What is Relationship OCD?
Relationship OCD, also known as Relationship Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is a type of OCD where the sufferer experiences intrusive thoughts related to their romantic relationship. These intrusive thoughts may cause feelings of anxiety and stress in the person suffering from them, and may even lead to compulsions such as checking on their partner or asking for reassurance about their relationship.
People suffering from Relationship OCD often experience a number of different intrusive thoughts related to their partner, including questions about whether they are being faithful to them and concerns about whether or not they will be left for another person. These thoughts may cause the person to act in ways that seem strange or out of character, such as checking on their partner through hidden cameras or regularly asking for reassurance from them.
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Symptoms of Relationship OCD
- Obsessive thoughts about your partner: One of the key symptoms of relationship OCD is obsessive thoughts and doubts about your partner’s feelings and intentions towards you. You may constantly worry that they are unhappy in the relationship or that they are cheating on you. These obsessive thoughts can be extremely distressing and often cause intense anxiety.
- Checking behaviors: Another common symptom of relationship OCD is frequent checking behaviors, such as constantly asking your partner if they are happy in the relationship or whether they have been unfaithful to you. These constant questions can often lead to an argument and are a sign that your thoughts are controlling your behavior and causing you distress.
- Anxiety and distress: Relationship OCD can cause a great deal of anxiety, fear, and distress in your life. If you are experiencing relationship OCD symptoms, you may find yourself unable to enjoy the activities you once loved or to fully focus on your work or other important areas of your life. Relationship OCD can lead to depression and isolation as you struggle to cope with your distressing thoughts and behaviors.
- Inability to trust: Relationship OCD can also cause an ongoing sense of mistrust between you and your partner. This is because the obsessions that characterize relationship OCD make it difficult for you to trust your own perceptions, leading to a sense of doubt about whether or not your partner really is happy or faithful.
Types of Relationship OCD
There are two sorts of relationship OCD. Some people may just undergo one type, while others suffer from symptoms characteristic of both.
A person with relationship OCD may obsess over questions such as “Does my partner really love me?” or “Am I really in love with them?” These types of symptoms are unique to this disorder and revolve around the relationship.
This version of relationship OCD causes symptoms that focus on the individual’s partner’s traits. For instance, a person with this type of OCD might dearly love their partner but constantly wonder about their intelligence or other aspects of their personality.
Obsessions of Relationship OCD
Relationship obsessions often involve fears that you may cheat on your partner or be unfaithful in some way. These intrusive thoughts can lead to obsessional doubt and compulsive checking behaviors, such as constantly questioning a partner about where they have been and who they have been with.
Another common relationship obsession is the fear that you will cause your partner to become unhappy or leave you. This can lead to obsessive thoughts about whether a partner is upset with you, as well as compulsive reassurance-seeking behaviors and checking rituals.
Some people experience obsessional fears that they are unlovable and unworthy of love, which can lead them to seek constant validation from their partner. This can be very intense and stressful, particularly if their partner is not always available or willing to provide this reassurance.
Relationship OCD obsessions can also involve worries that you will hurt your partner in some way, through violence or abuse. These types of thoughts are extremely distressing and often lead to highly intrusive images and urges related to physical aggression or sexual violence.
Finally, relationship OCD can involve obsessions that you and your partner have drifted apart or are growing apart. You may feel a sense of panic or anxiety about losing the connection you share with your partner, which can lead to compulsive attempts to stay connected through constant communication and interaction.
Compulsions of Relationship OCD
Compulsions in relationship OCD are similar to those of other forms of OCD. The compulsions are used to reduce the fear and anxiety associated with relationship uncertainty and instability. These compulsions might include:
- Checking on your partner’s whereabouts – This type of compulsion is often used by people who have severe relationship obsessions, in which they might constantly worry that their partner is cheating on them or hiding something from them. People with this type of relationship OCD will often check their partner’s phone, email and social media accounts to make sure that nothing suspicious is going on.
- Asking for reassurance – In some cases, people with relationship OCD might constantly need to ask their partner if they are in a happy relationship or if everything is OK. This type of behavior can be incredibly frustrating for the other person and cause further strain on the relationship.
- Avoiding activities – People with relationship OCD might become extremely fearful of doing something that they believe could put their relationship at risk, such as going to see a friend’s new baby or asking their partner for a hug in public. They might avoid anything that could add to their anxiety, which can lead to other problems in the relationship.
- Repeating rituals – In some cases, people will repeat specific behaviors on a daily basis as a type of compulsion. For example, they might repeatedly ask their partner if they love them, whether they should get married, if their relationship is on the right track and so on.