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Relationship OCD

Author: Sally Aquire - Updated: 11 January 2014 | commentsComment
 
Ocd Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Although Relationship OCD is not very widely talked about as one of the main symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Relationship OCD (otherwise known as Relationship Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or ROCD) affects many OCD sufferers – many of whom are unaware that their intrusive thoughts and images are actually connected to their OCD.

What is Relationship OCD?

In Relationship OCD, it is common for sufferers to repeatedly question whether their current partner is really the right person for them, and whether they actually love their partner or not. Most people are well aware of the fact that no relationship is without its flaws and bad points, but sufferers of Relationship OCD are often unable to recognise this.

This can lead sufferers to believe that they cannot be truly in love with their partner. In other cases, they can also think that they are somehow too 'flawed' to love another person. Either way, Relationship OCD will often result in temporary or permanent break-ups, and sufferers will often throw away relationships that are perfectly adequate because they feel that their feelings for their partner are not how they should be. This tends to put huge strain on the relationship, which sufferers may also use as a 'sign' that the relationship is failing or has already failed.

If sufferers go on to end the relationship, they will often have no real idea as to why they are doing so (other than the fact that their feelings are not 'right'), and cannot give a good enough reason if pressed.

Even if sufferers know deep down that they do love their partner, they will frequently check with themselves that this is still real. The constant doubts eat away at the sufferer and are often mentally exhausting - as is the case with most OCD symptoms.

Triggers for Relationship OCD

Relationship OCD can be triggered by different thoughts and images, and this will often vary from sufferer to sufferer. Movies, television programmes and songs can often act as strong triggers.

When watching or listening to these, sufferers of Relationship OCD will often begin to question why their relationship does not mirror the deep emotional connection that is on display, without taking into account the fact that these are idealised and often entirely unrealistic. They can convince themselves that their relationship is not working because it is not the same. These thoughts can become all-consuming, to the point where the sufferer chooses to end the relationship.

Other sufferers will judge their relationship according to what they see around them, particularly with regards to other people's relationships.

Sufferers will often experience visual intrusions that act as a 'spike' (trigger). These can include having images of kissing someone, and having constant thoughts about them. For example, an image of a partner kissing someone else may randomly enter the mind of a suffer. While most people who do not suffer from OCD would be able to dismiss this fairly easily as paranoia, a sufferer of Relationship OCD will torture themselves with thoughts of their partner being unfaithful.

Read more about OCD in our article What is OCD.

