Q. My wife and I have been together about a year. We have been an item for about 2 1/2. My wife is hands down the most important part of my life and was recently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. She begins therapy (outpatient) tomorrow morning. I have been in Iraq since November. She has had an affair going on since about 7 weeks ago.I have recieved 2 red cross notifications of suicide attempts on her part. She was in love after 10 days, and i am told he understands her better than I. He allows her to drink heavily on medication and is his self a recovering alcoholic, and mass depressive. She tells me she wants to work it out but can’t let go of him till I get home.I am on my way home in just a couple of weeks. I am being discharged to care for her. I don’t know now if she wants it anymore. Is my marriage already doomed? What should I do? I have to leave the military now. I didn’t know how to help my wife…….

A. It must be very painful to be half way across the world while your wife is being unfaithful. There are many people with borderline personality disorder who are not unfaithful and would never cheat on their spouse. In my experience, there are many military husbands who have wives, without borderline personality disorder, who are also unfaithful. Being separated for a long time leaves voids, sexual voids, but these can be far less important then the “friendship” void. Borderline personality disorder is no excuse for her infidelity. I would encourage you to read more about borderline personality disorder. There is very little you can do to help her except to keep her in therapy.

Half of all marriages end in divorce. Infidelity is the cause in a many cases, whether it’s admitted or not. Your wife should not be the most important thing to you in the world; you should be the most important thing to you in the world. Sadly, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives come and go, and that is a very sad thing indeed. This is due in part because people create permanent bonds with others before they are ready to. Also people grow and change in life and sometimes grow differently. I would love to tell you that your wife’s behavior was not her fault and it was due to her borderline personality disorder, but I am unable to do that. The best thing for you to do is to get yourself a therapist, to help you work through this. It’s impossible for you not to be reactive with your wife. As she goes into emotionally extreme moods, it would take nothing short of a saint not to react. I wish you the best of luck and a safe trip home from Iraq.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Apr 2005

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2005). Wife has borderline personality disorder-I am in Iraq-what to do?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2005/04/11/wife-has-borderline-personality-disorder-i-am-in-iraq-what-to-do/