Monday, April 19, 2010

Relationship OCD: Fear of Choosing the Wrong Person or Gender

a guide to uncertain relationships
My 21st anniversary of being with my husband is coming up. I remember our 3rd anniversary, as we sat on the floor of my dorm room, and I struggled to tell him my fears. I had just gone to a presentation by a "feminists against pornography" group, with a slide show of violent images found in magazines, and the images were stuck in my head. I felt a claustrophobic dread that I would always be trapped by these images, a barrier between me and living my life with any peace or joy.

I had been reading a book on women's friendships, and combined with the scary things I had just seen, my OCD went into overdrive trying to figure out if it was safe to be in a relationship with a man, whether I was making a mistake, showing extremely poor judgement. As my anniversary approached, the obsessing intensified, and permeated all my thoughts and feelings. Was I putting myself in danger? Was I stupid? Was I wrong? Would this man betray me or hurt me?

It's hard enough to have these questions as a 20 year old, in any context, but in the context of OCD, I felt crazy. My first date with this man was to hear a feminist folksinger. I had never met anyone who listened to me like this man did, and took my thoughts seriously. He was compassionate. But my OCD wanted absolute certainty that he wouldn't become a monster. My best guess would've been that no, this was unlikely, but the OCD whittled away at this knowledge, kept demanding I figure things out.
Maybe you should be with a woman? That would be safer. If you stay with this man, you are betraying your gender. Are you sure you feel something for him? Keep checking on this. Any sensations? You are so tense when he touches you, obviously this is a sign that you need to be with a woman. So many horrible things have been done to women by men. You'll become part of that. You will be in collusion and contaminated. What if you stay with him, but you are actually a lesbian and you will lose any chance of happiness?
So, there I sat on the floor, on my anniversary barely able to speak, crying, and my love thought I was breaking up with him. This was the essence of OCD--I didn't want to break up with him. I just wanted the anxiety and intrusive thoughts and endless exhausting dialogues in my head to go away, and to know for sure I wasn't making a mistake.

There's a lot this 20 year old didn't know. She didn't know she had OCD. She knew she was anxious, but assumed that was a sign of her own defectiveness. She didn't know that OCD attacks what we hold dearest, what cuts right to the core of our identity and self. She didn't know that if you constantly check to see if you are feeling anything, you will mostly feel anxiety and fear. She didn't know that some things are incomprehensible, like the violent acts done to some women by some men.

I'm glad that somehow I made the decision to stay with the man who is now my husband. That took a lot of courage, since it meant trusting my own judgment and living with the whole host of anxiety-provoking questions, with no support for dealing with my OCD.

51 comments:

  1. I'm twenty years old. I have just discovered that I have ROCD and it's such a relief to know that I'm not crazy or the only one. I have a wonderful boyfriend and the anxiety and constant questioning is exhausting, but I will be trying my hardest to overcome that fear. Thank you for sharing your story.

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  2. I am very glad to have written something that would in any way help you. I know how exhausting ocd in relation to a relationship can be. I was very alone at age 20, and I wouldn't want anyone to experience that.

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  3. I too am suffering from relationship OCD. It is horrible. I can't tell you how helpful this post was.....all of the reading I have done on OCD - and this said it all. Your thoughts and words could have been written by me!

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  4. Anonymous--I am sorry you are experiencing relationship OCD! I know that I had no context for what I experienced, and it was excruciating. I hope that you are able to get treatment for your OCD, so you can live your life.

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  5. Very interesting post and honestly written. Do you have any tips/techniques for treatment? Thanks

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  6. What has helped the most is finding a therapist that specializes in OCD and Exposure and Response Prevention. Check out International OCD Foundation--they have a list of therapists who have an interest in OCD. I know ERP therapists can be hard to find, but hopefully one is in your area. Jonathan Grayson's book on Freedom from OCD really helped as well--it's not specifically about relationship OCD, but the concept of wanting absolute certainty is central to his book, which is a key idea--as humans we can never know 100% if the person we are with is the "right" one, and if this is the focus of our OCD, it can cause a lot of suffering.

