Effects of OCD on Romantic Relationships

Effects of OCD on Romantic Relationships

“When you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, you don’t really get quiet moments.” These were the words spoken by Neil Hilborn, whose poem OCD, went viral. Accumulating over thirteen million views,  the slam poet describes his struggles with the disorder and his love life. He includes his struggles of repeating tasks several times, such as giving kisses, turning on/off the lights, and locking the door, until he finds it perfect. His story is concluded with his love interest leaving him due to her lack of patience with his condition.  

The National Institute of Mental Health describes OCD as a chronic disorder in which an individual may suffer recurrent thoughts and behaviors. Obsessions are characterized as repeated urges and images. Common symptoms of these thoughts include fear of contamination and/or having things symmetrical/in order (NIH). Compulsions are characterized as repetitive behaviors that serve as a response to an obsession. Common compulsions include arranging things in a particular way, repeatedly checking on things, and excessive cleaning (NIH). Although it is normal for individuals to be organized or double check things, individuals with OCD simply can’t control their thoughts or behaviors. Thus, these symptoms can pose as an obstacle for maintaining a love life.

OCD can cause hindrance in one’s romantic relationship. One example of this includes the challenges of feeling ashamed of your symptoms. One may feel the need to conceal the nature of their disorder in order to prevent rejection. This can lead to an avoidance in intimate contact with others. Another difficulty includes the interference in sexual relations. For example, an individual who experiences obsessions with contamination may find it difficult to engage in sexual contact, which may cause them to be sexually avoidant and not satisfied (Kelly, 2018). It’s important to know that not every individual with OCD functions the same. However, there are many ways to cope.     

The initial way of coping includes treating the symptoms. Reviewing a plan with a physician, psychologist, or mental health professional in order to ensure the best possible treatment can be helpful. Psychotherapy is also a useful outline for dealing with poor social skills and lack of self-confidence. Joining a support group can be a good source of social support. Above all, it is vital to get your partner involved in understanding your symptoms. Even without OCD, having open and honest communication is an important framework for all relationships.


Kelly, Owen (2018). OCD and romantic Relationships. Retrieved by https://www.verywell.com/ocd-and-romantic-relationships-2510557

National Institute of Mental Health (2016). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder . Retrieved by https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

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