Living with OCD can be a challenge, especially when it comes to relationships. People with OCD often struggle with intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that can be difficult to control. This can lead to tension and conflict in romantic relationships. However, there are also many rewards associated with living with OCD. People who are close to someone with OCD often learn to appreciate their quirks and unique perspectives on the world. In this blog post, we will explore the ways in which OCD does affect relationships, the challenges, and rewards of living with OCD in a relationship.
What Is Relationship OCD?
Relationship OCD is a subtype of obsessive-compulsive disorder that is characterized by intrusive thoughts and fears about one’s relationship. People with Relationship OCD often worry that they are not good enough for their partner or that they will hurt their partner in some way. They may also have doubts about their relationship and feel a need to constantly check on their partner to make sure they are still committed.
While some level of doubt, insecurity, jealousy and anxiety are normal in any relationship, people with Relationship OCD often experience these feelings to a much greater degree. This can lead to significant distress and interfere with their ability to enjoy their relationship. People with Relationship OCD may avoid situations that trigger their anxiety or compulsively check on their partner to ease their fears.
How Does OCD Affect Relationships?
It is no secret that OCD can be a challenge in any relationship. The constant worry, doubt, and fear can be exhausting for both the person with OCD and their partner. People with OCD often have a hard time communicating their needs and fears to their partners, which can lead to misunderstandings and conflict. However, this doesn’t always mean that OCD can only have negative effects on relationships. There can be many rewards associated with living with OCD in a relationship. We will understand these in detail.
When one thinks of OCD in relationships, it’s easy to focus on the challenges. And there are many. The constant anxiety and fear can be taxing for both partners. People with OCD often struggle with the following issues:
This might be the most basic effect, but it’s also the most important. People with OCD often have a hard time trusting their partners. They might constantly worry that their partner is cheating on them or that they will leave them. This can lead to jealous behaviors and a lot of tension in the relationship. Moreover, it can be hard for people with OCD to open up and be vulnerable with their partners. They might fear that their partner will judge them or think less of them if they know about their OCD. For example, someone with OCD might be afraid to tell their partner about their compulsions for fear of being seen as crazy.
Lack of communication
People with OCD often have a hard time communicating their needs and fears to their partners. This can be due to multiple reasons. For example, they might be afraid of being judged or rejected. They might also worry that their partner will think less of them if they know about their OCD. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflict. Someone with OCD might also avoid talking about their anxiety for fear of upsetting their partner.
People with OCD often engage in compulsive behaviors, such as checking, washing, and counting. These behaviors can take up a lot of time and energy. They can also be very frustrating for partners who don’t understand them. For example, someone with OCD might need to check the locks on the door multiple times before they feel comfortable leaving the house. This can be extremely frustrating for their partner who just wants to leave.
Intimacy doesn’t always have to be about sex. It can also refer to the level of closeness and connection two people feel with each other. People with OCD often have a hard time being intimate with their partners. They might worry that they will get too close and lose control of their OCD. They might also avoid physical contact out of fear of contamination or getting hurt. One may also feel like they need to keep their OCD a secret from their partner, which can create a barrier between them. This can result in a lack of closeness and connection in the relationship.
Grudges and pettiness
This may seem unusual and out-of-the-blue to people who don’t understand OCD, but for those with the disorder, it can be a very real and constant battle. The loved ones often become the biggest triggers because people are constantly around them and they know it well. And when one is feeling vulnerable, it’s easy to lash out at the people closest to them. It’s not that they don’t want to let go of grudges, it’s that the OCD convinces them that if they do, something terrible will happen. People tend to hold onto anger and resentment because they’re afraid of what will happen if they let go. Can it be that the partner takes advantage of me? Will they hurt me? Will they leave me?
Of course, this isn’t rational thinking, but when one is in the throes of OCD, reason often goes out the window. And so people hang onto our grudges, even when they’re causing more pain than the person we’re holding them against.
Pettiness is another common symptom of OCD that can wreak havoc on relationships. One might get upset over something small and insignificant, like a dirty dish in the sink or a pair of shoes out of place. But for people with OCD, these things are huge red flags that something is wrong.
Excessive reassurance seeking
Contrary to the above, most people with OCD might also excessively seek reassurance from their partner. They might ask their partner the same question over and over again or want their partner to constantly reassure them that they are loved and will not leave them. While this behavior might seem irrational to someone without OCD, for people with OCD, it is a way of trying to reduce anxiety. Unfortunately, this can often have burdening and negative effects on the relationship. Partners of people with OCD might feel like they can never do anything right and that they are constantly being put under a microscope. They might start to feel resentful and angry, which can lead to fights and further tension in the relationship.
