Saturday, August 07, 2010

I'm sure I've mentioned my OCD before.  In recent months, due to (of course) a lot of self- analysis, I've realized that most of my relationship issues (at least the ones on my end) can be boiled down to not having the OCD under control.  More specifically, the few days every month that I don't have the compulsions that are a part of the 'disease' under control.  The obsessive thoughts rarely lessen.  However, for the most part, the compulsions that are sparked by those obsessive thoughts are something I am typically able to keep myself from acting upon.

For those who don't know the "what and why" of OCD, in its most simplest form, it can be boiled down to a need for reassurance.  Those of us who "check" things do so out of a need to "make sure."  Even if I tell myself (mentally or aloud) that I unplugged the toaster... even if, as I'm unplugging those things, I say, "toaster is unplugged," nine times out of ten, I will need to go back into the house after leaving, just to "make sure."  There is the fear that if I do not double-, triple-, or even quadruple- check, I may have been wrong about unplugging the toaster and the house may burn down.  It's the same with curling irons, hair dryers, you name it.

Normally this isn't something that interferes with my life.  It is, at most, a minor inconvenience and annoyance. Except when it comes to personal relationships.  That need for reassurance  most certainly translates into a disaster when dating... especially in that oh-so-important nurturing phase in the beginning.  That need for reassurance almost always becomes that ever-dreaded "neediness."

The thoughts are always there: "does he really like me?"  "why didn't he respond to my text right away? Did I do something wrong?  Has he suddenly stopped liking me?"  And while the thoughts are there, I can almost always talk myself out of them.  I can answer myself with, "hello...he has a life...just like you do.  He's not sitting by his phone waiting to hear from you.  Knock it off."

With the exception of a few days a month.  On those days, no matter how many reasonable arguments I give myself, I sometimes can not stop it.  I pick up the phone, go to the messaging screen, and ask, "did I do something wrong? " or "are you mad at me?"  And the entire time I am typing the message, I know it is the wrong thing to do.  There is a voice in my head screaming, "DO NOT SEND THAT!!  STOPPPPPP!"

But I can't.  For whatever reason, this illness means that I need the reassurance of hearing, "not at all."  But that doesn't happen.  That is, 99% of the time, the point when the man either stops communicating altogether, or sends me the uncomfortable "I don't think we're suited for each other" email.

So how do I keep myself from scaring away any man who is interested in me?  The simplest answer is medication to control the OCD.  But for the most part it is under control, so I'm hesitant to take that approach.  And there is some part of my brain that thinks that, while medications are not only okay, but are a must for some people, and there is not a single thing wrong with that; I hold myself to a far more unattainable standard then I do for everyone else.  I feel that there is something wrong with me if I need that help...even if it's only for a few days a month.

I guess the other option is to avoid the potential suitor for those days.  Of course then I would be accused of playing games.  I guess I'm not any closer to an answer than I was when I began this post.


Anonymous,  8/10/2010 08:49:00 AM  

This question is going to sound condescending when you read it but its not intended to be -- Can I ask your age?

In my experience (pushing 40) younger women tend to grow out of the "are you mad at me" stuff. At some point it seems to become more important to women to actually have a conversation about the thing that they think might be the problem rather than ask "Are you mad at me", which is one the all-time loaded questions.

When I hear "are you mad at me", I know the person doing the asking has an issue, but they are framing the question as if I am the person with the problem. I'm not the person with the problem. If I was mad at you, you'd know.

In my experience dating, right around 30 years old, most women seem to figure this out. So instead of asking "are you mad at me", your girlfriend just comes up and gives you a hug and a kiss, which is precisely the reassurance that she needed in the first place. Everybody wins.

Your favorite married guy, Anon1 :-)

Mike Thomas 8/11/2010 03:03:00 AM  


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