Signs there's no emotional intimacy​​

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When the lack of emotional intimacy exists in a relationship or marriage, it can be concerning. Intimacy problems in a relationship can lead to distance and lack of communication that creates an unhealthy connection. This lack of intimacy may manifest as lack of trust, lack of closeness or lack of warmth. If your partner no longer compliments you or shares meaningful conversations, it could be an indication that there’s not enough emotional intimacy in the relationship. If you feel like there is no more “us” when spending time and talking together, this also could be a sign that your relationship lacks sincere emotional intimacy. As Julie Gottman says, “it’s important to recognize if emotional detachment is present in a relationship because addressing these issues early on can prevent further pain and discouragement down the road.”

What Is ROCD?

Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD)1 is a type of OCD that causes people to have intrusive thoughts and compulsions about their romantic relationships. This can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, and it can make it hard to enjoy the relationship.
 
For example, someone with ROCD might have intrusive thoughts about whether their partner is the right person for them, or whether they are truly in love. They might also have compulsions to check their partner’s phone or social media, or to ask their partner for reassurance over and over again.
 
ROCD can be very difficult to deal with, but there are treatments that can help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help people to identify and challenge their intrusive thoughts and compulsions. Medication can also be helpful for some people with ROCD.

ROCD is characterized by:

Obsessions: These are unwanted, distressing thoughts that keep popping into your mind. In the case of ROCD, these thoughts often revolve around doubts about your partner’s love, compatibility, or the future of the relationship. These thoughts are often irrational but persistent.

Compulsions: Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts performed to reduce the anxiety caused by obsessions. In ROCD, compulsions may include seeking constant reassurance from your partner, analyzing the relationship excessively, or comparing your partner to others.

How to Recognize ROCD

Recognizing ROCD involves identifying the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that are specific to this disorder. Common obsessions in ROCD include:

  • Constant Doubts: A person with ROCD may constantly question whether they truly love their partner or if their partner loves them.

  • Comparisons: They may compare their partner to past relationships or idealized versions of a partner, leading to dissatisfaction.

  • Fear of Commitment: ROCD can involve an irrational fear of commitment, leading to avoidance of long-term relationships.

  • Intrusive Thoughts: Disturbing and unwanted thoughts about infidelity or harm coming to the relationship.

  • Excessive Reassurance-Seeking: They may seek reassurance from friends, family, or their partner to alleviate their doubts temporarily.

Common compulsions in ROCD include:

  • Checking Behaviors: Constantly checking social media or texts to see if your partner is interacting with others.

  • Mental Review: Repeatedly reviewing your relationship history or conversations with your partner in search of answers.

  • Avoidance: Avoiding situations that trigger doubts, such as avoiding spending time with your partner or avoiding commitment.

  • Compulsive Confessions: Feeling compelled to confess imaginary wrongdoings or doubts to your partner.

 

Match with the leading ROCD Therapist in Frisco, TX

Megan Corrieri, licensed therapist posing for Living Magazine.

MS, LPCC, LPC, NCC

Therapist | Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor | Nationally Certified Counselor

During my extensive tenure as a mental health therapist, I have honed my expertise in catering to the distinct requirements of ROCD. My therapeutic approach places a premium on fostering trust, building resilience, and nurturing emotional insight.

Reach out today, and let’s set the stage for a brighter future for your relationship.

How to know: Is it ROCD or Just the Wrong Relationship?

ROCD is characterized by intrusive thoughts and compulsions that are out of proportion to the actual situation and may be rooted in a fear of intimacy, commitment, or past trauma. In contrast, a healthy relationship should meet both partners’ needs and make them feel loved, respected, and supported. If you are constantly feeling anxious or insecure, it is important to consider whether the relationship is truly right for you.

Type of Worries Associated With ROCD:

  • ROCD worries are often irrational and related to the relationship itself, whereas concerns about a wrong relationship might be based on tangible issues like lack of shared interests, values, or incompatible goals.

Length of Time Spent on Obsessions:

  • ROCD obsessions and compulsions are persistent and ongoing, while concerns about being in the wrong relationship may ebb and flow depending on circumstances.

Impact on Daily Life:

  • ROCD can significantly disrupt daily functioning, causing distress and anxiety. In contrast, doubts about a wrong relationship may not affect your overall mental well-being to the same extent.

Incompatibility vs. ROCD Symptoms:

  • Assess whether the doubts stem from genuine incompatibility or if they align with the obsessive patterns of ROCD.

What are the Treatments for ROCD?

ROCD is a treatable condition. The most effective treatments are ERP and CBT, which help people confront their obsessive thoughts and compulsions, challenge irrational beliefs, and develop healthier cognitive coping strategies. Medications may also be helpful to manage anxiety and depression.

Exposure Response Therapy (ERP)

ERP helps individuals confront their obsessive thoughts and resist the urge to perform compulsive behaviors. In ROCD, this might involve facing relationship-related fears and uncertainties.

