The perfect partner

Hello,

Hope everyone is enjoying the summer and doing a bit of mindfulness… 🙂 I don’t think I have covered the “perfect partner” issue from a rOCD perspective in previous posts so here it goes.It is also important for me to mention that I am not discussing cases of emotional and/or physical abuse. We are excluding these cases from this discussion.

 

There are two “lies” that rOCD tells when it comes to evaluating if we are in a relationship with the “perfect” partner:

No.1 If your partner was really meant for you, you would not be feeling any anxiety/having doubts, etc.

No.2 If only my partner had/did not have x, then he/she would be the perfect partner.

Before we go into more detail, we need to first think about what a perfect partner is. If our background is Western culture, then most often than not this notion would be based around the Hollywood myth that you just need to meet the “right” person and everyone will be happy ever after. Other things like education, social status might also be important. If we come from an Eastern or African culture, maybe we will be more concerned about acceptance within our own family and our partner’s family. The point is that there is no Universal definition of perfect partner. And there will never be.  Why? Because different people and cultures, value different things.

OK, now point no.1 – No.1 If your partner was really meant for you, you would not be feeling any anxiety/having doubts, etc. This type of thinking is quite common in rOCD sufferers. In this case, we think that the cause of the problem is basically external and not internal. And the risk here is that we will go from relationship to relationship, trying to find this perfect partner as we believe that this would lead to no anxiety. And to make matters worse, even those that are close to us reinforce this myth. “If x was really meant for you, you would not be feeling or doubting this way”. Having doubts is healthy. Having doubts all the time is unhealthy. At a certain point in the relationship, you will have to take a leap of faith. It happens in all relationships – even those people that do not suffer from rOCD! So if you find yourself questioning or stuck in an unhealthy way (I call this “spinning the wheels” and not getting to any conclusions), take this as further evidence of rOCD at work.

And No.2 If only my partner had/did not have x, then he/she would be the perfect partner. Getting fixated on certain physical or intellectual attributes to the point of creating even more anxiety, can also be quite common. The number one priority for the anxious OCD brain is to find faults in our partners as these are perceived as danger sources. The brain in its best attempt to protect us, ends up hurting us. So if you find yourself obsessing about a certain lack of something in your partner for a long period of time, take it as further evidence of OCD. I am not saying that you should ignore values that you consider important in a relationship.  I am saying that we need to better distinguish between essentials and non-essentials. What qualities are also important in 20, 30 and 40 years from now?

 

The bottom line is that no one is the “ready made” stuff when it comes to relationships. Success in a long term relationship depends very much wanting to become the perfect partner rather than finding the perfect partner. As a personal note, I have celebrated my 3rd year anniversary last Wednesday. In these 3 years, we have been through so much together, both good and bad. But our relationship is stronger today than it was 3 years ago. In the midst of my crazy rOCD period, I understood one thing: The person that I was going to propose to was willing to put the work in and so was I. Then, I gathered up the courage to ignore my rOCD and moved forward with faith.

 

 

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9 comments

  1. Great points, and timely for me! I’ve been doing the peaks and valleys lately with ROCD, and right now I’m in a deep valley…in my case, it is obsessing about my girlfriend’s past that my ROCD has latched onto. She did an unconscionable thing that she deeply regrets, and I can’t help but feel like if she’d been stronger and hadn’t fallen into a trap, we could have had the perfect relationship. The reality is I would have fixated on other things, and the anxieties might not have been as severe but they still would have been there. I almost feel grateful that my ROCD got something so juicy to chew on because it has helped me realize just where rationality stops and OCD begins…practicing mindfulness, trying to take the long view and appreciate all that my girl does for me and my children. I also loved that bit about practicing BEING the perfect partner is the best first step towards finding the perfect partner. You have to give, give, and give some more!

