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How Do I help my Boyfriend that has HOCD

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I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend for several months now, and it's the kind of relationship where there is a good chance we will get married down the road. We are both in our 20's. He entrusted his secret to me about HOCD and we spent quite a while talking about it and what it means. I can honestly say that I am concerned, but not in a way that I feel that our relationship is threatened. I love him so much by this point that I'm willing to work with him on this, even if it will always be in the back of his mind.

He has had HOCD for many years, and he says it comes and goes in phases. What can I do to help him with this. I used to get frustrated with him before I knew because he would not want sex as often as I would, but now I realize why- because he has desensitized himself to almost all feelings at times because it just gets easier. It hasn't been too bad though, we still have sex regularly and I have no doubt in my mind that he is straight, but I just want to help when he's going through bad periods. I can usually tell, because he'll be very distant for a few days, almost vacant in his eyes.

He probably won't see a therapist, but he said that if someday he felt in the future it was getting bad again he would. Luckily he realizes what he has and it has helped him get over it a lot just by knowing what it is and that other people go though it. In the meantime, what things should i avoid doing or should I do? I'm looking for advice from other men who are in relationships to get there perspective.
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replied January 3rd, 2013
I'm obviously not in your situation exactly, but I do suffer from a similar type of OCD. I have ROCD and have had it since 2007. I was very against the idea of medication and therapy until I realized how much it helped me. I have a boyfriend who I am very serious about and who knows what I deal with and also has to deal with it in some ways, himself. I think the best thing that you can do is be open minded about it and be supportive. It gets frustrating, but it's worth it. The thing you have to remember is it is probably a lot harder and more frustrating for him than it is for you. I have an exercise that I'd be willing to share with you if you would like more help for him. It might sound lame and he might not be up for it, but it has really helped me out and was recommended by my former therapist. I'm sorry I'm more on his end than yours and that I couldn't be of more help, but just keep doing the research. The answers are out there.
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replied January 3rd, 2013
I'm obviously not in your situation exactly, but I do suffer from a similar type of OCD. I have ROCD and have had it since 2007. I was very against the idea of medication and therapy until I realized how much it helped me. I have a boyfriend who I am very serious about and who knows what I deal with and also has to deal with it in some ways, himself. I think the best thing that you can do is be open minded about it and be supportive. It gets frustrating, but it's worth it. The thing you have to remember is it is probably a lot harder and more frustrating for him than it is for you. I have an exercise that I'd be willing to share with you if you would like more help for him. It might sound lame and he might not be up for it, but it has really helped me out and was recommended by my former therapist. I'm sorry I'm more on his end than yours and that I couldn't be of more help, but just keep doing the research. The answers are out there.
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replied January 4th, 2013
Similar Thoughts
Thank You so much for your response, lately he's been doing pretty good. There are times when I can feel him not "really there" with me and I know his mind is going a hundred miles per hour with thoughts. I'm also very careful with what I say around him to avoid triggering his OCD. I would love to here the exercise though if it could possibly help him! Also, can I ask how the medications help you, do they give you and side effects at all?

The funny thing about your post is that you and I actually relate quite a bit. Ironically while he has HOCD I have noticed that I may have ROCD, fortunately it's fairly mild, but it can be distracting and at some points destructive to our relationship. I have thought about seeking help with it, as some weeks it can get REALLY bad. I get a lot of anxiety and it keeps me from concentrating on normal daily tasks sometimes.
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replied January 4th, 2013
Hey there! So sorry that my reply posted twice. The technique I use for myself is called "Truth." Whenever I start to really freak out, I will sit somewhere alone and just say all the truths about my thoughts instead of letting the scary thoughts getting to me. So for me, it will be "Truth: I love my boyfriend. Truth: Sometimes I don't like those stupid sweatpants he wears, but I'm still attracted to him. Truth: I would never really want anything to happen to him, but I know that my mind is trying to make the worst out of the situation." Yeah, I'm a bit shallow. Lol. Anyways, that's a small example of what I do. When I worry that I cheated on him and don't remember, it is way more specific and detailed. He can also practice thought-stopping. Look it up on WebMD. It's fantastic!
As far as the medicine goes, Zoloft and Paxil had weight gain side effects. I use another one, but I've completely blanked on what it's called. I've found that a lot of physicians don't understand the type of OCD we have because it's only been more recently discovered. I went to a psychiatrist and he's the one that was really helpful.
As far as your ROCD, I would recommend talk therapy while it's still early. If you ever need anything, please feel free to contact me. This battle is very difficult when people don't understand.
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replied May 2nd, 2013
Hey AuraLana.
I wanted to share some insight with you, as I was dating a guy that struggled with HOCD for 3 years. I see that your relationship is fairly new, so I may have some advice for you.
My boyfriend told me 6 months into our relationship about his HOCD. At first he was really great about communicating it. He would identify when he was struggling with it, and actively seek my help to talk about it. Unfortunately, that didn't stay the case. Over time, he talked less and less about it. I would ask him about it often, but he would shrug it off or say things like "My head seems to be fine now". Then, as more time passed he would shut down to me altogether. I knew he was dealing with it (exactly the same things you were talking about in regards to distance) but he would never talk to me. This made me incredibly insecure. I was frantic because I was waiting for the moment when he'd push me out of his life for good. I became incredibly insecure, but didn't really want to say anything because as you mentioned, I didn't want to make it worse for him. I didn't want to stir anything up. I put my own psychological needs aside because I thought I was doing what was best for him, when I really should have been pushing him to get help or at least taking myself out of the situation until he felt more clear. It was a huge blow to my self esteem when our relationship ended. I felt like I had been giving everything, and received nothing in return while at the same time knowing how horrible what he was going through must have been for him.
All very complicated, but here is my advice. Always take care of your emotional needs. If for some reason down the road he stops talking to you about it, and it makes you insecure like it did for me, spend some time apart. He'll come back once his mind is clear, and you will be so thankful that you respected yourself, and ultimately the relationship. I'm speaking with a therapist right now myself to try to repair the damage that all of this has caused. I would recommend getting one now..if your boyfriend chooses to go with you, all the better. But mostly do it for yourself. This is a tricky situation for a long term relationship if communication leaves the equation, and unfortunately it's the nature of the beast with HOCD. Such shame around the thoughts, eventually it can become embarassing. I can't speak for your boyfriend, but mine was a real perfectionist, guy's guy.
All the best to you. I hope your situation turns out better than mine did.
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replied May 2nd, 2013
I should also mention that the breakup was extremely messy. A lot of mean, hurtful things were said from him to me, and he literally kicked me out of his life. That's the power of this if it's not managed properly.
No matter how much you think you understand your boyfriend and his condition, if he stops communicating it can make you crazy. It can make YOU think about it and ruminate about it...the "what if he is gay" thoughts. I was just like you when he first told me. Totally understanding, did my research and willing to work through anything. Him talking to me and discussing what he went through was the very key component to the success of the relationship.
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