traits of bpd

Women With Traits of BPD – Why Men Stay

Part 2 of the Blog Series: Did Your Ex-Girlfriend Have Traits of
Borderline Personality Disorder?

Most people assume that there must be something wrong with men who stay in relationships with women who have traits of borderline personality disorder, men who know the right move is to leave but who find themselves unable to let go.

In Part 2 of this blog series you are going to learn that there are very specific reasons why women with traits of borderline personality disorder seem to attract a certain type of man and why these men so often can’t let go of these troubled relationships.

In Part 1 we explored the personality type associated with traits of borderline personality disorder, or BPD, and the unusual pattern of Dr. Jekyll-to-Mr. Hyde transformation that so many of these women go through when they enter a romantic relationship.

traits of bpd

With this understanding of what makes the woman with traits of BPD engage in these destructive behavior patterns, let’s now turn to the question of why so many men stay even when it’s clear that the woman they are with is not capable of sustaining a healthy relationship. In order to understand the dynamic of this couple, we need to answer a very important question. What was it about this man that attracted a woman with traits of BPD in the first place?

Just like there is a profile for the borderline personality type, there is also a profile for the kind of man that they often choose to partner with. The type of personality that so often gets caught up in a relationship with a woman with traits of BPD is what we might call a “nice guy” type. There is a specific reason why these women are drawn to a nice-guy type over other types of personality.

You will find an important clue in the name we commonly use to label men with this kind of personality. The reason we call them nice guys is based on their ability to act nice even when they aren’t feeling at their best. These men tend to care so deeply about their connections that they do not need to struggle in the way the average person does to keep others’ needs in mind. This ability holds a special attraction for women with traits of BPD.

The Nice-Guy/Borderline Connection

The woman with traits of BPD has a problem. She has an overriding fear of relationship betrayal. Most people imagine that this kind of fear centers around the more obvious forms of betrayal such as infidelity or relationship abandonment. What they tend to overlook is the fact that betrayal happens on a much more subtle level every day in all of our relationships.

Humans are naturally a little bit selfish, and we fade in and out of this slightly narcissistic mode as we go through life. Because of this tendency, our relationships pose a difficult challenge for us. When we enter a relationship, we are expected to be able to give up our self-centered ways and treat our partner’s interests as equally important as our own. When we don’t, our relationship partners experience our selfish actions as a mild form of betrayal of our relationship agreement.

These minor betrayals over agreements to make each other feel safe in the relationship and to keep things fair for both people are at the heart of most of our everyday arguments. Minor betrayals are by no means deal-breakers, but they can definitely ruffle our feathers and hurt our feelings. But people with traits of BPD experience the minor betrayals in the same way we experience the major ones.

Women Who Feel Too Much

Although we usually assume high emotionality would be an asset in a relationship because it motivates loving behavior, too much emotionality actually turns out to be a liability. Surprisingly, relationship skills are linked to a person’s ability to follow the rules.

Passion and excitement may attract a future mate initially, but long-term relationships require self-discipline. The nice-guy type gets very high marks in the area of relationship safety and security. Their focus and commitment to their relationship keeps them on the straight and narrow. They rarely engage in these lapses.

Because women with traits of BPD are not capable of withstanding any kind of betrayal, the nice-guy type’s ability to override selfish impulses and give to her consistently turns him into her perfect knight in shining armor. She believes he will provide her with the kind of guarantee that she knows she must have in order to feel safe in a relationship. This is a guarantee that she will not be able to find in the average partner. There is, however, a more ominous side to this seemingly perfect union.

The Mechanics of Love

Women with traits of BPD may appear to be capable of overriding their natural selfishness when they are in the throws of new love. However, once this motivation dies down, they lack the skills to sustain their focus on their partner’s needs. The romantic partner of the woman with traits of BPD will soon find that although she demands complete adherence to the relationship rules from him, she is incapable of holding up her own end of the bargain.

Many nice-guy types are willing to accept these flaws. This personality type truly enjoys giving and often find they need nothing more in return than a feeling of being appreciated. This fantasy usually comes to a crashing halt very soon. Although the nice-guy/borderline union in theory should work, in reality it is guaranteed to fail.

One of two things may happen. Either the nice-guy type will finally have a momentary lapse of selfishness, which she will experience as a major betrayal, or she will become so overwhelmed by her suspicious nature that that she will convince herself that he has betrayed her. Either way, without an ironclad guarantee that she cannot be hurt, she will be unwilling to trust him again.

