As you know from previous posts of mine, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition marked by intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and related rituals (compulsions). One of this disorder’s subtypes is Relationship OCD (R-OCD). This condition causes one to feel intense doubts about their relationships. These doubts may feel impossible to soothe.
R-OCD creates extreme anxiety which, in turn, triggers the obsession-compulsion cycle. Since it’s not unusual to ask questions about one’s romantic bonds, an important first step is to identify whether your doubts feel healthy and warranted. With that goal in mind, let’s explore more about R-OCD — and its signs and symptoms.
Common R-OCD Behaviors
- Fixating on what’s wrong with your partner (physically and emotionally)
- Wondering if you’re more attracted to others than you are to your partner
- Attempting to gauge how in love you really are
- Comparing your relationship to other relationships
- Constantly looking for reassurance
- Being unable to talk about your relationship with your partner
- Refusing to date because no one seems like a good match
Behaviors like this go beyond normal dating nervousness. They can slowly lead to the obsessions and compulsions that overtake your life.
Examples of R-OCD Obsessions
Look at that above list again. Some of those trends can be obsessive. You may be endlessly searching the web to “figure out” if you’re truly in love and/or have the “right” partner. You may also compile lists of reasons why your relationship is doomed, e.g.
- My partner is too tall or short, slim or stout, etc.
- We don’t seem as happy as that couple over there.
- Am I good enough to make them happy?
- We don’t agree on everything.
- I sometimes find other people attractive.
- Am I stuck with this person?
Such obsessions lead to increasing levels of anxiety. It can reach a point where you develop compulsive actions in a desperate attempt to calm yourself.
Examples of R-OCD Compulsions
You may make the lists in your head. Sometimes, you write out the lists. But either way, this R-OCD compulsion is about providing or disproving your doubts about your relationship. It could start with an intrusive thought about not being right for each other. Thus, the compulsion would be a list of reasons you are. In some cases, it is the opposite.
Such lists can get quite detailed and — depending on how long you know your partner — go pretty far back. The goal is always self-reassurance. What this means is that you can “convince” yourself that your partner loves you because of all the reasons on your list.
In the age of social media, this compulsion may involve lots of scrolling. You might look up every person you know who is in a relationship. From there, you’ll compare your partner to theirs. Who does more? Who looks happier? Which couple is married and which is not? Once again, how this compulsion plays out will depend on which point you’re trying to prove.
People in your life can attest to this compulsion. They may often find themselves asked to assess your relationship. Am I with the right person? Do we look happy? Are they in love with me?
Is it Relationship OCD?
Everyone in a relationship, at some point, compares and doubts. With R-OCD, it’s about the sheer volume of time dedicated to such inquiry. Also, are you carrying over such behaviors from relationship to relationship? If you find yourself concerned about how you handle relationships, it can be very useful to speak with a professional.
R-OCD can be identified, addressed, and treated. There is no reason to just wonder. To get the input you need, I invite you to set up a free and confidential consultation at your earliest convenience for anxiety treatment.