  2. Thanks for This blog that I just resently stumbled across, I find it very relieving to read how overthinking a relationship is probably rocd, it really makes sense. I,ve suffered anxiety and panic attacks for more than 20 years, which has kept me from having romantic relationships. I’m very good friends with a potential boyfriend, but I’m so scared, I have no idea how to persue a relationship and when I did I completely panicked and withdrew. We remained friends which also have been good practice for my anxiety. But I somehow Sense he is coming closer and it freaks me out, and I constantly question my feelings to the point where they disappear. But when he is backing off I also freak out. There is also something about a screwed up attachment style that I’m dealing with. I look forward to following your blog and hopefully learning lots about relationships. Have a great day 🙂

  3. Hi, im new and i tink i have rOCD. And i dont now if i’m on the right place, i live far…
    I love my gf, i tink i love her and the onli opsesion is thet i allways checing (do i love her, do i feel hepy when i kiss her) We are great together, we have same ambicions when we find some thing thet oder person do and it booders to me or her wee are traing to change that… I woud do anything for her, but my mind allways asks me do you love her, you dont fell anytheing when you kiss her it is not love and paf panick ateck is there. When we are together i allways scan my self and i cant find hepiness. And once i tried to break ap, end i did and a felt that i dont wont to lose such perfect person. In my cantry they are solving panick atacks not the, am loosing hope…

  4. I’m going through a rough spot in my life all thanks to rocd. I always question if I love my girlfriend, and any time we have plans I dread seeing her. This isn’t the way I feel towards my girlfriend at all. I love her more than anything, but just having one random thought one day about if we were meant to be together has put me through a downward spiral.

    I read everyone else’s stories hoping to get relief, but all I get is more depressed and wonder if it will ever go away.

  5. Thank you for this blog. I’m getting married in September and I find balance and peace in your words. Keep it up and congratulations on your anniversary! A

  6. Hey! I really like your blog, it gives me a lot of relief when i read other people’s stories that are similar to mine. I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost a year now and i love him very much. But thinking back, I already had symptoms of rocd on our first date. Although, in the beginning they maybe were not so recognizable to me. But three months in it became horrible and i almost couldn’t think about anything else anymore.
    I don’t want to leave my bf, but everytime again i have moments that i think it’s really all over and want to leave, but then i don’t, because i actually really don’t want to! It’s very confusing, my thougts going up and down all the time. Between moments of thinking I want to leave him it actually goes better then in the beginning of my rocd. But the moments of weakness itself are just as worse and sometimes even seem to get more worse every time..

    I’m seeing a therapist, but she sometimes says things like “you have to consider that you may break up with him sometime” which makes me even more anxious. My family also says things like you mentioned in your blog, about him not being the right person if i doubt so much, this also enlarges my anxiety. I have lots more to say about this and that’s why I hoped there would maybe be somebody who wants to talk to me about it here, somebody who understands how it is going through rocd. And maybe we can help eachother further! Let me know if you’re interested :).

  7. Blip,

    As you have undoubtedly heard again and again, this blog is a godsend. It’s like looking in a mirror. That said, I have a question or two to which hopefully you or another person can address.

    In your relationship ‘efforts,” has it ever felt like you were forcing the relationship? What I mean is, I’ve been dating a girl for several weeks and she’s a wonderful woman, and she definitely admires and cares for me despite my ROCD, but when I’ve seriously considered moving forward in the relationship, I feel like I’m going against the grain of my inner, true self. I feel a deep, emotional conviction that I am not actually attracted to her, that I’m holding on despite my true feelings, etc.

    Thing is, I’ve felt this every time I’ve pursued or even seriously considered pursuing a woman, and it has always lead to a break up. This time, we seem so damned compatible “on paper,” I’ve been deciding to stick with it despite my inner turmoil. But it’s torture… feels like I’m forcing it most of the time with only periods of joy, freedom and peace in our interaction. Hardly a basis for a relationship (but I realize ROCD makes my situation unique).

    Does this resonate with anyone? I read a lot about your brains sending you lies, but my protests come from deep in my heart/spirit. That true of others? Feels more like your intuition protesting and challenging the relationship than your mind (though that certainly plays a role)?

    Thanks,
    WM

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