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What Is Relationship OCD?

Chances are that you’ve heard of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People affected by this condition experience recurring, involuntary thoughts. To help relieve the impact of these thoughts, they typically engage in certain kinds of repeated behavior. Obsessive-compulsive disorder comes in multiple forms. One of the more unique forms of mental health condition is relationship OCD. As its name implies, affected people experience a range of symptoms that impact their intimate interactions.

With help from New Directions Mental Health and our OCD treatment, you can begin to address these symptoms and reduce your relationship distress. We understand the challenges associated with relationship OCD and believe that everyone deserves to find lasting relief. Don’t hesitate to call us at 724.374.7414 and learn more about how our OCD treatment services can help you manage your symptoms.

The Basics of Relationship OCD

Like anyone else, people with OCD can thrive in intimate relationships. However, in some cases, these kinds of relationships may become the focus of your obsessive-compulsive symptoms. There are two main types of these symptoms:

  • Partner-focused
  • Relationship-centered

If you have partner-focused obsessions, you fixate on one or more of your partner’s personal traits. The focus of your obsessions may be physical in nature. They may also be concerned about things such as intelligence, social behavior, reliability, or morality.

If you have relationship-centered obsessions, you feel recurring doubts about the relationship you’re in. These doubts may center on the way you feel about your partner. They may also center on your concerns over the way your partner feels about you.

Partner-focused and relationship-centered symptoms may occur separately. However, you may also experience both. Unfortunately, the two types of symptoms can interact and worsen each other. As a rule, partner-focused obsessions appear before relationship-centered obsessions. But the reverse may also occur.

The Types of Compulsions Used to Ease Partner and Relationship Obsessions

Certain kinds of compulsions are common in people affected by relationship-related OCD. Like all OCD compulsions, their conscious or unconscious goal is easing your obsessions.

Specific examples include:

  • Frequently monitoring the way you feel, think, and act in your relationship
  • Making frequent comparisons between your relationship and those of others
  • Consciously focusing on positive moments in your relationship
  • Testing your partner to see how they respond in different situations
  • Trying to micromanage your partner’s thoughts and behaviors
  • Looking to other people for assurance regarding your relationship

Whether or not you have OCD, these kinds of actions may sound familiar to you. In fact, they’re strikingly similar to many people’s everyday behavior in relationships. What, then, makes them a particular concern for people affected by OCD? The answer to this question is how your thoughts and behaviors impact your well-being. Like all forms of OCD, relationship-based OCD significantly impairs your daily function.

Successfully Managing OCD Symptoms

What are some of the ways to manage OCD in relationships?


The top option is participation in psychotherapy. A common and effective form of psychotherapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. CBT can help make you aware of your relationship-related obsessions and compulsions. It can also show you how to spot them when they occur. In addition, the therapy can help you gain better control over your thoughts and behaviors.

Several forms of CBT may be beneficial for you. Your doctor can help you choose options that best fit your situation. You may also benefit from other kinds of psychotherapy.

Medical Management

Medical management involves taking medications, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, to help manage the symptoms of OCD. These medications can help to reduce obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, making it easier for individuals affected by relationship OCD to cope with their condition. It is necessary to consult with a doctor before starting any medication regimen, as they can help determine the right course of treatment for each individual.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy

TMS therapy has also shown promise in treating relationship OCD. TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate certain brain areas associated with mood regulation and thought patterns. This therapy can help reduce symptoms of OCD, including those related to relationships, without the need for medication or invasive procedures.

Call New Directions Mental Health to Learn More About Relationship OCD

Want more information on how OCD can impact your relationships? Turn to the professionals at New Directions Mental Health. We would be happy to give you more information about this mental health condition. Our team offers counseling and supportive services to help individuals with OCD manage their symptoms.

Need help managing OCD symptoms? New Directions Mental Health features multiple evidence-based treatment options. Our customized recovery plans help you gain control over your obsessions and compulsions. They also help you improve your ability to cope with any remaining symptoms. Contact us today at 724.374.7414 to learn more about our OCD-related services.