Navigating a relationship can be challenging enough, but when you add Relationship OCD (ROCD) into the mix, it can seem like an overwhelming wave of doubts and fears. ROCD manifests in a variety of ways, often placing immense stress on both partners. The two most prevalent types of ROCD include doubting your love for your partner and fearing their infidelity. Let’s dive deeper into these patterns and explore some approaches that might help alleviate the mental turmoil.


“Do I really love them? Is this relationship right for me?”

These questions can haunt someone with ROCD. Imagine this: your partner has planned a perfect picnic, the weather is gorgeous, and everything looks like a scene from a romantic movie. Despite recognizing the effort, your mind wanders. You notice every minor annoyance, from how loudly they chew to their choice of attire. You start comparing them unfavorably to others, questioning if enduring these perceived flaws is worth it. This constant scrutiny can make you feel distant and indecisive about the relationship.


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Yet, the thought of breaking up feels just as scary. You might feel an uncomfortable void at the idea of being without them, which seems contradictory given your earlier frustrations. This paradox is a hallmark of ROCD, where your mind loops through doubts about compatibility while fearing the loss of the relationship at the same time. If breaking up feels more daunting than relieving, it’s likely that ROCD is playing a large role.

“Are they cheating? Do they truly love me?”

The other common facet of ROCD revolves around trust. You might find yourself dissecting every word and action, looking for signs of infidelity or disinterest. An offhand joke or a day spent apart can spiral into a vortex of anxiety and insecurity. Often, this leads to compulsive behaviors like seeking reassurance or snooping through personal items, which only serves to fuel the anxiety further.


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Acknowledging ROCD: The First Step to Healing

Realizing that these overwhelming thoughts are driven by ROCD is crucial. They are not reflections of reality but distortions created by anxiety. Understanding this can empower you to begin effectively addressing these intrusive thoughts.


Changing Your Inner Dialogue

When dealing with ROCD, the typical response might be to seek reassurance or to combat intrusive thoughts with counterarguments that emphasize your partner’s positive traits. For example, if you catch yourself thinking, “Do I even want to be with them?” you might instinctively respond with, “I DO want to be with them. They are kind, funny, and I enjoy spending time with them.” This is a form of self-reassurance that, while comforting, can be counterproductive.

Instead, a more effective approach involves leaning into the uncertainty of your intrusive thoughts. Rather than trying to convince yourself of your feelings, consider responding with, “Maybe I don’t want to be with them.” Similarly, if you find yourself thinking, “That person is much more attractive than my partner,” resist the urge to immediately counter this thought with, “But my partner has a great personality.” Instead, acknowledge the thought: “Maybe that person is more attractive, or maybe my partner isn’t as attractive.” This strategy involves agreeing with the intrusive thoughts, which might seem counterintuitive, but it helps to lessen their emotional impact over time.

The same principle applies if you’re stressed about potential infidelity. Instead of reassuring yourself by checking their phone or recounting their affectionate actions, try to accept thoughts like, “Maybe they are cheating on me. And if they are, that’s okay. I’ll manage.” This approach doesn’t mean you believe these scenarios are true, but by accepting the possibility without judgment, you reduce the urge to engage in compulsive checking and reassure yourself, which ultimately diminishes the power and frequency of these intrusive thoughts.

Moving Forward

Leaning into your fears and accepting intrusive thoughts without immediate counterarguments allows you to deal with them more rationally. It reduces the urgency and anxiety surrounding these thoughts, making them less intrusive over time. ROCD can be a tough wave to ride, but with awareness and proactive coping strategies, navigating it can become more manageable. Remember, seeking professional help like therapy can also provide significant support in dealing with ROCD. Schedule an appointment today.