Relational OCD

Relational OCD refers to a kind of OCD in which the nucleus of the conflict is a person’s sentimental relationship with his/her couple. In truth, in relational OCD, the issue is not with the sentimental relationship per se, but with the intrusive thoughts that the person has about the relationship. The core of the issue is the fact that the person obsesses over thoughts of doubt about their feelings towards their couple, or about future plans with that person.

An individual who suffers from relational OCD (ROCD) comes to the wrong conclusion about a certain kind of thought crossing his/her mind implies or signifies that maybe they are not sure about their feelings towards their couple. For instance, it may be that in their mind comes up a thought like this one: What if I no longer want her/him? How do I know that I love her/him or want to be with them? Am I sure that she/he is the person I want to share the rest of my life with? What if we marry and I stop loving my couple? If that happens, it may be that the person comes to the false reasoning that if he/she thought that, then it is probably because they are not sure about their feelings or the relationship.

 

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Then, all sort of thoughts start to come up in their minds to reinforce the belief or doubt inside the person, making him or her go into a deep conflict, that constitutes the core of their intrusive/obsessive thoughts, that generate him/her more and more anguish, along with increasing anxiety. This makes that in many cases, this kind of thoughts come to compose a true hellish torment for the individual, a vital preoccupation of paramount importance that consumes the person and absorbs their attention from their rising up in the morning to their going to bed at night.

The person erroneously believes that their problem, the center of their conflict is that they are not sure of their feelings towards their couple, even though in reality the problem is not if the person cares for their couple or not, but in the fact that the person obsesses over the idea of how he or she can be sure of their feelings or the relationship in itself. He or she does not realize about the false reasoning he or she has made to go from the initial thought onto the conflict proper. This false reasoning is the fact that the person erroneously believes that if they have or have had a determined kind of thought, then it implies that they are not sure about their feelings towards their couple.

He or she does not realize about the error of reasoning inside their minds, and such error is to think that the presence in their minds of a thought that has the “appearance of doubt” necessarily implies that he or she is not sure about their feelings. He or she may very well directly come to think that that means that they no longer care for or love their couple. On the contrary, the truth is that a mere thought means nothing at all, that it is just an idea, an illusion generated by our unconscious mind, and that it on its own has no power whatsoever over us. If any given thought has the power to generate so much anguish inside of us, of making us worry, and generating any amount of anxiety, then it is because we ourselves have given it such power right at the moment we have believed in the story generated by our minds.

 

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Another important error that is established inside the mind of a person with ROCD, is to believe that they need to find a rational and reflexive answer that takes them out of the situation of doubt about his or her feelings. As such, he or she believes that when they find a solution that is an offspring of deep reflexion and analysis, then their doubts will go away.

Sadly though, the truth is that the solution to this conflict, to these doubts, is something that cannot be attained by our minds. Only our hearts can tell us if we are in love or not, or how much in love we are; our hearts can even tell us if a person is the adequate one to share the rest of our lives with her or him, or not.

Generally speaking, people with OCD tend to harbour the belief that the best answer is the one that is the fruit of reasoning, of mental effort, of objective analysis, etc; and that it is not good to trust in intuitive or simple answers. But it does not make sense to spin our heads around trying to devise an exact way of being sure of our feelings, because feelings are not a thing of the mind, but of the heart. Feelings are simple felt, experienced, experimented; they exist or they do not.

If you have relational Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it becomes necessary to dig deep inside and see if in your case this kind of reasoning error has occurred, if (to say it somehow) all of the conflict started by the mere fact of asking yourself why had that particular thought crossed your mind about the idea of not being certain about your feelings, your plans for the future, etc. If that happened to you, it is likely that you erroneously deducted that if that thought had crossed your mind, then it meant you were not sure of the love you felt. Then you would have started to ask yourself: How can I be certain of my feelings? What if I don’t love her/him? What if she or he is not the adequate person? What if…? And with each “What if…?” the need for reasoning to kick in increased, to solve the issue reflectively, and the more you thought about this kind of questions, the more anguish and conflict grew.

You must come to realize that your problem is not with the sentimental relationship you have, but instead with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The fact that it adopted this form in your case and not another is a simple coincidence, the one that in your life the situation came up that led you to a certain thought to apear inside your mind. For example: What if I don’t love her/him?

Do you realize that if that thought had not appeared in your mind, you would not have relational OCD? What would have happened is, that sooner or later your life would have seen a situation that would have triggered another type of thought, that in turn would have caused you to obsess about something other that the feelings towards your couple, and your obsessive and intrusive thoughts would be others. Do you then realize that for such reasons you have no issue with your couple or your feelings towards her/him, and it is rather Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that afflicts you? Those thoughts are merely the shape adopted by it, the appearance under which this common anxiety disorder has manifested in your life, and hence, that should hopefully give you a couple of tools to work with in solving it.

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