Being in love with someone that sufferers from OCD will most definitely lead to an array of unique relationship challenges. In order to be happy together and overcome OCD, you’ll need to put conscious effort on treatment and compromise. Some say that OCD is “the third person in the relationship,” which is why both of you have to be 100 percent committed to making improvements happen.
Recognizing the Symptoms of OCD
It’s possible for a person suffering from OCD to be oblivious about it. You may feel that something is off but you probably have no idea that the problems can be attributed to a serious condition.
Before doing anything else, you’ll need to recognize the symptoms of OCD. Once you notice and systemize those, the two of you can seek professional assistance. Having the condition diagnosed and getting suggestions from a medical professional will give you the foundation upon which you can build a healthy and happy relationship.
Some of the most common symptoms and expressions of OCD include:
- Repetitive behaviors – your partner seems to be doing the same thing again and again, and again
- Excessive, even cumbersome need for reassurance
- Dedicating too much time and attention to even the simplest of tasks
- Spending too much time alone (for example, being in the bathroom for an hour)
- Excessive concern, even anxiety about small things that don’t realty matter
- High levels of irritability
- Constant indecisiveness
- Sleep problems
- Regularly staying up late to finish on tasks
- Worries about daily life and fear of facing tasks
- Ritualistic behavior
- Checking and re-checking to make sure that something has been done correctly
The expressions of OCD give you a pretty good idea about how the condition could strain your relationship. People that have partners with OCD tend to face several very specific challenges that may seem impossible to overcome at times.
- Avoidance of triggers: as already mentioned, people with OCD suffer from constant indecisiveness and self-doubt. This doubt will be taken to the relationship level. They may feel inadequate in social situations or when meeting the friends of a partner, for example. Avoidance of triggers is common and people with OCD may prefer spending most of their time at home and in isolation.
- Secrecy: people that suffer from OCD can be embarrassed by the nature of their obsessions and compulsions, especially if these revolve around a partner. As a result, they may attempt to hide the condition. The secrecy will stand in the way of open communication.
- Sexual problems: OCD can wreak havoc in your sex life. People that suffer from OCD may have intense contamination fears and they could start being obsessed both about their sexual performance and unwanted pregnancies. The anxiety stemming from all of those is a powerful libido killer.
- Adherence to strict rituals leaves little time for something else: people that suffer from OCD can have quite elaborate rituals that will take up a lot of their time. Many such individuals find it almost impossible to dedicate time to anything else in their life.
- Feelings of guilt: both partners in such a relationship could experience feelings of guilt. The person suffering from OCD will feel guilty about not giving their partner enough. The other partner may feel guilty about somehow contributing to the OCD problem.
Being in a happy relationship or marriage with a person that suffers from OCD? Yes, it’s possible! The first step towards making it happen is acknowledging that a problem exists and seeking out assistance if your partner hasn’t been diagnosed yet. Once you have a diagnosis and a treatment plan, you can do several other simple things to help each other and build a strong relationship:
- It’s a medical condition: think about that every time you get irritated by the rituals and the obsessions. Your partner isn’t doing it on purpose, they’re suffering from a serious problem that can be debilitating. People suffering from OCD can’t control the “repetitive cycles” that they go through. Though it would be difficult, try not to make it personal.
- Have realistic expectations: having incredibly high standards and pushing your partner too hard will usually cause additional stress that may aggravate the ritualistic behavior. Be understanding and have realistic expectations about what your partner can do.
- Positive feedback: people that suffer from OCD will find it very difficult to dedicate less time to their rituals or to combat their obsessions. Provide positive feedback for even the smallest improvements. Getting such recognition can be incredibly motivating for your partner.
- Stop talking about OCD: if you allow it to, OCD will take over your life. It’s important to communicate openly about the condition but don’t make it the focal point of your relationship.
- Spend time away from each other: all people in a relationship need time away from each other and this is also true for the two of you. Give each other some alone time to recharge your batteries and to do things that you enjoy individually.
- Be involved in their treatment: don’t let your partner go through treatment alone. Your participation is important and it can give them motivation to keep making progress.
By Couples Clinic