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How do you know that it’s ROCD or simply just not the relationship for you?

I recently got asked a great question from one of my readers on Relationship OCD. The question β€œHow do you know that it's OCD or simply just not the relationship for you?”.

That is the golden question. Is it OCD or is it the relationship that is the problem? If only we could know the answer, then all our troubles would cease to exist. The problem is actually asking that question only makes OCD worse. It keeps you questioning the relationship which only creates more doubts. OCD is called the doubting disease for a reason.

When you can become happy with the uncertainty of that question you will soon find it stops coming up as much. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) teaches everyone but in our case the OCD sufferer to accept the thoughts in our heads. The mind (and OCD) wants to protect us so it asks us questions. How we answer them allows the brain to see if they are important to us. If we answer the question, or try to prove it wrong we are telling our brains to ask us again, and again. With OCD the key is to learn that we don't have to answer the questions or thoughts in ours heads, if we don't want too. This is the best way I have found to rewire the brain.

Meditation also aligns with ACT. The headspace app is a good tool for getting good at meditation.

Couple With Cat Illustration

Illustration by NamiChikhlia.comΒ 

With ROCD and OCD generally, I find it helpful to see OCD as the 'matrix'. An illusion. When we go through ROCD periods it can seem so real that we are 'in the wrong relationship', 'that our partner isn't the one', or 'that we just don't click with them'. These periods can be agony, filled with anxiety. But also we go through days where our relationship is bliss. When you notice this pattern I see it as 'seeing through the matrix'. On those clear days it's obvious it's OCD that causes the bad days. So I make a firm mental note of these epiphanies. So next time I have an OCD episode I can remind myself that it is OCD. It doesn’t remove OCD instantly, but it stops me from having a big episode.

There is a great book on relationship OCD called Love you, love you not. It has lots of useful information and advice. Below are three bits from it that may help you with this question.

1. If you are ruminating on this question or similar questions for more than 20 minutes a day, it's OCD. This has helped me in my recovery. That if I'm over thinking for long periods of time, I know it's OCD. I then trust that knowledge and accept my doubts. They will then slowly fade.

2. Despite what Hollywood has told us, there isn't 'the one'. Or at least in the way they portray the one. They show love as constant bliss, and falling head over heels at first sight. Real love takes time, it is the merging of two people. Love is something you work at. Love is not something you feel, it is something you do.

3. Act as if. When sufferers get these doubting questions they will often retract from physical or verbal displays of affection. For example when OCD is strong you may hold back from hugging or saying 'I love you'. This is often from fear of leading the other person on. When you get intrusive thoughts telling you not to say 'I love you' that's when you need to say it most. This will show your brain not to worry.

The final bit of advice I have at the minute is to live according to your values. For example if you are an animal lover, and your partner kicks every cat he sees then this is a big value clash for you and probably will end the relationship in time. Don't obsess on little value clashes though. Like if he leaves the toilet seat up and your value is tidiness. This is minor, don't fixate on it. Only be concerned with major value clashes. But I'm sure they would have become apparent by now.

I still have ups and downs with ROCD but it is much more manageable. Every day I am learning and getting better. ROCD can actually make us better partners and create stronger relationships, so there is a silver lining to going through this.

Don't get down if you take a step back, just keep taking positive actions.

I hope that helps, and I'm here when needed.

Stu

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102 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “How do you know that it’s ROCD or simply just not the relationship for you?”

  1. hayley April 29, 2016 at 7:47 am

    I’ve messaged you before, but I’m still at a stump. When what I believe is rocd started, i was riddled with anxiety. I’d vomit, cry for entire days, have panic attacks every 5 minutes, every symptom you can think of. But now almost all the anxiety is gone. I still hate the thought of not being with him, and get rushes of uncomfortable anxious, unhappy feeling when I think of breaking up. I figure this may be me revovering but I cant tell as im not familiar with this :/. I broke down last night, and after had a breif moment where I saw all the worrying was silly but i dont know whats true. I have not stopped googling or looking in forums for 3 months, I asked my dad about this, as ive done many times but im just so unsure if this is what i want. Theres only one thing about our relationship i dont love, but i could get over it if i knew this was for the long run. I just have this sense of almost discomfort and uncertainty. I dont want to learn what im worrying about is true. Is it possible I’ve burnt myself out with anxiety, i still want to disagree with the thoughts and feelings, I just dont know what to do anymore. Please help if you can, thank you

    • Stuart May 6, 2016 at 12:38 pm

      Hi Hayley,

      I just saw your comment. Sorry. I emailed you about this a few days ago. Let me know if you didn’t get it!

      All the best,
      Stu

  2. moshe July 27, 2016 at 2:26 am

    Hey Stuart,

    I just started a relationship 4 months ago after 3 years of being single since my last relationship. Everything was amazing until one night when my girlfriend asked me to pick her up at her best friends birthday. When I did she started saying some things which she couldnt remember the day after and regreted. Since that day i started becoming anxious doubting my relationship. Its been a month since the event and all i do is think 24/7 about my feelings for her. She has been away for the past month and i thought i would get a better idea of how i feel but it did not help. Ive had moments where i loved her and moments where talking to her would make anxious. I dont know if this rocd or the relationship is just over. the thought of breaking up destroys me but i tell myself at the same time maybe i wont be stress anymore.Shes been very supportive at beginning telling me we would take it day by day but now shes having a hard time accepting the variations in feelings. Id appreciate your help if you can. thank you

    • Stuart August 1, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Hi Moshe, sorry to hear that. I will email you some stuff.

  3. Tina August 11, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Hi!
    I have been in a relationship for a year and a half. I was very happy with my boyfriend, but I had a few classes with another guy who I found attractive. This guy was my friend, but I felt so guilty for catching feelings for him. That was months ago and I am now home for the summer and have spent a lot of time with my boyfriend. The doubts went in waves until I had a panic attack about them and broke up with him. We got back together once I settled down but I remember laying in bed crying and begging God to take these doubting thoughts awAy from me. I am not on an antidepressant, which has helped a little. But now these doubts are what I think about when I wake up and when I go to bed. He is the perfect partner and I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else. I really want it to work out. I’m concerned and worried that it might now be ROCD

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Hi Tina,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP.

      All the best Stu

  4. Carly August 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I’ve been in a relationship for almost ten months now and around March (that was two months after I started birth control) I started questioning whether I love my boyfriend or not. I would have my off days but then there were my good days where I knew I love him. The thoughts have worsened by I find it tends to pop up when I’m stressed out. Right now, my boyfriend is gone back home for 3 weeks and I’m scared that I’ll end up losing feelings for him or something. This happened on my last school break too but everything went back to normal and I still had all my feeling left. I just really need advice because it hurts. I really love my boyfriend and what we have created between us and I don’t want such a bond to disappear. As I write this, I even question whether or not everything I say is true. πŸ™

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:37 am

      Hi Carly,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  5. Ashley August 24, 2016 at 1:58 am

    Hey there. I’ve been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder before but never OCD. However about a month or two ago I was obsessing over thr thought of “turning gay”. I would cry for hours and worry endlessly. Now that ive moved on from that i believe my new worry could be ROCD. At first, I would cry and cry and just the thought of breaking up brought in pain.

