Love at first sight is the concept of falling in love with someone when we first meet them – quite self-explanatory. Mixing Borderline Personality Disorder with this concept can be detrimental and disastrous, especially one has not begun recovery. This is not to say Borderlines cannot fall in love quickly, nor that a newfound relationship can’t last, but mainly that it can, and most always is unhealthy.
A prodominant trait about BPD is black and white thinking. This is applied to everyday situations, where the individual will only see something as all good or all bad; there rarely is an in-between. Our relationships are not safe from this, and often crumble on our part because of it.
Love at first sight is accompanied with the honeymoon phase. Everything seems to be going well. This partner is providing for us, willing to take long car rides to visit us, loves our favourite movies, can have meaningful conversation and is great in bed. We believe that we’ve never been with someone this amazing or loving, and could be convinced this person is the one.
Taking this stance is idealization, and overly common in BPD. We are looking through a positive lens, and any bad trait is not apparent to us yet. Somehow, we are capable to ignore the bad, or it just hasn’t been presented to us yet. We become enamored with their personality, their looks and their willingness to be there for us. Negativity seems impossible, and we have set high expectations that no person could ever meet, setting ourselves up for failure.
It is quite possible that, with such a short period of time, they’ve been in a good mood and have only been showing their positive traits, but as things settle down and they realize it is getting serious, that front comes down. Humanity comes through.
Maybe they are loud-mouthed, have disagreeable opinions, spend too much time away from home for your liking, participate in a lifestyle you do not approve of or have other traits you are not fond of. It is human to have these traits and is, for the most part, okay. But, not for someone with BPD.
For someone with Borderline, this person has changed. Their personality was faked, and they’ve been dishonest. We feel tricked. We fell in love mindlessly without taking into consideration the humanity of this person. We have fooled ourselves into a fantasy that can never become reality.
We begin to realize that this person was never and will never be all good. They become all bad. They’ve rubbed us the wrong way. Next thing you know, we’ve cut them out, and moved on; ready for another black and white heart-break.
Breaking black and white thinking:
To change our habit of black and white thinking, we must break the habitual cycle.
Challenge it. Try to view things from a different perspective. Observe a friend; notice how they have good qualities and bad qualities. Maybe you feel they don’t listen to people enough, but they have always been there for you. Anytime you catch yourself thinking in extremes, remind yourself that this is not the full person and that they are not “all” anything.
Step back. Catch yourself when you start idealizing someone. Take a step back and consider why. Is it happening because of a recent tragic event, a vulnerable emotion, adrenaline or it being a newfound experience? Begin to understand your personal reasons for letting yourself idealize someone and let yourself down with unattainable expectations.
Accept reality. Understand humanity. People are good and bad. They may be a good listener, but make selfish decisions. They may believe racism is wrong, but still act in homophobic ways. They may give you a gift, but talk behind your back. It doesn’t mean any of these things are right or wrong, but it’s important to accept that everyone has their quirks and edges, that no person is perfect or will ever be perfect. Accept that other people make mistakes, too; whether they are sick or not. Even in the happiest relationships, the couple makes sacrifices regarding the things they don’t like about one another. It is not your responsibility to love or hate everything about anyone.
Practice. Attempt to look at things in a gray perspective. Observe others, locations, systems, political views, art pieces and yourself. Practicing to view yourself in an objective manner may actually build self-acceptance and understanding. When you accept that you are human; that you have qualities and faults, you may begin to love yourself, and accept others for their imperfections. Disappointment and let-downs will be lesser.
As you gain experience with these techniques, a spectrum of shades will be apparent to you; you will be able to be more critical and objective in relationships, understanding the difference between your behaviours and develop a positive outlook on relationships. You will become more tolerable of people and their faults, making your love life go smoother as partners will feel accepted and understood by you.
You must remember that this takes time. You cannot possibly expect yourself to be great at this skill overnight. Allow yourself to grow slowly, at your own pace, with no pressure.