Lastly, jealousy is something that can pose as a major red flag in any relationship. But for people with OCD, jealousy can be all-consuming and completely overwhelming. It can cause them to constantly doubt their partner’s love and fidelity. Even if there is no reason to suspect that their partner is cheating, people with OCD might still have intense feelings of jealousy and insecurity. For example, they might check their partner’s phone or email to see if they’re talking to anyone else. They might also follow them around or spy on them. Obviously, this behavior can be very hurtful and destructive to the relationship.
As you can see, OCD can have a profound effect on relationships. It can be challenging and frustrating for both partners. However, it is important to remember that there are also many rewards associated with living with OCD in a relationship. These will be discussed in the next section.
In spite of all these challenges in which OCD does affect relationships, there are also plenty of positive milestones and rewards.
This is a rather unique symptom of OCD that can actually be quite beneficial in a relationship. People with OCD are often very creative and have very active imaginations. This can add a lot of excitement and fun to the relationship. In addition, people with OCD are often great at problem-solving. So if there’s ever an issue in the relationship, they will usually be
More attention to detail
Due to the nature of their disorder, people with OCD are often highly creative and have a great attention to detail. This can be a great asset in many areas of life, including relationships. People with OCD might be able to come up with more creative solutions to problems and they might also be better at communicating their needs and wants to their partner. This can also be a great asset in times of stress or when things get chaotic. Their partner can always count on them to have everything under control.
A greater understanding of oneself
This implies that people with OCD are often very introspective and aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This can be beneficial in a relationship because it means that they are less likely to take things personally or get offended by something their partner says or does. They are also more likely to be able to communicate effectively about what they’re thinking and feeling. When in a relationship, this can be a beneficial quirk as it allows for a greater understanding of oneself as well as their partner.
Increase in understanding and support
When a mental illness such as OCD gets in the equation, it often takes a toll on not just the person with the disorder but also their loved ones. In most cases, the people closest to them are the ones who suffer the most. This is why it is so important for them to have a good support system. Fortunately, when people with OCD are in a relationship, they often have someone who understands what they’re going through and can offer them the support they need. This can be invaluable in helping them manage their symptoms and live a happy, fulfilling life.
Passionate and dedicated
Lastly, people with OCD tend to be very passionate about the things they care about. This includes their relationships. They are often very dedicated to their partners and they will go above and beyond to make sure the relationship is strong and healthy. They might not always show it, but they usually have a lot of love and respect for their partner. This can be a great foundation for a long-lasting and happy relationship. Once they commit to someone, they are in it for the long haul. They will do whatever it takes to make the relationship work and they will always be there for their partner, no matter what.
As you can see, there are both challenges and rewards to being in a relationship with someone who has OCD. It is important to be patient and understanding, but also remember that there are many benefits to this type of relationship as well. If you think you might be in
How To Manage Relationships With OCD?
As we already know by now, OCD can affect relationships in both negative as well as positive ways. So it is important to learn how to manage these relationships in a way that is beneficial for both parties involved. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
- Be patient and understanding: This is perhaps the most important thing you can do. Remember that people with OCD often have a hard time controlling their thoughts and behaviors. So it is important to be patient and understanding.
- Encourage open communication: It is important to encourage open communication in a relationship with someone who has OCD. This way, they will feel comfortable communicating their needs and wants to you. In turn, this will help you better understand them and their disorder.
- Offer support: Be a supportive partner. Remember that people with OCD often need a lot of support. Offer to help them with their symptoms and be there for them when they need you.
- Be accepting: Accept them for who they are. People with OCD are often very introspective and aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This can be a good thing. So try to accept them for who they are and encourage them to do the same for you.
- Make sure to take care of yourself as well: It is important to remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup. So make sure to take care of yourself as well. This includes taking time for your hobbies, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet.
- Seek professional help: Lastly, utilizing external support can provide additional help for both you and your partner. If you feel like you are struggling to cope, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor. This is especially important if your partner is dealing with severe OCD symptoms. You can either go for couples therapy or see therapists individually. Doing so can help your relationship by providing you with the tools and support you need to manage your symptoms and live a happy, fulfilling life.
By following these tips, you can create a strong and healthy relationship with someone who has OCD. Remember that it takes work and patience, but it is definitely possible. So don’t give up hope and keep working at it!
In conclusion, we made an attempt to answer the complex question of how does OCD affect relationships. This can have both positive as well as negative effects. So it is important to learn how to manage these relationships in a way that is beneficial for both parties involved. With the right tools and support, you can have a happy and fulfilling relationship with someone who has OCD.
Hope this article was of help to you! If you or your partner are struggling with relationship OCD, you may seek help from Therapy Mantra. We have a team of highly trained and experienced therapists who can provide you with the tools and skills necessary for overcoming OCD in your relationship. Our sessions are open for couples as well as individuals across the globe at affordable rates. Contact us today to schedule an online therapy or download our free OCD treatment app on Android or iOS app for more information.