    My boyfriend and I have been together nearly a year and a half. We’ve just gotten an apartment together and I’m 18 while he is 23. As I’ve come into this fear I’m now at a strange spot.

    Instead of the fear being terrifying like it WAS instead it’s just uncomfortable. Instead of instantly feeling sad I just sit around thinking “what if this isn’t relationship ocd?” “What if you just want to really be single?” “What if you’re just leading him on?”

    I’ll see other guys while out and think “oh he’s cute’ which I instantly feel guilty about thinking. Then it’ll go to “what if you’d be happier with them?” Or “what of you would just be happier single?”

    I fear that I’m too young to be in such a serious relationship. I know in my heart that i love him, and if we ever did break up it would hit me like a set of bricks. I just started therapy last week but I’m afraid that now that that feeling of instant worry is gone that i just don’t care anymore..help?

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Hi Ashley,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      I hope therapy has proven helpful for you. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  6. Rohen September 5, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Stuart, I really need some help. I think I’m depressed as I feel a whole lot of nothingness but I have suffered with ROCD in all of my relationships. But right now as I am struggling with feelings in general that includes love for my partner so ROCD is in the background also. I feel like I don’t really know what is going on and I cant sense ROCD properly as I’m not feeling properly, any advice or help would be great, I am really struggling with life at the minute.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:41 am

      Hi Rohen,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  7. Robert September 10, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Stuart. I just got in a relationship a few months ago with a girl and roughly 2.5 months ago a heckler came into my head and said you don’t really love her. It scared me I started to argue and fight the heckler could get past the heckler for a while and regained excitement. Since then I have started telling myself uncertainty is an okay feeling using CBT then would feel like I would in a normal good relationship once I wait past the anxiety. My latest doubts are more in line with is the ROCD worth dealing with, but essentially if I ran from it and left because of the ROCD I would be creating a false sense of certainty. When I am with my gf at times I check myself just laying around instead of relaxing at times my mind can ask why am I not feeling love? I have a lot less sleep lately and I think that is hurting the most. How do I stop the obsessing?

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Hi Robert,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  8. Sarah September 28, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Hi,
    I’m in my first relationship with a great guy. Weve been dating for about 4 months, but I knew him before that. Anyways, I developed severe anxiety and having been dealing with ocd related symptoms over a year over the loss of a confusing friendship with a person of the same sex. Although I didn’t think sexually of her, I missed her dearly and became depressed. Fast forward a year and I’m dating this great guy, hes cute, he’s funny, he treats me like a lady. I became friends again with that girl and never thought about our situation for a second. Come this summer, and I’m hanging out with this guy. Feelings developed but I’m stressed with online college courses. We finally say I love you and the doubts come foward. I went through a week of wondering if I loved him, if he was the one, why I didn’t feel tremendous sparks when we kissed sometimes. I began to wonder maybe it was because it was my first true relationship and my expectations were a little to high when it came to romance. Anyways, I was doing good with him, still had doubts and tremendous anxiety, I became obsessed with the thought that I was going to break up with him, that I’ve been fake throughout the relationship, that he’s too good for me, that maybe I didn’t see him romantically, maybe I was lesbian (severe hocd by the way, especially because of the friend issue ), now I’m worried, what if I’m lesbian and thats the reason I’m having so many doubts with him. I don’t know what to do, when I see him I feel great but I don’t see him often because hiles in college and I’m still in high school, but i dofeel calm, he’s my rock, but I can’t keep doing this, it’s not fair to him. I just want to know if this or ocd or is it just me? Please help, I don’t want to lose him, just the thought of it makes me want to cry.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:43 am

      Hi Sarah,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  9. Alexandra October 1, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Hi! I’ve been experiencing these thoughts for months now; I know it’s ROCD, but of course I still question whether it really is or if these are just my thoughts now. My boyfriend and I are so incredible together and I’m so happy; he’s perfect to me in every way. However, this has latched on to the relationship, and it has me questioning so much 24/7. My brain makes me picture breaking up with him and it tells me things that I know aren’t true, but sometimes, because the thoughts are there so much, I’m convinced they are. Breaking up isn’t an option, but I need some help. I hate worrying so much, and I want to just simply enjoy the time I’m with him without having these worries. It’s really bringing me down and I’m afraid it’s really going to affect us. I’m tired, and I want this gone. I just want to look forward to our time together rather than feel not so excited because 1. I’m so worried and 2. The worries have just worn me down.

    I’d love some advice on how to deal with this all, thanks

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:43 am

      Hi Alexandra,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  10. Haley October 6, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Hi Stuart,

    I know this is a bit late since the others responded but I’ve also been dealing with what seems to me as rOCD. I’ve taken 3 online test about OCD and each one said that I most likely have it but sadly that doesn’t put me at ease. I’m in this amazing relationship with my partner for 2 years now, and for a long time I didn’t suffer from any signs of OCD. Then after a bit of time I started getting intrusive thoughts about pedophile, then led to having fears of possibly dying, constant washing of hands after touching things and now my relationship and my partner has been with me through it the entire time which I’m so grateful for. These thoughts though about my relationship haunt me every night, everday for hours on end until I get distracted by something or my partner distracts me. These thoughts feel super real and like Hayley my anxiety seemed to just stop making it even more scarier. I have thoughts about what if I don’t love her, what if we don’t last, what if she gets tired of me or what if I like someone else (that one has spiked me for a month now). I can’t get actual help because I can’t afford it and it really bothers me because I love my partner more than anything on this planet and want to have a future with me but I’m just so stuck and I really don’t want to lose them at all!! Sometimes I get happiness around her and it feels like I have no OCD and that I’m still so completely in love with her. When I’m down I get the shakes, cry(not as much), dry mouthed or nausea. I also afraid of liking this person because I think they like me when I don’t even know who they are and have never cared about it before until now and it really freaking me out because I don’t want to like them!!! Does this sound like rOCD and am I just indenial, I’m so scared of it being real can you help me out or give me some insight on what might help?

