Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Support Group

A support group for those with OCPD and their loved ones.
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 Post subject: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCPD?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:44 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:26 pm
Posts: 10
Hi,

I just figured out that my SO of two+ years fits OCPD. But I am really confused as to the next step. We actually started counseling earlier this summer because he declared to me that he never wanted to get married again. He was married twice before - long relationships that ended within 2 years of getting married. When I met him he was very much wanting to get married. I felt ripped off that I invested my time and emotion with him only to find out that he was not willing to marry after all. I was going to leave as I saw no point in wasting more time and he was devastated. I told him that the only way I would stay is if he would go to counseling with me. One of the things he has told me from the very beginning of our dating was that he loved me, but was not in love with me. I didn't think much of it in the beginning because I didn't think anyone should be in love so quickly anyway.

But two years in and it's the same mantra. I knew he had a very romanticized ideal of what being in love is, and we have talked a lot about it, but it doesn't change how he feels. That is our big conflict right now. There are 2 other areas that create issue for us. The first is his obsessive need to keep the house clean, but typically, it is only me that can not leave anything out of order in the house. Some of the things that he complains about, he has done himself, but he has no recollection of it when I point it out. (i.e. left the pillows out of order on the sofa after using the couch) He almost never says anything to me, but lets it build up until he is quite anxious about it. He is not mean about it, but the double standard drives me crazy. I told him before that I understand that he is anal about the house, and asked him to simply let me know if there is something causing him anxiety so I can take care of it. I can't read minds, and to me the house is always in such a good state that I wouldn't have any way of knowing it is an issue. But he apparently is unable to just tell me and lets it build up to huge levels of frustration on his part.

He is obsessed about his house and yard. He has been working on getting his house "just right" for the last 20+ years. There is always another project and he always has lists of things to do. It never ends for him and causes him great anxiety. He had told me early on in our dating that if I wanted to go out, I would just have to make the plans and let him know because he is always so busy, he won't make plans. (which isn't entirely true - but I make most of the plans) This was acceptable to me because I see how hard he is always working, but he always made time when I asked to go to some event. The problem comes in when he is in a big work binge. He will be so tired from his day that he has nothing left for me in the evening. This is where I identify with the "coldness" that I read about with OCPD.

I approached him today with the fact that I was trying to research how to live with a neat freak and ended up finding this information on OCPD. I went over various aspects of it and he agreed completely that they fit how he feels. He was actually very open to the idea of being OCPD. He had shared with me before that he suffers from depression, something he has not shared with anyone else. His first question to me was is there a drug to treat it. He can not stand how overwhelmed he feels every day with what he "has" to do.

I'm left feeling very confused. I love this man but everything I read makes it sound like you must be crazy to stay in a relationship with an OCPD person. So now I am questioning whether or not I should continue to go to counseling with him or just cut my losses because there is a lot more at play here than someone who just has some emotional issues around love and commitment.

Oh, and I have a 5 and 7 year old that adore him. I also don't want them to get any more attached. I didn't even let them know we were dating until we had been together a year because I didn't want them to have a string of men coming in and out of their lives. Another reason I wanted to feel pretty sure of the relationship before telling them about it and getting them involved. We had the most blissful summer together before we decided to tell them -
wonder whatever happened to those carefree days together....

Any advice??


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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:36 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:27 pm
Posts: 112
if you see that he's willing to drop his control issues to face his fears, then i say give the relationship a chance. but just warning you, even with willingness, this process can take a very very long time.

i've written about push-pull relationships. i think you should watch out for this: http://giftofocpd.com/2012/06/13/push-pull/

if people are too accommodating to our control issues, we (people with OCPD) will never face our fears. he needs to take incremental steps to let go of control over the organization of his living space, his relationships, his work, etc... by letting go of control, he'll be forced to face his fears. his fears will then disappear and he will no longer need inflexible control to protect himself.

i have written about control here: http://giftofocpd.com/2012/03/29/control/

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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:30 am 
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Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 2623
A possible middle ground could be to stay in a relationship with him, but make it a "dating" relationship rather than one where you live with him or see him every evening and all weekend. This would make him less of a feature in your children's lives, and keep them from growing more attached to him. It would give you regular time without him, and thus reduce the chance that you'll go into "boiled frog" mode where his controlling behavior ramps up slowly until, before you know it, you've lost all self esteem and all ability to stand up for what you want or even to know what you want.

