Should Two People With OCD Date Each Other?
Will your love light a fire or cause smoke damage?
Posted December 6, 2022 | Reviewed by Abigail Fagan
Should two people with OCD diagnoses date each other? To begin with, I am still trying to figure out the answer to this question. No one can officially say yes or no. However, there are advantages and disadvantages.
Although this post explicitly discusses OCD and romantic relationships, these thoughts can also apply to two individuals who struggle with addiction.
Advantages to dating another OCD individual
Let's look at some of the advantages of dating someone with OCD. To start, they will understand and empathize with what you are experiencing in a way that a non-OCD partner can not. They can truly understand what it's like to have horrible, intrusive thoughts that feel very real.
Also, only another person who battles OCD can truly appreciate why the urge to perform a compulsion is so strong. If both people in the relationship have had education and treatment for OCD, they should be aware of the importance of controlling and resisting the compulsion. As a bonus to their relationship, they can support each other.
Disadvantages of dating another OCD individual
While there are definite benefits to dating another OCD individual, there can also be some significant disadvantages. It is possible that within the relationship, the OCD couple may wind up "triggering" each other.
For example, several years ago, I treated a client with severe OCD and checking was his central compulsive behavior. He was in a romantic relationship with a woman, also diagnosed with OCD, and her obsession centered around germs and contamination.
My client would regularly throw old documents and forms into the garbage can and then go back into the garbage or dumpster to check and re-check that he was not throwing away important documents. Thus, triggering his girlfriend. She would become extremely anxious and uncomfortable at the thought of him sitting on the furniture, lying on the bed, and touching items in the house in his "contaminated" clothes and hands. This led her to constantly clean and re-clean anything he came into contact with. She would beg him to shower and change his clothes, which he would refuse since he still felt the urge to go back to the dumpster to check, creating significant conflict within the relationship.
3 tips if you are in a relationship with another OCD person
If you are going to date someone who has also been diagnosed with OCD, here are some guidelines that I think would help to make the relationship successful.
- Much like in the addiction community, it is advised that both people should ideally have controlled their compulsive behaviors and be in recovery before they enter the relationship. Same for OCD, both parties should be aware of their triggers and feel strong enough to control their compulsions.
- The couple will want an open and honest dialogue about how to help each other resist compulsions as a duo rather than trigger each other.
- I recommend that the two individuals make sure that their OCD recovery comes before everything, including the relationship. Both people need to consistently maintain their recovery and be responsible for their behaviors. It is not their partner's responsibility.