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Are people still using this forum a lot of the discussions seems out dated and I have several questions about ROCD. Please answer if so. Thanks
Confused - 11-Jan-14 @ 10:03 PM
I was in a relationship with my recent ex for a little over 2yrs. He has Pure O OCD and immediately after we were intimate for the first time the questions and obsessive behavior started.I made the choice to stay with him and tried to understand and sympathize.He broke up with me twice during all of this and took months long hiatuses from our relationship all the while contacting me to make sure that I remained in his life.We got back together last year after being apart for 3 months when he realized that he might lose me for good, and everything for the most part was fine until a few months ago when I met his family for the first time (they live out of the country) and we started discussing the possibility of moving in together (this was mentioned numerous times before) suddenly he became very distant I saw the signs of another break up on the horizon.This time he wanted to take an indefinate hiatus.Unfortunately, I couldn't do it again even though I'm madly in love with him.I kept asking him why and all he could say is that his anxiety was off the chart and he just keeps feeling like something is just wrong, it's just not right. Well, long story not so short...lol I came across this page yesterday while looking at the Pure O symptoms again and realized that he also has RO.Everything I read describes him and the things he has done and is doing and I can't help but to feel angry and very hurt that he didn't divulge everything to me from the very beginning. I got bits and pieces, but never the full story. I think if you are aware that you have these types of problems it is very important to communicate that to the person you are interested in dating to give them the opportunity to choose for themself whether they can roll with it.I gave it my best shot, but he gave up on himself and us... :(I truly hope I haven't offended anyone here, that is not my intention.Just wanted to express my thoughts where I know people can relate and will understand. :)
Danni - 1-Nov-13 @ 7:14 PM
I was in a relationship with my recent ex for a little over 2yrs. He has Pure O OCD and immediately after we were intimate for the first time the questions and obsessive behavior started.I made the choice to stay with him and tried to understand and sympathize.He broke up with me twice during all of this and took months long hiatuses from our relationship all the while contacting me to make sure that I remained in his life.We got back together last year after being apart for 3 months when he realized that he might lose me for good, and everything for the most part was fine until a few months ago when I met his family for the first time (they live out of the country) and we started discussing the possibility of moving in together (this was mentioned numerous times before) suddenly he became very distant I saw the signs of another break up on the horizon.This time he wanted to take an indefinate hiatus.Unfortunately, I couldn't do it again even though I'm madly in love with him.I kept asking him why and all he could say is that his anxiety was off the chart and he just keeps feeling like something is just wrong, it's just not right. Well, long story not so short...lol I came across this page yesterday while looking at the Pure O symptoms again and realized that he also has RO.Everything I read describes him and the things he has done and is doing and I can't help but to feel angry and very hurt that he didn't divulge everything to me from the very beginning. I got bits and pieces, but never the full story. I think if you are aware that you have these types of problems it is very important to communicate that to the person you are interested in dating to give them the opportunity to choose for themself whether they can roll with it.I gave it my best shot, but he gave up on himself and us... :(I truly hope I haven't offended anyone here, that is not my intention.Just wanted to express my thoughts where I know people can relate and will understand. :)
Danni - 1-Nov-13 @ 7:09 PM
I just read about ROCD yesterday and was so relieved because my behavior towards my husband (fearing loss, wanting loss, picking on him, criticizing which might bring on the loss) were true. We have talked about it which has helped so much. Awareness is everything. It takes away the concept of blame. It takes away the idea that you are doing it on purpose as though you actually knew what you were doing. It's also understandable given my childhood of being neglected and emotionally abandoned. It is an ANXIETY DISORDER. I have finally found a way to think about it and look back to understand what has been happening and why I had so much fear of abandonment for so long. . . and also began a cycle of wanting to abandon a relationship and making it hard for him. I did read online that there is a natural compound called INOSITOL which can be taken daily with few side effects that causes OCD symptoms to recede. I ordered some from Amazon and am looking forward to trying it in the next few weeks. Those who are looking for help might also want to research and read more about it. I am not recommending it because I haven't tried it myself, but thought that what I read was pretty interesting. Hope this helps!
