Dating someone with OCD. Things to keep in mind

Posted by Robert, 09 Jul

Do you have any experience dating someone with OCD? I do! Did you know that the more you reassure someone that they are OK, the worse the OCD can become?

Read here on Love is All Colors as I share with you how I have been dealing with OCD in a relationship...

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Being in a relationship with someone who has OCD

What is OCD?

OCD or fully known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder that is brought on by a biochemical process in the brain. This disorder affects people despite a person's age, gender, or sex. It manifests itself in two parts. There is the obsessive bit and the compulsion bit that one has to deal with...

According to psychotherapist Stephanie Woodrow who specializes in this disorder, “Obsessions are unwanted thoughts or images that are intrusive to an individual.” What happens is that a person with OCD usually engages in physical or mental behaviors in a bit or in the hopes that it will reduce the mental distress which is referred to as compulsions or rituals. Unfortunately, these compulsions don't offer a lasting solution. It's usually just something that offers short term relief from anxiety.

What causes OCD?

Like I mentioned earlier, is caused by a biochemical process in the brain. What usually happens is that makes a person's thoughts and ideas that make one become worried even when such pictures or thoughts in the brain have no basis in reality. So basically, these worrisome thoughts can't be washed away but any amount of reasoning that's hammered in the person who is suffering from OCD. And that is the main reason its referred to as obsessive.

The thing with this obsessions is that they are very frustrating and worrying. This makes the person suffering from it experience bouts of high levels of anxiety. The way they manage this anxiety is by repetitive actions that are thought related also known as compulsions. The most common obsessions for instance is one centered on germs with the compulsion being frequent hand washing or excessive cleaning of surfaces.

How I coped with loving someone with OCD

Dating someone with OCD is not easy. One of my boyfriends did have OCD. His was the constant cleaning and making sure that all the clothes in the closet were color-coded. Then the other thing was the fact that he wanted the things he had arranged to remain as they were. So if I removed something, I had to put it back exactly where I found it.

One of the things I realized about dating a man with OCD was that you have to truly be ready to accept their flaws and work together to be supportive of each other. If you are OCD dating,  then you better be prepared for some special challenges ahead. You have to always be mindful of the stressors that heighten their anxiety and come up with ways that can reduce this anxiety and compulsions. Well here is how I survived a relationship with someone with OCD.

Understanding that OCD does not define the person you love

When it comes to loving someone with OCD, my efforts to separate his compulsions and his difficult thought processes from the person that he really is were some of the main steps that helped the relationship. When dating someone with OCD, you need to be committed, supporting, and loving.

There are some compulsive behaviors that can be scary. Some can really be embarrassing. Others even funny. Before it hit me that this guy had OCD, he really tried to hide his disorder during our initial dating so as not to drive me away. He always used to offer to arrange the closet. So the day I did it, he immediately removed everything and rearranged it again even after telling him that I had already done it. That's when he opened up about it. The key is to reassure then that you understand their struggles and that you love them unconditionally.

I did some research about OCD

When dealing with OCD in a relationship one of the things that really helped us is that my boyfriend and I reached out to an organization that supports both persons with OCD and the people they have to interact with on a daily basis. Here, I really learned a lot about the disorder. Plus, it also gave my boyfriend pointers on the best practices in therapy and treatment.

Meeting and talking with others who were also in a relationship with someone with OCD really gave me the strength to become more effective in supporting my partner. It also gave me the well-needed outlet to discuss the concerns and pressures that I felt when my dude flipped.

Luckily, my partner was open to the therapy options given and was also OK with me participating in treatment with him. It really helped up work together on easing his anxiety as well as helping people around us ease the stigma around the disorder too.

Such professional advice on dating someone with OCD really helped us grow our relationship and reduce the negativity that the disorder would have brought to our blossoming love.

Creating trust

One thing I learned about being in a relationship with someone who has OCD was to avoid any temptation to diminish or question the effect OCD had on my dude. I must admit that it was hard initially to understand why he just couldn't walk away from any mess. But with the meetings that I used to attend, I came to understand that obsessions and compulsions were symptoms of a real and serious disorder.

I realized that we both had to create a trusting and safe space to discuss it. He allowed me to be honest about the stress his condition had on me. For instance, initially, I used to get angry that his excessive cleaning meant that I was dirty. But opening channels of communication really helped me understand a lot about dating someone with OCD and what he was going through,

What you really need to steer clear of is NOT to make fun of the obsessions or compulsions. That doesn't mean that a mindful or mutual sense of humor is a NO NO. If he or she has a sense of humor about it and is accepting some loving banter, it might ease their obsessions and even make the other person feel at ease about loving someone with OCD.

Try and maintain some bit of privacy about the condition. If they don't know about it, especially if the compulsions case no threat to others, then keep the condition from your friends and family until a time that he or she feels safe to share with others.

Striking a balance

One of the best things to do when dating a man with OCD is to show give them your loving acceptance. This simple gesture shows them how important they are to you and to your life. The thing that really helped me and my guy manage is that we worked as a team in order to assist us as a couple to move past the obsessions and compulsions. After a while, our relationship actually became a refuge from the discomfort of the condition.

The thing is, if the two of you can talk it out, you will come to realize that  OCD is not a deal-breaker in a loving relationship. People with OCD are very capable of being in loving relationships, being supportive partners as well as being in healthy relationships. If you are a person dating with OCD, don't let the disorder make you feel like you are a burden to your partner.

My dude is a funny and very supportive partner I have ever dated. His OCD has never affected how he treats me at all. We have learned to celebrate the moments when we relinquish its power and replace all that anxiety with love and compassion.

In case you missed it, read this article about how a pet can help with dealing with anxiety.

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