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Relationship OCD & COVID-19

If you are following the directives of public health officials, there’s either not a lot of separation between you and your loved ones, or there is increased separation.  How does this impact those living with Relationship OCD (ROCD)? 

There are two common presentations of ROCD:  partner-focused and relationship centered.  As one can imagine, spending more time apart or together may further trigger OCD symptoms.  Interestingly, it may not.  

COVID-19 is unprecedented; the reactions of those with OCD and ROCD to this pandemic are also unprecedented.  Regardless of presentation, the pandemic may serve as a distraction for those suffering from ROCD.  This is because social isolation measures will either prevent the occurrence of intrusive thoughts and compulsions (like looking at others or comparing relationships), or facilitate avoidance measures (such as social situations). 

Social isolation may have the opposite effect and could further heighten symptoms.  People with ROCD may experience more doubt, more questioning and more intrusive thoughts.  This is because people with ROCD experience black and white thinking regarding relationships, thoughts and emotions.  (“It has to be perfect or it’s wrong”; or, “I am angry right now, so I don’t love them”).  This type of thinking also makes it difficult to live with uncertainty (it’s either right or wrong).  

While COVID-19 and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder have been common topics for bloggers, it is most important to remember that OCD does not fit a mold.  Symptoms are very unique to each person, and everyone will respond to COVID-19 differently.  However you are responding is ok. 

Be well.