Dissociative identity disorder, sometimes referred to as multiple personality disorder, can affect all aspects of your life, including your intimate relationships. As reported by Web MD, DID often results from traumatic experiences like childhood abuse, including sexual abuse, which definitely affects the way people relate to each other, especially with regard to physical intimacy. Here are few things I’ve found helpful over the years as I deal with my DID and intimate relationships.
Set Some Rules
Different alters may have different ideas about intimacy. You may be married but you may have an alter that doesn’t consider herself married and believes it’s OK for her to have intimate relationships with people other than your spouse. You may not want to have a child at this time but you may have an alter that doesn’t want to use contraception. It’s important to come to an agreement about these matters and set some rules for everyone to follow.
Keep Child Alters Inside During Times of Intimacy
It’s not appropriate for kids to be around when adults are engaging in intimate activities, and this includes child alters. Child alters need to stay inside during times of intimacy and intimate activities need to stop if child alters do come out. Providing other opportunities for child alters to come out can reduce the likelihood of them popping out at inopportune times.
Decide Whether or Not to Tell Your Partner
If you’re thinking of being intimate with someone, you need to decide whether or not to tell him you have DID. Especially if this is someone you just met, you may be hesitant to tell him. You may worry about what he’ll think or how he’ll react to the news. I understand all those concerns, but I think it’s important to consider what might happen if a child alter appears unexpectedly or if you have a flashback during intimate activity. Hopefully those things don’t happen often but they can happen. Your partner may be scared or confused if he doesn’t understand what’s happening. If he does understand, on the other hand, he can help you deal with those things if they do occur.
Be Prepared in Case of Switching or Flashbacks
It is important to be prepared in case of switching or flashbacks, at least as much as one can prepare in advance for that sort of thing. If you tell your partner that you have DID, he can be prepared, too.
Decide what you want to happen if you do switch to another alter. If it’s a child alter, intimate activity needs to stop until the child is safely back inside. If it’s an adult alter, you and your partner should decide if the two of you are comfortable with intimate activity continuing or if it should stop until you switch back again. Let your partner know if there is something he can do to help. Should he attempt to comfort a scared child? Should he ask for you to come back?
Decide what will help you the most if you have a flashback during intimate activity. Intimate activity should stop, at least until you are firmly grounded in the present again. Then you can decide whether or not you feel able to continue. Let your partner know if there is something he can do to help you feel safe. I like my partner to turn on the light and remind me I am safe now.
Web MD. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder. Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder).
Alderman, Tracy and Karen Marshall. Amongst Ourselves: A Self-Help Guide to Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder. 1998.