Those that experience Relationship OCD (R-OCD) have an overwhelming uncertainty about loving their partner enough or at all. Often individuals with R-OCD will engage in confession rituals with their partner to express these feelings and doubts. Confession rituals can be expressing a thought or feeling they had about another person or making statements about not knowing if they love their partner. The individual with R-OCD have a heightened expectation of how they should feel about their partner and falsely believes they should feel that way all the time. Those with these feelings about their partner could or could not be accurate, the individual with R-OCD may end the relationship solely to eliminate the anxiety of not being 100% certain about their feelings.
ROCD may question:
- Partner’s love/feelings for them
- Measuring feelings for their partner through comparisons, pros and cons list, or through levels of arousal
- Confessing feelings or thoughts about others
- Ruminating about the relationship or partner’s qualities
- Thinking about the perfect feelings or what perfect relationships look like
Every relationship goes through ups and downs, however, distinguishing between OCD and non-OCD concerns are an important factor in the treatment process and learning to enjoy the relationship with uncertainty. Exposure with Response Prevention is the gold standard for treating OCD, include ROCD. Treatment will not give an individual the answer to “is my partner the right person for me” or “do I really love my partner.” Instead, it will teach you to be in a relationship in which you will never know for sure if you love your partner enough, if they are the right one for you, or if you love them at all. It’s important to know, if the relationship ends for a non-OCD reason, individuals with ROCD need to seek treatment still as it is likely to continue into their next relationship.