Relationship OCD

By Dr. Chad Brandt


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) will often target things that are important to a person, and often OCD will target a persons’ relationships. Those that experience Relationship OCD (R-OCD) may have unwanted thoughts about whether they love their partner, friend, or family member enough, or if that person loves or values them back. Rituals may include checking to see if they are attracted the “right” amount, confessing doubts to their partners, and other ways to try to get a complete understanding of their feelings. This feeling is fleeting if ever achieved at all.

ROCD may question:

  • Compatibility
  • Love/Feelings
  • Attraction
  • Partner’s love/feelings for them

 Common Compulsions:

  • 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


Understanding the tricks that OCD will play to get the cycle of doubt started is an important first step in treatment. From there, Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) focused on moving forward in a day or relationship without a full or complete understanding of ones’ feelings can be started. Treatment will not be focused on the questions such as “is my partner the right person for me” or “do I really love my partner”, but instead will be focused on understanding the cycle of OCD and engaging in healthy and meaningful relationships with or without intrusive thoughts

Helpful links:


DISCLAIMER: The content found here is intended to serve as educational content and is not intended to replace therapy. For treatment-related questions, please be sure to work with your local provider or contact a local clinician.

Videos: Relationship OCD

Choose a title below to view a video for more information on various OCD topics.

Jonathan Grayson, Ph.D. explains what is relationship OCD and the common obsessions associated with it.

Jonathan Grayson, Ph.D. shares some examples of exposures for a few different types of obsessions such as "settling for second best" and uncertainty related to being in a relationship.

Jonathan Grayson, PhD answers the question we have on whether the problem is the relationship or the OCD.

Jonathan Grayson, PhD discusses how to navigate relationship issues with ROCD.

Jonathan Grayson, PhD discusses how to show support for a significant other who has ROCD and the importance of not giving them reassurance and being on the same page when it comes to treatment.

Jonathan Grayson, PhD gives his words of encouragement and hope for individuals suffering from Relationship OCD.