Relationship OCD and DatingOct 21, 2020
Relationship OCD and Dating
In today’s episode, we're going to begin a new series on OCD & Relationships.
Relationship OCD, also known as Relationship Substantiation or ROCD, is a subset of OCD in which sufferers are consumed with doubts about their relationship or their partner. Their mind continuously questions things like their love for their partner, their attraction to their partner, their compatibility with their partner, or their partner’s love for them.
And while having doubts or concerns about your relationship and partner is totally normal.. For people with R-OCD, these thoughts can completely take over their lives and cause a lot of damage to their relationships.
So in this first episode, I am going to share some practical ideas for creating a successful romantic relationship in spite of OCD.
All right. Hello and welcome to another episode of the restored mind show. My name is Matt Codde. . And on this episode, we're going to talk about having relationship OCD and dating, right, or being married, being in a relationship while you have relationship OCD. So this specific episode is geared obviously for people that are struggling with relationship obesity and how to have successful relationships. So relationship OCD sometimes called, you know, relationship substantiation, right? And it kind of takes on two forms. And I've talked about this in previous series where either Yosty gets fixated on the relationship itself, or it gets fixated on your partner. And it's trying to figure out, you know, or come up with all these things that are wrong with either the relationship or your partner itself. And what I want to share in this episode are just three basic ideas to help you with this, to help create a healthier, more balanced relationship if you are dating or in a, in a longterm relationship.
And so, um, first and foremost, I also want to point out that relationship OCD doesn't discriminate, right? I mean, it can be men or women and, um, you know, the relationships can be various relationships. They can be, you know, heterosexual, same sex. I mean, it goes both ways. Right. And you know, so it's like the relationship OCD is more just this blanket idea of you're in a relationship and it's targeting your partner or the relationship and you get lost in these loops trying to substantiate, like, am I with the right partner? Is this really love, right? Um, is, is this the best relationship for me for the longterm? And you get caught on these loops in a lot of the compulsive behaviors that people engage in are things like seeking reassurance with their partner, analyzing their partner, ruminating about stuff, confessing stuff, right. And, and stuff that usually actually damages the relationship over time.
Right. That's always the paradox of OCD, right. Is that the more certain you try to become the, the less certain you become, right. And you know, the more you try to, you know, create the best relationship possible, the more you damage it. Right. And it, and then it was just same thing with like washing hands, right. In, in OCD, right. It's like the more you wash your hands to keep yourself safe of germs, what happens paradoxically is you ended up like drying up all the oils, even blistering and cracking the skin, which then makes you more susceptible to germs. Right. And that's, if, if I've learned anything in my time, working with OCD is that it's all one big paradox, you know? And so the, the three points that I want to make when it comes to having successful relationships and dating, while you have relationship with Citi are as follows.
So point number one is, is that we need to make sure that we out of the lens of OCD before you make any decisions. Right. So I often talk about this idea and, um, of, of the lens of OCD and how I kind of like to portray it as is like this, right. It's when you're, when you're dealing with OCD and anxiety and even, even depression, right? Any kind of mental health struggle, it's like you get these goggles on, on your eyes, right? Like the way you see the world becomes distorted, right. You don't see the world how it really is. And when you're not seeing the world, how it is, you're not making decisions on, on the same reality as everyone else. You're making decisions on your perception of what you're seeing. Right. And which can lead to very, very bad choices in, in the longterm.
Right. Uh, you know, they always, you know, you always hear, like, don't make decisions when you're really emotional, or I don't send an email when you're really angry. Don't, you know, like don't go shopping when you're really hungry. Right. All these things. Right. And then the same, same goes true with the idea of your relationship. If you're dealing in the, in the, really the thick of an OCD episode, right. If you're spiraling out on a topic, the last thing you should do is make a, a decision, especially a really critical decision on your relationship because your relationship isn't the problem. OCD is the problem. Even if OCD is about your relationship, it's still not your relationship. That's the issue. And it's very, very, very important that you understand that and that you recognize that in the midst of that spiral. Okay. Because just like anyone else, I guess if someone has OCD on contamination, OCD, they will look me in the eye and tell me, well, this, this is an AIDS issue, or even a coronavirus issue.
Right. Um, but it's not right. You know, when it comes to OCD, it's a fear of that, right? That is what the issue is. And the fact that you're obsessing and ruminating, and you're getting anxious about that and doing compulsion is actually the problem that we're facing, not what your mind is telling you the problem is. So I hopefully that makes sense when, when I'm trying to distinct those two things, because understanding that is critical. And the first thing that I would tell anyone who's dealing with OCD or relationship OCD specifically, and I guess OCD in general, when I'm really thinking about it, but specifically a relationship OCD is that don't make it a longterm relationship decision, like ending a relationship or telling your partner to change something. Or, you know, like don't, don't make a decision in the relationship based on what the OCD is telling you, because the relationship isn't the issue.
OCD is the issue. And if you're looking to make a decision in your relationship, you need to do it in a calm, collected state of mind, making a decision and anxious, you know, chaotic state internally is, is almost never going to be a good idea. Right? So getting to a calm place before you make any decision on your relationship, um, is, is probably the first step for most people, right? Because a lot of people, when you're dealing with relationship OCD, the ideology in, in the mind of someone who's really stuck in OCD is as I have to have certainty about this one idea, and then I'll have a good relationship. And because you can't get certainty, the relationship you OCD, like dramatic makes everything very dramatic. And it's like, well, if I don't know this, for sure, certain, I must end the relationship. And it's like, no, no one, no one lives in a, in a certain world.
