Skip to content

Relationship OCD Guide, Symptoms, Causes, and Coping

Relationship OCD is a kind of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder characterized by excessive preoccupation with negative thoughts and rituals related to interpersonal relationships.

What is Relationship OCD?

Relationship obsessive-compulsive disorder (ROCD) is a psychological trend that can significantly affect how people think and act in romantic relationships.ROCD is an obsessive-compulsive disease that affects the way people interact with each other. It can make people doubt their love for their partner or worry about the future of their partnership. People with ROCD may always try to get encouragement from their partner or do things like check their partner’s social media accounts repeatedly.

OCD can be caused by many things, such as past stress, genes, and how the brain works. Knowing the signs and causes of ROCD can help people and couples get the proper care and improve the way they interact with each other.

This guide tries to explain the symptoms and causes of Relationship OCD so that people and couples can better understand the problems they may face.

Discover a path to healing for Relationship OCD at We Level Up Treatment Center. Expert therapists provide tailored Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness strategies, fostering growth toward healthier relationships.

OCD in Relationships

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that is often marked by repetitive, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and ritualistic actions or mental acts (compulsions) that are done to stop the distress caused by the obsessions. When OCD gets in the way of relationships, it causes unique problems that can significantly affect the person and their relationships.

OCD shows up in relationships as Relationship OCD (ROCD). Persistent doubts, worries, and questions about romantic partnerships characterize this type of OCD. People with ROCD have unwanted thoughts about their partners, their relationship, and how well they fit together. These feelings can cause pain and make people repeatedly do things they don’t want to do to feel better.

We Level Up Treatment Center can help you improve if you have Relationship OCD. With the help of our supportive setting and therapy methods shown to work, you can learn how to deal with doubts and build long-term relationship health.
We Level Up Treatment Center can help you improve if you have Relationship OCD. With the help of our supportive setting and therapy methods shown to work, you can learn how to deal with doubts and build long-term relationship health.

Get Help. Get Better. Get Your Life Back.

Searching for an Accredited Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers in Near You?

Even if you have failed previously and relapsed, or are in the middle of a difficult crisis, we stand ready to support you. Our trusted behavioral health specialists will not give up on you. When you feel ready or just want someone to speak to about therapy alternatives to change your life call us. Even if we cannot assist you, we will lead you to wherever you can get support. There is no obligation. Call our hotline today.

(844) 597-1011

Discover Effective Recovery at We Level Up Treatment Centers for Relationship OCD

Conquering Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD) can feel isolating and arduous. Many individuals struggle to navigate this condition without support and frequently relapse in their efforts to manage symptoms.

Fortunately, We Level Up offers comprehensive therapy and treatment plans tailored for ROCD. With our expertise, you can expect a more manageable journey towards recovery. Should you need guidance for rehab, our treatment advocates are available round the clock to assist you.

View more We Level Up treatment centers.

OCD Fact Sheet

OCD Overview

Obsessions with excessive ideas trigger recurrent behaviors (compulsions). Unreasonable worries and obsessions (compulsive behaviors) are hallmarks of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
OCD frequently centers on ideas like a dread of germs or the requirement to organize objects in a certain way. Symptoms typically appear gradually and change over time. Both conversation therapy and medication are used as treatments.

OCD Symptoms

Behavioral: compulsive behavior, agitation, compulsive hoarding, hypervigilance, impulsivity, meaningless repetition of own words, repetitive movements, ritualistic behavior, social isolation, or persistent repetition of words or actions.

Mood: Anxiety, apprehension, guilt, or panic attack.

Whole body: fatigue or sweating.

Also standard are food aversion, nightmares, or rumination.

Types of OCD Disorders

  • Contamination OCD.
  • Checking OCD.
  • Harm OCD.
  • Hoarding OCD.
  • Pure-O (Purely Obsessional) OCD.
  • Symmetry and Ordering OCD.
  • Sexual Orientation OCD.
  • Relationship OCD.
  • Religious OCD (Scrupulosity).
  • Health Anxiety OCD.

