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Starting a relationship with someone who has mental health conditions.

Community Member

Hello to anyone that reads this,

I am currently at a fork in the road. There is a female I like in a romantic way, we have caught up a few times now and are planning to catch up a third time. Both times have been really cute and we were both really loving and affectionate towards each other.

The only thing holding me back at this point in time is that I don't want anyone in the situation to be more emotionally damaged than is required.

The female has BPD, PTSD and I believe some eating related conditions (although I think they aren't as current anymore). She has told me about her traumatic experience which I value that she had trust in me to do so. She has harmed herself and has been in the past suicidal (as a result of these conditions).

I really like her and being in person with her is something else, she is really cute. She seems to have a supportive family also.

What is holding me back is 2 things.

The first being that both from her telling me and me experiencing it over messaging (not in person yet) she has low periods due to the BPD which in itself isn't too large of a problem, its more the long term view of both my own stress and mental health given that I still have a year and half of school to go (she has dropped out due to her conditions) and the detrimental affects on the relationship which would be harmful to both of us.

The second thing holding me back is that I am afraid of hurting her more than need be if something were to go south in the relationship. From her telling me apparently people with BPD have an FP (Favourite Person) and I am afraid that if I become that and then something causes the relationship to end that is might really affect her/cause her to harm herself.

So I guess what I am asking is, is it a good idea to try and go ahead with this relationship given that there might be detrimental affects on the relationship and in turn affects to both of our mental health.

Other than these potential downsides, I really like her. As with BPD while the lows are low the highs are also high, so when we are together in person and she is happy it is next level nice, she is really affectionate and cute and I love it. I am just fearful for what might happen to the both of us if we got too deep in.

Thank you for reading this and trying to help out 🙂

9 Replies 9

Hi Haz1234, Thank you for sharing here on the forums. Please know that you've come to a safe, non-judgemental space to talk things through and our community is here to offer as much support, advice and conversation as you need. We're sure some of our community members will will pop by to offer you words of wisdom and kindness. I am really happy to hear that you have had some lovely experiences with this person that you see romantically and it is great that you are trying to decide whether this could potentially be a good and healthy and happy relationship for you. People living with mental health issues can have happy and healthy relationships. It sounds like you care about this person and want the best for this person so there certainly is potential for you both to make this work. Having open communication about mental health and what your needs and what her needs are could be a good place to start and maybe put you in a better place to decide whether this is right for both of you. It could be really helpful to have a space to talk these things through with a counsellor. If you feel like this is something that could help you, please contact us anytime on 1300 22 4636 or get in touch with us on Webchat 1pm-12am AEDT here: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport   Additionally, there is a service called Sane Australia who specialise in  mental health issues including Borderline Personality Disorder, where you can speak to a telephone counsellor. You can contact them on 1800 18 7263  from 10am to 10pm Monday to Friday AEST   Warmest Regards,    

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi haz1234,

Welcome to the forums! Thank you for deciding to join us and share your thoughts.

I'm familiar with BPD so I do understand where she is coming from and also where you are coming from at the same time. BPD can be really tricky with relationships so I'm glad that she is being upfront about her condition with you- it sounds like she really does trust you to want to share that which is a good sign.

You are right in that there could be detrimental effects to both of your mental health if the relationship were to go south- but that would also be the case in any sort of relationship, mental illness or not. I think it's really important to remember that because BPD has such a big stigma around it.

I wonder what it might be like if you were to share your thoughts with her- allowing her to see where you are coming from and your own concerns around her mental health. While it sounds like a tough conversation, if it's not something you share with her, I have no doubt she will pick up on your concerns later. If you are interested, it also might help to learn more about BPD- in particular, finding trusted and reputable sources-I say this because a typical google search will really only show negative relationships, where is the reality is that people with BPD can have really healthy long-term ones.

I hope this helps! Feel free to ask any questions.


Community Member


For people who experiencing difficulties managing their personality, it can be a fine line between pleasure and pain. In saying that, your relationship is not based on the person, but more so on what you make of it and how you develop it. My advised as someone who has a partner who experiences difficulties is that it depend on the person or who they are. You really need to have a good idea of the persons and who they are, so if in the event of them experiencing an episode (sometimes it can be hard to tell) you are prepared to care for them in the best way possible.

Just like any relationship, it takes dedication, compassion and the will to be the best versions of ourselves, we can all strive to lead happy and prosperous lives, growing older with the person we love.

Community Member

The key to being with someone suffering BPD or PTSD is strong boundaries.

Those suffering those illnesses will push those boundaries daily, they will put their emotional stress onto you, they will push you away, pull you back, they will become dependent on you.

Being with them, means being mentally strong and setting tough boundaries that they cannot cross. It will keep you stable and will help them also as they will no longer be able use unhealthy techniques to release their pain.

Google boundaries for dating bpd partners.

Hi all,

Sorry for the long gap between posts.

It has now been nearly 4 months since the girl and I started dating. Things are going well so far (occasionally sad) So far she hasn't shown any major anger or such towards me, although she has warned me that this might be because initially when with someone she is able to 'hide that side of her' well. In any case nothing too bad has happened yet in terms of the relationship. She occasionally has her periods where she is really sad and I try my best to help her through those, also (though she has been the whole time to some degree) more recently she has opened up a lot about her feelings and she sort of tries to explain them to me. I really appreciate that but I do feel sad that she (or anyone suffering) has/is going through this pain and suffering.

