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Dr John B
Dr John B, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 557
Experience:  PhD in Clinical Psychology, registered clinical psychologist.
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my wife is boarderline. right now she is having an affair with

Customer Question

my wife is boarderline. right now she is having an affair with someone who she is idealizing. she has switched on me from idealizing to devaluing. will she switch again and hate him, and return to me?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr John B replied 5 years ago.


Sorry to hear of the situation. I work with BPD patients regularly and I can help you with this question.

It is impossible to predict whether any one individual will behave in a specific way but I can tell you that it is entirely possible that she would switch back. This does not mean that she will, just that it would not be uncommon for a person with BPD to switch back and forth on multiple occasions.

Speaking purely form a hypothetical point, people with BPD often find perceived/real rejection intolerable and it is often when they are threatened by rejection that they make dramatic attempts at obtaining reinforcement - I have had many patients who have attempted to reconnect with past romantic partners when their current relationship fails.

So, yes it is entirely possible she will switch her perception of him and entirely possible she will switch her perception of you back.

Dr John B and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ANSWER. we have only been married for a year. when we were dating, i could do no wrong. i was a knight in shining armour. soon after we married though, she began feeling trapt. she began distancing herself emotionaly. i understand this is part of BP. she started this affair about 4 months ago, with of all people, my now FORMER best friend. i have been reluctant to file for divorce, because i know this is part of the illness, and do love her and want to work things out. can you help me to understand why BP's engage in such self destuctive behavior without considering the consequences, or the pain it causes others? she was a victem of sexual molestation from the age of 7 through 12. she is 42 now. thank you for your help.
Expert:  Dr John B replied 5 years ago.
BPDs often have pathological low self esteem, great difficulty understanding their own emotion and who they are - they often hate themselves. In terms of having an affair, BPDs usually have a desperate need for reassurance that they are wanted and valued, because they don't feel wanted or valued. An affair can provide strong reinforcement. BPD's often have great difficulty with impulsive behavior so they often do things without considering the consequences. An affair can easily start as an impulsive act and BPD's often find signs of affection irresistible - you can see how vulnerable a BPD suffer is to this kind of thing. In regards to the damage she is doing emotionally to others you must keep in mind the BPD's often have very, very poor understanding of emotion and therefore they can find it hard to empathize with others. In other words, she may not really understand how another person feels.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
thank you again dr. john. i appreciate your insight. i may have further questions for you in the future. thank you very much. harold
Expert:  Dr John B replied 5 years ago.

You are more than welcome Harold. I suggest you take a look at something like this

Please feel free to contact me in the future if you have further questions. Best of luck!

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