Updated: Jan 30
There are many ups and downs of relationships, although when one brings up the subject of them, it is often something that people invest in and sometimes also want. However there are parts of relationships that aren’t discussed very often, such as the effect a relationship can have on OCD.
A few months into my previous relationship, I began getting intense intrusive thoughts about my partner breaking up with me as well as cheating on me. I had never been in a serious relationship before so this was rather new to me. Initially, I didn’t think I would encounter intrusive thoughts as much once I got involved in a relationship. If anything, I thought they would reduce by a large amount because I would be happy. Clearly, I was wrong. Although I was happy, my fears had taken over. I began picturing my partner breaking up with me and insulting me; I began picturing them cheating on me with one of my friends. All I wanted was for these intrusive images to be eliminated. I wanted my relationship to be a typical one where both individuals were infatuated with each other and totally happy. Unfortunately, OCD pushed this fantasy completely away from me.
Over time, I began getting nightmares about losing the person I loved. I woke up often feeling distressed and anxious and the fear caught up with me until I arrived at school. I slowly began realising the relationship was becoming unhealthy. I had opened up to my partner about my feelings; however, they were incapable of helping or consoling me.
It was at this point that I discovered ROCD (Relationship OCD) existed. The symptoms of ROCD include:
· Fear that you are insufficient for your partner.
· Constantly second guessing your love for their partner.
· Constantly wondering if you’re with the right person.
By reflecting on my own relationship, I was struck by the realisation that I was possessing all of these symptoms. Luckily, as I was already in the process of recovery, I knew how to deal with the symptoms, primarily through the effective methods of self-acceptance and exposure therapy. However, after recovering immensely from ROCD, I realised that I had been focusing so much on myself and that the relationship was bringing me more fear and anxiety rather than joy and satisfaction. I realised that unless my partner could find a way to assist with the symptoms of my ROCD, our relationship would continue spiralling into insecurity, fear, and anxiety. I pondered over the situation, and finally came to the conclusion that I had to end the relationship in order to truly alleviate my pains and symptoms.
Looking back, I can say for certain that I am far more relieved now than I was following the moment of my breakup. To be clear, it wasn’t only the struggle of my mental health that affected my relationship but also the way my partner reacted to it. As supportive as they were, my thought process and mental health was one aspect they had difficulty to truly comprehend, which is understandable given the complex nature of the human mind.
OCD is a complex mental illness with many perplexing facets to it. It will take time, effort and pain, but those closest to you will eventually understand it.