Relationship Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (ROCD)

relationship obsessive compulsive disorder (ROCD)

We have already seen, in other posts that I have published on this site, that significant and protracted childhood trauma can put the individual who suffers it at higher risk of developing various psychiatric problems later on in life, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (if you would like to read my article – Childhood Trauma And Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)– by clicking HERE.

In this particular article, however, I will concentrate upon a variant of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) called relationship obsessive  – compulsive disorder (ROCD) ; in those afflicted by this psychological condition the individual’s obsessive-compulsiveness is centered around a relationship with another person (this relationship may be current or in the past).

What Are The Symptoms Of Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD)?

The person suffering from ROCD experiences chronic, distressing, intrusive thoughts, images and urges that are not wanted and that interfere with the individual’s day-to-day functioning. Often, too, these obsessive thoughts / images / urges contravene the individual’s conscious beliefs, values and moral principles.

When particular urges / images / thoughts arise, the individual may feel compelled and driven to carry out certain behaviors /actions in an (irrational) attempt to prevent these urges / images / thoughts from leading to some dreaded consequences and to reduce anxiety.

Obsessions connected to relationships that the ROCD sufferer may experience :

  • whether they really love their partner or not / whether or not they are ‘right’ to love their partner
  • whether their partner really loves them or not (e.g. the individual with ROCD may constantly seek reassurances, their partner’s approval etc.) / whether their partner is ‘right’ to love them
  • whether or not they are in the ‘right’ relationship
  • whether their partner is having an affair / being unfaithful
  • intense anxiety about ending a relationship
  • intense focus upon the partner’s faults (as opposed to concentrating on the good in him/her)
  • constantly thinking (despite the relationship being good) they could be missing out on the opportunity of finding someone better
  • constantly fearing they’re not good enough for their partner and it is only a matter of time before s/he realizes this


Possible causes of ROCD :

Various factors may combine and interact with one another to cause ROBT ; these include :

Cognitive – dysfunctional styles of thinking (for more on this, see my previously published article entitled : Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Childhood Trauma).

Biological – their may be a genetic component. Also, there may be chemical, structural and/or functional abnormalities in the brain (to read my article about FUNCTIONAL AND STRUCTURAL  NEUROPLASTICITY, please click here). Or, to read my previously published article about PHYSICAL BRAIN DIFFERENCES IN THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM SEVERE ANXIETY, please click here).

Psychodynamic – fear of abandonment stemming from childhood trauma (for more on this, see my previously published article entitled : ‘Abandonment Issues’)or from low self-esteem stemming from childhood trauma (for more on this, you may wish to read my previously published article entitled : Childhood Trauma : A Destroyer Of Self-Esteem.


Possible Treatment For Relationship OCD :

These include :

  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy
  • exposure response prevention therapy
  • anxiety management techniques



10 Steps to Overcome Insecurity in Relationships | Self Hypnosis Downloads

OCD Treatment | Self Hypnosis Downloads




David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).


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About David Hosier MSc

Holder of MSc and post graduate teaching diploma in psychology. Highly experienced in education. Founder of Survivor of severe childhood trauma.

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