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  7. I have been suffering from ROCD for four years now. It has been incredibly hard. It sounds like the poster made great strides in overcoming her OCD and I'd love to know how she did it.

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  8. Erica--I am sorry to hear you are suffering with ocd about relationships. It is a hard thing to struggle with! I encourage you to find a therapist who is experienced with ocd, and does exposure therapy--check out the IOCD Foundation for a list of therapists. I didn't have anyone to help me when I was in my 20's--and I muddled through but in my 40's I got help and doing exposures by listening to scripts of my feared consequences, and learning to tolerate the anxiety, has changed my life. Read Jonathan Grayson's book on Freedom from OCD--this also was key. Remember that the OCD is demanding you know absolutely for certain you are with the right person, and it will never say, "Ok, yes, you picked the right one, so I'll leave you alone," and the more you fight with it, the more it dogs you--that's why it's important to get help.

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  9. Reading this article and the positive stories of people who stuck it out with the one they love has really given me strength. I have pure 'O' about a lot of bizarre things but I have never had rOCD until the last 2 months. I am with an amazing man who I love and I think could be the one. But my OCD tells me I'm lying to myself, that this isn't right, that he isn't right for me... on and on and on. We all know what it's like but it is nice to know that my relationship can get past this as long as I stick with it. :-)

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  10. omg i read your post and its such relief!im 23 years old in a relationship with the most amazing guy!i get intrusive thoughts and negative feelings of anxiety and wanting to break up for no reason just thoughts in my head and feelings of anxiety,i even thought i was attracted to women and tore myself for two months.this man is amazing i know he is my soumate but sometimes hed be holding me tight and im lost in my mind what if this is not right?why am i so anxious?why am i not feeling butterflies?do i love him?no id dont?yes i do!no i dont!i do i said!oh god it goes on and on!sometimes i even get thoughts of hate towards him and i love him so much!:S

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  11. thanks for this post. this - "She didn't know that if you constantly check to see if you are feeling anything, you will mostly feel anxiety and fear" really resonated with me. i'd love to learn more about how you stay committed in the face of your ocd.

    thanks again! xo

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  12. Thank you for this. I have previously suffered with OCD, having intrusive violent and sexual images. I had some CBT for this which has helped so much with the feelings of shame and anxiety and the images have stopped altogether which is an amazing feeling. But I didn't realize that my constant doubts about my relationship was ROCD. I didn't know ROCD existed! I have just believed my doubts and tried to constantly find evidence that he is 'right' for me. And when something triggers that he is not 'right' then I go in to a deep phase of anxiety and depression. I shut him out even more and just feel so lonely and that is more proof that he doesn't understand me and is not right for me. I have nearly ended the relationship so many times. I am definitely going to get reading the book you recommend. Thank you so much for this blog :))))

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  13. We are celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary in June! There is no way to know if someone is 100% the "right one"--and OCD insists on an answer--even though you can't get one. It's exhausting, but living your life without analyzing the thoughts gives you a chance at freedom.

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  14. Thank you so much for posting this story. I actually just turned 20 myself, and am in a long term relationship with someone I love. I was just recently diagnosed with OCD the sexual/religious and ROCD too. For a long time I didn't know what was wrong with me. I had no idea it was OCD. I just thought I had broken record thoughts. Sometimes I do not know how I stuck through this relationship, but I did. For which I am happy. My kind of ROCD was was worrying if I truly loved him sufficiently. I thought I would be unfaithful somehow, even though people have always described me as loyal. I coulnd't look at people for fear I would think bad thoughts. I too, would look to see if it was 100% right or not. I would analyze things and just believed I was a naturally bad, unfaithful,and gross person. Thank you for your story on ROCD. It helps people like me. It helps me breath in and learn to not pay attention to those kind thoughts.

