I had a boyfriend when I first realized I had this problem (I bit my lips until then). He was very understanding even though I would not kiss him for a long time while I tried to heal my lips. I was extremely embarrassed to go out with my old high school friends because my lips looked horrible, and one time we went to a restaurant together and I started crying because of it. They hadn't even noticed my lips, probably because the restaurant was dark and I kept trying to hide them.
I battled it for months until finally deciding that it's not worth the pain. Until someone makes a huge breakthrough that works for tons of people with this, I'm going to deal with it as I have been because it seems to be the only option. I've detailed this already, but here it is again for those who haven't seen it. Basically it involves things that both nourish the skin and make it peel.
MY ROUTINE FOR MAINTAINING (NOT HEALING) THE LIPS, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE SICK OF LOOKING FOR A CURE AND WOULD JUST LIKE TO HAVE A NORMAL SOCIAL LIFE AND/OR JOB:
1. When lips start to crack and scale, apply enough Aquaphor to coat them but it doesn't have to be a thick coat. Let it sit for several hours, but go about your day normally; i.e. eat and drink normally, talk, laugh, smile. No need to "preserve" it. The skin on the lips should soften and smooth out, although it might become disconcertingly loose during this time. If your lips dry out again before you are in a position to exfoliate them, apply more Aquaphor. The Aquaphor will start to feel gross if you have to put it on more than once or twice, but it helps for the next step:
2. A few hours later, whenever you feel like exfoliating them, soak them in warm water. Sometimes I'll put some water from the sink in the palm of my hand and soak my lips in it for a few seconds. Usually though, this step is accomplished by brushing my teeth as it gets them sufficiently wet. Once they are wet and the skin is looking ripe and loose, gently rub the bristles of a toothbrush against them to get off the skin. My toothbrush of choice for this is the Oral-B Cross Action, because it has a big cluster of bristles at the front as opposed to the little groups of them on most other toothbrushes. Gets the skin right off. This step should not be painful, and your lips should not look raw underneath because the Aquaphor has adequately separated and softened the skin for this process. If it hurts, the skin is not ready to come off and you should leave it alone, otherwise you'll rub your lips raw.
3. Once you're done using your lips for the night, apply something that moisturizes and nourishes them. I use L'Occitane's pure 100% shea butter stuff that comes in a little tin. The tin costs $8, but it lasts several months so the cost isn't so bad. I only apply this on freshly exfoliated lips, because if I try to use it once my lips are starting to build up it doesn't help in any way. My lips look great the next day, into the evening, when I go back to step 1 most of the time. Occasionally I can skip a day on this though.
With this, I can get through the day without obsessing over my lips. I have a full time job and interact with people for hours every day. No one has commented on my lips looking weird as it keeps them well under control. I don't wear lipstick, but I could if I wanted to as the skin doesn't stay on long enough to become stained and grotesque. Regarding the boyfriend thing, I'm not currently involved with anyone, but it has nothing to do with my lips. When I was still with my previous boyfriend and decided to maintain the lips as opposed to going crazy looking for a cure, my lips were never an issue in the relationship again.