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How To Stop Thinking About Someone When You Have OCD


I’m an overthinker, and I think many of us are. However, there’s a difference between overthinking and obsessing. When you can’t stop your mind from having the same repetitive thought, then it’s not overthinking, it’s a disorder. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness. People with OCD have obsessive thoughts and typically have compulsions.

You cannot control your thoughts

Obsessive thoughts are uncontrollable for someone with OCD. You can’t control the thoughts, but you can decide what to do with it. One of the treatments for OCD is cognitive behavior therapy or CBT. I’m throwing a lot of initials at you, but they’re relevant. In CBT, someone with OCD learns to manage their obsessions instead of being consumed by them. Getting a grip on how to manage intrusive or obsessive thoughts takes time and effort. It becomes tricky when you start obsessing over someone, not something. For people with OCD, it can be hard to stop thinking about someone. So, what do you do when your intrusive thoughts are about a person?

OCD strains your relationships

When you develop an obsession with a person, it will strain the relationship. You’re not clingy; you’re obsessing over that individual. Now, people often associate the word “obsession” with someone who is mentally unstable; however, in this case, the person with OCD is coping with a chemical imbalance in their brain. They’re not “unhinged,” they have OCD. When someone with OCD fixates on a person, it can become obsessive. It could be someone you’re dating. It’s natural to think about your partner, but when it’s the only thing on your mind, that’s a problem.

Obsessing over your partner can be hazardous to your relationship

You might not realize what you’re doing, but your obsessions could create a divide in your relationship. When you can’t stop thinking about someone, whoever that person is, they can feel the intensity of your obsession. Your partner may sense your fixation and feel pressured to give you constant attention. It could make them feel exhausted, because your expectations appear unreasonable, even though they’re not. You want to love, and that’s a natural feeling when you’re in a relationship. The challenge arises when you believe that another person can complete you. You can’t seem to shake the feeling that you’re empty inside. The reality is that nobody can fill up your cup except for you. No matter how much you obsess over your partner and can’t stop thinking about problems you’re having in your relationship, they’re not going to solve the inherent issues within you.

The underlying issue

Maybe your obsession isn’t about your partner, but something more profound. I know that sounds strange, especially if you’ve been thinking about them a lot, but with OCD, it’s normal to have obsessions that have nothing to do with your actual problems. OCD is tricky, and it hangs on to a thought in your mind for no particular reason other than it found a home. Your OCD may have attached to a romantic relationship because you’re avoiding another issue in your life. Maybe you’re having trouble keeping up at work, and you’re on the verge of getting fired. To distract yourself from your problems, you obsess about your partner. You worry about whether or not they’re happy,  what you can do to meet their needs, or what you need from them that you’re not getting.

Compulsive contacting

Do you feel like you have to text or call your partner over and over until they respond? If you’re engaging in compulsive texting or calling, there’s probably an underlying issue affecting your relationship. It’s not just OCD behavior; you’re struggling with trust issues. I know a woman who has a tough time refraining from texting her boyfriend. Even when she knows that he’s busy at work, she texts him to get reassurance that he’s still there. She suffers from abandonment issues, and texting to check in on him makes her feel secure.

The problem is that reassurance-seeking behavior isn’t healthy for people with OCD. It enables the person with the disorder, and they keep trying to get validation from their loved one. It’s best to find ways to reassure yourself if you’re the person with OCD. For the partner without OCD, don’t enable significant other. If they can’t stop texting, and you’re busy, you can reply “I’m busy, I will call you later.” You don’t have to reassure them, and, if you do, you’re setting them back and enabling obsessions.

Trust

In any relationship, trust is essential. If you feel that you can’t trust a romantic partner, identify why you feel like you can’t trust them. Once you figure that out, you can work through these trust issues with your partner. Maybe you were traumatized by a past relationship where you felt unsafe emotionally. You can talk to your partner about the trauma, and it’s helpful to speak to a therapist about how your previous relationship is affecting your current one.

Gaining control

The good news about OCD (and there is some) is that it is treatable and you don’t have to go through it alone. While you work to gain control over your symptoms, you need to have a support system. Let the people around you know what you are going through — they might be able to play a role in your treatment and encourage you while you get help. Common types of therapy for OCD include CBT, exposure therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy. People with OCD benefit from medication in conjunction with treatment; however, it’s up to the individual whether they want to pursue trying psychiatric medicines. Whether you see a counselor in person or online, it’s important to get help so that you can gain control over your obsessions, and learn how to stop thinking about someone when you have OCD.