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  15. I'm so happy you wrote this. I've just realized I more than likely have ROCD, but I'll see a psychiatrist in a few weeks to be sure. I've struggled with this in EVERY relationship plus I have a number of other signs of OCD (not actual compulsions, but intrusive thoughts and "checking" and mental compulsions). I Googled "relationship OCD blog" and am happy I found this. It gives me a lot of hope for my future and hope that I can make my relationship work even with this awful problem.

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  16. Anon--I had a similar thing with wondering if I was enjoying things "sufficiently" and the minute I started tangling with these thoughts, I really had no chance of enjoying anything! I know the pain of assuming you are a naturally bad person--but our worth is never in question! We all have worth.

    Krys--I hope the visit to the psychiatrist proved helpful. You are not broken--it is possible to have a good relationship, even with OCD--and with Exposure Therapy and a knowledgeable therapist, you can thrive!

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  17. Hi!
    I have only been in a relationship for a little over 2 months, but with the most wonderful guy. I dated a guy before him who I almost married, but wasn't sure that I loved him. Now I don't know if I love this guy. I obsess about it. What if I never fall in love with him? What is love supposed to feel like? He is so wonderful and funny and wants all the same things for his future! But I obsess even about not being attracted to certain attributes, or the fact that something he said was annoying or not funny. Other times I feel like we are connecting so amazingly and I feel safe and happy with him. Is this ROCD stuff of am is this guy just not the one for me? ahhhh!!

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  18. Hey!

    It's such a relief to know that I am not crazy or alone! I recently got engaged to an amazing man. He has been my first real love and I couldn't imagine life without him but I have this constant inner dialog going on where I keep questioning myself and who I am, whether he is the right one, whether it's "meant to be", all of those typical Western Romantic ideals. I have had OCD in other areas of my life where I used to count the number of letters in a phrase and become anxious if it didn't end in an even number. I also pulled my hair out when my parents divorced as a coping mechanism. I look forward to getting a grip on this ROCD! I will definitely read Grayson's book and look for a therapist that specializes in OCD. As we are aware, the inner dialog is exhausting!

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  19. Anon and Anon--welcome. Yes, ROCD is exhausting and latches onto such an important area of life, finding someone to spend your life with. Hang in there, and if at all possible find a ERP therapist to help you navigate.

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  20. expwoman- I'm glad I found your blog- what a great read, I can totally relate to this!

    I've been dealing with ROCD for a little over two years and have been with my boyfriend for four years. He's a great guy. What complicates things even more is that he is my first boyfriend, so I often wonder, "is there something more out there? Is he good for me?" etc and wonder if it's because I'm inexperienced or because of ROCD.

    I was wondering if you could share any experience with that? Also, how has marriage been living with ROCD is it manageable/ do you reach out to your girlfriends about it?

    Thanks!

    Manda

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  21. Manda--Thank you for your kind words! OCD is about wanting to know for sure, and there's no way to know absolutely for sure if there is something more out there, and it will drive you crazy trying to figure it out. The key is to deal with your OCD, either through seeing an Exposure therapist or finding a support group, or even starting with reading Jonathan Grayson's book Freedom from OCD. Then you will have a better sense of who *you* are, rather than being driven by your OCD fears. I was fortunate that to a certain degree, choosing to marry my boyfriend 20 years ago was a kind of exposure to my fears of choosing the wrong person, and they receded, but my OCD found other things to latch onto, so it was a relief to finally get treatment a few years ago. I didn't have really any friends I could reach out to when I was in my 20's. Now I have a couple really good friends who know I have OCD, and I can share my often odd and anxious thought processes.

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    1. Thank you so much for everything. It can be so comforting read. I am 20 and plagued with OCD, and it can be so destructive it is unbearable at times. Everyone's words really provide insight, and ease to the pain suffering confusion and despair OCD brings upon us. It gives us a glimpse of freedom, hope, and strength to hold on to one of the most precious beings in our lives - our Love. I have found communication to be very important. It is also important to realize you have OCD and understand it. Thank you for everyone's words and advice. Also, I found a quote by someone who helped others with ROCD that might help some people - it was "there are no answers, there are only choices", if I remember correctly.