Relationship OCD Statistics

By delving into these statistics, we aim to gain a deeper comprehension of the scope and impact of ROCD but also to foster empathy and awareness. Through this understanding, we can work collectively to break down stigmas, facilitate conversations, and ensure that individuals affected by ROCD receive the support and resources they deserve.

  • OCD Prevalence: OCD is a common mental health disorder. It’s estimated that about 1-2% of the global population suffers from OCD at some point.
  • Gender Distribution: OCD affects both genders equally.
  • Age of Onset: OCD symptoms typically begin in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. However, the disorder can develop at any age.
  • Impact on Relationships: OCD, including ROCD, can significantly impact romantic relationships. If not correctly managed, it might lead to increased stress, communication challenges, and emotional distance.
  • Co-Occurrence: OCD often occurs alongside other mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders and depression. These comorbid conditions can further complicate relationships.

2.5 million

OCD affects 2.5 million adults or 1.2% of the U.S. population.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The average age of onset is 19, with 25% of cases occurring by age 14. One-third of affected adults first experienced symptoms in childhood.

Source: ADAA


Women are 3x more likely to be affected than men.

Source: ADAA

OCD and Relationships

To cope with the anxiety brought on by intrusive, distressing thoughts (obsessions), people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) often engage in ritualistic, repeated activities or mental exercises (compulsions). When obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) enters a couple’s life, it can change the course of events for everyone involved.

There are several ways in which OCD can impact both parties in a relationship. OCD can have effects on interpersonal connections.

  • Intrusive Thoughts: Distressing thoughts about the partner, relationship, or infidelity, causing anxiety.
  • Compulsive Behaviors: Engagement in relationship-related rituals to ease obsessive thoughts.
  • Communication Impact: Strain due to reassurance-seeking and repetitive discussions.
  • Intimacy Distraction: Preoccupations divert focus from emotional connection.
  • Relationship Quality: OCD distress affects overall satisfaction and understanding.
OCD can have adverse effects on both partners in a relationship. Relational ramifications of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
OCD can have adverse effects on both partners in a relationship. Relational ramifications of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Relationship OCD Symptoms

Symptoms of Relationship OCD (ROCD):

  • Intrusive Doubts: Persistent and distressing doubts about the relationship and partner.
  • Constant Comparisons: Excessive comparing of the partner to others or an idealized standard.
  • Intrusive Thoughts: Unwanted thoughts about flaws in the relationship or partner’s character.
  • Reassurance Seeking: Frequent seeking of reassurance from others to alleviate anxiety.
  • Overanalyzing: Continuous overthinking of relationship dynamics and meaning.
  • Emotional Turmoil: Intense emotional distress caused by these obsessive thoughts.
  • Avoidance Behaviors: Stepping back from situations that trigger these thoughts.
  • Impact on Decision-Making: Difficulty making decisions due to doubts about the relationship.
  • Compromised Intimacy: Challenges in forming emotional connections due to preoccupation with doubts.
  • Jealousy and Suspicion: Unfounded jealousy or suspicion regarding the partner’s actions or intentions.

These relationship OCD symptoms can be terrible for the person’s and relationship’s health. If you or someone you know has these symptoms, it is best to get help from a mental health worker with experience treating OCD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), especially the Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) method, can often help people with ROCD.

Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

Get Your Life Back

Find Hope & Recovery. Get Safe Comfortable Detox, Addiction Rehab & Dual Diagnosis High-Quality Care.

Hotline(844) 597-1011

Causes of OCD Relationship

Causes of Relationship-Oriented Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD):

A complicated interplay between biological, psychological, and environmental elements contributes to developing Relationship-Oriented Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD). Several factors have been recognized, albeit the precise causes can differ from person to person:

