OCD and intimate relationships: 5 tips that can help you deal with them

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of mental health condition. It’s one of several anxiety disorders to exist. It consists of unwanted, intrusive thoughts that cause significant emotional distress. These unwanted thoughts cause enough discomfort that compulsive behaviors may follow. One common example of OCD compulsions may include turning a light switch on and off repeatedly until it feels right. Another includes checking a door lock several times to be extra sure it’s locked. 

About 2% of adults in the United States will experience obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms at some point during their lifetime. People who experience OCD symptoms will often receive a diagnosis after speaking with a licensed mental health professional. A professional and client can determine if their symptoms are interfering with daily life. The average age of diagnosis is about 19 years old. It can affect young children, teens, and adults. Men are usually diagnosed earlier than women. 

Treatment for OCD can be necessary to improve the quality of a person’s life. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic mental health disorder. It can interfere with a variety of spheres in someone’s life, including intimate relationships. 

What types of OCD might interfere with one’s intimate relationships?

There are a few different types of OCD that a person can have. A person’s symptoms can even change over time or coexist. Take a look at some of the types of OCD that a person can have:

  • Relationship OCD
  • Contamination OCD
  • Taboo OCD
  • Checking OCD

Why might someone who has OCD struggle with intimate relationships?

Intimate relationships are often thought of as sexually involved types of relationships. However, more generally, intimate relationships can be between anyone who experiences physical or emotional intimacy. OCD can interfere with intimate relationships and contribute to difficulty in forming and maintaining intimacy between people. Obsessive thoughts about contamination can make physical intimacy complicated and unpleasant. Someone in a long-distance relationship who has relationship-centered OCD may experience increased difficulty maintaining their connection with someone. It can make a person feel as if they’re going crazy, but that’s certainly not the case. These are just a couple of examples of the ways that OCD can affect intimacy.

What are some ways that people who have OCD can navigate their intimate relationships?

If you or someone you care about is struggling to manage their obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms, keep reading below. We’ll list a few different methods that may help someone who has OCD better navigate their intimate and interpersonal relationships.

  • Go to sessions with a licensed professional therapist — Regular sessions with a licensed professional therapist can be advantageous if you have OCD. You can receive assistance in managing your symptoms. Some therapists prefer the process-based approach as a clinical model for treating their clients who have OCD.
  • Practice mindfulness — Mindfulness is a practice that can help take away some of the control OCD may have over your life. It can help you recognize when you’re experiencing symptoms, what your triggers may be, and when you need some extra assistance managing them.
  • Exercise regularly — Regular exercise can be helpful for a variety of physical and mental health conditions. It may help support symptom management and provide long-term benefits, according to one study.
  • Consider medication — Medication is another method that may be beneficial for some. To determine if medication may be effective for you, it’s important to consult with a trusted mental health professional.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk it out — OCD has the potential to interfere with the quality of your intimate relationships, but you can help reduce its impact by communicating with the other person. Don’t be afraid to let them know how your OCD might show up in your relationship, and jointly work toward managing your symptoms

Lightfully wants to help you manage your OCD symptoms to improve your intimate relationships

Our mission at Lightfully is to work with individuals to change their life compassionately. We strive to provide high-quality mental health care to various types of clients through a focused approach to process-based therapy. The framework of our clinic consists of evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care. Lightfully offers various layers of service to both adults and teens: residential treatment, Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), also referred to as our Day Treatment Program. We regularly see clients who actively manage mood, anxiety, personality and trauma disorders. Do you or a close family member struggle with OCD? You’re not alone. Our therapists have helped many clients who have OCD and are confident that we can help you. We’d like to work with you toward a healthier future and improved quality of life.

Our licensed, clinical experts see each client as a complex and layered human — not just a diagnosis. We value our clients as they are and hope to enrich their lives through treatment. Our vision for the future is an authentic and loving community where everyone can be seen, heard, and valued as they are. We believe in the light within each individual, and when that light is properly nurtured it can allow a person to shine brighter than ever before

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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