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  • Writer's pictureJulia Koroleva

New Horizons Therapy NY Blog: When OCD and Perfectionism Cause Conflict in a Relationship


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and perfectionism can significantly impact a person's life, including their relationships. While often associated with personal struggles, these conditions can also create challenges in intimate partnerships, leading to conflict, misunderstanding, and frustration.

Here's how OCD and perfectionism can manifest in a relationship and ways to address them:

How OCD and Perfectionism Show Up:

  • Excessive Checking and Reassurance Seeking: Constantly needing reassurance about decisions, appearance, or relationship status.

  • Rigid Routines and Rituals: Insisting on strict adherence to routines or rituals, causing frustration for partners who don't share these behaviors.

  • Fear of Contamination: Avoiding certain activities or places due to fear of germs or contamination, limiting shared experiences.

  • Intrusive Thoughts and Anxiety: Experiencing distressing thoughts or anxieties that can lead to irritability and emotional distance.

  • Control Issues: Trying to control every aspect of the relationship, leading to resentment and power struggles.

  • Difficulty Relaxing and Enjoying the Present: Constantly focusing on imperfections or potential problems, hindering spontaneity and joy.

Navigating Conflict:

  1. Open Communication: Honest and open communication is crucial. The partner with OCD or perfectionism should express their struggles and anxieties, while the other partner should listen without judgment and offer support.

  2. Education: Learn about OCD and perfectionism together. Understanding the root causes and triggers can foster empathy and reduce frustration.

  3. Patience and Understanding: Remember, these are mental health conditions, not personal choices. Patience and understanding are essential for both partners.

  4. Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries around behaviors that cause conflict. For example, agree on a reasonable amount of reassurance-seeking or designate specific times for rituals.

  5. Compromise: Find compromises that respect both partners' needs. For example, if one partner has a fear of contamination, find activities that both can enjoy without triggering anxiety.

  6. Encourage Treatment: Therapy, medication, or a combination of both can be effective in managing OCD and perfectionism. Encourage and support your partner in seeking professional help.

  7. Couples Therapy: Consider couples therapy to address relationship-specific challenges arising from OCD or perfectionism. A therapist can help you develop communication skills, conflict resolution strategies, and tools for supporting each other.


Remember, managing OCD and perfectionism in a relationship takes time, effort, and understanding from both partners. By working together, you can strengthen your bond and create a more harmonious and supportive partnership.

At New Horizons Therapy NY, we offer individual and couples therapy for individuals struggling with OCD, perfectionism, and relationship challenges. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your journey towards a healthier and happier relationship.


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