  • Genetics: Genetic factors play a role in predisposing individuals to OCD, including ROCD. If a close family member has OCD or a related anxiety disorder, there might be a higher likelihood of developing ROCD.
  • Brain Chemistry: Neurotransmitter imbalances, particularly involving serotonin, have been implicated in developing OCD. These imbalances might contribute to the distressing and intrusive thoughts that characterize ROCD.
  • Learning and Conditioning: Past experiences and learned behaviors can shape the development of ROCD. Negative relationship experiences or exposure to dysfunctional relationship models might contribute to the onset of ROCD symptoms.
  • Cognitive Factors: Certain cognitive tendencies, such as perfectionism and a need for certainty, can amplify relationship doubts and uncertainties. Individuals prone to overthinking and excessive analysis might be more vulnerable to ROCD.
  • Attachment Styles: Attachment styles developed in childhood and early relationships can influence how individuals perceive and interact in romantic relationships. Anxious attachment styles might contribute to ROCD symptoms, as they often involve a heightened fear of abandonment.
  • Trauma: Past traumas, particularly those related to relationships, can contribute to the development of ROCD. Trauma can create a heightened sensitivity to issues such as trust and security within relationships.
  • Environmental Factors: Stressful life events, major changes, or significant transitions can trigger or exacerbate ROCD symptoms. These factors might act as catalysts for the manifestation of the disorder.
  • Media and Cultural Influences: Cultural and societal messages about relationships, perfectionism, and self-worth can impact the development of ROCD. Unrealistic portrayals of relationships in media can create distorted expectations.
  • Personality Traits: Certain personality traits, such as a tendency towards anxiety, rigidity, or obsessive thinking, can contribute to the susceptibility to ROCD.

Noting the various manner in which these factors interact and influence one another is essential. Not everyone exposed to these circumstances will go on to develop ROCD, but they are contributors. Each person is predisposed to ROCD due to different vulnerabilities and triggers. Seeking expert support from a mental health specialist is essential for correctly diagnosing and treating ROCD if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms.

First-class Facilities & Amenities

World-class High-Quality Addiction & Mental Health Rehabilitation Treatment

Rehab Centers Tour

Renowned Addiction Centers. Serene Private Facilities. Inpatient rehab programs vary.

Addiction Helpline(844) 597-1011

Proven recovery success experience, backed by a Team w/ History of:

  • 15+ Years Experience
  • 100s of 5-Star Reviews
  • 10K+ Recovery Successes
  • Low Patient to Therapist Ratio
  • Onsite Medical Detox Center
  • Comprehensive Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
  • Complimentary Family & Alumni Programs
  • Coaching, Recovery & Personal Development Events

What Is Relationship OCD? Signs to Watch Out For

The OCD subtype known as “relationship compulsions” or “relationship obsessions” is called “relationship obsessive-compulsive disorder” (ROCD). Because it involves issues of the heart, it presents its own set of difficulties. Understanding the effects on individuals and relationships and being able to offer empathy and support depends on recognizing the symptoms of ROCD.

We Level Up Treatment Center is where you and I can get help with Relationship OCD. Their tailored approaches help us conquer irrational fears and improve our bonds with others.
We Level Up Treatment Center is where you and I can get help with OCD relationships. Their tailored approaches help us conquer irrational fears and improve our bonds with others.

Signs of ROCD:

  • Relentless Doubts: Unending uncertainties about the relationship’s authenticity.
  • Constant Comparisons: Excessive partner comparisons to an ideal.
  • Intrusive Thoughts: Disturbing thoughts about relationship flaws.
  • Reassurance Seeking: Continuous need for affirmation to ease doubt.
  • Overanalyzing: Scrutiny of interactions for hidden meanings.
  • Emotional Turmoil: Intense distress due to obsessive thoughts.
  • Avoidance Behaviors: Evading triggers, causing emotional distance.
  • Impaired Decisions: Difficulty making choices due to uncertainty.
  • Jealousy and Suspicion: Unfounded doubts arising from ROCD.
  • Emotional Distance: Obsessions divert focus, causing disconnection.

By recognizing these signs, we delve into the intricacies of ROCD’s effects on emotional well-being and relationships. In fostering awareness and understanding, we establish a foundation for support and empathy, empowering individuals to navigate the challenges of ROCD with resilience and a strengthened perspective. In subsequent discussions, we’ll delve deeper into each sign, unraveling the tapestry of ROCD’s impact on the human experience of love and connection.

How Does OCD Affect Relationships?