Anyway, I have always felt a strong connection to her since the beginning but this has only strengthened over time. This is why I have been worried more recently. I have probably overthought this a bit but basically from what I've seen/heard it might be best at some point to move on as it could be damaging for both. However this is the last thing I want as I love her and I care for her so much. Ideally I would want us to be together forever, but from what I've seen/heard from her (although it might not be true) if it goes too long it could end up being quite damaging to the both of us. I don't want either of these things to happen (breaking up or being worn down and damaged mentally) but I'm not sure what the best pathway is to maintain a healthy relationship for the both of us.

One thing I have seen is that boundaries are useful as below:

Guest_7403 said:

The key to being with someone suffering BPD or PTSD is strong boundaries.
Those suffering those illnesses will push those boundaries daily, they will put their emotional stress onto you, they will push you away, pull you back, they will become dependent on you.
Being with them, means being mentally strong and setting tough boundaries that they cannot cross. It will keep you stable and will help them also as they will no longer be able use unhealthy techniques to release their pain.

However, after extensive googling I'm still not sure, I know roughly what they should be and how to bring them up, but I still have no idea what they should be.

Are there any that you would suggest/any other suggestions for keeping this going healthily? or do you think that it is only a matter of time?

Ty 4 your help 🙂

Hi haz1234,

Lovely to hear back from you! I'm glad that things are going well and your connection has strengthened over time; hearing you want to be together forever shows me how much you really care about her.

While I get that you're wanting to protect yours and hers mental health, I think it would be a shame to end a relationship now just in case it turns south. Almost like "let's stop now while it's good". The reality is that you don't know that things will get worse, and you also don't know that things being worse means you can't be in a relationship with her either. In the same way that my friend has bipolar; and her manic episodes are extremely difficult in their relationship and take it's toll, but it's also something that they are able to work through.

Does this make sense to you? Relationships can definitely be harder with mental illnesses in the mix, but I think it's up to you whether the vulnerability of that makes it worthwhile.

Another idea to throw in the mix is relationship counselling. The thinking behind this is to have a third party help both of you make sense of your future together while also not being bias. Even though it sounds like you communicate well it can be really hard thinking about the future together so it could be really helpful.


Hi rt,

This makes a lot of sense, thank you.

In fact, since my last message she has had a really tough couple of weeks and just isn't doing too well.

It wasn't easy for anyone and she looked like she was starting to improve but in the last few days it appears as if it might be getting worse again. I'm grateful that none of her really bad reactions were directed towards me (I'm guessing due to her willpower). But anyway, it has started to go back downhill in the last few days hence I came back here to check if anything new had peen posted. Reading your reply, rt, has resonated with me and shown me that it is still worth staying with her, so thank you.

Obviously this has been really tough on her and it hurts to see her in such great pain, I love her and often times I wish I could take it all off her shoulders and put it onto mine. When this period began we weren't really able to see each other much, both because of COVID restrictions at the psychiatric ward and later on just her not feeling well enough or not having the energy. As much as this sucked, I understood why and it didn't bother me to much. More recently, as she was beginning to feel better we were seeing each other again, but now that she is beginning to feel bad again, that will probably change. I fully understand why I can't see her and I just want whatever she wants/feels like.

Recently I came across this thing called 'love languages' Im not sure how reliable they are, but after some light reading I realised that my 'love language' was most likely physical touch. The reason I mention this is because, given that I haven't been and most likely won't be able to see her properly in a while (so far its been about a month). Although we have briefly seen each other, she hasn't been 100% and was sort of disconnected, this is fine and I fully understand why, it just is a bit tricky for me as I am not getting this physical touch, that for some reason my brain thinks is so important for showing love. I love her so much, and always have and I know that she does too, despite not feeling well. But it just sucks a bit that i'm not getting this physical touch side of the relationship.

Reading that I realise it just turned into me just getting it off my chest, so apologies. Anyway, your reply has really shown me that its worth pushing through and thats what I plan on doing, hopefully this tough patch lifts soon, and she starts feeling better again. It really hurts seeing her in pain like this.

Ty4 ur help:)

Hi Haz,

Thankyou for having the courage to reach out on the forums.

I have had experience with having a relationship with someone with mental disorders (OCD and anxiety) and I just want to commend you on everything you've done so far. It's never going to be easy and in my case we didn't work out, but in my opinion, love always finds a way, especially in your case where you both love and care deeply for each other. I agree with rt in that seeking a relationship councillor would be a great option in helping your relationship. There's a quote that really resonates with me that is something along the lines of "to truly love another person is to accept that the work of loving them is worth the pain of losing them" -ask yourself if you want to continue with the relationship, bearing in mind that it will probably hurt and be extremely difficult, as loving anyone, especially someone with a mental disorder, is.

It must be difficult having a partner with a different love language to you, similarly, my ex-partner hated physical touch. Are there love languages that you both enjoy? Such as quality time? Perhaps you can communicate your feelings to your partner. I have found that mis-communication is often the cause of my relationship breakdowns, so keep reaching out and trying to build on that communication if you can.

Keep reaching out here, and I wish both you and your partner all the best 🙂

Hi Carolyn,

Thank you for reply, this means a lot and it makes a lot of sense.

After reflecting upon it I think that quote rings true for me, it is certainly not an easy time right now but whenever I am thinking about what to do, I think about the good times and how much I love her. I am sorry to hear that it didn't work out between you and your partner, it mustn't have been easy.

I think generally I am lucky, as although it might not be her primary love language, she is usually able to communicate to me through it. It is just a bit hard at the moment with all that has been going on which is completely understandable. I think I probably just miss that part of our relationship but hopefully in time that part should restore itself.

Either way, thank you for reaching out and supporting me, it really means a lot.

And thank you to everyone who has helped me with this, this guidance has all been key to forming this relationship and provided valuable suggestions to help me make my own path as to what to do.

Thank you again. 🙂