I’ve talked about sex and BPD before, but I think it’s time to delve into it again, penetrate a little deeper if you will. Can you tell I’m not getting any right now? Hah! I get a lot of questions and I think there are a lot of unanswered questions so let’s get back into the series of it!
Sex is a complicated subject at the best of times, but let’s faces it, when you have BPD it’s not often the best of times. There are a lot of factors that come into play here.
Something I hear a lot is: My Borderline ex professed eternal love, but now he/ she’s sleeping with someone else!
There’s a key word here that you need to keep in mind: Ex.
As in, not current. Of the past. Your ex is not your property. If you’ve ended the relationship (especially after they’ve professed forever love to you?), or they’ve ended it for whatever reason, than you no longer have a say in what they do.
Another key phrase to remember: Sex does not equal love. Don’t get me wrong! Love and sex can certainly go hand in hand, but that doesn’t mean they always do.
Sex can mean many, many things. Especially to someone with BPD.
1. That we’re angry, for example. Very, very angry. Maybe even with some thoughts of revenge. Have you ever been so angry that you just didn’t give a fuck what you did? So that’s exactly what you do? I can remember being so hurt, the break up was so personal, I internalized it so hard, I was so pissed off that they would treat me the way they did… because for as much as I might scream, and split, and shout that the other person is evil and an asshole… how I feel is that I wasn’t good enough. Clearly there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t make you love me. Something wrong with me that I couldn’t keep you loving me. And I need to feel like that isn’t true. I need to feel like I’m desirable, like I’m loveable… and one of the easiest way to validate that need is to get the very tangible response created by someone that wants to be physically intimate with you. Sex, means someone sees something desirable in me.
Of course, these kinds of impulsive decisions (at least for me) tend to be filled with regret and shame after the fact. Because in the morning I know that it hasn’t really accomplished what I need, which is someone that actually values me. But in the moment, all I need is immediate validation, because in that moment all I have is the sense that my world is falling apart, I feel worthless, and I need to prove to myself that I’m not.
2. There’s another simple reason why we might sleep with someone quickly. Comfort. We’re notorious for not wanting to be alone. And whether we’ve done the breaking up, or whether we’ve been broken up with, we still have a sense of abandonment and a sense of loss. There’s still a boyfriend or girlfriend shaped void where an attachment used to be. It’s very hard to be alone when you’re so used to having someone there. It’s very hard to be alone when you need to have someone else there. For me I would look so someone that I have some kind of attachment to already…. Then again, there’s not always someone like that available and we just need to know that we’re not alone. So that’s what we find. Someone to be ‘not alone’ with.
3. And frankly, sometimes I just need to experience the freedom. I was so, so in love with my Evil-Ex. I put up with so much abuse, I was so afraid of losing him, that by the time I got out, I just wanted to have fun. I wanted to experience having a good time without a huge emotional burden. This is actually when I met GF and when I started seeing Boring-Ex… and why I broke up with Boring-Ex the first time to be with GF… briefly… before going back to Boring-Ex. I needed so badly to feel wanted, because I’d felt alienated, like a pariah, and unloved for so long.
4. It actually helps to move one. If a relationship is done? Actually done, not getting back together in a week done, then breaking that emotional connection is necessary. Sex, depending on how you view it, is still a chemical boiling pot of mixed emotions and pheromones between 2 (or more) people. Some people may shrug it off easier than others but it’s still a shared experience. The more you share an experience, the stronger those ties become. So often when I’ve been in love I KNEW, knew in my heart of hearts, that I would never find someone else that understood me, or that I’d feel so connected to. I KNEW! And when they’re gone, when you’ve never been able to imagine anything beyond them; it helps to show yourself that actually there can be others. This is not endorsing sleeping around to get over an ex! That can also make things worse, because like I mentioned previously, if it’s an impulsive decision with no time spent to develop a trusting relationship, you may just wake up with shame and regret. That’s not going to help at all. It will just make things feel worse. But yanno, if you’re ready, and you’re at least with someone you feel safe with, it can help. Not saying it helps everyone or anyone else, but that’s for you to decide.
5. Finally, sometimes I just need to get out of my own damn head. It’s an escape. I love sex because it’s one of the few times my brain shuts down completely. I need a few minutes (hopefully more than just a few minutes =P ) to stop thinking about the pain I’ve just been through. It doesn’t help me forget in the long run, but sometimes I just need to get through the moment, get through the night, get through the day. As long as we can get through one more day, we’re one more day closer to a time where hopefully everything no longer hurts so much.
Listen, I’m not saying any of this is necessarily the best way of coping with a break up. Or the way most people with BPD deal with it. But I know I have, in some circumstances (not all!) and I have my reasons. And hey, not for nothing, but I’m an adult, if I want to sleep with someone, and I’m no longer in a relationship, that’s my business, not yours.
*Disclaimer! This does not apply to everyone with BPD! … and I’ll get to that too.