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Ask Eleanor, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1517
Experience:  Marriage & Family Therapist/Prof. Counselor for 20 years
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I am not sure how this works, but I am going to give it a shot.

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I am not sure how this works, but I am going to give it a shot. I recently ended a marriage with a woman that is BPD. I am not sure how I wound up missing all of the warning signs early on in the relationship, but the ones I did pick up on I minimized. I am working through the trauma of our marriage, while simultaneously trying to figure out how I got there to begin with. To begin with, I have a history of dating emotionally stable women. My ex wife is one of maybe 2 or three exceptions, and the other exceptions I left very early on once the mask came off. My childhood was mostly normal, apart from the fact that my mother sheltered my brother extensively, but given what I have learned about some of my family since my childhood, I can't blame her for that. I said all of that to give a general sense of my history prior to marrying a woman with BPD. Back onto the original issue, I am not sure if my attraction to my ex wife was because she was trying to offer me something that was missing at that time, or if it stems from some deeper earlier issue that I haven't resolved. At the time that I met her, I was basically starting life all over and I was feeling somewhat inadequate and incomplete as a person. While my friends were all starting legal careers, or medical careers, and getting married, I had just lost my business and my significant other left for Turkey in pursuit of her career goals, as I was trying to rebuild my world by returning to University for a graduate degree in hopes that it would improve my prospects, but I felt like a failure because my business had tanked and the person that I really did believe could have been my mate left. Many months later, the woman that would become my spouse came along and thus began a two year relationship that felt like a war. I no longer feel so lost in the aspects in my life I was lacking in at the time I met her, and I think that is part of what made me decide that I couldn't take it anymore with her. So what do you think, did I fall for her tricks because of a temporary "quarter life crisis"( for lack of a better term) that I was going through at the time, or possibly some other reason I was attracted to her?

Ask Eleanor :

Hello, I am here for you and am happy to respond. Give me a moment to carefully read over and consider your question.

Ask Eleanor and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

Continuing to read you question.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If you need me to clarify anything or give additional information, I will be happy to do so.

Yes, thank you. You have asked a very thoughtful and interesting question. Are you referring to Borderline Personality Disorder or Bi-Polar Disorder? Thanks.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Borderline Personality Disorder. Had it been Bi-Polar, I could have handled her so long as she maintained her medication regiment. I lived with a Bi-polar man for two years and, apart from the occasional manic fit we were able to co-habitate with little incident. My ex wife's borderline was something I couldn't handle.

Thanks for clarifying for me; I thought your were referring to a Borderline, but wanted to be sure. From what you have shared with me, I would say that you were at a very vulnerable, unstable time in your life and attracted and were attracted to this very unstable women. It happens, unfortunately to many of us. I love your term "Quarter Life Crisis", by the way. The fact that you got better, got your life together and she was still mess made you ready to leave the relationship. At the time you fell for her, you may have also been feeling so negatively about yourself that you, at least unconsciously, felt you deserved no one better. In other words, you may have been punishing yourself and go to the point where you felt the price you paid was enough. In any event, you sound like a mentally healthy, stable person, who simply got into a very bad relationship, whatever the reason. Are you concerned about future relationships?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am a little. I just don't want to repeat the same mistakes. At this point I know that I need time to heal. We just divorced less than a month ago, so I know it will take some time. In my current situation, it helps that by virtue of a program that it looks as though I may have been accepted into, that I can't get too emotionally involved with another woman at this point. The program will require me to go to Munich for a year, and while that means that I can't get attached in the next four months, I do worry that once I get over there and I am without my support network (which have been wonderful by the way) that I could slip if things start getting tough and repeat the mistake I made in the not too distant past.

Well, it is certainly a valid concern. You do need time to heal and definitely do not need to get into a new relationship until you have had time to do so, I would say a minimum of 6 months more. Have you considered therapy? Do you know much about psychotherapy?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have considered it., but I'll have to admit that I don't know a great deal about it. Just based on what I have read on the subject of living in or having lived in a home occupied by a personality disordered individual, therapy is almost necessary to moving on. My university offers services for students, faculty, and staff with a one time nominal fee. My former roommate, the Bi-Polar male I spoke of earlier, has said he highly recommends their services. At this point they will not be taking new patients until next week, as I will be paired with a graduate student that is overseen by the department faculty.

Well, you are very fortunate to have that opportunity at your University. I am assuming that you will be there for the next four months and could see a therapist until you leave. Psychotherapy is much like what we are doing here, only in person. You sit with your therapist and tell them your life story, sort through the difficult times and process your emotions about those and then are able to move on with your life unencumbered by the past. It will help you answer in depth all of the questions you have asked me here and any others that are unresolved in your life. It will definitely prepare you for a healthy relationship in the future. Does this sound like something you would want to pursue?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, that does sound like something I would like to pursue. I will contact the Psychology department at my University to make an appointment with them. Thank you very much for your time. You have been extremely helpful. Thank you again.

You are so very welcome, my pleasure. I wish you healing and a happy and healthy future, take care. Eleanor

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