What is the Borderline Personality Relationship Pattern? (+7 Relationship Tips)

The current blogpost will be discussing what the Borderline Personality Relationship Pattern is. We will also be checking out the various ways through which BPD can affect a relationship and listing a few relationship tips for couples living with Borderline Personality Disorder.

What is the Borderline Personality Relationship Pattern?

 The Borderline Personality Relationship Pattern refers to a cycle of ups and downs in a relationship with someone who has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This is also known as the Borderline Personality Relationship Cycle.

The Borderline Personality Relationship Pattern or Cycle can be broken down into six main stages. These stages may overlap and may change their order from person to person. The six stages of a Borderline Personality Relationship Pattern are:

Stage one: Intense attraction to a person

The first stage of the Borderline Personality Relationship Pattern or Cycle is the intense attraction phase. In this stage of the relationship, the person experiences an intense level of attraction to the other person.

The attraction experienced here may not be like those commonly known but is more intense and can even be toxic to a point. The attraction may be felt in even just a short span of time after getting to know the other person.

Stage two: Fear of abandonment

In this stage of the relationship, the person may feel that their partner may be preparing to abandon them or leave them without any explanation. This fear of abandonment may be triggered by the slightest gesture of needing space from the other person.

Most of the time, however, there may be no triggering factor. They may also show a lot of sensitivity to even very small and simple things their partner may say. This feeling actually comes as a reason for the low self-esteem of the person.

Stage three: Withdrawing from the partner

Since they are now afraid that their partner may leave them or abandon them, even if there is no actual proof of doing so, the person may start to actively withdraw from their partner. In more cases, the active withdrawal is a test to see if the partner will pursue them in turn.

This strategy of withdrawing from the person is intended to get more attention and affection from their partner. Some people with BPD may also withhold their actions and words from the other as part of this stage.

Stage four: Fighting and gas-lighting

In case the partner does not actively pursue them in the previous stage, the person with Borderline Personality Disorder may start fighting more regularly. This can happen even if the partner may have shown a lot of affection in the previous stage.

Apart from fighting too much with their partners, the person with BPD may also emotionally gas-light others or may feel gas-lighted themselves. The person may also start panicking and point themselves out as the victim.

Stage five: Breaking up

The intense fighting with the partner eventually leads to a breakup. This may be initiated by the person with BPD or the partner. The breakup is usually messy and hurtful words and phrases may be exchanged between the two.

Stage six: Reconciliation of the relationship

The breakup phase of the BPD relationship is definitely not the last stage and the person with the disorder will eventually seek the partner out for reconciliation. In the case that the reconciliation happens, the cycle may repeat itself over and over again until a final end.

How Borderline Personality Disorder Affects a Relationship?

If a person has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, the mental condition is sure to affect the quality of their relationships in some way or the other. A few ways through which BPD symptoms can easily affect a relationship are listed as follows.

  • The person with BPD may abandon their partners without any explanation. A Borderline Personality Disorder may cause the person to easily abandon their partners at any time or instant without any explanation.
  • There may be instances of cheating. Sexual impulsivity and promiscuity can be pretty common among those who have Borderline Personality Disorder. They may also cheat on their partners multiple times throughout the relationship.
  • The relationship can be unstable most of the time. The relationship in general with a person who has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder may be unstable. This can cause immense feelings of stress and may make planning for the future very hard.
  • Impulsive behaviors of many kinds can be common. BPD causes a person to be very impulsive in their actions and attitudes most of the time. They may indulge in self-harming, excessive spending and even reckless driving, further bringing stress.

Borderline Personality Relationship Tips for Couples

Just because someone has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder does not mean that they cannot healthily participate in a romantic relationship. In this section of the post, we have listed a few relationship tips that can be useful for those living with BPD.

  • If your partner has BPD, make sure that you learn as much as you can about the condition. This gives you more awareness of the highs and lows of your partner’s actions in the relationship, and what to expect.
  • Encourage your partner to continue with their medications and also their therapy. Medications may be prescribed for their stress or anxiety and avoiding these can lead to easily triggered rage and impulsivity episodes.

In case their therapist has given them certain coping strategies to practice, you can encourage your partner to keep practicing them, or can even accompany them while they do so.

  • Apart from individual therapy, you and your partner can also greatly profit from couple’s counseling or therapy together. Here, you will find a safe space to talk about your feelings without fear of judgment and also learn how to communicate healthily.
  • Anger and rage expressed by a person with BPD is not easy to watch and experience. The most important thing that you need to do if your partner is throwing a fit is to stay calm. By being calm, you will be encouraging your partner to be calm as well.
  • If you are in a relationship with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder, ensure that you have plenty of time for your own self-care. Through regular self-care, you will be able to boost your mental health to face any type of situation.

Self-care activities can vary from person to person and can be basically anything that helps in building your self-esteem and self-confidence. Self-care activities can also help in healthy venting and expression.

  • Another thing that you need to do as soon as possible is to establish your boundaries right from the start of the relationship. If the boundaries go up at later parts of the relationship cycle, your partner may feel that you are abandoning them.

If you put up your healthy boundaries from the initial stages of the relationship, your partner will be more ready to accept them later and also understand your own pattern of dealing with stress or anxiety.

  • It can also benefit both the partners in the relationship to have a support system of mutual friends to help in times of trouble. The presence of friends in the relationship can also help the person with BPD be more accountable while providing emotional support.


The current blogpost has discussed what the Borderline Personality Relationship Pattern is. We have also checked out the various ways through which BPD can affect a relationship and listed a few relationship tips for couples living with Borderline Personality Disorder.

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