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      Hi Hayley,

      I am not a doctor so can’t diagnose you. Go see your doctor πŸ™‚

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  11. Savannah October 14, 2016 at 1:00 am

    I am currently going through the same as hayley. Could you also send me that response? Thanks.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Hi Savannah,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  12. Nikki October 16, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Hi Stuart,

    I am now married to a beautiful man who I love and care about but whom I don’t really “click with”. When I was 20 I broke up with my high school sweetheart. We had so much fun together, could talk about anything and I loved being around him. I broke up with him because I started to have reoccurring worries about whether or not he was “the one” and how could I tell if I hadn’t been with anyone else. Eventually we broke up and it was horrible. Since then, I have married but still wonder and think constantly about this ex and stress that the only reason I broke up with him is because I may have had ROCD then. I have since been diagnosed and medicated for OCD but didnt know that I had it that early. I’m deeply sad that I potentially let what feels like my ‘soul mate’ go because of a mental illness πŸ™ And now feel guilt that I am even thinking this whilst married to someone who loves me very much. Do you have any advice?

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Hi Nikki,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      “Comparison is the thief of all joy”, start to reduce the amount you compare. When you catch yourself comparing bring your attention back to the present and focus on what you are doing. It’s easier to look back and think you made a mistake. I used to do this too. There are no certainties in life. You say you love your husband, so focus on the relationship and give it all you got. πŸ™‚

      All the best Stu

  13. Savannah Carter October 30, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Hello. I am in desperate need of help. About 6 weeks ago my boyfriend and I decided to get a house together. We lived together for a year with another roommate before this. We have been going steady for 3 years never thought in a million years I would have second thoughts. I was so excited up until about 4 weeks ago a week before we moved in I got this pit in my stomach and couldn’t understand what I was nervous about. I told myself that it was just nervousness about the new house. The next day we got into a small disagreement about pajamas which is stupid and I felt dumb immediately after it. I then had a thought am I loosing feelings for him and I told myself no that’s crazy that doesn’t happen like that. Well then it started it all I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic. I didn’t know what was happening I felt like there was a voice in my own head so I of course confessed to hear someone say it would be ok. I have had thoughts in the past but I have been able to snap out of them in a couple of days. Well I went to the doctor and they put me on zoloft and referred me to cbt therapy. I’ve don’t nothing but love him but I’m stuck in these thoughts and don’t know how to let them go. Do you see this as rocd?

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Hi Savannah,

      Sorry for my delay.

      I hope meds and CBT has helped.

      Stu

  14. Shmayb November 1, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Hi Stuart,

    I first off wanted to say that your OCD Stories web page has been invaluable in getting me through this. This is the second time I have been through ROCD – the first time was 3 years ago, when I was first with my boyfriend. I managed to get over it, was happy, and the thoughts, compulsions and obsessions went away. Until 3 months ago.

    I have now spent an agonizing 3 months taunted by ROCD thoughts, patched with moments of absolute clarity that he is the right one for me, and how I want to be with him. The OCD came from nowhere – one day I felt fine, the next day, the anxiety hit me like a train and I haven’t recovered since. I know these thoughts are not real – it is the anxiety clouding my vision. I am currently doing therapy (mindfulness and CBT) and am on medication for OCD.

    I guess the reason that I’m commenting is to get some guidance that these feelings/thoughts will subside, from someone that knows and understands this disorder. I find it particularly difficult that many of the physicians and therapists around the world have not heard of this disorder, and am looked at with disdain when I tell them about my thoughts.

    Thanks,
    Shmayb

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:50 am

      Hi Shmayb,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Yes the thoughts can subside, and often do. I hope therapy and meds have helped.

      All the best Stu

  15. T N November 17, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Dear Stuart,

    I’d like your opinion on my situation. Ever since I was 21, I remember feeling anxious and “Icky” when I perceived things were getting more serious with someone I liked, with a very strong urge to push away and get back to the feeling of when I initially have a crush and I’m flirting with someone. I’m 31 now, and have been in the longest relationship of my life, a year and two months. It has been rocky the whole time, filled with me having doubts about whether we’re a good fit, he doesn’t make me laugh enough, he’s boring, too passive, my friends don’t seem to like him enough, and thoughts of how my ex was better in some areas than he is. I’ve known about ROCD and I’ve always related to it, but I can’t help but wonder if what I’m experiencing is ROCD or I’m just literally not that into him. I tried counseling, and an online Ecorse, and while the information is good, it doesn’t make me feel any more excited about my boyfriend. I don’t want to continue the relationship if I don’t feel that strongly about him. But I get like this in every relationship, so clearly it has something to do with me, I just can’t figure out how to help it. Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Hi TN,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  16. Gabe November 21, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Hi Stuart , recently within the last week this hit me and it scared me so much because of the awful thoughts it makes you face yourself with “you don’t love her” etc.. I’ve been reading lots about it which has helped me a little because now I know it’s a real thing and I’m. It the only one. I try not to answer the questions I ask myself and just ignore it which has seemed to help just a little but I’d like to know if you would be able to help me overcome this completely. I’m 18 years old and have been in an absolutely amazing relationship with my girlfriend that I very much hope to be my wife one day. Our relationship is healthy and always has been so I don’t want this to ruin it. I’ve spoken with her about it and she understands but it’s upsetting. Please get back to me thanks
    -Gabe

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Hi Gabe,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Yeah you can overcome it.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  17. Maria November 21, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    Hey Stuart. I’ve had rOCD for over three years ( I think I had it before, I just had never been in a seriours relationship, so though I had some of the sympthoms, they weren’t as unabable as now). In fact, I first had hOCD, that went on for like …7 years. Then I started my first serious relationship (three years ago) and it switched to rOCD, whick apparently is kind of typical. I’ve been to several therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, but none of them seem to know much about rocd or hocd. I still go to therapy and I used to take medications. I had been really good (with ups and downs, but very sure of my relationship, happy and in love most of the time, thinking about long term plans, etc), and now it really hit me back hard. It’s awful, It’s like i’ve never been here again. Like, the anxiety seems to erase all the good moments and feelings. I doubt everything regarding my bf and relationship (whether I love him, if he’s right for me, if he’s smart enough, if we talk enough, if we have a good time; feel like i’m lying all the time, to myself and to him). I had been crying a lot these weeks, really “panicky”, my heart racing…well…you know how it goes. I’ve been trying to follow the advice from fellow rocd sufferers: accept the thpughts, learn to cope with the anxiety, and hope for the cycle to break until i’m better again. But still, it eats me up, I just want to feel secure again and give him the love he deserves. The future freaks me out and sometimes I would just love for him to meet someone who can be good and fair. Anyway, just wanted to take this off my chest, not many of my friends know and the ones who do hardly understand. So I think this community is very important, and I thank you for this page, it’s wonderful.
    Hugs from Latin America!

