Ah, well thank you. As it turns out, she broke up with me two days ago. Our relationship was difficult because my BPD kept being triggered over and over and over again. I had never dated anyone like her before. She wanted lots of space. I mean... LOTS. We were only two months into the relationship (when things should be new and exciting and you usually do want to send cute text messages and such) and she'd sometimes go a few days without sending me so much as a text. Even worse, every time we made plans to do something fun together, she'd cancel them. She'd rather come over to my place once every week or two just to cuddle for an hour or two and then leave.
It was a weird relationship because she'd say the right things and do the right things (like giving me that card), but then she'd completely disappear on me (despite me holding a card telling me she wasn't). I tried really hard to make myself adjust to her idea of what a relationship should be, but while I'm trying to battle my negative emotions and feeling like she must not be that into me, I'm seeing all of these other couples posting their pictures of their date nights and talking about spending time together, etc. I knew that my needs weren't being met, but because of the BPD, I thought that maybe I'm just too needy. I'd try to talk to her about it, but she'd just get angry with me. As soon as I said the words "I feel..." she'd cut me off telling me that she didn't have energy for the conversation. That reaction always automatically brought tears to my eyes and triggered my BPD, because I felt that I couldn't even communicate with her without making her mad. I even surmised that maybe it was the WAY that I was communicating. Maybe I was making her feel criticized. So one time, after one of our fights, when we had scheduled a talk, I planned out exactly what I was going to say. Before I even started, I told her how much she means to me, how much I appreciate what she did for me, I noted how hard she is trying, and told her to keep in mind that anything that I was saying was "feelings" not necessarily fact. Since they were emotions, they weren't grounded in logic and therefore, could be incorrect. And the reason that I was telling her was so that she could understand my point of view and maybe explain things from her side so that I could come to some sort of middle ground since I am prone to black and white thinking. Even still.. the second that I tried to communicate how my needs weren't being met, she just yelled at me and made me feel awful.
I talked my therapist about it and she actually told me that my ex wasn't being fair. She said that I had used really good communication skills and that I was obviously working very hard in this relationship, but that my ex, although she said the right things, wasn't following through in her actions. But, me being me, I defended my ex and took all of the blame myself.
I felt that I was ruining the relationship because of my constant BPD paranoia. I was always worried there was something wrong. As it turns out, I was right all along. She didn't break up with me because of my BPD. She broke up with me because she has never been with a girl before. She broke up with me because the title of "girlfriend" scared her. She broke up with me because she finally realized that she wasn't ready for a real relationship - she just wanted more of a light-hearted experiment. The reason she got mad at me and cut me off every time I tried to express my feelings was because she hadn't figured all of this out yet. She knew something was wrong, and she felt guilty for not meeting my needs, but she didn't have the words to express herself yet. So instead, she went on the defensive and let me feel like I was being ridiculous and too needy.
So yes, to answer your question, I do often come down pretty quickly and realize I was being irrational. But those thoughts can creep back up as well. And I do question myself often. In fact, in the above situation, I was hell-bent on NOT letting the BPD ruin the relationship that I ignored my instincts that something was wrong on her end and took all of the blame myself. I did everything I could to try to sacrifice my needs and fit what I thought she wanted me to be, only to result in constant BPD triggers. So, I guess my next step is learning to better express my needs and learn to trust myself a little bit more.
As far as she and I are concerned, we had a two hour long talk when we broke up. A talk where she finally actually communicated and finally actually listened to me. We didn't fight at all. It was the closet I felt to her in a while. It was the closet she had been to the girl who wrote me that card in a while. After listening to her, I was able to put together why we were struggling so much. I was able to understand why we had fought that things weren't all my fault. And more importantly, I was able to understand where she was coming from. So even though she wanted me to be, I wasn't mad at her.
In fact, as stupid as this probably is, I actually decided to continue to try to meet her needs. She spelled out from me what she wants. She needs more of an ambiguous no labels, no expectations sort of situation. She felt pressure from having a girlfriend. She told me that she wanted to date a girl as a way to figure out her sexuality, but with me, she hasn't felt like she was dating a girl. She's felt like she was dating BPD. She was putting so much energy into trying to figure me out, that she wasn't even thinking about whether or not she actually LIKED dating a girl. She needs it to be fun and light. She needs something where she can text when she wants, but without me expecting it. She can see me when she wants, but without me expecting her to schedule time. When she can kiss me if she wants to, but without me expecting that she'll fall in love. She needs us to be what we were when we first started dating, before she actually became from girlfriend.
During all of our crap, I had often thought that I wished we could take the pressure off too. That maybe I wouldn't be so upset by her absences and detachment if she weren't actually my girlfriend. So I agreed to try it. The thing is, I don't doubt that she cares about me. And although she wasn't meeting my needs in a relationship, I do believe that she was giving me all that she could give. When someone gives you 100% of what they can give, that means something. So as dumb and as risky as this may be, I decided that I'm down to go at her pace. Or at least try it. She was much more open, fun, compassionate, understanding, and present before the pressure of the girlfriend label. I'm thinking if I can be what she needs, remain confident, and go at her own pace, then I'll eventually start to feel more secure again. And she did make it very clear that it was ok for us to have the feelings that we already developed. She doesn't want a booty call or anything. We can care about each other and we can even let that grow. It just needs to be slower. I can't expect her to give me reassurance when she is in a place where she is so unsure of herself.
We'll see how it works. I know it's going to be extremely difficult, because I'm entering into an emotional gray area. I'm a black and white thinker who is going to be faced with no rules. I understand logical gray areas perfectly fine (I'm a social worker major and everything I study is gray!) but emotional gray areas are complicated. I like the labels of being a couple or not a couple and what those labels entail. I know that I'm going to over think every step of this. But in social work, we have the saying "You have to lean into the discomfort." If I'm ever going to learn to handle emotional gray areas, I'm going to just have to immerse myself and give it my all. Besides, I have comfort in knowing that this situation wouldn't be comfortable for anyone - BPD or not. There are no guarantees and I'll most likely walk away heart broken. But at least I have the bravery to try and at least I'm putting the trust in her instead of letting fear rule me. I see that as progress.