It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Borderline Breakup” who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder shortly after starting a new relationship. She worried that her diagnosis would put too much stress on her new boyfriend and their relationship and wondered if it was worth even continuing. Keep reading to see how she’s doing now, a year and a half later.
First, I’d like to thank ReginaRey for answering my letter and to everyone who commented. At the time, I had not told anyone (except my boyfriend) about therapy or my diagnosis, and it was comforting to receive such empathetic replies.
We actually broke up right after I first emailed and were in the process of reassessing our relationship when my letter was answered.
It has been a bumpy road since I first wrote in (almost 1.5 years ago). I know I wrote in regards to my new relationship, but that was because I did not realize just how much “me work” I really needed to do. What I appreciated about RR’s (and others’) advice was to continually reassess the stressors in my life. This involved switching to half-time for graduate school and upping my therapy time, as well as trying to build back some self-esteem.
Seeing the responses helped me take the focus off of whether the relationship would last and back onto how to become a stronger “new” me.
We eventually did get back together. And while it wasn’t an ideal way to start our (now almost 2-year) relationship, it did force us to address both my and his baggage head on. I feel a lot more confident about the good things I bring to the table. We both (separately) go to therapy now, and we used the suggestion about IMing at times to diffuse some of the more intense conversations.
One of the reasons we originally broke up was because he felt as though the support he gave was a one-way street. Honestly, sometimes it was, but at other times I felt the same way. This is to be expected in any relationship, but I think it was easy for both of us to pin it on my disorder. Now we know communication is something we have to actively work on to be better, supportive partners for each other–no matter the reason. I’m glad we decided to try dating again because we needed more time to pass to show my diagnosis would not always be the root of our shared stress.
RR wrote “Prioritize your mental health because, if you’re managing it well, your relationship and the rest of your life will be positively impacted as well.” And I’ve tried to keep that in mind. When I wrote in, all I could see were the negatives. And there were (are) a lot, but being encouraged to take ownership gave me the confidence that my disorder did not have to mean my relationships (romantic or otherwise) were destined to be doomed. And I think that message was something that my boyfriend and I had to internalize before we could really begin to sort out the tools we needed to make the relationship work.
Thank you for your update! Glad to hear you’re doing well and seem to be doing the necessary work to manage your emotional well-being as well as the well-being of your relationship. Best of luck to you!
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.