mulberryshoots - 3-Sep-13 @ 12:15 PM
I'm 27 years old male, I read a TONS of posts on Stuck in a Doorway and Neurotic Planet forum (while still existed, 2 years ago) and can't find someone with similar experience with me until i read post of Stones84, with which they I can identify 80 %. Everybody said that they developing anxiety and thoughts after a couple of months in relationship or they think that partner don't love them cheating on them or they don't love partner. I, like userStones84, develop tornado of thoughts even as soon as mention possibility of relationship, especially after spending a wonderful evening with possibly date, and tomorrow when I wake up guess what...ANXIETY, over analyzing EVERYTHING about that person, and the night before, until moment when head start to hurt me, sweating, hard to concentrate, choking and after that i start to question myself simple question "Why this must happens to me?", and that leads to more ruminating, disappointment and in the end depression and the circle continueson every other time, it hit me in every relationship since the first one!! Example of this would be when a computer got a virus, virus use 100 % resources of processor and everything is slow and misery, like virus when this strikes me i feel weak, no brain power, hardly concentrate, no ability to work/live normal, i can't control this thoughts.... Stones84, if you read this, could you please answer me are you, after 2 years, solved this problem? MY BIGGEST FEAR IS I'LL GET OLD ALONE, BECAUSE I FEAR TO GO IN RELATIONSHIP AND TO FEEL THIS MISERY AGAIN AND AGAIN!! PS - Sorry 4 bad English.
Kratos - 26-Aug-13 @ 7:50 PM
I have been with my boyfriend for two years now, and we have a very loving relationship. Unfortunately I have a big issue with porn, I can't stand the thought of him lookin at other women in that way, let alone the whole masturbation side of it. The thing is, he doesn't do it, he had in the past and we've had massive arguments and he's begged me and cried and said sorry, but in my mind I keep convincing myself that he'll do it again. He's so besotted with me, he shows me he loves me in every way possible, and I know that I love him to. For some reason my mind wanders and I get terrified and angry that he'll do it again. Or I'll convince myself that he wants to or that he doesn't love me and that we're not going to last. Sometimes I even put a time limit on it, and say in my mind 'I give him a month' or 'at least I've got a few months before he does it again'. I try and change my mind when I think those things, think about positive things with our relationship. If I could just get rid of it all then it would be okay, but thoughts creep in and put me in an awful mood. I find it hard to make myself happy and even find a sexual connection because it creeps in my mind 'I'm not good enough' 'what if he's thinking about that while we're doing it'. It's causing me so much harm and I don't want it to ruin my relationship, I love this boy more than anything. I haven't been able to leave him alone in a room without worrying he'll do it, I can't even think about leaving him alone doing nothing while I go out of the house because I just get upset and think he will. I think I do it to prove to myself the relationship won't work. Even though I want it to. Because if I didn't think about it it wouldn't matter and he wouldn't do it but I do think about I as therefore I convince myself it will and I can't leave him alone. I need help, please. I don't want to live in constant paranoia and I can't risk losing him, I love him. That's the only thing I'm sure of, even if I try and convince myself we won't last. I'd really appreciate some help, thank you all in advance.
Tea42 - 26-Aug-13 @ 10:12 AM
My girlfriend is suffering from ROCD. We've been experiencing similar issues to the ones mentioned above for over a year now (some are literally identical of what we go through). We had several breaks (longest being two weeks) but always ended back together. She knows she has OCD and have been taking fluoxetine for over a year now but don't think she yet fully accepts that she has ROCD. Which makes our relationship even more difficult. I have few questions and would be very grateful if someone could help: 1) Is ROCD permanent or could it go away? 2) Is it something that could repeat itself after several years? If yes, is it easier to overcome on the second time? 3) Does anyone have any treatment tips or links to good sources on ROCD treatment? Thanks in advance.
JmsT - 4-Aug-13 @ 12:48 PM
I definitely have OCD, and ROCD is a big part of my dysfunction.I get really mad at my significant other and I feel like I have to get revenge on her and make her suffer for what she has done.What has she done, to me?Nothing.What she has done is she's had relationships in the past -- some were nice and pleasurable, others were not. And I am convinced, in my confused/twisted thinking, that she had better sex with a past lover AND that she thinks about it all the time and thinks less of me as a result.I obsess about her past sexual experiences constantly.Mind you, these relationships happened BEFORE me and have nothing to do with me.And, since my S.O. and I have been together for many years and are now married, these relationships happened A LONG TIME AGO and shouldn't even matter anymore.I obsess over trivial things like how many times my wife had sex with a past partner, if the sex