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Hi Maria,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  18. Alexandra November 22, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    hi! i have been suffering from rocd for over a year now, and i am completely fed up. i am ridden with guilt and anxiety, and it has caused my depression to become worse.

    i am very much in love with my boyfriend, and i have just celebrated 2 years together. i’ve had constant doubts, a lot of them being ‘what ifs’, for no reason. ‘what if my feelings dont last forever?’ or ‘what if you dont love him? do you love him?’ and endless things like that. i feel guilty that i haven’t told him about it all, until i realise that i haven’t done anything wrong, and that it’s causing me to suffer and thats enough to worry about.

    i know that i love him. i still know that ive never felt this way about anything, and im still sure i dont want a future with anyone else. but i want an anxiety/rocd free future too!!

    i want to look forward to our times together without feeling anxious…i sort of accept i’ll be drowning in intrusive thoughts whether i’m with him or not…but it doesnt make me feel that excitement that i want to again so badly.

    i know i have to do something about it. even imagining being without him breaks my heart, but my head will try tell me ‘being single is so much easier’ and ‘you wont be anxious if you arent with him’. my head will tell me i HAVE to break up with him when i really dont have to, nor want to, at all. it really tries hard at convincing me, though.

    also, i feel because i have been so anxious for so long (ive always had anxiety, and ocd but never realised until a few months ago), i often feel numb/and or agitated, and will then panic that i should be feeling different! i know how i really feel behind all of this – in love and satisfied with my relationship. however, with so much anxiety there to mask my true feelings, it can be hard to feel properly.

    basically, i just need some advice. it was difficult writing this out because now im trying to convince myself that these thoughts are true again. (im terrified someone is going to just tell me to ‘break up’ or something…so i trust you know what im talking about here. also, breaking up is not an option. our relationship is fantastic, now if i could go back to being anxiety free…THATS what motivates me to keep going! and also, i just have the constant feeling through it all that we are supposed to be together, and i can see that every time im with him, and even when we arent! so much love!!!)

    i’ll see things online that will trigger it too. i’d like to talk more about it to you; if you’d be able to email me, that would be fantastic. thanks so much πŸ™‚

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:54 am

      Hi Alexandra,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  19. Jennifer November 23, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Hello Stuart,
    I have been diagnosed with OCD recently (not ROCD) and it has made me open my eyes to some of the horrible moments I’ve experienced throughout my life. I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost 6 years now and I’m sure I do love him dearly. I hate the thought of ever being away from him. However, 3 years ago a friend told me that you don’t know if you really love someone until you break up with that person. Therefore, I started to obsess about my love for my boyfriend to the point where I felt like I didn’t love him anymore and wanted to break up. I used to be so anxious and wanted to be dead before falling out of love. I was devastated with anxiety and I thought I was doing the best for him if we broke up. When I broke up with him I couldn’t take the pain, I missed him and I felt the love rush back to me and I felt so terrible. After we got back together everything went back to normal until I started to question my love for him again. We were past the stage in our relationship where we felt butterflies every time we saw each other. When I got passed this a few months later my anxiety has started to spike again! There was this new guy at my job who is cute and all and really makes me blush. I found him attractive but no real connection was there. I even had one thought of breaking up with my boyfriend just to be with this guy. I feel super guilty and disgusting for thinking this! I feel like my boyfriend doesn’t deserve me because now I feel like a cheater. I can’t stop thinking about the other guy and wondering if he would be a better boyfriend than mine. But I know I love my boyfriend, but I’m starting to question it. I am so confused and in doubt right now. My boyfriend is so wonderful and lovely! I love him so much for everything he has ever done for me and for who he is. I don’t know if I want to put him through this OCD process and just let him go. I don’t know if this is really OCD but being attracted to others shouldn’t happen when you’re in love right? The more I try not think about this the more I do! The more I think about the other guy when I try to get him out of my head and I just feel so disgusting. I don’t like thinking about him and I feel like he’s sabotaging my relationship. Then again I feel so guilty and bad for my boyfriend because I feel like he has the worse girlfriend alive now :'(.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Hi Jennifer,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  20. SK November 24, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Hi Stuart,

    I am 23 and have been with my first boyfriend for 1.5 years. However during this 1.5 years i have initiated breaks several timea because of the fear that he is not the one and feeling that i am not getting what i want- he doesnt bring me out on dates etc he is a creature of habit while i love exploring. In general we have a lot of fun together and share great chemistry. I am very happy when im with him. There are areas about his personality that i dont really understand but think can accept. He is not as thoughtful as i hope he can be but he does love me. My parents love him and he said that he is willing to put in effort to meet my standards.

    Would like to ask if i am able to over come this nagging feeling that he is not “the one” ? Is it my inner voice telling me my true feelings or is it fear/ ROCD that my thoughts are scaring me that i dont love him? Am i really able to accept him? Is it because its my first relationship that i have unrealistic expectations?

    We are on a break now to think about whether we can overcome the problems. Am i afraid of losing him or do i really love him?

    Please help!

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:57 am

      Hi SK,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Yes it can be overcome.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  21. Christopher Todoroski November 28, 2016 at 2:18 am

    Please I need help I am with my gf for 7monthd and up until two months ago everything was fine nothing is wrong. Even now our relationship is fine but I have a problem. She was doing her exams at this time and we didn’t see each other as much as we did. I started to worry if that means we can’t be together. And I would get this co start anxiety and depression. Then it turned into what if I’m gay and then that attacks me for a few days and then it reverts to my gf. She is wonderful and beautiful and I love her with all my heart and I don’t want to lose her because it will kill me and her. We are meant for each other. But now because of working everyday we don’t get to see eachother and I start to question everything. We used to text every second talk FaceTime see eachother everyday and now it has slowed down. I tel her my worried and anxiety and she is hurting but is very supprotive. I also started to find flaws in her face and everything’s. she is incredible beautiful and when we started going out I was in love with her for everything. Obviously no one is perfect. But now it kills me. If I don’t like something she is wearing or if she wears to much make up or her face is in a bad lighting I start to worry if I’m not attracted even before two months ago the same thing happened and it was fine . Also this year I got into a massive car accident and my mother passed away from cancer and m dad was diagnosed from cancer. Very stressful year
    I just want to be back to the way I was. I love her and I won’t stop fighting for her she is my everything
    Love you baby

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Hi Christopher,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      OCD can be overcome.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  22. Isabel December 1, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Oh my god Stuart, this post is absolutely incredible. Every single thing you’ve said makes so much sense to me. And the most common question for me is: “But what if it isn’t ROCD, what if it just genuinely isn’t the right person??”

    I’ve had such awful problems with this, that I have actually avoided romantic relationships for 8 years. Not what your 20s are to be remembered for πŸ™

    And now that an opportunity has arisen for the first time in so long, any positive feelings or emotions are fleeting compared to the awful doubts and uncertainty. I’m concentrating entirely on how I feel, and because I feel nothing but anxiety and apprehension whenever I’m around him, it’s so difficult to even allow myself to see that there could be something good there. We have a lot in common, and he’s such a lovely guy. And yet, everything is centred around the ‘what if?’ I can particularly identify with the part about holding back from affection!!! It feels so wrong, to the point of a gut feeling.

    I actually bought that book but never read it. I definitely will now.

