The Impact of Borderline Personality Disorder on Jealousy and Relationship Retention – Neuroscience News

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Summary: Individuals with borderline personality (BPD) features are more prone to suspicious jealousy, which significantly influences their romantic relationships. This suspiciousness leads to a range of mate retention behaviors, from affection and support to criticism and abuse.

The study highlights the complex role of BPD traits in shaping how individuals navigate romantic engagements, emphasizing the critical influence of emotional regulation on relationship dynamics. It underlines the need for a deeper understanding of BPD features’ impact on interpersonal relationships, offering insights into both the positive and negative strategies employed for mate retention.

Key Facts:

  1. Individuals with BPD traits exhibit higher levels of suspicious jealousy, affecting their approach to mate retention.
  2. This jealousy leads to both positive (benefit-provisioning) and negative (cost-inflicting) behaviors in relationships.
  3. The study’s findings are based on self-reported data and online samples, pointing to the intricate link between BPD features and relationship dynamics.

Source: Neuroscience News

Virgil Zeigler-Hill and Jennifer Vonk’s recent publication in Sexes unveils the intricate dynamics of how borderline personality features influence romantic relationships, with a keen focus on the mechanisms of suspicious jealousy.

This study brings to light that individuals with pronounced features associated with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) navigate romantic engagements through a broad spectrum of behaviors aimed at keeping their partners close.

From exhibiting affection and support to engaging in more detrimental actions such as criticism, neglect, or abuse, the behaviors are deeply intertwined with feelings of suspicious jealousy.

This investigation into the dynamics of romantic relationships among individuals with borderline personality features underscores the critical role of suspicious jealousy. Credit: Neuroscience News

BPD is characterized by significant instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and emotions, alongside marked impulsivity. The disorder typically manifests in early adulthood across various contexts.

Individuals may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety, which can last from a few hours to days. Zeigler-Hill and Vonk extend these findings to include individuals who exhibit borderline personality features but might not meet the full criteria for BPD diagnosis.

These individuals still show tendencies towards emotional dysregulation, fear of abandonment, frequent mood swings, and difficulty controlling anger, which in turn affects their romantic relationships.

In their study, the authors categorize mate retention strategies into two main types: benefit-provisioning and cost-inflicting behaviors.

Benefit-provisioning behaviors aim to positively affect the partner’s well-being through expressions of affection and support. On the other hand, cost-inflicting behaviors have a negative impact, including criticism, neglect, dishonesty, or abuse.

The study’s findings underscore that suspicious jealousy, characterized by doubts about a partner’s fidelity without solid evidence, often arising from personal insecurities or fears, is a significant driver of both types of behaviors in individuals with borderline personality features.

The researchers report that participants with higher levels of borderline personality features demonstrated a greater propensity for suspicious jealousy. This form of jealousy, in turn, increased their likelihood of engaging in both benefit-provisioning behaviors, such as showing affection and support, and cost-inflicting behaviors.

Notably, the study highlights that while benefit-provisioning behaviors can strengthen the bond between partners by fostering trust and intimacy, cost-inflicting behaviors, particularly those involving criticism, neglect, and abuse, can undermine trust, reduce relationship satisfaction, and potentially lead to the relationship’s demise.

Statistically, the study points out a significant correlation between borderline personality features and the increased use of mate retention strategies, both positive and negative. Specifically, individuals with higher borderline personality features were more likely to engage in cost-inflicting behaviors as a means of mate retention, showcasing the complex interplay between emotional dysregulation, fear of abandonment, and relationship dynamics.

This research provides a nuanced understanding of how borderline personality features can shape the landscape of romantic relationships, highlighting the dual nature of suspicious jealousy in promoting behaviors aimed at mate retention.

While the study offers profound insights, it also acknowledges its reliance on self-reported data and online samples, suggesting a need for further investigation through observational studies to validate and expand upon these findings.

By shedding light on the complex relationship between borderline personality features, suspicious jealousy, and mate retention behaviors, Zeigler-Hill and Vonk’s study opens new avenues for understanding and addressing the challenges faced by individuals with these personality features in romantic relationships.

About this mental health, BPD, and relationships research news

Author: Neuroscience News Communications
Source: Neuroscience News
Contact: Neuroscience News Communications – Neuroscience News
Image: The image is credited to Neuroscience News

Original Research: Open access.
Borderline Personality Features and Mate Retention Behaviors: The Mediating Roles of Suspicious and Reactive Jealousy” by Virgil Zeigler-Hill et al. Sexes


Borderline Personality Features and Mate Retention Behaviors: The Mediating Roles of Suspicious and Reactive Jealousy

We investigated the roles that suspicious jealousy and reactive jealousy might play in the associations between borderline personality features (BPF) and mate retention behaviors.

Study 1 (N = 406) found that BPF had positive indirect associations with benefit-provisioning behaviors and cost-inflicting behaviors through suspicious jealousy but not through reactive jealousy.

Study 2 (N = 334 (a dyadic sample of 167 romantic couples)) revealed actor effects such that BPF had positive indirect associations with benefit-provisioning behaviors and cost-inflicting behaviors through suspicious jealousy for both men and women.

In addition, the positive association between BPF and benefit-provisioning behaviors was mediated by reactive jealousy in women but not in men.

The only partner effect that emerged from these analyses showed that BPF in women were negatively associated with the benefit-provisioning behaviors reported by their male partners.

Discussion focuses on the implications of these results for the function that jealousy might serve in the strategies used by individuals with BPF to maintain their romantic relationships.

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