Relationships are only one area of life that can be severely impacted by the mental illness known as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). When obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) enters the picture, it presents its difficulties that can strain interpersonal dynamics. Some ways in which OCD can affect interpersonal connections are as follows:

  • Communication Challenges: OCD-related behaviors, such as repetitive questioning or seeking reassurance, can lead to difficulties. Partners might feel overwhelmed by the constant need for validation or struggle to understand these behaviors’ nature.
  • Emotional Distance: The obsessions and compulsions associated with OCD can divert attention and emotional energy from the relationship. This preoccupation with rituals and intrusive thoughts can lead to emotional distance between partners.
  • Frustration and Misunderstanding: Partners unfamiliar with OCD might find it challenging to comprehend the compulsive behaviors or the intensity of obsessions. This lack of understanding can lead to frustration and misinterpretation of intentions.
  • Impact on Intimacy: OCD can interfere with emotional and physical intimacy. The anxiety and distress caused by obsessions can make it challenging to engage in intimate moments fully.
  • Time and Energy: Managing OCD can be time-consuming, leaving individuals with less time and energy to invest in their relationships. Rituals and compulsive behaviors may take precedence over quality time with a partner.
  • Isolation: Individuals with OCD might experience feelings of shame or embarrassment about their symptoms. This might lead to isolation, as they avoid social situations or discussing their struggles with their partner.
  • Relationship Roles: OCD can disrupt established relationship roles and dynamics. The individual with OCD might become reliant on their partner for reassurance or might rely on them to participate in rituals.
  • Impact on Decision-Making: OCD-related doubts and fears can extend beyond the relationship, affecting broader life decisions. This can lead to a shared sense of uncertainty in future planning.
  • Overall Satisfaction: When left untreated, the strain caused by OCD can impact the overall satisfaction within the relationship. Both partners might experience diminished enjoyment due to the challenges posed by the disorder.

Despite these difficulties, however, OCD is curable and should not be ignored. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication effectively treat OCD and lessen its adverse effects on interpersonal interactions. Together, partners can lessen the impact of OCD by creating a safe space for open dialogue, mutual understanding, and information sharing.

World-class, Accredited, 5-Star Reviewed, Effective Addiction & Mental Health Programs. Complete Behavioral Health Inpatient Rehab, Detox plus Co-occuring Disorders Therapy.

CALL(844) 597-1011

End the Addiction Pain. End the Emotional Rollercoaster. Get Your Life Back. Start Drug, Alcohol & Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Treatment Now. Get Free No-obligation Guidance by Substance Abuse Specialists Who Understand Addiction & Mental Health Recovery & Know How to Help.

Dating Someone with Relationship OCD

When you date someone with Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD), it complicates the road to love. Persistent worries, fears, and doubts about romantic partnerships characterize ROCD. To understand and help a partner with ROCD, you must be understanding, patient, and ready to work through the unique problems this disorder can bring to the relationship.

When you date someone with Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD), you need to be understanding and patient. This is how:

  • Empathy: Understand their doubts aren’t a reflection of feelings.
  • Communication: Create a safe space for open talks.
  • Education: Learn about ROCD for better support.
  • Validation: Acknowledge their experiences without judgment.
  • Patience: Be understanding of their reassurance-seeking behaviors.
  • Boundaries: Balance support while prioritizing your well-being.
  • Professional Help: Encourage therapy if ROCD significantly affects them.
  • Self-Care: Prioritize your emotional needs as well.
  • Progress: Celebrate their small steps towards managing ROCD.

Relationship OCD Cheating

Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD) can cause a person to worry that their partner is cheating. People with this type of OCD are bothered by intrusive thoughts and worries, which often revolve around the idea that they are being unfaithful or that their partner is. Even though they have no base, these thoughts can be persistent and cause stress.

Fear of cheating can be caused by obsessive thoughts, which can lead to compulsive behaviors like constantly asking the partner for reassurance, looking at every interaction for signs of cheating, or avoiding scenarios that make these thoughts come up. This fear can cloud the relationship, making both people feel bad, which can lead to mistakes. It’s important to realize that these fears are caused by the disorder, not by what the person wants. People with these troubling thoughts can get relief and support from professional help like therapy and handling skills.

