Loving Someone With OCD

December 10, 2013 Updated: April 24, 2016

Dear Kathy,

     My boyfriend has OCD. He’s terrified of germs and he washes his hands until they’re raw.  He constantly checks on whether the stove is turned off and the doors are locked before we can leave the house.

     I get really frustrated with his behavior because he’s obsessed with it to the point that there’s no room for my feelings. I can sit in the car for forty-five minutes waiting for him to check the stove and doors over and over again. Then, he’ll make me drive back home half-way to the restaurant or movie to check the stove and doors again!

     I love him a lot. I don’t understand why he acts like this, though. If he doesn’t get some help I don’t know if I can do it anymore. His OCD is taking over our whole relationship.

     I am getting really resentful and I feel guilty about it because I know it’s not his fault. Is there some way I can help him chill out?

Sincerely,

“Melanie S.”

Dear Melanie,

     Millions of people struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Although we all have routines and habits in our lives, people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are often controlled by their routines.

     Actions such as hand washing and checking on things (the stove, locks, etc.) are the person’s attempts to relieve anxiety and panic. Fortunately, most people with these symptoms can be helped. Behavioral therapy and medication can be helpful to those struggling with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

     You can find out more about this condition at the National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov). Please update me on your situation!

All my best,

Kathy

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