ROCD, or relationship OCD, is a subtype of OCD in which the individual has obsessions about a relationship, usually a romantic relationship. They may worry about if they truly love their partner or if their partner truly loves them. The obsession could revolve around if it is the “right” relationship. Common compulsions could be asking for reassurance from their partner, checking emotions when with or thinking about their partner, or comparing to other relationships.
Well, I am single as heck and have been for years, but it turns out you don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to have ROCD. I have ROCD…about my cat. Obviously I’m not dating my cat, but we do have a relationship of sorts. And apparently, you can have ROCD about your cat. Love me some creative OCD, don’t you?
I’m checking on a friend’s cat a few times this week while she’s away, and ohmygoodness this cat is such a fluff. I spent a good amount of time petting her and kissing her and taking pictures of her. I jokingly said to the owner that I was “cheating on” my cat, Jade, by loving on this other cat. Hah, typical pet owner joke. It was all fun and games.
And then OCD is like “Tag, you’re it! I’m going to take this joke way too seriously.” What if you love this cat more than you love Jade? What if Jade wasn’t the right cat for you? What if you should’ve adopted a different cat? What if you don’t even love Jade? What if, what if, what if…
Fortunately, I know I have OCD. I also know a great deal about how OCD work thanks to psychoeducation as part of therapy. Pretty quickly, I’m able to identify that “okay, this is OCD. In fact, it’s ROCD…just about my cat instead of a human relationship.”
For me, this identification is a crucial step in being able to fight OCD. Rather than getting stuck in loops of rumination and compulsions, I was able to laugh at the fact that I was having ROCD about my cat. I could find OCD’s relentless creativity humorous. This helped with embracing the uncertainty that maybe I adopted the wrong cat.
If this trigger had occurred before I knew I had OCD or what relationship OCD was, however, things likely would have gone differently. Rather then spending just a few minutes going over if I truly loved my cat in my head, I could have spent hours, even days stuck in the trap.
OCD is humorous, until it’s not. It’s one thing to be able to laugh at OCD when you are doing well and just get a blip of symptoms on the radar. It’s another thing to be caught in what feels like an endless cycle of obsessing and compulsing about something you know is ridiculous. (This is also why jokes about OCD from people not in the community are so harmful, but that’s another blog post.)
May we all get to a point where we can find the humor in our brain’s spewing of nonsense.