was good, if they used a condom or not (and if not, just how many times they didn't -- as if this is at all important).I'm so insecure and I have a huge inferiority complex.I want to be the best thing that ever happened to my wife, so I obsess over her past relationships, perhaps to convince myself that I am better than all her previous lovers, but what ends up happening is that I start to think that I am inferior to her past lovers and that she's just going out with me out of pity or because I'm a "nice guy".What's really ironic is that my past is far more tainted than hers and I've had some real crazy sexcapades.I've attended SLAA meetings in the past and they were very helpful, as "love addiction" or "relationship addiction" is part of my disorder.I'm set to ruin a perfectly good marriage over my dysfunctional thoughts, which seem to have my brain on some kind of auto-piloted system-override and I have no control over where my thoughts run to.If you are like me, and you're ROCD, then here's a thought that should resonate: You're lover has had past relationships.You're lover has had sex before, and at least some of it was as good as the sex you are having with her (or him), and some of it was perhaps better.You're lover had strong loving feelings for someone else at some point in her past.BIG DEAL!If you're lover is with you now, then all those other people, all those other comparisons, all those other sexual encounters really don't mean anything.Just be happy you're with you're lover now.Hey, in previous relationships, I've had better sex than I currently have with my wife.Does that mean I want to trade her in for a woman that's better in bed?Hell no!I didn't use a condom with most of the girls I've been with -- is that meaningful?Nope.I've been with women that have a better body than my wife.I've beenwith women that are prettier than my wife.Does that mean I don't enjoy having sex with my wife?Hell no!Does that mean I love my wife less?Hell no!But for some reason, I can't s
ksi294 - 14-Jun-13 @ 7:33 PM
My soon to be ex always makes me give something up."You don't love me as much as you love the kids", "make a choice, do you love me or the dogs? You have to choose me or the dogs", "your birds are the cause of my allergies" (he got me the birds), "I am allergic to you, every time we are together I get sick and have to get on medication", "How would you feel if I killed the lizard (a pet)? Do you love it more than me?", "I can't believe you let your son go to the library with a girl without asking me.... you went against me and now you might as well divorce me" (my son was 16, and I was going with them in broad daylight), I am going to stop now.But I just wanted you all to know, I tried for 12 years, leaving and coming back until the 3rd time. I cannot live my life having to prioritize my love for him with everything else going on in it.It was emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive.It is a cycle that has no end for the "sufferer" and others.
sady - 28-May-13 @ 1:20 AM
I was looking up OCD and came across this website! I have always had OCD but in the last year or so I have gotten worse with my relationship. I'm so worried that things will end between us even though I can't help what i am doing but I know he will leave me one day if I carry on!!! I seem to have a phobia of him looking at other women or naked women on tv because if I see him look I automatically think that he likes them better than me!! Even though he always says that he don't. But it's getting to the point now where I ask him not to look and I know I shouldn't be doing that but I can't help my self! I get really stressed out as I can't control it and I feel I'm the only person on this planet that does this :-( I just don't know what to do anymore!!!!
Mandy - 19-Nov-12 @ 8:41 PM
Please visit my blog for solutions for ROCD.
Blip - 11-Sep-12 @ 10:12 AM
I suffered with ROCD for years but I doubted my lover, and I became too controlling because of it. I also tried to change him to make him perfect into my perfect man. A year ago we split because my OCD made me get too controlling, five weeks apart we got back together and everything was great better then ever before (We been together 8 years he's my first ever boyfriend, this never bothered me) that was until my thoughts changed and it made me doubt my own feelings. I could not control my thoughts and my anxiety was so bad I was bed ridden and didn't even have the strength to stand sometimes (I would always have to sit in the shower because of that) I thought it was all a brain tumour before I discovered ROCD and when I did and read about it I started to cry because right there was the answer! I battled for months, got on medication and my anxiety went away. That caused the backdoor spike to appear but I still knew deep down I loved him and wanted to be with him. In june my insecurities got the better of me and I threatened one of hisfriends who is a girl because I was jealous of her and thought he'd leave me for her. These insecurities are caused because we live three hours apart because his family moved some years ago but we wanted to stay together even if our visits werescarce in between. He did leave me, he ignored me for five weeks (crazy that was how long we were apart last time and we got back together on the sunday of the fifth week like before)I told him love, real love, doesn't involve feelings but is a choice and every