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Eveningstargazer, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 155
Experience:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
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I am still struggling with my break-up which we discussed and was wondering whether you could answer some more questions relating to it?

Basically, I cannot reconcile the image of the individual that I knew with her behaviour. We discussed BPD and I have looked into the condition further. It seems that she did indeed bear a number of traits and her behaviour was somewhat indicative of a personality disorder. However, she never showed any signs of anger or rage and her cold/hot behaviour was not clearly cyclical. It was more as though she was ordinarily quite cool and cold and just occasionally showed affection.

What worries me is that this typically came after sex, so could have just been a natural increase in affection, rather than a warm phase triggered by the intimacy.

I wonder whether it was just an infatuation for her and when we parted the lack of affection and immediate attention, in addition to an unspoken conviction that the relationship would not work long distance, numerous distractions and temptations and the attention of a senior, led to her cheating/the break up. I

am having a tremendously hard time however understanding whether such a complete loss of affection for me could have occurred in such a short space of time, even if it was nothing more than infatuation on her side. Finally, I wonder whether you would consider her behaviour cold and selfish?

Up until we left for university, we lived together then went to Barcelona together for a week. During this time she said this such as "I want to spend my life with you", "we'll leave the kids with my sister and come back in 10 years" and "I love you more than I've ever loved anyone" etc.

Then, whilst we were apart I was still receiving these emotionally charged texts and calls. After a week it toned down a touch to simply "you're my favourite person in the world" after 24 hours NC - almost in apology, as though she was trying to convince herself. Then, on the night I was supposed to be visiting, she reacted to my double checking the time as though I was a burden, a pain in my wanting to visit. She went to bed with the guy on that same night and didn't even let me know not to come.

She then asked me to bring her things from home on the next day and proceeded to more or less ignore me, with the exception of the odd cuddle, teary expression, to text her friends and this guy. She obsessively checked her phone throughout the night and even sent a message as we broke up.
Now, if we generously assume that her not texting me initially/not telling me certain things was due to simple cowardice, and her over-expression of emotion was due to immaturity (her being 20), can the rest of her behaviours be considered cold/selfish/inconsiderate towards my feelings?

It's tearing me apart to know that she doesn't think of me, doens't care and how rapidly it happened. It's torture to think of her with someone else, showing them the affection she used to show me and not even giving a damn...


Hello again! I'm sorry to hear that you are still struggling with this. I am still of the opinion that she suffers from BPD (what you read in books/internet tends to be extreme cases and not representative of the majority who suffer from the disorder), however, putting that aside, her actions towards you are CERTAINLY cold, selfish, and inconsiderate. That was never really a question in my mind. The real question was WHY. But at this point that's really not very relevant. Weather it was because of a disorder, or because of her underlying personality, or because of external stimuli like college, the senior, and being away: the fact of the matter is that she hurt you pretty brutally and without good reason.

I can definitely grasp the fact that you need an understanding of why her behavior shifted. So here are some potential reasons:

1) BPD as we have previously discussed

2) Assuming she does not have any disorder: she may have been swept up by this other guy pretty quickly. If she is the type that loves sex and physical intimacy she may have just gone along with him to meet those needs and then she fell for him. I know that you are probably thinking at this point: "Well, she survived a break of 1 year with her last boyfriend." Do we really know weather or not that was true, though? That's what she told you, yes, but that was while you were in the thick of your relationship. She may have lied about time tables as to not scare you off. Let's assume she didn't lie, though. The circumstances here are very different. In the first case she was still at home and didn't have nearly as many opportunities to meet someone else. She was also slightly younger and maybe not as promiscuous. Now she is off at college (which, let's face it, these days is just a giant meet market) where there are a lot of opportunities to meet someone else and find physical intimacy. Plus she is in her 20s which is prime for sexual activity.

3) Perhaps it was possible that the whole thing was infatuation on her end. That's really the "Gotcha" about infatuation. It can feel like love. It can feel like the greatest love you have ever had. With infatuation, however, once the person realizes that they were just infatuated, feelings can drop off very quickly (as quickly as you experienced). It sounds like the relationship she had with the person before you was a pretty serious one. If that was the case, it is pretty easy to become infatuated with the next person you connect with, which would be you.

Those reasons would be the only ones I can see as viable. Unfortunately we can't be in her head. We don't know which of the above is true. You can choose to believe one of the above or a mixture of all of them. Let's focus on YOUR mental health now. The best thing for you to do is to stop analyzing what happened. Choose what you want to believe and begin the healing process, because at this point you have not even begun healing. Dwelling like this will only further your depression and put you into a darker and darker place as time goes on. You arent giving yourself the time and space you need to begin the healing process. There are some good books that can help you to come to terms with the breakup and move on. I can provide the titles and authors to you if you'd like, just let me know. I know it might sound harsh just to say, "move on," but that is part of the human condition. When things like this happen to us, the best thing we can do is come to terms, heal, and move on. It's the only way our emotional states can be saved in the wake of a traumatic event.


Does this help?

JACUSTOMER-29g2cvk7- :

So even if it was a mixture of cowardice and selfishness which led to the lack of texting/ignoring on my visit and she genuinely didn't have sex with this guy, it would still be cold and selfish? I'm struggling to see the wood for the trees and am imagining that if she recounted the story, she would simply say that she lost her feelings, didn't know how to handle things and sought comfort from a friend. although perhaps this is less acceptable considering the apparent depths of feeling prior to parting and rapidity - a week - with which it turned from "you'll never understand how much I love you" to nigh-on disregard.