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  22. I am so happy I stumbled upon this blog! Thank you for sharing your story and making me feel less alone. I recently discovered that I have ROCD, and just knowing this has helped me quite a bit. I have been in a relationship with a wonderful man for about 6 months now. It is actually difficult to find anything wrong with the relationship! But that doesn't stop me from checking! When we first got together I had also met another man. Knowing little about both of them I felt I had to choose who to pursue a relationship with (I went on a few dates with each first). I OBSESSED about this decision and could think of nothing else until I just chose. I had so much fun and felt such a connection with the one I chose that I had to see where it would go. I can't let go of wondering if I made the wrong choice. I am happy with my bf. Ridiculously happy. Except when I am obsessing over whether or not I made the right choice. It is driving me crazy.

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    1. Anon--I'm glad that you found some resonance in what I wrote. OCD asks the impossible--knowing for sure if a choice is the "perfect" one for all time, and erodes the connection you feel with your current bf, ensuring that the choice will feel "wrong"--OCD causes the very pain it pretends to help you avoid. With exposure therapy it is possible to get better--check out Jonathan Grayson's Freedom from OCD or the list of therapists at the International OCD Foundation. http://www.ocfoundation.org/treatment_providers.aspx

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  23. I just found this blog. I developed ROCD in 2005, six weeks into my relationship with my then-boyfriend, now husband. It's been 7 years of struggling with this, feeling so scared ALL THE TIME that the fears I have are the just the normal fears of someone who is in the wrong relationship. I know I exhibit all the signs of someone with ROCD, yet somehow my situation feels DIFFERENT than others with ocd and therefore I'm so scared that it's not ocd. I'm sure everyone afflicted with this feels the same about their relationship, though. I decided to marry my hubby in 2008 --- the ROCD completely ruined my wedding day, something that should have been the happiest day of my life. ROCD is hell, but somehow I am hanging in there. Thanks for posting this.

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    1. Anon--It took courage for you to marry your husband in spite of these fears! One of OCD's trademarks is the fear that "this time" is "different" and a real fear--my therapist had me practice noticing every time I had that thought and to see it as a red flag that the OCD was active. I hope you find an experienced therapist who can work on Exposure Therapy with you--it made a world of difference! The IOCDF also has a list of treatment providers.

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    2. Anonymous, I can definitely relate! I also married my husband in spite of raging (undiagnosed) relationship OCD that told me I was making a huge mistake and that I was probably going to break his heart if I later met the right girl or guy (bisexual, no H-OCD issues though). In the end I decided I would rather risk making the mistake of marrying such a good man than risk the mistake of walking away from such a good thing. But I purposefully did a courthouse wedding because I was so petrified and I thought I was going to throw up I was so anxious. I was in a state of dread for a few weeks before and a week after and then it faded away. Now I am mostly sure I did the right thing and the ROCD only pops up now and again.

      I am so grateful I didn't walk/run away when my OCD was telling me to.

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    3. Anon--thank you for sharing your story! I am glad you followed your heart, which was wise in ways your OCD wasn't. I am coming up on my 20th wedding anniversary, and am grateful I too chose to go ahead.

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  24. hiee guys,

    I need a serious help.
    I have my cousin brother who is suffering with ocd since childhood.He recently told me that when we were kids he was ill with the same.he kissed me.and all these years that thing was there in his mind.i do not remember that happened with me.but i am sure that has happened.Now he told me after all these years.He is fascinated my me.he want to see me all the time.he is sexually excited by me.He is trying hard to get away for me.but it is not possible for me.I do not want to scold him as he is ill and i am into a very serious problem what to do how to help him.Being a cousin i can not have a relationship with him but i also feel for him sometimes.i am confused.

