Saturday, November 10, 2012

Relationship OCD: Two Hard Things at Once

The post on Exposing OCD with the most comments and reader resonance is Relationship OCD and Fear of Choosing the Wrong Person or Gender.  I wrote it over 2 years ago, and it still gets comments.  There is a thread of pain throughout the comments, which I find sobering.  

I am not a professional.  I am not a therapist.  I am someone sharing my story and my experience.  If there's any lesson, it's not that my readers need to marry the one they are with, or not marry the one they are with, or find another gender, but that OCD latches onto what is important to us, such as love or connection, or a particular person, or imagined ideal person.  

Relationship struggles are hard enough without OCD, and there's nothing magical about OCD treatment that will make relationships struggle-free, but it can give you the chance to choose to live your life, and choose who you love.  

OCD is offering a false promise that you can banish all fears and doubts, all unwanted thoughts, all gnawing anxiety, if you just come up with the right ritual of analysis, research, checking, double checking, monitoring feelings or repeating certain phrases.  

When I married my husband 20 years ago, I could've made the wrong choice.  Many marriages end in divorce.  The brave part was making a choice, without having absolute omniscient knowledge of the future, which of course no human gets.   Getting married didn't make my OCD go away, but I did have the victory of choosing what I wanted(or rather, my best guess of what I wanted).    

Professional help and OCD support groups are about making an investment in your future, an investment in your life, in facing the disorder that barrages you with thoughts that go against the core of your being, and yet the more you wrestle with them, the more they cling.