JACUSTOMER-29g2cvk7- :

I understand that it's not possible for us to determine catagorically that it is indeed BPD, although I've discussed the issue on forums and such and many people have said that it mirrors their experiences of relationships with individuals diagnosed with BPD. I suppose the lack of clearly demarcated cold periods is what troubles me most - no raging, no shouting, not obvious devaluating - it was just a case of cutting sarcasm, a supercilious aire, lack of conversation and withdrawal of interest to a certain degree.

JACUSTOMER-29g2cvk7- :

She seemed to show a lack of empathy in how our relationship concluded but during our time together this lack was not so clearly apparent. When I withdrew into myself and made little effort at conversation due to feeling overlooked or downtrodden by her behaviour, she would try to cheer me up by showing affection and refer to how it upset her to feel that I was shutting her out. Was this true empathy or was it sort of an inferred rejection for her, hence the response? Almost like a form of emotional abandonment that might have antagonised her underlying wounds? We did discuss our issues also, her eating disorder, my depression and she would tell me how much she respected my perseverance and strength - was this empathy?

JACUSTOMER-29g2cvk7- :

So, assuming the lack of a disorder, we could say that she behaved poorly, coldly, selfishly due to distance, reckless behaviour etc. and her love of physical intimacy. Another worry is that these kinds of behaviours/traits may improve with age, meaning that she may well have a great relationship with this next guy - presumably something which wouldn't be possible if she has BPD? Do you think one is likely to overcome such flaws in time (assuming that she is not really aware of them)?

JACUSTOMER-29g2cvk7- :

And the person after that? Is it likely that she infatuated with the new guy? How do people look back on infatuation? As a period of intesne feelings and great memories or as a misunderstanding/with little enthusaism? Even if it was just infatuation, do you feel her behaviour should have been different in light of all that we had experienced together?

JACUSTOMER-29g2cvk7- :

Finally, what do you think the prognosis on this is? Do you think she's likely to try and reestablish contact in time/reestablish the relaitonship? And if it is BPD, will she think of me with any fondness or is it just a case of me filling an emotional void?

JACUSTOMER-29g2cvk7- :

Thanks very much - the advice you give is truly helpful and hopefully, in time, will help me to overcome the depression

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Yes, her actions, or lack thereof, would still be considered cold and selfish weather she was aware she was doing them or not. When she recounts the story she may very well tell it in the way you describe, however that does not make her it any less cold or selfish. It simply means that she is unaware of how her actions might influence or affect others.
"no raging, no shouting, not obvious devaluating" - This is the extreme cases of a cold period within BPD.
"it was just a case of cutting sarcasm, a supercilious aire, lack of conversation and withdrawal of interest to a certain degree." - THIS would be an accurate description of a cold period within BPD.
"Was this true empathy or was it sort of an inferred rejection for her, hence the response? Almost like a form of emotional abandonment that might have antagonised her underlying wounds?" - It was likely a bit of both, but you are correct in that a lot of her sympathy might have stemmed from feelings of hurt she felt from old wounds she has.
If she does not have BPD and these are just character traits, they MAY improve with age, especially if it is pointed out to her what her actions are doing to others emotionally. And yes, she would likely not have a successful relationship with this new guy if she has BPD.
Weather or not she is infatuated with this new guy, it is likely considering how quickly they met and got close. Fast burning relationships like that are generally infatuation. As for how they are looked upon, it varies. Some look back on those periods with fondness and have positive memories and others look back on it as a mistake.
"Do you think she's likely to try and reestablish contact in time/reestablish the relaitonship?" - Unfortunately, I do not think she will re-establish contact. If it is BPS, people suffering from this rarely contact people they were previously in a relationship with if they have moved onto a new one. If it is not BPD, her previous behavior towards you makes it unlikely for her to re-establish contact.
Have you found my assistance helpful?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have, most definitely.

I suppose I just have to come to terms with no longer having her in my life and perhaps that I am better off considering her treatment of me.

Whether that treatment is attributable to a personality disorder or not, I suppose I shall never truly know, although I wish this was not the case.

I don't know that I shall ever be able to fully understand the scenario or reconcile the individual that I fell for with the person she became, although it is reassuring to hear your conviction that it is likely to be BPD.

Less-informed individuals on forums who have experienced similar relaitonships have supported the diagnosis although have suggested a "waif" sub-type (citing this although this does not seem to match at all.

You are correct in that the waif sub-type does not fit. You are also correct in that you need to come to terms with the fact that she is no longer in your life. That is the first step on the road to recovery, and a very important one. If you need any help along the way, please feel free to ask for me.
Also just a gentle reminder to please rate my answer so that I am compensated for my time.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi. I suppose the only aspect of this which is left is wondering whether she misses me at all. The guy she is seeing is going away to Europe for 5 months after Christmas so I suppose, without someone to replace him as she had for me, she will miss him if currently infatuated. Considering him to be her most recent guy, presumably she will scarcely think of me/miss me at all in future, despite what we had?

Weather or not she misses you, I unfortunately can not say. It is possible she will think of you in the other guy's absence. However, I also think that the trip to Europe will end that relationship as well based on everything we've previously discussed.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Just as a final addition, my ex texted me today to ask why I had removed her from fb as a friend. She said that it had perplexed and hurt her and that she didn't consider it necessary. Clearly she doesn't have any idea of the impact she has had...