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    1. This sounds very stressful. Beyond OCD has some info for friends and family of those with OCD that you might want to read.

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  25. HI Everyone,

    I to have ocd with relationships. I get involved with someone and than the same thoughts replay over and over and over in my head. Is he the right one? Oh no he is to that or to that. I eventually break up with them. However when i relax than it is all fine and than i start feeling. However it is a constant battle. I am now seeing a phycologist. I am trying to accept my anxiety and not fight it as well as the thoughts however I don't know what is real with my thoughts and what is not. I just want to love and feel again. I am suffering with depression and trying to beat this. My phycologist wants to put me on anti- deressants but i am trying to do it on my own. Any suggestions from anyone?

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    1. Hi Anon,
      Fighting the thoughts made them worse in my case, as counterintuitive as that might seem. If your psychologist is familiar with exposure therapy and mindfulness for treating OCD, that would be great! Depression often occurs with OCD--it did with me. I did go with antidepressants after much agonizing, and it helped me do my exposure therapy.
      All the best!
      E.

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  26. I was diagnoised with OCD 5 years ago. I got into a relatioinship three years ago ande for the past two years have been plagued by these constant fears that I don't love him, that I am not feeling the "he's the right one" stomach tingling feelings, that I am not attracted to him. I spend my waking hours with thes thoughts. Mean while, he is an amazing, caring, special human being. He asked me to marry him. I said yes without feeling anything but frozen. I just learned about ROCD and feel slightly relieved that I am not alone. I am at the point where I am just going to go with it.

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    1. You are not alone! This post has gotten more comments of any post I've written! I encourage you to find a therapist who knows exposure therapy, and deal with the OCD--it made a world of difference to me. I got married before I knew I had OCD, but I was fortunate that the healthy part of myself knew that I wasn't willing to break up with the man I eventually married, even with the anxiety telling me I needed 100% certainty. B

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  27. Hi, I am very happy i found this website. I am 32, still single, but been in relationship for 5 months now. I have ROCD, and because of this, I ruined all my relationships, my boyfriends becoming sick of my constant doubts. Yet I have been in long relationships (9 years, and 5 years). I am now in a new relationship and I know I could be happy be I am still constantly asking myself if i love him, or will be happy with him. I am taking medications and I just started seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist. I hope that this will help. Take care and good luck to all of you xxx

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    1. Welcome Anon--
      It is possible to treat OCD and get your life back. The constant analysis felt awful when I did it, but what I didn't realize is that it was actually a ritual that gave short term relief but rebounded even stronger. If I just sat with the thought of "Is it ok to be in this relationship?" my anxiety went through the roof, even more than when I was doing all my trying to answer the questions. Exposure therapy made all the difference. Jonathan Grayson's book was helpful when I couldn't yet find an exposure therapist. http://ocdphiladelphia.com/ocd-help-doc-blog/

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  28. Every time I read blogs like this, I feel a little hope. I first started experiencing ROCD when I was 16 and in my first serious relationship. It eventually led to our breakup. We did get back together for a short time after that, and my ROCD went away for a bit, and we eventually broke up again, mutually this time. I would feel flashes of anxiety in relationships after that, and I was able to eventually get married. We are now going through a divorce, and I started dating a wonderful man, who understands me and fits me better than my husband ever did. Everything was going great, until a few weeks ago I had a huge flare up of my ROCD. I started questioning everything. I went front being completely in love and knowing that he's the one for me, to questioning everything I know. I think the stress of the divorce and the stress of my family not approving of the new relationship, has made my ROCD flare up tremendously. My main sources of anxiety come from questioning if he's the one, questioning if I'm ever going to be free from this anxiety, and questioning if it really is ROCD or if I just want to break up with him and don't have the courage to do so. The thought of losing him terrifies me, and logically I know it's my ROCD because if I didn't really love him, why would I be so upset over losing him? The thought of being alone and never being able to have a normal relationship also terrifies me. I was able to do it in the past, so why am I having such a hard time now? I started seeing a therapist, and we're trying to deal with my anxiety now. I've only been seeing her about two weeks, and I'm still having huge anxiety flare ups. I fear that I'll never be able to control them and control my thoughts and emotions. Thanks so much for this blog. It's given me a few moments of peace.

