How Long Do Borderline Relationships Last?

How long do borderline relationships last? When you’re in a relationship, one of the most important things to consider is how long it’s going to last.

The average length of a marriage in today’s society is somewhere between 8 and 10 years.

That means that if you are considering getting into an intimate relationship with someone, you should be aware that there are some relationships that have just about as good odds for success as those above-average marriages.

I’m talking about borderline relationships—those on the border between healthy and unhealthy.

It may seem like they would be easier to preserve than other types of relationships because they can go back and forth from being positive to negative at any given time, but this isn’t always the case. If left untreated, these destructive behaviors will only get worse over time.

What Is a Borderline Relationship?

A borderline relationship can be described as an unstable partnership that exists between two individuals who have a tumultuous history and are often abusive toward one another. These relationships typically consist of three stages:

Honeymoon Stage – In the honeymoon stage, both parties are on their best behavior. One person will become the “ideal partner” they know the other person is looking for. There is an extreme amount of positive energy in this stage as if a borderline romantic relationship has suddenly turned into a fairytale romance.

How Long Do Borderline Relationships Last
How Long Do Borderline Relationships Last

Loving Stage – This stage starts after the honeymoon stage ends, and negative behaviors start to emerge. These could include talking down or insulting the other person, lying and/or withholding information from one another, and failing to meet their partner’s expectations. The loving stage can last for a significant amount of time until the couple makes it to the third stage—the desperate stage.

Desperate Stage – This is when both partners struggle to make it through each day without hurting or abusing one another. There is a lack of positive energy in this stage, and many people even end up breaking up with their partners rather than continuing on with the cycle.

The Relationship Cycle: A Basic Outline

1. Honeymoon Stage – “I’m in love!”   2. Loving Stage – Negative behaviors emerge. 3. Desperate Stage – “I hate you!”

How Long Do Borderline Relationships Last?

In a borderline relationship, the honeymoon stage can last for weeks or even months. However, once you make it to the loving stage, it’s not uncommon to find your partner increasingly moody and irritable until you reach the desperate stage—and this is when your relationship ends up falling apart.

Typically these relationships end within a few short months, although they can also last for a few months or even several years.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do…

Unfortunately, breaking up with someone who is in a borderline relationship is not as simple as just ending it. In fact, ending the relationship may only make things worse because both people are so dependent on each other that they can’t let go. As one blogger notes:

“Sometimes the person suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder who wants out of the relationship can’t bring themselves to do it. They become so entangled that they feel like they’ll lose a part of themselves if they leave the relationship, as sick and twisted as that sounds.

There’s an all-consuming fear that can be created in someone who suffers from BPD when they’ve developed intense abandonment issues through a past relationship.”

Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that between 2.6% and 5.9% of American adults suffer from some type of Borderline Personality Disorder. The disorder often emerges during adolescence or early adulthood.

Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder One of the most important things you can do if you’re in this kind of unhealthy relationship is getting help. Talk with family members and friends who care about you, and ask them to support you in your decisions regarding the relationship.

You might want to spend some time getting in touch with your emotions and learning to express yourself effectively. Understand that you have been conditioned to participate in this kind of destructive relationship and that it may seem impossible to get out right now.

But suppose you can find the courage to protect yourself from future harm and allow the person suffering from borderline personality disorder into therapy (which is sometimes difficult since they are often unwilling to be treated). In that case, they can learn how to deal with their emotions, express themselves in a healthy manner and develop the ability to form stable relationships.


Borderline relationships are often very destructive and turbulent, but if you can identify the red flags early on in your relationship, there’s a chance it will work out. The three stages of borderline relationships—the honeymoon stage, loving stage, and desperate stage—can be difficult to navigate without professional help.

If you or someone you know is currently in a borderline relationship, I would highly recommend seeking the help of a professional. Not only will they be able to give feedback on your current situation, but they can also help with any other personal issues that may have been causing problems within your relationship.

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