This is often not the end of the story for the nice guy. Her fear of betrayal may be overwhelming, but it is no match for her obsessive desire for romantic love. She will often attempt to keep him from leaving the relationship. Her method of coping with her great longing for intimacy and simultaneous fear of being hurt can lead to a pattern of abuse. By drawing him in close and simultaneously attacking him in an attempt to disable him from hurting her, she is able to meet both of these opposing needs.

When we observe abusive relationships between nice-guy types and women with traits of BPD, we find that these men have an extraordinarily hard time leaving their girlfriends even when they know they should. Let’s take a closer look at how the nice-guy/borderline connection can lock a healthy man into an unhealthy relationship.

Why the Nice Guy Stays

In order to understand why so many nice-guy types stay in abusive relationships with women with traits of BPD we must first understand a second universal human frailty. We have been addressing natural selfishness in relationships, but now let’s take a look at another form of built-in egocentric behavior.

As human beings, we tend to assume that others perceive the world in the same way we do. We may know intellectually that all of us have different personalities, not to mention different life experiences and cultural backgrounds. But for some reason we can’t help assuming that everyone thinks the same way, our way.

Both nice-guy types and women with traits of BPD tend to believe that the other possesses the same natural skills and deficits. Nice-guy types are often convinced that the world is filled with people who love to give without expecting anything in return. They run into terrible problems with over-trusting. Women with traits of BPD are similarly convinced that no one in the world is capable of overriding their emotional impulses. They may not believe anyone is capable of selfless giving. They run into problems with under-trusting.

These opposites not only attract, they are so polarized that they stick together like magnets. The nice-guy type often cannot get himself to believe that this woman is no longer capable of giving back to him. He becomes convinced that she is simply mistaken about his intentions. Because he believes in a world where everyone obeys the social rules of good behavior, he does not recognize that she is living in a world where although everyone talks about the rules, no one is actually capable of following them.

He does not know what it is like to live in a world where you believe everyone is on the take, where no one has enough self control to keep your needs in mind. He naively assumes that all he needs to do is prove to her that he is trustworthy. He is perplexed by defense mechanisms that most people know how to watch out for.

A Happy Medium

The average man is somewhere between these two extremes of total trust of one’s fellow man and complete distrust. When he meets a woman who seems too good to be true, a red flag goes up. Because he knows better than to trust on face value, he will be much more likely to cut his losses when he discovers her true nature. The nice-guy type may remain in the relationship for years, naively believing that if he just gives enough, she will finally be convinced of his true heart and they will resume the relationship where they left off.

Part of the recovery process from a breakup with a women who has traits of BPD is to recognize that these assets are valuable and should not be offered to those who are not equipped to give them back in return. It would be nice if the moral of this story was just that easy. A man in this position could simply learn how to not give unless the other person proves they are capable of giving back. Unfortunately, the woman with traits of BPD just may be the ultimate con artist, a person who fools herself into believing she can sustain a relationship as well as fooling you.

It would certainly make a happy ending to tell a man recovering from a breakup with a woman with traits of BPD to be wiser in the future about his relationships. Sadly, because the behavior patterns of a woman with traits BPD in the beginning stages of romance are indistinguishable from any other person in love, the best you may be able to hope for is that you don’t fall for this con again.

Related Posts:

Did Your Ex-Girlfriend Have Traits Of Borderline Personality Disorder?

Women on the Spectrum of BPD: Did She Really Love Me?

Women With Traits of BPD – Why Did She Lie

Breakups With Women With Traits of BPD – Five Misconceptions That Keep Men From Letting Go and Moving On

BPD and the Nice Guy Personality Type

Did Your Ex-Girlfriend Have Traits of BPD: How to Let Go of the Good Times

Identifying Traits of BPD In Women Before Relationship Commitment

Romantic Idealization And Devaluation In Women With Traits of BPD

Note To Readers: I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you who have taken the time to post in my comments section. Your questions, opinions and personal stories form an invaluable contribution to this important discussion.

If you would like to learn the Nicola Method so you can put an end to the high conflict situations you may be experiencing, click on this link to the welcome page of this website where you will find the resources you need. If you want to try out some of the basic techniques of this method for free to see if this method is right for your situation, you can learn them from an intro guide flip-book here or a PDF version of the intro guide here.

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