My partner isn’t…(insert perceived weakness/flaw) enough!

I touched on my experience with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) before. So when I was reading an academic journal on rOCD it was interesting to see that BDD or simply anyone who puts hyper-attention on themselves is likely to do the same to their partner.

"Hyper-attention to one's own perceived flaws in appearance and catastrophic misinterpretation of such flaws may reflect a general predisposition to detect perceived deficits and overestimate their consequences, not only in the self, but also in the relationship partners." (*Guy Doron et al, 2012, pg 241)

The study drew several conclusions one of which was that if a suffer is overly critical of themselves, they are likely to be critical of their partner. If you struggle with type two relationship OCD (rOCD) which is the preoccupation with your partners perceived flaws, then the above quote may apply to you.

Guy Doron and co point out that in type two rOCD. character flaws come in 6 domains – physical appearance, sociability, morality, emotional stability, intelligence and competence.

Since the age of 17 I have been overly critical of myself, and constantly putting myself under the microscope to be the best I can. So it makes sense that in relationships I put my partner under the same scrutiny, making it easy for OCD to latch on to my partner’s perceived flaws. Do you notice a similar pattern in your relationship?

If so, my advice is to start loving yourself. Learn to appreciate you for the miracle you are. Learn to love that what makes you different can often make you special. When you start to love yourself, without being so critical and overly self-aware, this will then role onto your partner and you will stop picking holes in them. This will weaken OCD’s grip on their perceived flaws.

Let me know if that helps,


*Flaws and all: Exploring partner-focused obsessive-comulsive symptoms by Guy Doron et al, 2012, pg 241.

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6 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “My partner isn’t…(insert perceived weakness/flaw) enough!”

  1. Ray Jantz December 21, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks, Stu

    This ism a very insightful observation. As an ROCD sufferer myself, I can see the truth of it. I think your advice will be a great help to me!

    • Stuart July 13, 2017 at 12:03 pm


  2. Michael Dunnigan July 19, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Hey Stuart,

    I have been looking at many of your posts and videos on ROCD. I just started therapy. My question is if I know I love her deep down, shouldn’t that be all that matters? Isn’t it my choice to love? Is the OCD just making me doubt this? I know I don’t want to leave her, and if I ever did I would be heartbroken. This just hurts so much!

    • Stuart July 20, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Good work on starting therapy, give it some time, and you’ll see results.

      The questions you ask are OCD. The wanting to figure it out is what makes it worse. When we learn to live with the uncertainty and the unanswered questions, anxiety decreases. It’s not easy but it’s possible. Read some OCD recovery books such as “the mindfulness workbook for ocd”. All the best, Stu

  3. T August 16, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Hi Stuart,

    Thank you, Ive had ROCD for a long time, but it has now focused more on flaws, and I find myself obsessing over my partners swearing, joke making, etc. Ive been turning myself inside out because I keep getting triggered over and over again by these perceived flaws. Ive really been grappling with what can I do when I’m constantly triggered by every time he swears (which can be a lot) lol..

    I love him more than anything in the world, he is the best thing that has ever happened, so having this fixations on these perceived flaws has really stuck to me.

    I’m going to try using each time I get triggered now as a reminder to focus on loving myself and not being so critical of myself. And in that way the triggers hopefully begin to serve a positive purpose in my life. Rather than focusing on how I can rid my partner of anything that may trigger me such as him swearing.

    I am so grateful to have found this blog post, and your advice.

    • Stuart August 17, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      Glad it helped. An OCDA therapist will help you even more 🙂 All the best.

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