Dating Someone with Relationship OCD
In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about being in a romantic relationship with someone who has Relationship OCD. This episode is specifically for significant others/ partners of people who struggle with relationship OCD.
As a quick recap, Relationship OCD, also known as 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.
So in this episode, I will be discussing practical ideas and guidance for creating a successful relationship with someone who is dealing with Relationship OCD. I also share specific things you can do in order to support your partner on this journey, while taking care of yourself as well.
All right. Hey there. And welcome to this episode where we're going to talk about dating someone with relationship OCD. And so, um, in this episode, what I want to do is cover some kind of just broad tips, uh, you know, to have a successful relationship if your partner has relationship OCD. And so in the last episode I talked about, um, you know, what to do if you're the one actually experiencing relationship OCD. And in this episode, this is kind of specifically for the partners and significant others, because, you know, at the end of the day in a relationship with two people, um, you know, each person is going to struggle, right? If, if OCD is involved like OCD, doesn't just impact the individual, it impacts, um, the family and the loved ones as well. And so it's important that, that you know what to do, um, and that you have your own support as well, which is why I wanted to take the time to make this up.
So, and so, um, this, this episode obviously also operates under the assumption that your partner has been diagnosed with OCD and has relationship OCD, right? This isn't meant for you to diagnose your partner and change your partner and all that. Like what we're doing here is we're operating under the assumption that your partner has been clinically diagnosed with OCD, specifically, relationship OCD, and, um, or at least that's one of their subtypes. And this is a way for, you know, you to know how to support them and how to support the relationship as a whole. And so, um, tip number one that I really want to start out with is this idea of you as the partner, understanding what OCD is and what the treatment process for OCD is, right? So you know where those city, we have the four components, right? You have the, the obsession or the intrusive thought you have the anxiety, the compulsion, and then the relief, and this just works in that cycle.
Right? And, and it's really important that you understand how that cycle works with your partner and what their specific fear is, as well as what their compulsion's are. Right. Because what happens with, um, relationship OCD is the, the significant other, right? You, in this case, if you're dealing with someone, if you're, if you're, if you're a partner, um, you know, has OCD, you can often become the compulsion for that person. Right? So if your partner is coming to you and you are, um, reassuring them again and again and again on something, right. Or if they're analyzing something about the past again and again, and they keep coming to you for that, that question, if you're, if you're answering the same question multiple times, right? Um, on a, on a weekend week out basis, chances are that that could be a compulsion that your, your partner is doing.
And what we need understand is while it might make your partner feel better, right. Um, on a short term basis, it's actually making their OCD worse over the long run, and they're getting worse over time. Right? And that's the paradox of, of OCD is that if we make the person feel better, or if the person's looking for that short term relief, what it's going to be is this longterm distress. Right? And if we're able to have some short term distress, that's going to be longterm healing, right. And that's the paradox of the treatment with ERP. But so once you understand OCD and understand your role in the person's OCD, especially if it's relationship, if, if you do anything that reinforces the first part is, is to really make sure that you're not reinforcing anything, right. And you're not, you're not serving as a compulsion. Um, because while it might, it might work in the short term, it's, it's just gonna make, it's gonna make for a very stressful relationship over the longterm.
And, you know, to the point where it could get damaged beyond repair in many cases. And then I have watched, you know, you know, relationships do this with, with clients where, you know, the, the partner just keeps reinforcing it reinforcing. And not that it's the partners for the PR person with obesity is responsible for their recovery, of course. But as the partner, you need to understand if you're reinforcing something because, um, if, if you don't realize that it will just keep going in this loop and eventually it'll burn you out, you'll just get to the point where you're just done with answering these questions and reinforcing it, because it will never be enough for a city it's it's insatiable. Right. And so, so that's the first part, right. Really understanding it. And then part two is not reinforcing it. Um, the, the second thing that I, that I want to say is we need to understand the lens of OCD.
And if your partner is dealing with OCD, one, we need to understand it's really serious and they need to be getting help, because if they're not getting help, it's chances are it's going to get worse. And, um, and, and understanding the, that it is serious, but it's also something that's treatable and it's not your partner's defining characteristic. Right. I mean, if it's something they struggle with, it's like anyone, I, you know, no human being is perfect. Right. So one thing I would encourage is really not to hold that over their head. They didn't choose it. They didn't, they didn't ask for it. I mean, if it's something they're dealing with, it's like, you know, to be respectful and to be, um, you know, sensitive to that. And I mean, because the reality is, is that it is a very tough condition to live with, especially if it's untreated.
