Relationship OCD

Relationship OCD

“Relationship OCD” can negatively impact sexual relationships.

You’ve probably heard of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. People with OCD struggle with obsessive thoughts and feel compelled to continuously perform rituals to take away the anxiety. For example, a person who feels anxious about starting a fire might repeatedly check the that the stove has been turned off before retiring for the night.

Relationship OCD works the same way. Obsessions may focus on the relationship itself or on the specific partner. A person might worry that the relationship isn’t “right” or that the partner isn’t attractive or intelligent enough.

As a result, a person with relationship OCD might constantly question the suitability of the relationship, even if it is a happy one. Or, the person might constantly seek reassurance about the partner.

As with general OCD, these anxieties and behaviors are excessive and most sufferers realize this. And like general OCD, relationship OCD can become severe it interferes with daily life.

Unfortunately, relationship OCD can strain partnerships and interfere with the emotional bond shared by couples. And that strain can lead to sexual problems. Recently, a study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that relationship OCD was associated with decreased sexual satisfaction.

But there is some good news. Treatment for general OCD can usually help with relationship OCD.

If you think you might have relationship OCD, talk to your doctor. He or she can refer you to an appropriate specialist. In time, your relationship – and your sex life – can improve.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Doron, Guy, PhD, et al.

“Right or Flawed: Relationship Obsessions and Sexual Satisfaction”

(Full-text. First published online: June 6, 2014)


Rettner, Rachael

“'Relationship OCD' May Hurt Sex Life”

(June 17, 2014)


Hagen, Annabella, LCSW, RPT-S

“When OCD Targets Your Relationship”