Even when you’re madly in love with your partner, there are a lot of ways to ruin a relationship. I feel like I read a new article on the Internet every single day on something you might be doing that is messing up your chances of finding lifelong love. Today, I was introduced to something I’ve never heard of before: relationship OCD. It’s not just a dramatic term for anxiety, either. ROCD is a real form of obsessive-compulsive disorder that can, and does, cause breakups between otherwise happy couples.
So, what is relationship OCD? According to LiveScience, it’s “a condition that can bring unwanted thoughts or worries (obsessions), and repetitive behaviors that are carried out to address those worries (compulsions), usually to no avail.” So, it’s like OCD, but only related to love. But we’re not just talking about the anxieties you might have when you’re worrying about who your boyfriend is texting, or where your boo is when he isn’t answering your phone calls. The obsessions that go along with ROCD are typically one of these: constantly questioning whether you love your partner, or constantly questioning whether your partner loves you.
As for the compulsions, they generally include doing unnecessary things that take up your time in an effort to get rid of the obsessions. This can include going out of your way to check up on your partner. I don’t mean glancing at his text messages once in a while or asking how he feels about you. I mean more serious stuff like making a huge effort to go through his stuff to see what he’s doing or asking him constantly if he really does love you like he says he does. People with ROCD typically do these things even when they have absolutely no reason to question their partner or their relationship. In other words, someone with ROCD is obsessing over this stuff even if their partner has always been loyal, has never lied, and has never given them a reason to think they’re not in love. Basically, it’s irrational behavior and thinking.
Now, don’t freak out if you’ve spent a decent amount of time pondering the future of your relationship, and wondering if your BF really does love you. Everyone second guesses their relationship from time to time, and we all have moments where we question our trust in someone. That doesn’t automatically mean you have ROCD. First of all, a disorder such as this isn’t one that you can self-diagnose. Second of all, you don’t get diagnosed with any kind of mental disorder (especially OCD or anything related to that) unless your thoughts and/or actions seriously affect your day-to-day life. If your obsessions and compulsions about the relationship are regularly causing you to miss out on things, mess up in school and/or work, or other things like that… then you might have a problem.
As you can imagine, ROCD can ruin a relationship. A new study finds that it can also cause people to be less happy with their sex life, which isn’t surprising. If you’re constantly worrying about this kind of stuff, how can you truly be happy about anything in your relationship?
Does this all sound familiar? If so, you should definitely consider seeing a therapist, who can diagnose you better than you can diagnose yourself. Keep in mind, though, that only one percent of the U.S. population has obsessive-compulsive disorder (despite the amount of people who say they’re “so OCD”), and only a portion of those people have ROCD. If your therapist believes you’re suffering from ROCD, treatment is the same as it is for anyone with “regular” OCD. Basically, you need to learn to deal with your anxieties and thoughts rather than turning them into obsessions and compulsions.
Personally, I found all of this information really interesting. I’ve been seeing a therapist for anxiety for a few months now, and we’re both coming to the conclusion that I deal with some obsessive-compulsive tendencies. My anxieties about certain things in my life sometimes overflow into my relationship, and this very often causes problems between my boyfriend and me. I’m currently learning how to deal with the obsessions that sometimes feel like they’re taking over my mind. It’s really difficult, but it’s slowly working. The point being: if I can do it, so can you!
Look, we all feel unsure about our relationships sometimes. That’s normal, and it’s okay. But if it’s something you’re obsessing over constantly, it’s not healthy for you or your partner. ROCD-type symptoms can not only ruin your relationship, they can also lead to you feeling stressed, unhappy, and anxious. No one should have to feel that way all the time! Anyone who is feeling this way – talk to someone. I promise, it helps.
Do you think you have relationship OCD? Do you do some of this stuff? Have you ever been diagnosed with OCD? Tell me in the comments.