Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is relatively common, so it often becomes a factor during divorce. Further, the characteristics of BPD may contribute to divorce in the first place. By the time you decide to divorce your spouse with BPD, it’s safe to assume you’ll be facing conflict during your divorce. Here’s why high conflict divorces often arise when your spouse has BPD, and what high conflict divorce lawyers in New Jersey can do to help you make sure your divorce still goes as smoothly as possible.
Please note: while the information provided in this article cannot be used to diagnose your spouse and shouldn’t be taken as legal advice, it can be a good starting point for men who anticipate a high-conflict divorce.
How Personality Disorders Affect Divorce
When one spouse has a personality disorder like BPD, it may or may not contribute to the couple’s divorce. Some husbands have learned how to respond to their wife’s symptoms and can remain in a relatively peaceful marriage in spite of her reckless behavior and intense emotions. However, the traits of certain personality disorders often become more visible during a divorce, and they can quickly increase the conflict level between the two parties.
Borderline Personality Disorder is often characterized by a rapidly shifting perception of the self and others, and things may look “black and white” to someone with this personality disorder. That means your spouse with BPD may love you or hate you, but there’s not much middle ground. And since you’re seeking a divorce, it’s probably safe to assume your spouse’s feelings toward you are negative. This can cause a lack of cooperation, and your spouse may even attempt to manipulate you to obtain the upper hand.
In a divorce where neither spouse has a personality disorder, there’s always a possibility that things will stay cordial and cooperative. Of course, this isn’t a universal truth, and there are many contentious divorces where neither spouse has BPD. However, when BPD is a factor, nearly every divorce becomes difficult. If you’re a man who is divorcing your wife with BPD, you’ll certainly need to work with a high conflict family law attorney in New Jersey who understands how contentious your divorce will likely be.
Of course, someone with Borderline Personality Disorder should not feel ashamed of their diagnosis; we know this disorder often develops through no fault of their own. Regardless, we should all be held accountable for our actions. It’s not acceptable for your spouse to manipulate you or act mentally or emotionally abusive during the divorce.
What to Expect During Your High Conflict Divorce
High conflict divorce is always challenging for clients and their attorneys, but knowing what to expect can help you get through the tough times. Similar to divorcing a narcissist, if your spouse has BPD, she will likely resort to extreme tactics to get her way.
A BPD spouse will have a very hard time accepting that the marriage is finally ending, so she’ll often relentlessly call or text you to discuss reconciliation. She may even show up at your work or stalk you by tracking your activity. Unfortunately, self-harm and threats of suicide are also somewhat common in those with BPD, which you may be all too familiar with already. Boundaries are the key to avoiding all of these unpleasant and dangerous situations.
I recommend creating healthy boundaries for yourself by limiting communication with your spouse during the divorce. Once you’ve been clear with your spouse that you won’t discuss your marriage unless your lawyers are present, make sure you do not deviate from your decision. Even answering a single text message can give your spouse “false hope” that you may be willing to reconcile.
Even if you are concerned your spouse won’t cooperate with the divorce (which is likely), don’t give in to your own “limited communication” boundaries. Let the law handle your spouse’s resistance to go along with the divorce. There will eventually be repercussions if she is missing mediation appointments or court dates because she refuses to agree to the divorce, so don’t risk opening a new line of communication just to try to goad her into showing up. Your spouse’s behavior during the divorce may be disheartening, but remember that you are going through all the proper channels to finalize the breakup for good. Eventually, you will resolve your high conflict divorce, even if you must go before a judge.
New Jersey High Conflict Divorce Attorneys for Men
Men whose spouses have a personality disorder such as BPD or narcissistic personality disorder can expect a challenging yet ultimately worthwhile divorce. At The Micklin Law Group, our attorneys focus on New Jersey high conflict divorce for men. We’ve helped many husbands divorce their spouses with personality disorders, so we know what to expect. We’ll keep you informed while aggressively advocating for an equitable divorce. Contact our team to get started.