I mean, it, it can be really painful emotionally and mentally and, um, and very distressing. And so understanding that and, and what, but on another level, we need to understand that with OCD, whatever the person thinks the fear is, right. Or whatever they they're obsessing about is almost never the actual issue. Right. So if your partner is obsessing about the relationship or about you and trying to substantiate the relationship and trying to like analyze you, you aren't the issue. Okay. Your relationship probably isn't the issue either. And, and I know this might be difficult, but I really would encourage you not to take it at face value. And, and it's like, you know, I, I know I can speak into this, having, having done this for awhile, but most people that, that I work with or come into my office or whatever, when they tell me that they're obsessing about whatever that content is, it's, it's almost never the issue. Right? So if someone is telling me, they're afraid of getting AIDS, and so they spend three, four hours washing their hands each day. Well, I don't see that as an AIDS AIDS problem. Cause they don't have AIDS. Right. You know, they don't have a disease. Right. The problem is, is that they have a fear of something and they're reinforcing it. And so we need to break that loop. Right. And the same goes for relationship, Oh, city. Now, most of the people that I've worked with with relationship city,
Now most of the people that I've worked with with relationship OCT, usually their partner or the relationship is actually not the problem. Right? The person becomes anxious about a situation with the relationship or with their partner. And again, they're trying to substantiate it, right. They, the anxiety that they're experiencing is actually issue. And then they start doing these compulsions, which makes it worse and realizing that if your partner has OCD, they, whether they're really lost in that, in that OCD loop, it's almost as if there's this lens over their eyes and they're not seeing the world as it really is. They're not seeing you or your relationship as it really is in when they're seeing it in a disordered fashion, they're trying to, to fix it. There's a true trying to fix something that's not broken. Right. You know, someone who's washing their hands again and again, is trying to protect themselves, but they're not actually in danger.
And, and so I would really encourage you not to take it personally. Right. And not to look too deep into the idea of what they're obsessing about because the overwhelming probability is, is that has nothing to do with you or your relationship. It has to do with the fact that that person has OCD primarily. And if it locks onto their relationship, chances are, they'll tell you, you know, I hear this again. And you're like, there's nothing wrong with my partner relationship while mine just keeps looping about it. Right. They're trying to solve the problem to the best that they know how, but it's making it worse off than over time, which is why it's important for that. They're, they're getting help. Right. And they're getting the professional guidance they need. Um, and you know, when you are faced with a question, your partner, or if something seeming off, right.
And if, if your partner is, you know, seeming distant or seeming more like they're just in their head, like ruminating on something, you know, even surfacing those conversations and asking them like, well, you know, is this is this part of OCD, right? And as, as a significant other, it's okay to be involved in treatment. In fact, you know, I often really encourage that, right. Because if you're their loved one in their primary support system, it's important that you know, what treatment is and, and how to support them. Right. And having that open dialogue of like, Hey man, is this is this part of Euro city right now. Right. And having those, those open honest questions is okay, and you need to know, and then trust me on a, so you don't want to know every thought that your partner has. Okay. In fact, it's usually harmful, you know, if you, like, if you start digging into every thought, just like, you probably don't want your partner to know every thought in your head, right.
The thoughts are not the issue. Right. What the issue is, is, are the compulsion's that are being done that are reinforcing this loop. And so as the partner, yes, it's important that you understand the city it's important that you aren't reinforcing it, that you aren't making it worse. Right. It's important that your significant know significant getting the help they need. And it's also important that you aren't taking it personally, if they do struggle with relationship OCD specifically, and they're getting help, then, then chances are, it's not you or your relationship that the that's the issue. It's the real, it's the OCD, that's the issue and remembering that. Right. And then, you know, being supportive on their journey is, is kind of the final tip that I want to share. Because as a person who's gone through OCD as a person who's married, you know, with my wife and, you know, we have a baby and it's like, you know, we have a wonderful relationship.
I mean, part of it is, is like, you know, just a lot of transparency and, um, and, and just being open and honest and, and, and that's, that's a very important part of our relationship. Now. It doesn't mean about everything, but, uh, like with thoughts, like every thought that pops into their head, but they need to feel supportive, encouraged on there from, from their spouse. And that's a really important aspect. And so when you can start not to take it so personally, especially if it's about your relationship or you, and they're getting in their mind about it, I'm realizing that it's OCD and then figuring out and learning how to support them. And if, if you can get guidance, even from their person they're seeking help from that's really important, too. Right. And [email protected], you know, we have, um, resources as well for that. Um, you know, we have a lot of, we, we support a lot of family members, you know, who have people who, um, deal with OCD because we know OCD is not just an individual issue.
It's a family problem. Like it's a family issue, you know, like it, it bleeds into the family to the relationship to kids and workplaces and so on. So we obviously want to support everyone at every level that we can. And so, um, that's, that's really all, you know, that I have for this particular episode right now. Um, so just to recap, you know, understanding of city, not reinforcing it, understanding that lens of OCT, understanding that your partner isn't seeing it, how it really is, and really encouraging them and supporting them on their recovery and in realizing that they can recover and making sure they're getting the right help that they need. And, um, you know, again, if you're looking for more resources, we have some right down below in the notes for you. Um, we have some, some free guides and assessments as well, as well as, um, you know, our, our private community, where we have live calls, where you can get some, some expert guidance on how to support, loved ones as well. So thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. And I hope you guys have a great day and I hope to see you soon, take care.