    Thank you so much for writing this post, I am going to bookmark it and refer back to it whenever I’m having a particularly tough time. You don’t even know it, but you’ve helped me a lot. Did you go and see someone who specialised in OCD to help you?

    Thanks again!

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 11:59 am

      Hi Isabel, thanks!

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better. I did see someone who understood OCD but wasn’t a specialist.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  23. Kay December 3, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Hi Stuart. Your post has helped me feel a bit more calm. So I’m in a bit of a fix..
    I am not longer with my boyfriend (with whom I was in a relationship with for over 3 and a half years) and the main reason we broke up is because about 5 months ago It felt like I suddenly woke up and doubted my love for my boyfriend. I doubted if I really loved him or if we were meant to be together. I felt this uneasiness and I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. Nothing in particular happened for me to feel this way.. which made this feeling worse. I felt so stressed and heartbroken because I couldn’t stand the thought of losing him at all. Like it broke me even to just think about breaking up.. but yet I felt like I didn’t know if I really loved him or if I just cared alot.. I don’t know it’s weird to describe but hopefully you get it.. anyway.. so we broke up 3 months ago because during this phase I went through, I apparently pushed boyfriend away alot (unintentionally ). . And he just got too hurt. So when we broke up it literally killed me so much.. and still does. Like I’m still sad and I still miss him and our memories and stuff.. but there is a chance we might get back together (which makes me happy) but then there’s that irritating uneasiness that creeps in slowly when I think about us getting back together and I wish with all my heart that it is ROCD (because I think deep down I want it to work and I think I do love him although my doubts are really crazy and the anxiety is insane 😒) but I haven’t been diagnosed and don’t know if you can get diagnosed.. so I don’t know if I have ROCD but I hope it’s that and not that it’s my relationship because at the end of the day I get upset and heartsore thinking about him with anyone else and thinking of our past being just memories and that we wouldn’t be together in the future.. and surely that has to count for something ?

    I hope it makes sense and that you can give me some clarity on my issue.. maybe you have experienced this too? thanks.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Kay,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  24. Amanda V December 14, 2016 at 12:11 am

    Hi Stuart,
    I came across your site after excessively googling every though I have had off and on over the past two years. I guess I’m mad at myself, I suffer from anxiety, depression, and OCD I guess. ( I still don’t believe I have any of them). I am on zoloft, and when I take it and take it normally- I am much better, I recently got so busy with life I forgot to take it, and I felt okay so I didnt take it for a month, Well a few days ago I started feeling the same wrath I have felt the last few times I have gone off my meds. I dont know why I continue to do it, or make these mistakes because it only hurts me. I excessively google, I will make myself sick, I get cold sweats, constantly thinking about these intrusive thoughts. I have all the symptoms- I just cant accept that I have it. I feel like I SHOULD feel in love and this is a sign its not my sickness its me. Im a fool. I know how wonderful my boyfriend is- how much I do love him. When Im in this state I cant remember it- I only focus on the bad.

    I need reassurance- is this the OCD?

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Amanda,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  25. Rachel December 16, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    I have been with my boyfriend for 4 months now and for the past 2 I have been so worried about not loving him, that I don’t want to be with him etc. I pushed through it and started feeling better but a week later I got worried again. Whenever I’m out of being anxious I can see its ocd. But when I’m in it I’m so scared its real this time .I know I love him, but what if I don’t is always running through my head, what if I’m in denial etc. I am so scared these thoughts are true because no one has ever felt this right. I was with him yesterday and everything was like it use to be but after I came home i have been worrying on and off and I had a really bad vivid thought that I couldn’t control, that I cant even remember and now I feel like I want to break up with him and don’t want to be with him, but I’m certain he is the only one I want and I feel as if I cant breath

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Rachel,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  26. Clara December 19, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Stuart could you email me please

  27. Joseph December 25, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Hi Stuart,

    So I recently got into a relationship with a girl, everything was great and she is awesome! One day I was running around all day to get her a gift, it was quite stressful but I really wanted to get her something and make her happy! Well I went to sleep that night after knowing I still liked her and everything. Well I went into work that next morning and I started thinking about our relationship and if I actually had feelings for her and then I just started stressing and thought I didn’t feel anything for her! I’m scared! I had these thoughts running through my head from Wednesday to Friday and usually always happened in the morning and I would stress it until I broke down and had a panic attack, I would cry for about 2 minutes over it and calm down and just continue thinking about it from 4:30am in the morning to 3:00pm it was typically all day though. I would have these terrible intrusive thoughts about my feelings for her and if I was attracted to her and when I thought about her I would get anxious and I still do but then I have these happy moments when I think about her and it’s great. I just want to be happy again, I want to able to not overthink and get these intrusive thoughts everytime I think about her. I don’t want to leave her but I had anxiety so bad one day when we met up that my head kept making me think I didn’t want to be her and I should end it and I would be stress free and I don’t like this! I know I want her to be mine, I know I like her a lot! I would appreciate your help. I’ve been all over the Internet from when I first had these thoughts looking for reassurance that it’s not true and I can’t find anything I continue to look and read many things over it and some of the things I read scare me telling I don’t like her or you lost feelings but I can’t stop looking it up to find answers. I want to be normal

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      Hi Joseph,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  28. Gemma January 24, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Hey Stuart, i am new to this but i am getting really horribke twisted rocd thoughts and i dont know how much longer i can cope. Me and my boyfriend who i love to bits are arguing every day because of these thoughts, they nearly break us up. But i dont want that to happen, i just need some kind of help because i just feel like im going crazy.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Gemma,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  29. Hannah Page January 27, 2017 at 11:38 am

    I think I have ROCD. When my boyfriend is being annoying or snappy I consider him a horrid person but for a long time it didn’t even bother me a little bit. And since my anxiety or ROCD everything that didn’t bother me bothers me now. But sometimes I’m scared that it’s just the end of the relationship rather than my OCD. He is the best thing that’s happened to me but I get anxious when he isn’t very affectionate or doesn’t make much conversation. But that’s just the person he is and it never used to bother me.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Hannah,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  30. Thomas February 14, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Hi ! I’m french so I will make some fails, sorry

    I’m with my gf since july 2016. Everything was better with her, just to think about her at a bad event helped me. But 1 month ago, I started to think about a question, do I really love her ? Or is this just sexual ? I “was” in love with her, but now when I think about it I’m not sure, do I have ROCD ? Everything started in one night, I cried, I was very very anxious and I wanted to break up several times. However, sometimes, I know I love her, but it’s outpassed by so much questions I can’t take it anymore. I need help. Psychotherapy didn’t help me. I don’t want to break with my gf. She’s everything for me, but inside my head, I can hear a voice that say “Leave her, she’s not “the one””. My heart want to live forever with her, but my brain no.

    Is this ROCD ?

