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Understanding Romantic Relationship OCD (ROCD): Symptoms, Triggers, and Coping Mechanisms

Updated: May 15, 2023

girl sad on the couch, ROCD

Are you experiencing intrusive thoughts and obsessive behaviors that make you doubt your partner's love and your compatibility? If so, you might be dealing with Relationship OCD (ROCD).

ROCD is a subtype of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that affects intimate relationships. People with ROCD often experience unwanted thoughts and feelings that manifest as doubts and fears about their partner and the relationship.

Symptoms of Relationship OCD

The symptoms of ROCD may vary in severity, but the most common include:

  1. Persistent doubts about the current partner's love and compatibility

  2. Compulsive behaviors such as reassurance-seeking behaviors and comparing the current partner to past relationships or other people

  3. Preoccupation with the partner's flaws and shortcomings

  4. Intense anxiety and distress

  5. Avoidance of intimate relationships

  6. Attraction to other people

Triggers of Relationship OCD

  1. ROCD may be triggered by various factors, including:

  2. Past relationship trauma or heartache

  3. Cultural or societal expectations of relationships

  4. Family dynamics and upbringing Low self-esteem

  5. Cognitive distortions and negative thinking patterns

Coping Mechanisms for Relationship OCD

Coping with ROCD can be challenging, but it is possible with the help of a qualified mental health professional. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for ROCD, and it involves identifying and challenging the negative thoughts and behaviors that perpetuate the symptoms.

Therapists trained in CBT can help individuals with ROCD learn how to manage their symptoms by providing reassurance and support while also challenging distorted thinking patterns. They can also help individuals identify triggers that exacerbate their symptoms and develop strategies for managing them.

Other coping mechanisms that may benefit people with ROCD include:

Joining a support group for people with OCD or ROCD Evaluating the current partner and the relationship objectively Engaging in self-care activities that promote mental and emotional well-being Practicing mindfulness and relaxation techniques

Linking to Attachment Theory

ROCD is closely linked to attachment theory, which posits that our early experiences with caregivers shape our attachment styles and affect how we form and maintain intimate relationships.

People with anxious attachment styles are more likely to experience ROCD symptoms due to their fear of abandonment and rejection. On the other hand, people with avoidant attachment styles may avoid intimate relationships altogether, which can also trigger ROCD symptoms.

Therefore, understanding your attachment style is crucial in identifying and coping with ROCD symptoms. Consulting with a clinical psychologist or therapist who specializes in attachment theory can provide you with a better understanding of how your attachment style may impact your romantic relationships and help you develop coping strategies that address your unique emotional needs.

You are invited to take our quiz and discover your attachment style.


ROCD is a complex and distressing condition that affects many people in intimate relationships. By understanding the symptoms, triggers, and coping mechanisms of ROCD, you can take steps to manage your symptoms and improve your mental and emotional well-being.

Remember, seeking help from a qualified mental health professional is crucial in dealing with ROCD effectively. By linking ROCD to attachment theory and encouraging readers to take our attachment style quiz, we hope to provide valuable resources and support for people struggling with ROCD and related conditions. With the help of a therapist, you can overcome the compulsion to doubt your partner's love and your compatibility and learn to build a healthy and emotionally fulfilling relationship.

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