Most of us have felt some doubt or uncertainty in a relationship. Ah, nothing like the stressful wondering of when they’re going to text you, if you’re ready to DTR, and how to proceed now that you’ve found out they’re a Taurus. But constant, persistent worries about your relationship, to the point where it disrupts your life, may be a type of OCD called relationship obsessive compulsive disorder, aka ROCD.
OCD is a complex mental health condition characterized by obsessions (thoughts you can’t stop having) and compulsions (unhealthy or excessive behaviors that calm the thoughts). “In relationship OCD, the obsessions and compulsions focus on your romantic and sexual relationships,” says Aimee Daramus, Psy.D. Again, these thoughts are persistent. She shares some examples of what that can look like:
Whether or not they’re the right person.
Whether you’ll still be attracted to them in the future.
What will happen to your sex life and your ability to love them as they get older.
Maintaining your appearance, or pushing your partner to maintain theirs.
Having sex just to prove that both of you are still attracted to each other
Seeking reassurance about the future.
“There will be compulsive urges to do anything to maintain the love and the sex life, but because your OCD makes it all so pressuring, you’re actually draining the life out of the relationship by seeking reassurance instead of enjoying pleasure,” Dr. Daramus says. And no amount of reassurance will ever be enough, because nothing is ever certain in life. Learning to tolerate uncertainty is the name of the game.
“All relationships have doubt,” says Dr. Daramus. “In a healthy relationship you might talk about it, or you might decide to wait and see if your doubts are true before you act on them. You might make some changes for your partner, but they’ll be motivated by love, not anxiety. You’ll have boundaries around what you will and won’t change for a partner.”
“Step back from your OCD thoughts and try to resist acting on them,” Dr. Daramus says. This is, ofc, easier said than done, and she says it’s okay to need emotional support and/or professional help. “Often you’ll need a therapist to help you improve how you have relationships,” Dr. Daramus says. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most common treatment methods for ROCD.
“Dealing with relationship OCD can be difficult and frightening,” Dr. Daramus says. “But it will be worth it the first time that you feel genuinely, unconditionally loved.”
The content provided in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice and consultation, including professional medical advice and consultation; it is provided with the understanding that Poosh, LLC (“Poosh”) is not engaged in the provision or rendering of medical advice or services. The opinions and content included in the article are the views of the interviewee only, and Poosh does not endorse or recommend any such content or information, or any product or service mentioned in the article. You understand and agree that Poosh shall not be liable for any claim, loss, or damage arising out of the use of, or reliance upon any content or information in the article.
Up next, be the first to know our weekly content and sign up for our Poosh newsletter.