    Thank you for reading !

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Thomas,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  31. Fae February 15, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    This little article is a GEM. It gave me so much hope. Thank you.

    I think I’m a ROCD sufferer (which I have managed quite well in the past years) and my partner……….is probably a ROCD too. With the exception that he [quoting] is doubting EVERY DECISION he has ever made…….including our relationship. He’s always been the doubtful kind, but of course things have gotten far worse.

    I ask him about the future – he says I don’t know. I ask him if he loves me – he says I don’t know, then contradicts himself a million times. Plagued by what ifs and whys. You get the picture.

    Stu, how would you deal with such a doubtful and regretful person? (in the mean time, I’m gonna sing “should I stay or should I go” to myself)

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      Hi Fae,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      Hope that helps. It’s up to your partner to seek help if he thinks he needs it.

      All the best Stu

  32. Vicks February 15, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Hi, this is the first time I am reading about ROCD and it has completely hit home for me. I have suffered from OCD in other areas of my life. There have been severe episodes fairly recently, but I went to treatment for it and it has improved. I have, however, been obsessing over my current relationship- focusing on all his flaws, comparing him to others etc. to the point that I can’t sleep sometimes and have constant anxiety. It has especially been bad recently because I haven’t had a job for a month and have moved to a new city to be with him. It’s just added to all the fear of “what if this isn’t right?”

    Thank you so so much for this article. I feel relieved to see that this is just another form of OCD and it is in fact mostly all in my head. Feeling enlightened.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Thanks Vicks!

  33. Jenna February 21, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Hi Stuart,
    I’ve been with my boyfriend for a little over 3 1/2 years. In July 2016, we moved in together and a day later I started questioning whether this was right. Anxiety filled, not even a week into our move, I decided to tell him we needed a break so I stayed at my parents house for a couple of days. I would vomit from being so anxious and I even had a couple panic attacks. I went to see my doctor and a therapist but I didn’t think it helped. I moved back in with my boyfriend but I’ve always have these questioning doubts inside my head. Recently they have gotten worse as the idea of buying a house together got brought up (we rent an apartment now). Usually the thought of the future makes my anxiety worsen. I feel like I can’t stop these questions of doubt but I just want them to go away. I know I love my boyfriend, I just don’t understand why I am constantly having doubts go through my head. Sometimes I’m happy and I think I’m crazy for doubts and other times the doubts seem so real. But then again it’s hard to tell what is real and what is not. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Jenna,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  34. Jessica February 23, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Hello,

    I was hoping that you have materials for someone who is the partner of someone struggling with ROCD. I’ve found that our relationship is struggling. I want to be there for him and help him through, but I don’t know if what I’m doing is right or if I’m enabling his behavior in some way. Any thoughts or materials you have would be great.

    Thank you

  35. Sydney March 12, 2017 at 12:53 am

    Hi Stuart, I know this post is from a while back, but I’m going through exactly everything mentioned. My boyfriend and I have never had problems before, we don’t argue often, nothing really bothers me about our relationship and never has. In January I started having bad anxiety and panic attacks. Medication has helped and my anxiety has greatly decreased but now I can’t get the thought out of my head that it’s my boyfriends fault and this relationship isnt working out and I constantly question whether or not i love him and if he’s the one I want to be with. When i say constantly i mean CONSTANTLY.. al day everyday, its crazy. He is so supportive and understanding, but it kills me that i’m thinking this way. We just recently went on a weekend trip to Chicago and I had a GREAT time! so why are the thoughts back and why does this keep happening?!??!

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Sydney,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power. The book “the worry trap” may help.

      All the best Stu

  36. Julia March 12, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Stuart,
    It has been 3 months since I have started to have bad anxiety and overthinking about my feelings for him, compering with the first months. We have been together for 2 years and a half and we have been living together for a year. The thought of breaking up with him is getting stronger even though a part of me doesn’t want. I am starting to be colder with him and I am kind of scared to say “I love you” because I feel guilty. I don’t know what to do anymore and since we live together I don’t have some “free time” to really feel how it would be without him.
    I really don’t know what to do anymore.
    I would love some advice.
    Thank you!
    Julia

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Julia,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  37. Greener March 23, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Hi Stu,

    I am in a great relationship with a wonderful woman. We are compatible, sexually active, and always put each other first. We live together and have a great dog. We got engaged in December 2016, and I was diagnosed with general anxiety earlier that year. I also suffer from intense derealization, even at my happiest moments. I self diagnosed myself with HOCD and ROCD. First, a spike of HOCD sent me into a worrying frenzy over a year ago that exists until this day. At the height of my happiness and love was when I had my biggest HOCD panic. Then, like everyone else, the worries switched to my girlfriend (at the time). I have the feeling and fear that I am just going through the motions. I also had a fear of if I really loved her, and realized that this was an obvious ROCD and irrational fear. My irrational fears come and go–some harder to dismiss than others. The thought patterns of HOCD and ROCD are alarmingly similar–which helps me feel I just have OCD attacking my relationship.

    I feel as though the deeper we get into the relationship, the more I worry about it. I have a fear I may be “going through the motions” of the relationship just to please her, as I read in your article. I know this is irrational however, because it was my idea to begin this relationship, and it is something I’ve wanted so badly since I first met her.

    Now, there is one specific thought that is causing me the most issues. I worry that this is more than just OCD or anxiety, (which I think should be an exact reason that it is caused by OCD, right?). I am having an intense, horrifying, debilitating obsession that “I don’t want to be in a relationship…..I don’t want to marry her…..I will be happier if I don’t do all this” etc. For example: If I tell someone I don’t want to go to dinner somewhere, my mind immediately focuses back on this fear “just like you don’t want to go to dinner, you don’t want to be with her” and it drives me absolutely nuts. The fear of thinking of these obsessions scares the shit out of me–does that mean it’s anxiety and I would never do it? I’ve been doing too much self help reading on forums that it is confusing me. I’m having trouble distinguishing my obsessions from how I actually feel.

    I can go on and on about how important she is to me, how much I love her, and would do anything for her. This girl means the world to me and any distressing thought about her drives me absolutely insane. For some reason, the above thought pattern is really giving me a hard time. Even typing this out is immediately helping how I feel (I don’t have a therapist).

    Looking forward to your thoughts Stu, thanks so much!

