Business Insider has a new article today titled How To Know If You Have The New Condition Called ‘Relationship OCD’. The article suggests the problem is rare, but what they are describing sounds like a clinical version of something I call the whispers, something our culture bombards women with on a daily basis. Here is how Wikipedia describes the symptoms of what it calls Relationship Centered ROCD:
A person may continuously doubt whether they love their partner, whether their relationship is the “right” relationship or whether their partner “really” loves them. Even when they know they love someone or that someone loves them, they constantly check and reassure themselves that it is the right feeling. When they attempt to end the relationship, they are overwhelmed with anxiety. Staying in the relationship, however, they are haunted by continuous doubts regarding the relationship.
Then there are the Partner Focused ROCD symptoms:
Another form of ROCD includes preoccupation, checking, and reassurance seeking behaviors relating to the partner’s perceived flaws. Instead of finding good in their partner, they are constantly focused on their shortcomings. They often exaggerate these “flaws” and use them to prove the relationship is fundamentally bad. The fact that they are unable to concentrate on anything but their partner’s flaws causes the sufferer great anxiety, and often leads to a strained relationship.
While this is a defined disorder, it also describes pretty much every blog or magazine aimed at women in the western world. Seemingly every week there is a new Cosmo quiz to determine if your man is (still) the right man for you. Newspapers around the world warn women that they might be trapped in a semi happy marriage.
Divorcedmoms.com has thoughtfully created a separate section just for moms Thinking About Divorce. This important resource warns women everywhere (but especially mothers) that they may be settling for less than they deserve in a relationship. The Huffington Post helpfully republished the same article to warn their own readers of this hidden danger. In another article divorcedmoms.com offers tips on deciding if you should divorce, including this nifty graphic.
I could go on at length, because entertainment aimed at women is drenched in this. This isn’t just a secular problem either. Every modern Christian’s favorite movie on marriage Fireproof is a story about a woman who has to decide if she should divorce her husband for the doctor she works with. She doesn’t have a Cosmo quiz to help, but with the help of the Book of Oprah she is able to determine if she loves him or not, and if he loves her enough for them to stay married. I won’t ruin the fun for those ladies who haven’t seen the movie yet, because figuring out if she should stay married or embark on an exciting path of divorce empowerment is the whole fun of the movie.
When you think about the harm this constant sowing of discord causes, it is amazing that our divorce rate isn’t even higher than it is. However, even when this doesn’t lead to a broken home it still creates a incalculable strife in families across the western world.