oliver, because my mind is too fixated with Bruno. It’s like paying attention to one plant too much that you neglect the second plant that is withering and dying.
I’m working hard to try and set boundaries with my FP so I’m not as reliant or co-dependent on them to find happiness. I know I can find happiness in myself and with other friends and family, but sometimes I feel like that can be dramatically shifted because of a tiny incident with my FP. Establishing these boundaries with my FP, and hopefully in turn they establish boundaries with me, opens up the possibilities for me to seek independence from them and pursue potential relationships with others.
Boundaries that I am endeavouring to set for myself, which you could also use if you feel like you’re in a similar boat as me, include:
– Creating distance, both physically and emotionally, between us if I think my feelings and emotions are becoming heightened;
– Relying on others for emotional support that I’d usually expect from my FP, sometimes unfairly;
– Practicing mindfulness when I start to feel like my FP is my entire life and I can’t function without him;
– Willfully acknowledging that my FP is a friend and nothing more than that, so I am able to pursue a romantic relationship without feeling guilty;
– Most importantly, acknowledging and validating my own feelings.
I am aware that my FP isn’t my entire life, and before we met, I was existing perfectly fine. Just like a romantic partner should, an FP is meant to enhance my life, not hinder it (even with BPD). Keeping this in mind will only assist me in searching for a life outside of them.
– by The Black Widow