Have you ever wondered if your partner is truly “the One”? Or if you love your partner enough?
I guess it has happened to all of us that we were unsure about our romantic relationships but if you have Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (or ROCD), this uncertainty will easily turn your life into a living hell of uncertainty.
As today it’s Valentine’s Day (and I’d like to wish a Happy Valentine’s Day to all of my readers) I think it’s the perfect moment to talk about Relationship OCD. Especially because lately I have become very interested at this topic because this is my first Valentine’s Day in five years that I am not spending with my best friends drinking at our favorite pub – not because I do not want to, but because I have started dating someone. I guess it’s pretty early to talk about Relationship OCD in my case as we’ve seeing each other for just 2 months, however, ROCD is something that I went through back in the past and in today’s post I’d like to share a couple of useful details about it.
What is Relationship OCD?
OCD is often called the doubting disease and for a good reason: it can make you question even the most fundamental things in your life and your relationship is not an exception.
Relationship OCD is a less known subset of OCD in which sufferers are haunted by doubts and concerns about their relationship. Reading this, you may think that all of us have a little bit of relationship OCD but fortunately, this is not the case. We all go through difficult periods in our romantic relationships, which is obviously not a good thing but at the end of the day, it is something perfectly normal.
However, if you have ROCD, your irrational thoughts and concerns will make your life significantly more difficult and eventually, they can ruin your relationship.
So, what does it feel like to live with ROCD?
First of all, let’s take a look at what kind of thoughts people with ROCD may have.
What if my partner is not “The One”?
Is my partner really “the One” or am I making the biggest mistake of my life? What if I miss out “the One” because I am in a relationship with the wrong person?
What if I do not love my partner anymore?
OCD can make you question everything about your relationship – so it can easily get to the point where you are not even sure if you are really in love with your partner. Again, this may be a question that most of the people could ask themselves but when you’re suffering from ROCD, you’ll be obsessed with this question.
So, it really looks and feels like you do love your partner, but what if you’re just lying to yourself? How do you know you’re actually in love? And if you loved your partner enough, you would never find your co-worker sexy, would you?
And the little OCD monster never sleeps: it sits on your shoulder planting the seeds of doubt into your ears: what if you want to break up? Okay, you think you do not want to but are you really sure?
What if my partner is not good enough for me?
I think this is the most difficult one. Everybody has flaws, so does your partner and this thought can be very dangerous: simply because it may be extremely challenging to make a difference between your real thoughts and the lies your OCD is telling you.
And in my case, doubt is also accompanied by the feeling of guilt (such an lovely couple, are they not?):
Why do I have such thoughts? Why do I think that I am better than anyone else? My partner is clearly in love with me and I still think it is not enough! I am a monster.
What if my partner does not love me anymore?
So, let’s say you’re sure you’re in love with your partner, but OCD never sleeps and the list of “what if’ questions is endless. What if it’s your partner who has fallen out of love?
Okay, this is a question that many of us have already asked ourselves but if you’re suffering from OCD, you may start wondering about this even without any reason. Everything looks simply fantastic and apparently you’re living in a happy relationship but how could you be absolutely certain it is true? And even if your partner loves you at this very moment, what if this will soon come to an end?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is like a vicious cycle: it all starts with a disturbing thought, then this thought will become an obsession that will make you feel more and more anxious. So you just want to find a way out: a way to reduce your anxiety. And that’s how compulsions usually start.
Comparing your partner to other people
Is your partner good enough for you? Are you really in love?
These thoughts can make you want to compare your partner to others. And this compulsion can be very dangerous, because let’s be honest: everyone is beautiful and you’ll always find other people who you think are more attractive than your partner. And not necessarily because they actually are but because that’s what your OCD wants you to think.
Seeking reassurance that your partner truly loves you
Okay, I will be honest: this is so me! I’m a pretty problematic person and if I finally find someone who actually loves me, it is really hard for me to believe that it is true – and by saying someone who loves me, I do not mean friends or family, because I do have a lot of friends and I have a perfect relationship with my family, but I mean: romantic love.
So, I’ll easily end up asking my partner a hundred times a day if he really loves me. Or checking our facebook messages few times a day just to make sure that our conversation was alright and that I did not say anything that might ruin our relationship. It’s pretty obsessive and I’m trying to keep it under control but sometimes it can be difficult.
Seeking reassurance from friends/books & Google
Is your relationship working? What does a perfect relationship look like?
This is something that you may want to check on Google or ask your friends about, however, this “researching habit” can easily get out of control and you may spend hours searching articles and stories about successful relationships.
And a few others:
- Having sex with your partner only for making sure that you’re still attracted to him/her
- “Testing” your feelings for your partner by flirting with other people
- Avoiding serious relationships so that you won’t be hurt if your relationship fails
- Creating rules for your partner and when they do not stick to them, you’ll think your relationship is not worth it
- Avoiding others for the fear of being attracted to them
- Repeatedly comparing your current relationship to past relationships
How to manage your ROCD?
The first question is whether you have ROCD or other problems in your relationships. Because sometimes it is very difficult to know. So one piece of advice I can give you is consulting a therapist.
However, I’m giving you a list of articles that may help (some of them are from my blog, others are from my favorite OCD-related websites) :
- How to manage your Relationship Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Living with Relationship OCD
- 13 signs that you might have Relationship OCD
- Talking Relationship OCD with Dr. Stephen Phillipson
- OCD: a vicious cycle of doubt and guilt
- OCD: Living a lie
- 12 things that will help you overcome OCD
- Set yourself free: How to break the vicious cycle?
- Demons are real: Stop Negative Self Talk!
- Do I have OCD?
Okay, I’m dating someone but I was single for most of my life – which means that I’m sure that many of my readers have more experience with Relationship OCD than I do. And as you know there’s one thing that I enjoy more than writing about my experiences: reading about yours! So please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section! 🙂
Wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!