ROCD: “Other Relationships Are Perfect”

For those of us that have, or had Relationship OCD (ROCD) black and white thinking can cause a lot of problems. One area that I wanted to discuss today, is this idea of marital/relationship bliss. The idea that every other relationship is perfect, without worry, doubts or concerns.

Do you get this? Where you look at another couple, or hear one part of the couple talking about their spouse or about something they did at the weekend, with a smile on their face. And you think “They have it all figured out. They are so happy”. My OCD tries to make this assumption, a lot.

For example, today I was asking a work colleague about his recent wedding. After a little bit of small talk and catching up, he said that they were looking to get a away for a month next year. Cue OCD. I get an intrusive thought of “you couldn’t spend a month away with your girlfriend; you’d get bored”, “if only you were as happy as them” etc. Of course I know this not to be true, I’d love a month away with my girlfriend. But as we know, you can’t reason with OCD. Luckily, the last few days I have been doing good work at accepting intrusive thoughts and lowering anxiety through ACT. I felt a little bump of anxiety, and a momentary drop in my heart when the intrusive thought hit me, however it didn’t grow into a vicious OCD cycle, because I nipped it in the bud.

ROCD "Other Relationships Are Perfect" Article

If you struggle with ROCD. Do your best to spot this black and white thinking. In the case above, notice when your brain makes solid conclusions about others’ lives from only minimal evidence, in this case a passing comment. My brain created a whole scenario and assumption about others’ lives from one comment. How tricky is OCD?! Understand that these dramatic predictions or assumptions are often a huge tell tell sign that it is OCD trying to play games. Spot this, mindfully watch it, then go play games with people you choose too, not OCD.

The other more cognitive aspect of this is, there is no such thing as the perfect couple or love at first sight. Real love, takes time and hard work. It is the coming together of two individuals to create one meaningful life.

Best wishes with your relationship, and OCD recovery,


P.S. Remember, it is OCD that is the problem, not the relationship.

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