How do I know if I really love him?

One form of OCD I see often In my practice is something called Relationship OCD (ROCD). While in any relationship, it is not uncommon to have doubts or questions around whether this relationship is “good” for us, ROCD is driven by a need for 100% certainty around doubts that are often irrational or baseless.


Common ROCD Obsessions and Fears:

“How do I know if I really love my partner?”

“How do I know if I deserve my partner”

“How do I know if my partner truly loves me”

“How do I know I am happy and haven’t made the wrong decision by marrying this person”

“How do I know if I am truly attracted to my partner”

To resolve the discomfort and uncertainty that arise from these questions, a person may spend hours ruminating on them or mentally try to figure it out by comparing their relationship to other ones or replaying past events checking for signs of happiness or discontent.
They may engage in checking or “monitoring” of certain thoughts (“did I have a bad thought about my partner”?), behaviors (“did I smile at that man because I found him attractive?”) and emotional states (“Did I feel love when my husband hugged me”?).
They may seek endless amounts of reassurance from their partner, friends or family. They may also spend hours searching relationship blogs and reddit forums for information on how to answer these questions.
People with ROCD often avoid situations that might trigger their obsessions and tend to have rigid or irrational beliefs about love and relationships in general.

While the effort to resolve this doubt starts out well intentioned, the more a person engages with these obsessions and rituals, the doubt only gets worse and can have severe and damaging effects on a persons life.

CBT and ERP treatment can be used to help a person challenge these beliefs and reduce ritualizing. Most of all, learning to live with doubt and uncertainty is essential. “Love” is something you experience, not something you can conjure up whenever your OCD wants you to doubt your relationship!

Julia HaleComment