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OCD and relationships...

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I guess the saying is true that you start to really discover yourself when you live with someone. I recently moved in with my boyfriend (just 2 weeks ago) and things have started off rocky. Setting aside a catastrophe with having to deal with his mom, I have become increasingly annoyed with little things that should not be significant at all. He won't brush his dog every day and I find dog hair everywhere, he moves a candle I have in the kitchen to make his breakfast and doesn't put it back, he doesn't close the shower door after he's taken a shower...the list goes on and on. I follow him around and fix all these things on a daily basis. And it's exhausting. I recently read about OCD Perfectionism (apparently that's an actual thing???) and everything fits. Who knew it could be something that would affect you living a normal life and having a normal relationship. I thought being perfect was a good thing. In fact, I routinely used it in job interviews. But as it turns out, it's affecting something in my life that should theoretically be a good and happy thing.

Normally in these situations, I would run away. Assume that I was just too good for the person. But having gotten a rental house together with my boyfriend, I'm in this for a lease term at least. Do I try to sit him down and try to explain to him why all of that is driving me insane. How do I tell him that I want things perfect and he can't achieve that? Do I just try to deal with it? (I imagine one day I'll just snap though.) Is this something that I need to try to fix about myself? I mean, will I ever be able to have a healthy relationship like this? Or am I destined to live a life of trying to be perfect all by myself? My dog and I. It sounds so good. My dog and I taking on the world together. Getting into a job that I would want to put most of my time into. Coming home and doing the things I want, when I want. Having the routine I want. Because I feel the way I do things is the way they are supposed to be done. Perfectionism? Being a spoiled brat? I guess I'm not sure what this is, but I do want a family someday. And at this rate, any relationship I have certainly won't be healthy. In my late 20's, I feel like it's a little too late to be coming to this realization. Probably something I should have dealt with a while ago. But like I said before, I think you don't notice things until you're put in a situation that brings them out. I feel like Kate from "No Reservations".

Any advice would be appreciated. Has anyone been in this sort of situation?

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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    One thing is for sure which is that if you don't tell him about all this stuff he won't be able to magically fix it.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Kanga!
    Sounds like you're not doing so good!
    Sometimes moving in with someone is frustrating, different people deal with daily routines and live in different ways. You're a bit like my mum if I have read this right and processed it right! My mum likes things a certain way, she hates it when something is out of place and gets frustrated; maybe it's time to sit down with your boyfriend and speak to him about what's frustrating you. If you don't feel comfortable with talking face to face with him, maybe sit and write a letter and when you go out leave the letter somewhere he will see (probably a good idea to put his name in big writing on it so he knows it's to him!). Just explain to him how you feel about things in the house, maybe say something along the lines of "your dog may be in need of regular grooming and brushing, it helps the dog stop malting hairs everywhere which can get uncomfortable" Or maybe say it in a more chatty way or ask politely just say "Hey can you help me out a bit, the dog hairs are getting everywhere and I think it's because the dog needs brushing every day. Maybe you could do that."
    Perhaps an idea would be to work out a dog grooming rota! Stick it on the fridge, say Monday-Thursday your boyfriend brushes the dog, and Friday-Sunday you'll do it, that way you're sharing responsibility and he won't feel as though you're being harsh on him and won't take it so bad if you're worried about him taking it badly!:)

    Okay so, next thing, you have read about OCD and I think it would be a great idea to see your GP to get some advice on this, explain to the GP you read up about it and then say about what you have been experiencing, it can help because they could then find you some organizations to help with great advice and ways to overcome your fears and worries:)

    Finally I think you will have a healthy relationship:) I don't think your relationship now is unhealthy because by the sounds of things you do want to save your relationship before you end up snapping at him, and it's great you're trying to sort this out! Maybe you should let him know you'd like a bit of structure to how things go around the house. Shared housework, cooking and other things like that! That makes both parties involved:)

    Sorry this is so long, I hope I helped and didn't just ramble on lol!
    Good luck!
    Charlee x
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey kanga86,

    I just wanted to back up some of what Charlee and Mist have said. Talking this through with your boyfriend sounds like a really worthwhile first step. Living with someone is all about compromise so learning how you both work, what gets on your nerves, what's okay and how you can live in the same space together. It's a period of adjustment that a lot of couples go through and there are bound to be some teething problems.

    What you describe sounds like this perfectionism is starting to really overwhelm you and at this point it's certainly worth chatting it through with someone so that it doesn't get in the way of you enjoying living with your boyfriend. Attention to detail can certainly be a fab strength in the workplace and there's nothing wrong with wanting to have a neat and tidy home but it sounds like this is perhaps a little more than that for you? Would that be right?

    We have some info here on TheSite about OCD which might be useful to read and a short course of CBT talking therapy can often be recommended for this kind of thing so it's certainly something that you can work on if you'd like to.
    In my late 20's, I feel like it's a little too late to be coming to this realization. Probably something I should have dealt with a while ago. But like I said before, I think you don't notice things until you're put in a situation that brings them out.

    I also wanted to add that it's totally normal to have these kind of realisations in your 20s - as you become more self-aware and certainly when you live with someone it's natural to find that you notice things about yourself that you may not have picked up on before.

    Let us know how you get on :)
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you all for your suggestions. We did take a walk and talk about things. He said that he thought my thoughts were insane but that he would try to make things easier. I told him some things that were bothering me and he has made an effort to fix them. I am grateful for that. But he said that I am going to have to fund a way to get over things or else we will break. That I will be the one that defines our relationship. Talk about a lot of pressure. I am trying my best to just get over things. It sure is hard though. I think my boyfriend is keeping his walls up, knowing that this is not something that can be fixed overnight. It is not sonething that he can fix. It has to be me. And I have to be willing. So pair that with our lack of sex life (again, my fault) and you get two people who are walking around the house not wanting to do anything else to set each other off. Well, it's not that bad but you get the idea. I don't know if things will change. I don't know if I can change. And I'm not sure what my next step needs to be.
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