Even the strongest relationships go through their stages of doubt. Sometimes, you don’t believe in your ability to provide for your partner. Other times, you wonder if the relationship will work. These doubts are normal, and not a sign that your relationship is going to fail.
However, if your doubts are consuming your mind, it may be a sign that you have relationship obsessive-compulsive disorder or ROCD. Let’s talk about it.
What is ROCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as OCD involves obsessive thoughts and rituals. Therefore, it’s easy to assume that ROCD consists of obsessions about your relationship. These obsessions come in the form of rituals and doubts that your mind cannot escape from.
ROCD, also known as relationship substantiation, is not the occasional doubt about your relationship. We all have them. However, someone with ROCD will usually have thoughts all the time, and these doubts are usually not grounded in reality.
Symptoms of ROCD
If you do some of these, you may have ROCD.
Doubts can come in many forms. Sometimes, you worry if you’re good enough in the relationship. Other times, you may question if you’re really in love, even though you know you are. You may think about whether or not the relationship needs to go on. Almost always, these thoughts attack you for no good reason. It’s understandable to have doubts if you’re having relationship issues, but these thoughts can attack you when your relationship is doing well.
You’re Always Looking Up Relationship-Related Articles
One ritual that someone with ROCD may have is that they will always read articles about relationships. They may try to read about what a “great” relationship is and they will compare their relationship to what the article says. The person may read an article such as “Signs Your Relationship is Failing” and try to poke holes in their own relationship. Usually, they’ll take tiny flaws in the relationship and blow them up.
You may pursue passion in the relationship, even if it already has that. You may feel upset because sex with your partner isn’t as fiery as you want it to be. To you, passion needs to be perfect, like something out of a steamy romance novel. Anything else isn’t acceptable.
You May Have Certain Rules for Your Partner
Every relationship has rules and boundaries, but someone with ROCD will create ridiculous rules, and should your partner fail them, you may become upset.
You Can’t Get Rid of these Thoughts
Finally, you know it’s ROCD when you can’t get rid of your thoughts, and they keep persisting. It gives you severe anxiety, depression, or stress. Everyone has intrusive thoughts from time to time, but ROCD occurs all the time and can ruin one’s life.
What Causes ROCD?
ROCD is a complex disorder that can have many causes. It may be due to genetics. For example, if a parent has had some form of OCD, you may have it as well.
Besides that, trauma can play a factor. If you had severe relationship issues in the past or had poor attachment as a child, this could lead to ROCD.
ROCD, just like regular OCD, is treatable. You can’t flip a switch and eliminate your thoughts, but you can be able to treat it. Here are some ways you can do so.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a popular technique used with most therapists, and it can help your OCD. CBT teaches us that our habits and our thoughts are closely related, and ROCD is no exception. By learning to modify your thoughts and behaviors, you can have fewer symptoms of ROCD.
This is another technique that can help many people. Mindfulness involves complete awareness of the present moment. You sit down, take deep breaths, and examine the world around you. Any thoughts about the future or past are able to pass you by. Mindfulness is a technique found in Eastern religions, but many therapists are using it in a secular manner because it works.
Treating the Issue
Sometimes, your thoughts may be irrational, but they may be based on a kernel of truth. For example, maybe you’ve started to doubt your relationship because of poor sexual performance. This could be due to health or confidence reasons, and by taking care of this, it may be able to help your ROCD.
Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP)
ERP is a type of therapy that works well for fears, which ROCD can be based on. With ERP, one is exposed to their source of fear as much as possible and cannot react to it. This helps you desensitize yourself to your fear, especially one that is irrational.
So, how does ERP work in ROCD? The therapist may have you express your doubts and your thoughts to your partner over and over again until you realize that these worries are unfounded. It’s important that your partner is understanding of ROCD and realizes that it’s not their fault. A therapist can help with this.
Some types of medication may be able to help with ROCD, and one example is SSRIs. By improving your serotonin levels, your obsessive thoughts, and your anxieties caused by them can subside.
You should note that this isn’t a magic, cure-all pill. It should be used to treat your symptoms while you seek help from a therapist. A combination of medicine and therapy is always recommended, so talk to your doctor and your therapist to see what you can do about that.
Another way you can help yourself is to exercise and eat right. Exercising can improve your mood and allow you to sleep better, which may help with some of the symptoms. Meanwhile, eating right can do the same.
It’s a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
It’s important to treat your ROCD as soon as possible. By always doubting your relationship, it could cause the end of it. Speak to a professional today.
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