relationship has problems and don't hate me because of my disorder that I been working hard on. The entire time he was gone, I was miserable and begging him back, I obsessed about him with another girl. When he came back I was happy, but I still worried about him. We haven't said I love you to each other since we agreed to take it slow, I been bursting to tell him and when I think of him not loving me I get this clenching feeling in the very pit of my stomach. Then one day I was on cam and got bored watching him play his video games and I felt he wasn't giving me the attention he should. Then I started doubting myself. My future with him, my feelings, what if I was just desperate for him and don't want to go through getting close to another man that I'm staying with him only because of that? is that it? Do I love him? We have much in common but my OCD makes me reflect on the things we dont...Oh god! Love is not a feeling but a choice...it's getting harder...I want to be with him, least I think i do...eeeryone things we're not right for each other and I reflect on what others say. This sucks. I curse him also for running off and causing me to really think I lost it this time and that its real....I feel sick
Ladystark - 7-Sep-12 @ 4:56 AM
to everybody with ROCD, don't suffer in silence ok? this helped me tremendously, and knowing my partner understands me and i don't have to feel Paralyzed with guilt and feeling fake anymore has helped me a lot now My Beautiful Partner wrote this last year and she has made me feel good about myself, knowing i dont have to feel like i`m a bad person and that its "just me" when its not The Indescribable shoes How does one describe the indescribable? A life where there is never a certainty, but forever a continuation of torturous doubt. A life where Love cannot be felt without pain. A simple thought cannot be had with a compulsion to analyse....A smile cannot come without guilt... and a lifetime of loneliness feels the same as never being alone. Trapped in a world where you are never certain if a thought is really your own....A world where the illogical merges into the Logical... Sweating, Panic, guts twisting and Fear....A never ending Fear. A fear of the unknown....But the unknown is you. Take a moment, any moment in your life with the one you Love, a moment that fills you with happiness...... Now think about that moment. Were you really happy on that day? Did you pretend to be someone your not to make that person happy? Where you really in love on that day or did you just say it? Did you question anything on that day? Are you sure you felt love or was it just lust? Were you relieved when the day was over? Are you supposed to be relieved for a day to be over if your in love? Do you still feel that way about them now? Are you in love or out of love? Do you feel trapped or anxious when they ask you to do something which you really don’t fancy doing? Do you make up excuses? Do you lie? Should you lie when your in love with someone? Does that make you fake? Was that day really all that happy or are you just remembering it that way?......Are you Sure? Heart starts to race, stomach feels a little knotted, you keep looking at those questions, becoming a bit panicky and in comes fear....because your not sure anymore....One beautiful moment in time, in love... that you now no longer have the certainty in your mind of what you felt....and it’ll eat at you. If you were so sure before, but now you’re questioning it....is everything else Real anymore? And now you begin to think of other moments....What about the disagreements? What about that time they irritated you?....Are you really sure this is the ONE for you? You wake in the morning, they are coming over tonight....anxiety sets in, have you been a fake all this time? How can you look at them in the eye? How can you tell them you love them when your not sure? How can you be affectionate...when you look at them and just see questions? Is this fair on them when you don’t know how you feel? Should you just get through this and hope the right feeling comes.....? They leave, it was wonderful.... so beautiful, so amazing, so IN LOVE.... Now you can just chill out, relieved the
Waynester - 3-Jul-12 @ 7:23 PM
Urgh this is exactly what I'm doing atm, I truly believe that this guy is THE one, its not like my heart explodes when I see him, but he knws what to say and do to make me happy regardless of my mood, he can always make me laugh, feel safe when I'm stressed he without forcing me gets me to confess all and has this calming affect on me and helps me work through it, he truly is my counterpart .... I've even gone off the pill and we're trying for a baby, And as soon as I was about to tell him I love him then this little voice comes into my head saying "are you sure" "are you just trying to get yourself to like him" and "you don't really" and it just doesn't stop ever! Constant battle in my brain even though I know I love him, I'm so scared if I don't stop ths I'm going to loose him and I don't want that.... It seems that I have this , like 100 percent but I don't have ordinary O0D I think, I know I overthink every little detail and every decision, but this ROCD. I need help , do I go to doctor do I tell him I think I have this, do I take meds, do I give up, I need strategies... I am begggin for help as I don't want to loose him... I am so happy until I think!!!!!! Please help!
