Does my lover have boderline personality disorder? My boyfriend is the love of my life, we are a perfect match. His parents were divorced like mine and I think he lacked attention as a child. He throws fits, acts moody, always needs to be the center, hates being alone and refuses to let me go. I tried to leave because the mood swings are unbearable but I decided to stay because he really needs help. Everyone thinks it is just regular abuse but I have seen that in my own house as a child and I believe it is much different. Help or advice please?

A: I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter but the behaviors you are describing are consistent with borderline personality disorder. BPD is characterized by emotional dysregulation and unstable relationships. But — this is a big but: There are also other possible explanations for his behavior. It could be that he learned from watching adults in his life that this is the way relationships work. It could be that he is terribly insecure. It could be that he has depression or bipolar disorder. Only a mental health counselor can sort out what’s really going on with him.

Regardless of what his problems may be, though, I’m concerned that you see him as the center of your life. Neediness is not the foundation for a healthy relationship. However much you care for him, he is in no shape to offer you a stable, loving relationship. You are a sensitive, caring person who hates to see this young man suffer but at only 16, you can’t offer him the help he really needs. I hope there is a counselor or teacher at your school that you can take into your confidence. Your boyfriend needs to see a professional if he is to get the help he needs to heal his pain.

I wish you both well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Dec 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Does My Lover Have Borderline Personality Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/12/25/000000000000000/