On my blog entry entitled Recovery from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), a reader posted the following comment:
My X has DID. We were together for many years. I still love them very much. I think I made it worst simply by not understanding or by thinking I understood. It was hard for both of us. Are you finding it possible to be in intimate relationships? Any relationship advice for partners of people with DID? Or for people with DID? ~ Partner
The short answer to the question of whether intimate relationships are possible for people with DID is yes. However, it takes a lot of work and a willingness to heal. As long as a person with DID chooses to stay in “sentry” mode, never integrating and/or learning how to love and accept himself, an intimate relationship is going to be a real challenge.
I am defining an intimate relationship as one in which there is a deep emotional and relational connection. This can happen in a friendship or in a sexual relationship. My comments can be applied to both situations.
The problem with developing an intimate relationship with someone with DID is that the self/spirit is fragmented. Many people mistakenly believe that the host personality is the “real” person and that the alter parts are superfluous parts that get in the way of an intimate relationship with the host. This could not be farther from the truth. Each and every part – the good, bad, mean, angry, sad, animal, vegetable, mineral part – are all parts of one spirit. When you reject one part, you are rejecting that person, and intimacy is not going to be possible.
My host personality was just a teeny-tiny sliver of who I was. I did not fully appreciate this until I integrated my host personality into my core. Trying to have an intimate relationship with that teeny-tiny part of myself was going to accomplish nothing. I was so much more than this one part of myself.
People with DID who choose not to integrate might disagree with me, but my experience has been that I did not have the capacity to have an intimate relationship with another person until after integrating many of my alter parts, including the host personality, into a core. It is this core of myself that is capable of having an intimate relationship with another person.
I only have an emotionally intimate relationship with three people (all friends), and only one of them runs fairly deep. I was only capable of having this level of intimacy after integration. Hub and I do not have an emotionally intimate relationship, even though we are married and have sex, because he is not willing/able to “see” me. I don’t think the issue is the sex – it is his lack of willingness to connect with me.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt