My friends keep telling me you’re real, amazing and that I’ll meet you soon. I don’t believe them. But I don’t actually believe tomorrow will come, and yet every day, there it is.
So just in case you’re out there and you’re waiting for me as eagerly as I’m waiting for you, I’ve put together a handy manual for your wife with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Pay close attention: there will be a quiz at the end and it will last the rest of your life.
- Sometimes I’ll stay up late. I will sneak away to the living room to scrawl out my many thoughts on nights when I can’t slow them down or turn them off. Sometimes I’ll go for days without sleep and not be tired.
- I talk a lot. I will talk so much about so many things that it will feel like I never listen to you. But believe me, I will remember everything you will ever say to me for the rest of our lives, mentally repeating the sweet things on the lonely days and the silly things on the angry days.
- When you meet me, you will think I radiate energy and never slow down. One day, a few weeks in, you’ll see the first downswing. I will stop mid-activity to lie down wherever I am. I will stop talking. I will stop all writing and texting. Nothing will be wrong; this is just what happens.
- I will have extreme emotions over small things that seem like they shouldn’t matter. They will no longer matter to me 24 hours later. Here is the magic sentence that you must learn: “Maybe you’re having some heightened emotions right now. Let’s take a step back and look at the issue tomorrow to see if you still feel the same.” Tattoo this on your arm, the bridge of your nose or wherever you’re guaranteed to always see it before you say anything else.
- I will often talk about problems that can’t be “fixed.” Remember that I’m not talking because of the problems themselves; I’m just talking through extreme emotions. When I’m confiding in you about whatever new thing is on my mind, I don’t need solutions or quick fixes. I need heart emojis, hugs and sometimes for you to just sit calmly next to me when I’m too devastated to move.
- I will need constant reassurance that you love me and you won’t suddenly leave me, even after years of marriage. I have been informed that this is very annoying, but that won’t stop me. Just remember to smother me with love before I ask for it.
- I will start and stop many hobbies and crafts just to immediately move on to the next obsession. I swear I will finish building that rack or knitting that blanket when I feel like it.
- I will feel lonely even when you’re right next to me. I will blame you for it. I am still learning to explain this and to not let that frustration affect my behavior. Give me lots of patience and kisses.
- I will make some surprising and irrational decisions — mainly taking the form of impulse spending, spontaneous puppy adoption or tattooing without any advance warning or consultation. I’m working on this. I’m working on a lot of things. We should probably set up an emergency savings account early on.
- I will, at first, be afraid to tell you my diagnosis. I was married to a man who believed those with BPD craved punishment, to be treated like a subordinate and to be put in their place. I will be afraid to open up to you at first. But after I trust you, you won’t be able to shut me up.
- I can only think in extremes. Every day is either the best day of my life or the worst day of my life. Every experience: the worst or best. Every person I meet is either my new best friend or my sworn enemy. I have learned to recognize this, but there is no way to stop it. Just learn to enjoy the ride.
- I will irritate every bone in your body with my quirks and inconsistencies. But I will fawn over you and admire every part of your body, mind and soul. Even when I’m mad at you, I will still be totally adored by you. I will do anything for you and give you everything I have. I will make you feel like the most loved man in the world because in my BPD heart, you will be.
If all this is too much to handle, remember: no one loves greater than someone with BPD.
Oh, and I’d like a conflict-free ring, please.