A personality disorder is defined as a type of mental disorder in which a person has a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning, and behaving. Personality disorders can affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life – including their relationships.
Dating someone with a personality disorder can be challenging, particularly those with dependent personality disorder (DPD). Common symptoms of DPD include low self-esteem, being “clingy,” difficulty making decisions on their own, a sincere hatred of being alone, a pattern of jumping from one relationship to the next, and the general instability that often comes with fear of abandonment.
If you are in a relationship with someone who has DPD, it’s important to recognize the symptoms they may be experiencing and to learn how you can work with them through challenging situations.
Create a Safe Environment
Individuals with DPD may appear very fearful, anxious, or sad, especially when they are faced with being alone. Because they rely so heavily on other people for comfort, reassurance, advice,
The first step that you can take with your partner is to create a safe environment. Since your partner has DPD, they may feel uncomfortable being completely themselves around you because they don’t want to be rejected. Encourage your partner to speak their own mind and be very supportive whenever they express themselves in a healthy way, even if you may not agree with what they’re saying. Recognize that your body language, facial expression, words, and actions can be perceived as criticism by your partner. Always be willing to communicate your intentions behind what you’re saying.
Work Toward Interdependence
Interdependence is when people in a relationship maintain their sense of self while working together to meet each other’s needs as well as their own. Nearly all adult relationships need a degree of interdependence to thrive. There is nothing wrong with consulting your partner about decisions, especially the ones that affect you both – but in a healthy relationship, you shouldn’t depend wholly on your partner.
You can help a partner with DPD learn to make their own decisions by encouraging them to take responsibility for tasks and express their true opinions. The goal is to help them build a sense of self.
DPD, as with any mental illness, can be challenging – but those who are open to communicating will find that it’s possible to maintain a completely normal, healthy relationship with the person you love.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned mental health and substance abuse recovery center. We help people with DPD alleviate their symptoms and learn new adaptive skills, so they can make more independent choices in life and build healthier relationships. To learn more, call us today at (844) 857-5992.