Medications Used to Treat ROCD

While medication can be used to manage anxiety and depression associated with ROCD, it is typically not the first-line treatment and is often used in conjunction with therapy.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for ROCD

CBT focuses on changing thought patterns and behaviors related to ROCD. It helps individuals challenge irrational beliefs and develop healthier coping strategies.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT helps people accept their intrusive thoughts and compulsions without judgment, and commit to living their lives in accordance with their values.

Mindfulness-Based Therapy (MBT)

MBT helps people develop mindfulness skills, such as paying attention to the present moment without judgment. This can help people to reduce the distress associated with their intrusive thoughts and compulsions.

10 Tips for Coping with ROCD

Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (ROCD) can be a difficult condition to deal with, but there are ways to cope. Developing healthy coping mechanisms can help you to manage your anxiety, reduce your compulsions, and improve your overall well-being.

Some helpful coping mechanisms include talking to a therapist, learning about ROCD, developing a support system, practicing mindfulness, and engaging in healthy activities. If you are struggling with ROCD, it is important to reach out for help and to develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Here are 10 helpful tips for coping with ROCD:

  • Keep in the moment: Mindfulness and meditation can help you focus on the present moment and reduce the impact of obsessive thoughts. Try practicing mindfulness exercises for a few minutes each day, such as deep breathing or meditation.
  • Talk it out: Open and honest communication with your partner is essential for coping with ROCD. Talk to your partner about your thoughts and feelings, and be willing to listen to their perspective.
  • Say no to reassurance: One of the most common compulsive behaviors in ROCD is reassurance-seeking. While it may feel helpful in the moment, it can actually reinforce the obsessive thoughts. Try to limit how often you ask for reassurance from your partner or others.
  • Find your support system: Having a support system can be invaluable when coping with ROCD. Consider joining a support group or seeking therapy with a mental health professional experienced in treating OCD.
  • Take care of yourself: Prioritizing self-care can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can worsen ROCD symptoms. Make time for activities that you enjoy and that help you relax, such as exercise, spending time with loved ones, or reading.
  • Challenge your thoughts: ROCD thoughts are often obsessive and irrational. Try to challenge these thoughts by asking yourself if there is any evidence to support them.
  • Embrace uncertainty: ROCD is often fueled by a fear of uncertainty. It is important to accept that uncertainty is a normal part of life and that you cannot always have all the answers.
  • Focus on the present: ROCD thoughts often focus on the past or the future. Try to focus on the present moment and appreciate the good things in your relationship.
  • Be patient: Recovery from ROCD takes time and effort. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep practicing the coping skills you have learned and be patient with yourself.
  • Celebrate your successes: As you recover from ROCD, it is important to celebrate your successes along the way. This could be anything from having a good day without intrusive thoughts to having a difficult conversation with your partner in a healthy way

When to Seek Professional Support

If ROCD symptoms significantly interfere with your daily life, it’s essential to seek professional help. An online therapist directory or therapy platform can be a convenient way to find a therapist who specializes in OCD treatment. Additionally, consider seeing a psychiatrist if medication management is necessary to alleviate your symptoms.

In Our Experience

As a female therapist, I have seen firsthand the impact that ROCD can have on relationships. It can be a very isolating and confusing experience, and it can be difficult to know where to turn for help.

I want to reassure you that ROCD is a treatable condition. With the right therapeutic approach and support, you can learn to manage your obsessions and compulsions, and build a healthier and more fulfilling relationship.

Seeking professional help is a courageous step towards finding clarity and peace in your romantic life. A therapist can provide you with a safe and supportive space to explore your thoughts and feelings, and develop coping strategies to manage your ROCD.

Remember, you are not alone in this. There are many people who understand what you are going through, and there is help available. Take the first step towards recovery today.

  • The more open and honest you are with your therapist about your experiences, the better they can help you.
  • Therapy can be challenging at times, but trusting in the process is worth it in the end.
  • Recovery from ROCD takes time and effort, so be patient with yourself. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately.
  • As you progress in therapy, take the time to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. I believe in you. You can overcome ROCD and build a happy and healthy relationship.

Helpful Tips from a ROCD Therapist

  • The more open and honest you are with your therapist about your experiences, the better they can help you.
  • Therapy can be challenging at times, but trusting in the process is worth it in the end.
  • Recovery from ROCD takes time and effort, so be patient with yourself. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately.
  • As you progress in therapy, take the time to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. I believe in you. You can overcome ROCD and build a happy and healthy relationship.

Every child deserves the best shot at a happy, fulfilling life.

Ensuring our children’s mental well-being is as crucial as their physical health. We, as parents, teachers, and community members in Frisco, need to recognize the signs and be proactive. And remember, if ever in doubt, Megan Corrieri is just a call away, ready to guide and support.

Megan Corrieri
Megan Corrieri

Owner, Clinician, Wife & Mom

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For more information and support on ROCD, consider exploring these resources:

 

  1. International OCD Foundation. (n.d.). A comprehensive source of information on OCD, including ROCD.

  2. Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). (n.d.). Offers resources on anxiety disorders, including ROCD.

  3. PsychCentral. (n.d.). Relationship OCD: Provides articles and insights on ROCD.