BPD Living With BPD Marriage and Borderline Personality Disorder By Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University. Learn about our editorial process Updated on July 12, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Carly Snyder, MD Medically reviewed by Carly Snyder, MD Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Jamie Grill/Creative RF/Getty Images Many different kinds of close relationships are affected by borderline personality disorder (BPD), but perhaps none more than being married to a person with BPD. More specifically, marriages in which either one or both partners have BPD can be very tumultuous, conflict-laden, and dysfunctional. Learn more about how your marriage may be affected by BPD, and how you and your partner (surprisingly) may not be destined for divorce as you likely might have thought. Borderline Personality Marriage Statistics Studies of marital status in people with BPD have found that about 60% are married (these studies were done in people with average ages around 40 years old). This suggests that people with BPD are less likely to be married than those in the general population—in the United States, about 85% of people are married by age 40. Unexpectedly, people with BPD do not have higher divorce rates than the general population. By an average age of about 40, the divorce rate for people with BPD is around 35%, and this is comparable to the divorce rate for the average U.S. citizen. However, people with BPD are far less likely to remarry after a divorce. In fact, only about 10% of people with BPD get remarried by around age 40 which is nearly half the national rate of remarriage. On an interesting note, research suggests that people with borderline personality disorder who develop a substantial reduction in their symptoms (defined as recovering from BPD) are more likely than non-recovered people with BPD to marry and become a parent and less likely to divorce or lose custody of a child. Marriage Quality Matters One way to judge whether being married to a person with BPD can be successful is by the divorce rate. Using this as a measure of “success,” it appears that marriages that consist of a partner with BPD are no more or less successful than the average marriage. However, this does not take into account the quality of the marriage or the satisfaction of the partners. Unfortunately, there is limited hard research data on the quality of marriages in which one person has BPD. Of the research done, one study found a positive link between the severity of BPD symptoms and marital distress, perpetration of marital violence, and marital disruption. This means that the more severe a person's BPD symptoms are (for example, fear of abandonment or intense and frequent mood changes) the more likely their marriage will be chaotic and unstable. Another study found that BPD symptoms were linked to poor problem-solving and communication skills in a marriage. There is more scientific data on romantic relationships and BPD which offers some potential insight. Research has shown that BPD symptoms are associated with greater chronic stress, more frequent conflicts, and less partner satisfaction in romantic relationships. Furthermore, some experts believe the quality depends a great deal on the personality of the non-BPD partner. Interestingly, there is research suggesting that people with BPD symptoms tend to marry partners who also report BPD symptoms—a phenomenon called assortative mating. This phenomenon brings about concerns. It seems like it would be even more difficult to manage a relationship effectively and happily when not one, but both partners, have intense mood shifts, engage in impulsive behaviors, and possess an unhealthy sense of self—all symptoms of having BPD. A Word From Verywell The take-home message here is that even though divorce rates are not as high as one might expect in marriages where one person has BPD, being in a relationship with someone with BPD can still be particularly stressful and challenging. This is why in addition to the BPD partner getting treatment, it's a good idea to seek out marital or family therapy to keep the marriage, relationship and family functioning intact. The Best Online Therapy Programs We've tried, tested and written unbiased reviews of the best online therapy programs including Talkspace, Betterhelp, and Regain. 5 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Paris J. Implications of long-term outcome research for the management of patients with borderline personality disorder. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2002;10(6):315-323. Kreider RM, Ellis R. Number, timing, and duration of marriages and divorces: 2009. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau; 2011. (Current Population Reports P70–125) Zanarini MC, Frankenburg FR, Reich DB, Wedig MM, Conkey LC, Fitzmaurice GM. The course of marriage/sustained cohabitation and parenthood among borderline patients followed prospectively for 16 years. J Pers Disord. 2015;29(1):62-70. doi:10.1521/pedi_2014_28_147 Whisman MA, Schonbrun YC. Social consequences of borderline personality disorder symptoms in a population-based survey: marital distress, marital violence, and marital disruption. J Pers Disord. 2009;23(4):410-415. doi:10.1521/pedi.2009.23.4.410 Lavner JA, Lamkin J, Miller JD. Borderline personality disorder symptoms and newlyweds’ observed communication, partner characteristics, and longitudinal marital outcomes. J Abnorm Psychol. 2015;124(4):975-981. doi:10.1037/abn0000095 Additional Reading Kreider RM, Fields JM. Number, Timing and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009. US Census Bureau, Issued Feb. 2011. Lavner JA, Lamkin J, Miller JD. Borderline personality disorder symptoms and newlyweds' observed communication, partner characteristics, and longitudinal marital outcomes. J Abnorm Psychol. 2015 Nov;124(4):975-81. Whisman MA, Schonbrun YC. Social consequences of borderline personality disorder symptoms in a population-based survey: marital distress, marital violence, and marital disruption. J Pers Disord. 2009 Aug;23(4):410-5. Zanarini MC, Frankenburg FR, Reich DB, Wedig MM, Conkey LC, Fitzmaurice GM. The course of marriage/sustained cohabitation and parenthood among borderline patients followed prospectively for 16 years. J Pers Disord. 2015 Feb;29(1):62-70. By Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? 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