Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan
Psikiyatrist

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Regarding Romantic Relationships

As specified in their researches by authors Ezgi Trak and Müjgan İnözü; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCB) is a disorder, which shows symptom types with different contents, such as transmission, contamination, arrangement, control, damaging-getting damaged, sexuality, being religious, and which varies from patient to patient. It is clear as day that interpersonal relationships and particularly romantic relationships have a significant role in people’s being in a good mood. If romantic relationships are satisfactory, this situation functions as a protective factor in people in terms of coping with problems and difficulties.

Based on clinical observations, two different obsessive-compulsive symptom types were determined. Obsessional thinking in romantic relationships is one of them. It includes obsessive suspicions regarding the love that one has for the partner, and the love that the partner feels for the one. It is stated that people with this type of obsessions intensely deal with suspicions on whether the relationship they are in is the suitable one for themselves. The people having these obsessions may also have compulsive behaviors, such as controlling, seeking approval, and making comparisons in general.

The individual may frequently compare the relationships they see around them, seek assurance on whether or not their partner really loves them in the relationship, or constantly check the authenticity of the love they feel for their partners. They may show the behaviors of recalling and fancying the good memories they had with their partners in order to eliminate the anxiety that occurs as a result of these obsessions. The second obsessive-compulsive symptoms observed in romantic relationships are the partner-oriented symptoms. It includes obsessive thoughts regarding the social skills, professional competence, level of intelligence, physical appearance and morality of the partner.

This pattern is also accompanied by the compulsions of controlling, seeking assurance and comparison, just like the first one. Being excessively engaged in thoughts on whether or not their partner is beautiful/smart, intelligent, social, skillful and ethical enough, the person may compare their own social skills and/or physical appearance to others, or may show approval-seeking compulsions. While showing these thoughts and behaviors, the person generally feels that they love their partner, but that they cannot stop questioning their feelings. Similarly, they may not help questioning this, even though they think it is not ethical to compare many characteristics of their partner’s to other people.

People, who show this type of obsessive-compulsive symptoms in romantic relationships, generally express that it is hard and disturbing to accept these symptoms, and that this leads to shame and a sense of guilt.

Researches point out that the satisfaction taken from the relationship, and sexual functionality levels are negatively affected as the severity of the obsessive-compulsive symptom towards romantic relationships increases. In addition, there are also researches that show there are conclusions on the fact that the severity of the obsessive-compulsive symptoms focused on romantic relationships or partners is closely associated with the depression, anxiety and stress levels in the person.

According to another research, it was concluded that people diagnosed with relationship-centered OCB show depressive symptoms that are at very similar levels to other OCB patients.

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