I am continually learning about OCD, and the more I learn, the more I hate this disorder. I had never even heard of Relationship OCD (or R-OCD), but it’s not new, and all of a sudden I am reading about it on various sites and blogs.
Basically, those with R-OCD believe that they should no longer be with their spouses (or significant others) either because they do not love them anymore, aren’t compatible, or whatever. I’m not talking about those fleeting thoughts that we all have once in a while (sorry Gary). I’m talking about unrelenting, strong obsessive thoughts that tell the sufferer to get out of the relationship. These feelings are so overpowering that some people even become physically ill because of them.
One of the reasons why these thoughts are so distressing is because, as with other OCD thoughts, the sufferer knows his or her thoughts are not rational. But these thoughts torment nonetheless. They incite doubt. So it is upsetting and confusing to not only the person with OCD, but to his or her partner as well.
From everything I read, R-OCD can come on quite suddenly. It is most common in those with other OCD traits, though there do seem to be cases of those with just R-OCD. And it often goes misdiagnosed or even undiagnosed. The treatment is the same for OCD in general: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (specifically ERP) and/or medication. And finding the right therapist is paramount.
Left untreated, sufferers commonly will either be in an on-again off-again relationship with the same person, or be in a series of failed relationships. How sad is that? That even one of the most basic human desires, to love and be loved, can be shattered by OCD.
Like I said, the more I learn about OCD, the more I hate it.