jordanc171 - 17-Jun-12 @ 1:24 PM
Please can somebody contact me that is in my situation. Totally OCD about my relationship and how I feel and if im in love or not to the extent I want to end it with him because my mind is driving me mad. :-(
Mich - 2-May-12 @ 3:24 PM
I have always displayed minor symptoms of OCD, not to the extent of some sufferers where it dominates your life, but certainly to the extent of being late for work occasionally because I am checking and re-checking that I have locked doors and windows that were never opened in the first place, and checked that the oven is off, even irrational things such as checking my bed is made before leaving for work, that sort of thing.I have never really made an attempt to resolve this, probably thinking in the back of my mind that it wasn't a 'real' disorder, or that I wouldn't be taken seriously. My honest belief that I am a sufferer of Relationship OCD, however, causes me a lot more anxiety and fear.I am 27 years old and have had a number of relationships in the past, but every single one has consisted of me worrying, constantly 'doubting' (to the point of obsessing about it all day and being mentally exhausted in the evening).These doubts have consumed me because of my obsessive nature, and they often occur just days or a couple of weeks into a new relationship.I can say hand on heart that I have not had a single relationship where I have been carefree and free of doubts that have no basis or logic to them. It doesn't even have to be an 'actual' relationship either.I go on a few dates with a person, end up getting along really well with them, only for me to wake up one morning soon after with this sense of gloom that I am going to fail once we begin a relationship, and I even begin to sense that my feelings are no longer real.I end up getting quite distressed and frustrated about this, especially since the majority of the time, the girl I'm dating has done absolutely nothing wrong. I am dating a girl at the moment who I have really become close to in the last month, and we have been on about 8 dates together which have gone really well.I was actually starting to think that I had overcome this problem, but I woke up today and again these doubts have overcome me - the feelings I genuinely felt up until last night appear to have just switched off like a light and I am desperate to get them back.I cannot give a reason for these doubts - I have, until now, been attracted to this girl and have felt the early signs of a connection which I have really wanted to build on. Whenever I have felt like this I have felt like nobody else in the world understands me and that I have something fundamentally wrong with my brain or something.It gives me some comfort to know that these symptoms are recognised as being part of a known disorder, I am going to do everything I can to get the help I need as soon as possible.Any help someone can give me would be really appreciated.Thanks for reading this.
Stones84 - 24-Aug-11 @ 9:34 PM
I have this condition, for sure. For years I have had different relationships where I have questioned whether or not I should be in the relationship from the moment I start dating the person. I jump ahead into the future and ask myself is this the person I should marry, wonder if I am being honest with myself and them, am I getting into something where I will eventually have to break up. I never end up truly enjoying the relationship as I am so full of fear. Maybe the person wasn't right each time, maybe we were meant to break up but my obsession about it all is not normal. My backstory: I was raised in a chaotic alcoholic home and sexually abused several times by different people. I believe that it caused me to undermine my own feelings and also have a fear of abandonment and loss/loneliness. I then got into a relationship when I was 18 where the guy was lovely and I was very attached to him but I wasn't in any place to have a stable relationship. I was heading for a massive and necessary breakdown. On my way into it though, I exerienced what I call love addiction. I kept going back to him compulsively, using him like a drug, even though it didn't feel "right". I feel like I damaged my trust in myself in this process. I went to SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) and had to arrest my addiction to him. It was so hard. I really screwed him around. I felt so guilty and obsessed. So every relationship after this I have questioned whether I am doing the right thing by myself and the guy. Am I gonna hurt myself? Am I gonna hurt him? Now, years later I am 32 years old and I have just had a beautiful little boy to an amazing fella, who now the doubts have come up about, even though I have grown to love him and see that he is showing to me that he is awesome. I want to get serious about my recovery from relationship OCD and the effects of growing up in an insane household. Things happened in my childhood to and around me that I forget about from time to time, due to having a busy lifestyle. These things though, naturally have a profound effect on my sense of security in life. Ok so I'll give this recovery thing a red hot go and find an OCD therapist.. I am posting this incase my experience can help someone. I also go to Alanon and will do for life cause I love it. Ha no problems with committment there!Thanks for reading.
RB123 - 28-Apr-11 @ 2:55 AM
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