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Greener,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      It gets better in time, and is beatable.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  38. Oliver March 26, 2017 at 12:46 am

    Hello, I’m currently having a spike, and I cant tell what thoughts are mine anymore. I’ve been with my partner for nearly a year now, and a few months into the relationship I had the worst spike, it lasted for around a week I think. I was overwhelmed with wondering if I loved my partner, and I didn’t want to tell him I loved him, and I almost broke up with him once. It was bad, he was just waiting for when I’d do it. I didn’t, I refused. I loved him, as I do now. I remember throwing up because I panicked so bad, and crying so much. I’ve had a few spikes since then, but since then I haven’t been able to feel much. I feel hollow? Empty. Sometimes, some days I feel a faint feeling, like a glow. Soft, kind of, when I’m feeling lots of love for my boyfriend. I tell him whenever I have a bad thought, and he’s there for me when I’m spiking, but it’s taking a really big toll on him. It’s making him feel bad, but I’m not sure what else to do? It hurts and I wanna tell him so I don’t keep it to myself. I’ve been getting thoughts about a future with another person, but I really do NOT want that. I want to marry my boyfriend, and I’m planning to. I had a thought earlier, and I think that before I dated him I might’ve wanted to see all my options before I asked him out, and I feel awful about it, and I told him, and he feels like he was a last choice. I don’t know how to fix it, I don’t know what to do. I really hope the thoughts that are mean aren’t mine, and it’s just ocd. They make me feel very bad, and I try telling them it’s not true a lot, which I know you’re not supposed to, but I can’t help it. I don’t want to hurt my boyfriend, I don’t want to make him sad, and I don’t want to break up with him. I have a lot of thoughts at the back of my mind all the time, I’m scared they’re what I really think. I’m scared, and these thoughts are so overwhelming. I’m scared I might be in denial and that I’m claiming it’s ocd, but really it’s my thoughts. I don’t want to think these things, I don’t want to at all. I’m tired, and I don’t wanna feel like this anymore, I’m not sure what to do. Reading stuff about ocd helps me to realize that it is ocd, and it isn’t me, but i still obsess. The other day I had to make my knuckles pink, and it’d mean I’d be with him forever, so I did. He makes me smile, he makes me laugh, he makes me feel good. I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to hurt him, and I don’t want to break up with him. This illness is ruining everything good to me.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Hi Oliver,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      It is treatable and beatable.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  39. Jonathan Latimer April 11, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Hi there. I’m going through a terrible time at present with what I think is rocd. Or at least I hope it is that and that my doubts and thoughts that it would be a relief to not be in my relationship are not what I really believe in. There are times I just want my partner to say it’s over because that it something I am not able to do. I’m full of anxiety and tormented by doubts about my partner and whether the relationship is right or what I really want. I have intrusive thoughts about her appearance, personality, beliefs (we are both Christians but come from very different backgrounds). I worry that I don’t really want what she does longer term (to have children and move to a different area), and yet at the same time I can imagine having a family with her and the thought is a pleasant one. I’ve talked to her about all my fears and have made her really upset. We have nearly broken up a couple of times, certainly me pulling away and stuff. Part of me feels I want that yo happen as it would be a relief and I’d feel freeer and be able to have time for just me (I only split up from my wife just over a year ago). But then the thought of losing something that might be amazing terrifies me, and the thought if her with someone else makes me feel sick. Please can you help.

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Jonathan,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  40. Natalie shaw April 15, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Hi, is this the correct way to get in touch with Stuart?

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      Yup. Use the contact form on this website.

  41. Anine April 20, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Hey Stuart, is googling a form of a compulsion ?

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      It can be. It depends on why you are doing it?

      Are you seeking reassurance? If so then yes it is a compulsion.

      If you are looking for information on recovery, and are going to put that info into practice then it is not a compulsion.

      Thanks

  42. Shannon May 6, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Stuart , everything you spoke about the Rocd was so
    Relatable to me and I’d love the chance to speak
    To you about it. I’ve been with my partner a year
    Now and we’re long distance which is so tough
    I spend every minute of the day plagued with the
    Most awful untrue thoughts “I’ve lost feelings”
    “I’m so selfish” “your just leading him on” when I know
    All this is pants , any way I’d love to hear from you with
    Any ideas , tips or reassurance πŸ™‚ thanks! Shannon

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Carly,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  43. Andrea May 10, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Hi Stuart, I’ve had the same feelings and anxieties of both Hayley and Moshe. Could you lend me a little extra advice?

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Andrea,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  44. Darja May 13, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Dear Stuart,

    I hope you don’t mind me contacting you. I saw your blog obout rocd and your mail was at the bottom.
    My name is Darja and i come from Slovenia (Europe). I’ve been dealing with ocd and anxiety for a very long time, obout 15 years (i am 34). It started in childhood with a compulsive side of ocd like checking, counting an stuff. Later it grew to a pure o, meaning a more obsessional type of ocd. I had many different types like hocd, pocd, harmocd and more. But by far the hardest was rocd. I had a boyfriend for 7 years and i left due to extreme bouts of anxiety, panic and obsessive thought that he’s not the one, that i dont love him anymore.. tipical rocd. At that time i had no idea it was rocd, never heard obout it. Just thought that doubts dont mean anything good especially it they are accompanied with extreme panic attacks. While we were dating, i had ups and downs, but the severe part came when we decided to move in together. It was awful, i cried, had panic attack.. but he was very understanding.. he was such a sweethart..i really loved him so much .. i know that now.. but then …everything was confused.. i felt i couldn’t handle it anymore. I got really depressed and was thinking obout ending it all….
    I finally left him, devastated.. cause i didnt know why.. just felt i needed to.
    Anyway, to shorten it a bit.. since then (it will be 9 years) i haven’t been in a real relationship.. just ones for which i knew wouldn’t last or the guy was verryyy far away. Obviously my fear of having another experience like that grew over the years and i am not sure i will ever brake the cycle. Also, all this time i am single i still have bouts of rocd!! Even though i am single. That’s how i realised that it actually is rocd. But will i ever be able to let someone close to me like that ever again? I don’t know. Sometimes i think i would rather be alone for the rest of my life, than to go through that again. I am sure you can relate since you had the same experiance. It is soo sad. 😒
    I am on antidepressants.. but lowering my dose, seeing a therapist individual for 2 years and group therapy. It has helped a lot, at least i can function normally but i still struggle from time to time. Anxiety is still there, rocd also.
    I was wondering if you have any advise regarding erp and mindfulness, which sites i can visit and read? I have analytical psycotherapy which they say is not the best for ocd, but we have no erp therapist here..at least not good ones. But analitical has helped me.. also i have issues that need to be adreesed besides ocd.. i think actually that this things made my ocd appear. I was sexually molested as a child, don’t have good relations with my family..and so on.

    Sorry i was too long.
    Happy that you are doing fine, ocd is a day to day struggle and it can get better. But it never really goes away.

    Thank you for reading and hope to hear from you.

    Best regards,

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Darja,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If you have an iphone there is a good free app called nOCD. It will help you track and measure exposures – http://m.treatmyocd.com/ocdstories

      Also read the book “daring to challenge OCD”. It explains ERP well.