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    1. Welcome Anon,
      Stress often make my OCD flare up. Pure O Canuck has a blog about ROCD that you might be interested in: http://pureocanuck.blogspot.com/

      I hope your therapist is helpful--does she have experience with exposure therapy? If not, ask her if she's willing to learn. Jonathan Grayson's book Freedom From OCD was of much help to me before I could find an exposure therapist. http://ocdphiladelphia.com/ocd-help-doc-blog/

      In my case, the more I analyzed and tried to figure out the answers to all my obsessive questions, the worse I ended up feeling. The initial figuring out made the anxiety lessen but then it would rebound.

      All the best to you in your journey!

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  29. Thank God I found this blog. I'm nearly 20, Ive been with my boyfriend 16 months but I started having these doubts about 8 months ago. I first of all thought it was depression so i was put on prozac. The thoughts did leave and came back 2 weeks ago after he did something wrong and upset me. I really want to get over this, i live in a country where help isnt that easy to get (Middle East). Any tips for me to get through this? I love him so much and I know one day we will get married, im just so worried these thoughts will ruin everything.

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    1. Welcome Anon.

      Jonathan Grayson's book Freedom From OCD was of much help to me before I could find an exposure therapist. http://ocdphiladelphia.com/ocd-help-doc-blog/

      Exposure therapy really helped me, as did medication, but both at the same time. I also had depression at the same time as my OCD, so it's important to address both aspects.

      The OCD Center of LA does online counseling: http://www.ocdla.com/telephone-online-therapy-ocd-anxiety.html

      Thoughts come through our brains constantly--but OCD makes us latch onto particular thoughts and try to get 100 percent certainty that they aren't true, but we never get 100 percent certainty, so it's a futile task. Exposure therapy helps you tolerate the uncertainty, and make decisions based on what you want rather than what you are afraid of.

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  30. I'm so happy to have found this link, I had ever even known that ROCD even existed and am very upset but still incredibly relieved to know that this is a condition that can be helped and that I can share with others!! I am 23 years old and have recently begun dating a man that I have the world in common with and am extremely fond of him, my other relationships have failed because of ROCD but I absolutely refuse to let it ruin this one!! In fact I am going to get some professional help. I haven't been official diagnoses but there is not a single doubt in my mind that this is what I am suffering from! If anyone has any tips or would just want to talk about it, please please email me!

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    1. Welcome Julie,
      If I've been of any help, I am glad. I commend you for looking into professional help, since that has made all the difference for me, and I hope that you find someone who is familiar with OCD. I am not a professional, and I can't make diagnoses, but I do recognize pain, and my heart goes out to you.

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    2. Hi everyone! I'm so happy and so sad at the same time I found this blog. My 1 year boyfriend seems to have ROCD. Though we have met and liked each other very spontaneously, though we shared so much of our lives,after 2 months of relationship he told me he's not in love with me. Broke up, got back after 2 weeks, broke up again after 2 months because he "didn't feel something big", got back after 4 months and eventualy a month ago he told me he loves me but he doesn't find me attractive. Though I had suspicions about ROCD and tried to be patient, I found that statement so hurting and insulting...However I told him that I find his behaviour contadictory and that I don't believe his statement.He said it's better to be separate. We are 1 month separate now.I still love him.

