Borderline Personality Disorder and Cheating

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Being in a relationship with someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be overwhelming and frustrating. Every relationship has its ups and downs, but BPD symptoms can make typical relationship problems even worse. However, being with someone with BPD doesn't mean your relationship is doomed to fail. Many people have strong relationships with someone who has BPD.

Infidelity and BPD

Some people have negative associations between BPD and infidelity, but there is currently no research that shows a connection between BPD and an increased likelihood of cheating.

Two of the key features of borderline personality are problems in relationships and problems with impulsive behavior. These symptoms can make potential cheating an even more emotional experience with severe consequences.

People with BPD often have an intense need to feel loved and accepted. When they are feeling abandoned or rejected, they may engage in risky or impulsive behaviors.

They might choose these behaviors without considering the consequences of their actions in order to try to feel better in the short term. Infidelity could fall into this category.

Why BPD Causes Trust Issues

While those with BPD have the same likelihood of cheating as others, they do have a higher likelihood of suspecting their partners are cheating. One of the symptoms of BPD is the assumption that others are going to cause hurt.

Due to low self-esteem, people with BPD have difficulty believing that someone could love them and remain faithful to them. As such, they are more likely to assume that their partner will cause them pain in some way. 

Also, because of the overwhelming fear of abandonment that's a hallmark trait of BPD, people with BPD can be more suspicious and distrustful, assuming or even truly believing that their partners are messing around behind their backs. In turn, this negatively affects their loved ones and their relationships.

If your partner with BPD wrongfully accuses you of cheating, you are likely to be angry and emotional, and you may even think about ending the relationship. In this sense, BPD can worsen relationship issues.

Couples Counseling and BPD

While having BPD does not necessarily increase the risk of infidelity, BPD can put a huge strain on relationships for both people involved. If you or your loved one is struggling with symptoms of BPD, contact a mental health provider or therapist.

While anyone with BPD can greatly benefit from treatment, going to therapy as a couple can help you work through relationship issues and understand where your partner is coming from. Through your sessions, you'll both learn essential communication skills that can help you through tough times and strengthen your relationship. 

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  1. Lazarus SA, Choukas-Bradley S, Beeney JE, Byrd AL, Vine V, Stepp SD. Too much too soon?: Borderline personality disorder symptoms and romantic relationships in adolescent girls. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2019;47(12):1995-2005. doi:10.1007/s10802-019-00570-1