Right? And every, everyone who's in any kind of relationship has uncertainty has some things that they have to work through. There's no such thing as a perfect relationship or a perfect, significant other for that matter. And, um, the more and more we try to chase perfection, the more chaotic things get. And so if you're making decisions about your relationship, especially longterm significant decisions, you need to get into a calm place in a clear state of mind before making those decisions. That's like point number one, that I would say, because I think so many people make these very extreme decisions in an attempt to get rid of the OCD. Because again, they're not seeing the problem as OCD, they're seeing it as a relationship issue. So remembering that it's a necessity problem. And then waiting until you're in a clear state of mind before you make any decisions I think is, is critical.
Um, the second thing that I think is, is critical. And I got this from, uh, dr. Phillips Ann's article on relationship OCD, um, where he, where he talks about like looking at relationships like in the book, the road less traveled. So he quoted, um, doctor M Scott's, M Scott Peck's book, the road less traveled and realizing that you, you need to view love as a, as a choice, not a feeling, right. And there's this idea of a natural habituation that will happen in any relationship. Right. And so, you know, in any relationship when it's first starting off, you know, uh, you don't get those, like, you know, very exciting feelings like the person calls. And you're like, Oh my gosh, they're calling, you know? And like, you're all a jittery. And, and, um, and, and, and that excitement of a new relationship, because it's new, right?
This is a new person you're getting to know each other, but naturally over time in relationships, you, you know, calling and talking to the person becomes a normal thing, right. And, and habituation takes place in any relationship over time. Right. And, and that's part of the relationship is keeping the, the love and the spark alive, um, by doing fun things together and, and, and keeping, you know, a fun atmosphere and the relationship going. But when you view love as a feeling, what happens is as OCD lashes onto that, and it starts analyzing the feeling all the time and that's becomes a compulsion, right. So people will start analyzing and analyzing, Oh, you know, do I feel love, right. They'll be sitting next to their spouse holding their hand. It's like, okay, what am I feeling right now? Is this really love? You know? And obviously that becomes extremely toxic and damaging to the relationship because it's, you're, you're putting this unneeded pressure on a situation and on your partner to achieve a certain feeling state when that's not fair to the partner or the relationship.
And, and again, that's why it's not a relationship or love issue. It's an OCD issue. So viewing love as a choice, right. Always puts it back in your court, right? Like I can choose to be a faithful, loving partner, even though I'm in an anxious state, even though I'm in a depressed state, even though I'm not feeling a certain way and not, not trying to look at the relationship as successful or not successful based on your own internal feeling state that day. Right. That's where I think people get really caught up in a problem with relationship OCD is that they, they take their internal feeling state and they say, well, I need to feel a certain way. And if I don't, then it's the relationships fault. And it's like, or my partner's fault. And it's like, that's not always the case. Right. And, and I would argue, even on top of that, your partner is not responsible for your emotional wellbeing.
You are right. And it, and it's important that you're taking responsibility for that now, should your partner emotionally neglect? You know, so there's a balance there, but with OCS, I think sometimes it goes obviously overboard with that. So viewing love as a choice and saying, look, I have a choice today to make. And going back to that again, and again, is, is how you're going to have a longterm successful relationship. And again, that's what this episode's about. And then finally, the, the last thing I would say for this particular episode, and then in the next episode, we're going to talk about more, um, what it's like to date someone with relationship OCD. So it's more for the partners and family members. But the last thing I would say is don't look at every decision. So black and white, like a lot of times I'll see, we'll make things very dramatic, like black and white.
Like, I need to make this decision because this is a lifelong decision. Right. You know, it's like, I need to make decision for the rest of my life. And it's like, well, no, make decisions on a short term basis. Right. If you're really anxious and you're really caught in OCD, then then make the decision in a short term basis of what you're going to do. Right. So if you're really struggling right now, it's like, okay, I'm going to wait until I kind of get into a more calm, collected state. So for the next week, I'm going to choose to operate like this. And then next week, this, and then, and you know, when you're making short term decisions, because OCD loves to present these ideas of this, like black and white all or nothing like, Hey, you need to make this decision because you're the rest of your life depends on it.
And it doesn't right. If you, if you were in a relationship in your, you have a hard week, it's like, that's not a life or death thing. Right. And, um, and, and so making short term decisions is, and breaking the decisions down to short term, um, objects and in short term, timeframes is really helpful for the success of a longterm relationship because OCD loves to add, add drama where it doesn't need, you know, where it doesn't need to be. And so, um, so those are the things that I would really recommend if you're dealing with the relationship OCD and you're looking for, um, you know, tips on just success of how to, how to have a successful relationship. Those are the three things that I would start with. So again, just to recap, you know, if you're in the lens of OCD and you're in a real serious kind of episode, getting out of the lens, right.
Getting out of the lens. And again, you know, we have resources [email protected] Um, you know, they can help you with that, right. And then also viewing love as a choice and then making short term decisions if you're really in the thick of it, right. Not, not looking at, as these black and white, I have to make a longterm decisions this second. Right. Because it, you usually, you won't make a good decision if you're looking at things like that. And so hopefully you found this episode helpful, and if you are struggling with this, and if you're looking for more resources, we have some right down below in the notes, um, where, you know, we have free guides as well as assessments. And we also have, um, you know, our trainings as well as our, uh, live calls that we do, um, through restorative mine's dot com. So thank you so much for taking the time to hang out with us today. And I hope to see you guys soon.