      The book “the worry trap” should also help πŸ™‚

      All the best,
      Stu

  45. Susan May 13, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Hey Stuart…..got engaged last June ( I was the one who initiated it)….was doing great until two months ago….flooded with intrusive thoughts about him not being the one….scared to death and not sure what to do.. panicking when I’m near him, feeling guilty for having these feelings which creates more anxiety…..so tired…. please help me

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Susan,

      Congrats on the engagement!

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  46. Layan June 23, 2017 at 6:03 am

    I don’t know what to say and even if you will see my message . I am in a relationship whith a person i really love he is smart and handsome and kind and passionate and perfect we started talking a year ago and it is my first and i really hope last relationship and we are planing on getting engaged when he finshes collage . I love him and he loves me more than anything i always feel safe with him and i really trust him he pushes away every girl who tries to flirt with him . Everything was perfect untill one thought came to me 6 months ago i kept on thinking what if we don’t end up together i was so despert because of this idea and i talked to him about it and he always gave me reassurance and then i started to feel like i am loosing feelings and cry for days and tell him that i think i don’t love him anymore he never left me and always told me that he knows it’s in my hade and he won’t leave me even if he was terrified . These thoughts became less hard to me i can manage them because deep inside i know i trully love him . But i started a new habbit i obsess over him , his look , his social life , people opinion on him even if in the begining i was so confident about those things but now i am not without any reason i keep on checking if he looks good and if he is more good looking than his friends and even if all my friends and the people who know him always say that he is handsome and has great personality i keep on doubting and obsessing for no reason . I statred to feel like there is a part of me that does not want me to just rest and to he happy with a perfectly fine person who respects me and adores me and who is okay with all this doubts . What can i do please i am desperate

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Hi Layan,

      Sorry for my delayed response. I hope you are doing better.

      It gets better with time and effort. Focus on recovery.

      Therapy will help greatly. Try to find a therapist that treats OCD using ERP. Also check out books on OCD recovery – knowledge is power.

      All the best Stu

  47. Karyssa August 28, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Hello, I really need some advice . I emailed you so I hope to hear from you soon . Apathy is starting to settle in from my OCD spike and I hate it . It makes me question everything and it feels so real. It really is affecting my energy towards my relationship . This spike seems to feel more real than my first episode. I feel almost no anxiety during the day and I’m not able to cry and I hate that! I feel so numb and fake . Please help me

    • Stuart September 12, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Hi Karyssa,

      Sorry to hear you are having a tough time at the moment, it will get better, with positive recovery focused action.

      My best advice is go see your doctor, or a CBT therapist who specialises in OCD. They can help you overcome this and get past these pesky thoughts and feelings. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with a focus on Exposure and Response Prevention therapy has been clinically proven to help more than anything else. If your doctor advises, medication can help with the thoughts too.

      https://www.relationshipocd.com/book-available-for-purchase-on-itunes/

      There is a good support group on Facebook called ROCD relationship – https://www.facebook.com/groups/relationshiprocd/ there are 100’s of people experiencing the same thoughts and feelings as you. Join the group, as there are many that can support you.

      Above all go see your doctor or a therapist. They will help you through this ☺

      All the best,

      Stu

  48. T September 4, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Hi Stuart, Just wondering on whether you had any thoughts on those pesky rocd thoughts that just keep changing on you. Ive had obsessions over flaws, and now I am obsessed with my partner and I not clicking, because sometimes he isn’t super talkative. I love him, and quite frankly if I had to choose between accepting he isn’t super talkative and not being with him, Id choose accepting every time. It triggers me to have doubts about whether he can truly make me happy, and what if these thoughts will never go away and Ill never get better. This is my fourth time with ROCD in my life, so I know it’s possible to recover but this time, it seems that once I get over one obsession I just find a new one. I have a psychologist, and psychiatrist, and they are both fantastic. Im just wondering what type of Exposure of ACT I can do when I am being triggered when we have moments when we sit in silence. (which I know logically very normal). I’d love to know if you’ve found this to be a common theme, and anything practical you do when things like this come up.

    • Stuart September 12, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Hi yep it can change a lot. The main thing to address is the uncertainty. Make uncertainty your friend and OCD will have less power over you. It’s great to hear you have a psychiatrist and a psychologist, I would ask them for the best strategy. My only advice is to live by your values and not your emotions when you are anxious, eventually the anxiety will fade. Stick to what matters most to you.

  49. Alexis September 12, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Stuart…I have been struggling with ROCD for a few months now. At first, I struggled with all of the basic intrusive thoughts such as “do I really love him” and “is he the one”…but now those specific thoughts are gone….but I’m still plagued with the uneasy feeling of our relationship even though I know he is amazing!! I now have the overall thought of “do I even want to be in a relationship” and “do I need to just do life on my own for right now?” Even though breaking up with him does not sound appealing because he is everything ive ever wanted and I love him. I’m hoping what I’m dealing with his still ROCD and not the reality of me needing to do life on my own right now. Do you have any thoughts on this? Would those still be considered “intrusive thoughts?”

    • Stuart September 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Alexis,

      If you are over thinking and worrying a lot that’s often a sign of anxiety and OCD.

      Sorry to hear you are having a tough time at the moment, it will get better, with positive recovery focused action.

      My best advice is go see your doctor, or a CBT therapist who specialises in OCD. They can help you overcome this and get past these pesky thoughts and feelings. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with a focus on Exposure and Response Prevention therapy has been clinically proven to help more than anything else. If your doctor advises, medication can help with the thoughts too.

      https://www.relationshipocd.com/book-available-for-purchase-on-itunes/

      There is a good support group on Facebook called ROCD relationship – https://www.facebook.com/groups/relationshiprocd/ there are 100’s of people experiencing the same thoughts and feelings as you. Join the group, as there are many that can support you.

      Above all go see your doctor or a therapist. They will help you through this ☺

      All the best,

      Stu

  50. Curtis Thompson October 20, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Hi I wonder if this is the same thing happening to me. For the last 3 almost 4 months I’ve been going with a girl. I was just recently out of a relationship and there was distance between us. But I was getting there and the distance was going away. I woke up one morning wit a doubt in my head. And I started to spiral. If I’m dounting love then I’m not in love maybe I don’t want to be with her. And Ive started to believe that maybe I do feel that way. I know I want to be with her but the more I say that the more I doubt myself. The more I feel like I want to end things. I then get depressed and feel nothing and believe that I want to end it. I don’t want that nut I think my anxiety has started to already make up my mind. I would like to know if there is any saving this because I just have a lack of wanting to be there amd motivation now. Even tho I do. When I thonk of her I get anxious and think I don’t want to be there I don’t want to be there and I keep telling myself I do.

    • Stuart November 7, 2017 at 10:31 am

      Hi Curtis,

      Sorry to hear you are having a tough time at present. It will get better.

      My best advice is go speak with a doctor or a CBT therapist about this. They will be able to advise the best approach to recovery. There are many good books on OCD recovery.

      All the best,
      Stu

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