Relationship OCD Treatment

Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD) can be treated and controlled well with a mix of therapy and, in some cases, medication. If they know what treatments are available, people with ROCD can get the tools to regain control of their thoughts and feelings in their relationships.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT, particularly Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), is a cornerstone of ROCD treatment. ERP involves gradually exposing individuals to their obsessive thoughts while refraining from engaging in the associated compulsive behaviors. Over time, this process helps desensitize the anxiety these thoughts trigger.
  • Mindfulness-Based Therapy: Mindfulness techniques help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and emotions without judgment. This approach can empower them to distance themselves from their obsessive thoughts and cultivate healthier responses to triggers.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) might be prescribed to help manage the anxiety and distress associated with ROCD. However, medication is usually combined with therapy for optimal results.
  • Couples Therapy: If ROCD has strained the relationship, couples therapy can provide a supportive environment for partners to address communication challenges, misunderstandings, and the disorder’s impact on their relationship.
  • Self-Help Strategies: Learning coping techniques, stress management, and healthy communication skills can provide individuals with practical tools to manage their ROCD symptoms in daily life.
  • Support Groups: Joining support groups or online communities can offer a sense of belonging and understanding, connecting individuals with others who share similar experiences.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Incorporating regular exercise, a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and stress-reduction techniques into daily routines can improve overall mental well-being.

Remember that treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach. What works best will depend on the individual’s unique circumstances and preferences. Seeking guidance from a mental health professional experienced in treating OCD, especially ROCD, is crucial for developing a tailored treatment plan. With commitment, patience, and the proper support, individuals can learn to manage their ROCD symptoms and cultivate healthier relationships.

Consider seeking effective treatment for Relationship OCD at We Level Up Treatment Center, where specialized therapists offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness techniques, and a supportive environment for managing ROCD symptoms. Explore our comprehensive approach to healing and rediscovering healthier relationships.

Experience Transformative Recovery at the We Level Up Treatment Center.

See our authentic success stories. Get inspired. Get the help you deserve.

We Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis TherapyWe Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis TherapyWe Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Therapy

Hotline (844) 597-1011

Start a New Life

Begin with a free call to an addiction & behavioral health treatment advisor. Learn more about our dual-diagnosis programs. The We Level Up treatment center network delivers recovery programs that vary by each treatment facility. Call to learn more.

  • Personalized Care
  • Caring Accountable Staff
  • World-class Amenities
  • Licensed & Accredited
  • Renowned w/ 100s 5-Star Reviews

We’ll Call You

  1. Is it Relationship OCD or Wrong Relationship?

    Determining if it’s Relationship OCD or a wrong relationship requires careful evaluation of obsessive thoughts, doubts, and their impact on emotions and behaviors.

  2. What Causes Relationship OCD?

    The exact cause of Relationship OCD is a complex interplay of genetic, neurological, psychological, and environmental factors.

Watch and Learn About What Is OCD and Take a look at the 4 Most Common Types of OCD

Search We Level Up Relationship OCD Guide, Symptoms, Causes, and Coping Resources

[1] NIMH – Learn More: Relationship OCD, OCD Relationship

[2] Obsessive-compulsive disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed Sept. 3, 2019. Learn More: Types of OCD, How OCD affects relationships

[3] Mental health medications. National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed Aug. 13, 2019. Learn More: Types of OCD

[4] AskMayoExpert. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Mayo Clinic; 2019. Learn More: Types of OCD

[5] Depression basics. National Institute of Mental Health. Accessed Sept. 4, 2019. Learn More: Types of OCD

[6] Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Merck Manual Professional Version. Accessed Sept. 3, 2019. Learn More: Types of OCD

[7] Obsessive-compulsive disorder. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Accessed Sept. 3, 2019. Learn More: Types of OCD

[8] Suicidality in children and adolescents being treated with antidepressant medications. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed Aug. 13, 2019. Learn More: Types of OCD, ocd ruining relationship

[9] Obsessive-compulsive disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. American Psychiatric Association; 2013. Accessed Sept. 3, 2019. Learn More: Types of OCD, ocd and intimate relationships

[10] Coping with Stress – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Learn More: Types of OCD,relationship ocd or wrong relationship

Table of Contents