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  31. Hi everyone! I'm so happy and so sad at the same time I found this blog. My 1 year boyfriend seems to have ROCD. Though we have met and liked each other very spontaneously, though we shared so much of our lives,after 2 months of relationship he told me he's not in love with me. Broke up, got back after 2 weeks, broke up again after 2 months because he "didn't feel something big", got back after 4 months and eventualy a month ago he told me he loves me but he doesn't find me attractive. Though I had suspicions about ROCD and tried to be patient, I found that statement so hurting and insulting...However I told him that I find his behaviour contadictory and that I don't believe his statement.He said it's better to be separate. We are 1 month separate now.I still love him.

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    1. This sounds stressful. There are support groups for friends and family of those with OCD. Check out the International OCD Foundation to find more info.

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  32. I have ROCD too... Im constantly thinking that my boyfriend is my brother. I have been with this man for 4.5 years and I love with all my heart. I know i will eventually marry him and our parents are disapproved our relationship since the first day. I am under so much stress, its unbelievable. Its like a ghost haunting me saying my bf is my brother. I am trying to avoid these thoughts, its not something i would ever agree on. My bf and I love each other and our sex life is great. We find each other attractive, and would sacrifice the world to be with each other if it came to that. We have been best friends but the constant thoughts of him being my brother is destructing my relationship to the point where i am crying to him every night still unable to tell him what my thoughts are saying exactly. I love him from bits to pieces, and im constantly watching our videos to remind me of who he is. Everything has become so blurry and all these questions are arising. I am getting mentally unstable and I fear he will leave me one day. I want to marry him but im afraid these thoughts will haunt me for the rest of my life. Do anti-depressants help if i start taking them? I want to cool my mind and to refrain it from thinking about these negative, unneeded thoughts rushing through my brain. Please help I want to stop these thoughts and it just began recently and won't come out of my mind not even for 5 minutes of the day.

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    1. Anon--This sounds very painful, and I encourage you to check out the International OCD Foundation in order to find an Exposure Therapist who specializes in OCD treatment. There is hope of getting better, and with a good therapist, you can "cool down" your compulsions to watch videos and reassure yourself you boyfriend is not your brother. Medication can help as well for some people, especially in combination with Exposure Therapy.

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  33. I think you can find great info about ROCD on rocd.net
    best of luck

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  34. This at last feels like an experience I can relate to - people who don't just say "i have doubts about my boyfriend too". They have no idea how it feels to be hit by your doubts like a truck the moment you awake, to worry at them like a bone all day and to be kept awake by them all night as your partner sleeps next to you with no idea what you are thinking about him.
    I've struggled with relationships for seven years and been mostly single in that time for fear of what they entail. I've moved towards thinking that I am better off single and had started to tell myself that perhaps I should accept not having children.
    I don't know if I can change this, but I now know that there is something real going on with me and I have a name for my enemy. And perhaps with a therapist I can get better. Thank you all for sharing.

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  35. I have suffered from OCD in various forms. Most recently this has affected my relationship. I am dating a wonderful girl and we have enjoyed great times and there have been so many times that I knew that I love her and she loves me. However, recently I have been plagued almost non-stop with doubts, fears, concerns, and anxieties. Do I really love her? What am I supposed to feel? Am I feeling that? Why are there times that I feel that I don't feel especially "in love"? These questions circle around my head constantly. It has gotten to the point where I can't hold her in my arms without having that thought constantly plaguing me.
    There are times when I mull over it for hours on end and seek reassurance time and again from my family and myself out of fear and anxiety.
    I feel so guilty that I have these fears and anxieties. I know that it concerns her and I have shared these fears with her. She has stated that she wants to stand by my side during this struggle but I don't want to take advantage of her love and willingness to fight with me by continuing on this path.
    We are talking about marriage and everytime we seriously talk about it, fear wells up in my heart because of these doubts and fears. I want to fight for this relationship but sometimes I am so caught up in my own head it's hard to overcome. Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

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    1. I just saw that the latest issue of the OCD Newsletter from the International OCD Foundation has an article on relationship OCD by Guy Doron, PhD and Danny Derby PhD. They research this topic and have a website at http://rocd.net

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