Unfortunately, if you do move out and reduce the relationship, he may respond to that consequence with "hoovering", improving his behavior to the point that you think that the problem is solved, you lower those boundaries, and you find yourself right back where you started. (Edited to add: But that's not a reason not to move out; it's a reason to be very, very wary of moving in again.)

Re: "I told him before that I understand that he is anal about the house, and asked him to simply let me know if there is something causing him anxiety so I can take care of it."

This concerns me. It suggests that all he has to do is tell you what to do, and you'll do it. The problem is that if you do manage to persuade him to tell you what to do, he will likely exercise that privilege more and more. That isn't good for you, and it really isn't good for him either - it's not healthy for someone with OCPD to have all of their control issues complied with, any more than it's healthy for an alcoholic to be handed a drink every time they have a craving. It would be better, IMO, to set boundaries, refuse to be told what to do, and put the responsibility for their anxieties on them:

- "If you have a preferred order for the couch pillows, you're welcome to rearrange them that way. I won't be doing so."
- "This is how I do the dishes. When you do the dishes, you can load the dishwasher however you want."
- "Yes, it is just barely possible that I might get crumbs on the floor if I eat cookies here. If that worries you, you're welcome to sweep the floor when I'm done. No, not now; you'll block the TV."

That doesn't mean that you never cooperate with him, but it's important to understand that it's probably not going to be possible to cooperate enough to make him happy, so you have to stand up for yourself and behave as if this is your home, too.


Last edited by favasquash on Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:34 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:45 am
Posts: 202
Location: Europe
There are a few warning flags in your message, ie. He has been married twice before and both ended soon into the marriage, he is reluctant to get married to you now but said he wanted to at the beginning, he is cold towards you at the end of the day, and is starting to lay down his rules about how the home must be.

I think he is reluctant to wed as he knows he will revert to his norma mode then, after the courtship phase has passed , when we are all on best behaviour. If you find him controlling now, and he is, wait until you see the real deal later on.

Unfortunately if you marry or live together the rules and control will encompass your children, it will be very hard on them especially when they reach teenage which brings its own problems without adding further stresses to the mix.

You have invested some time in this man, but he is now backpeddling on his willingness to marry.
You would be wise to find someone else more caring and loving, you're not likely to find it with him
and may regret it deeply if you stay together.

If you feel you must give the counselling a try perhaps you could give yourself a time limit, if there is no improvement or willingness to take medication then cut your losses. Some people here have got their partners to go only for them to switch the blame to them and deny any problems in themselves. Keep reading here as you will take on a lot of insight into living with an OCPDer once the romance has worn off.
Good luck, many of us wish we had jumped ship long ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:08 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:26 pm
Posts: 10
favasquash wrote:
A possible middle ground could be to stay in a relationship with him, but make it a "dating" relationship rather than one where you live with him or see him every evening and all weekend. This would make him less of a feature in your children's lives, and keep them from growing more attached to him. It would give you regular time without him, and thus reduce the chance that you'll go into "boiled frog" mode where his controlling behavior ramps up slowly until, before you know it, you've lost all self esteem and all ability to stand up for what you want or even to know what you want."


You know it is funny, but now that I know about OCPD I almost think that this is not the approach for me. I asked him at one point after we started counseling if he could have a perfect world, what would our relationship look like. His answer was that I would have my own place and that I could come and go freely. (which was how it was during our blissful time) Moving out is exactly what would ease his OCPD because he wouldn't have to accommodate me living in "his" space.

favasquash wrote:
Re: "I told him before that I understand that he is anal about the house, and asked him to simply let me know if there is something causing him anxiety so I can take care of it."

This concerns me. It suggests that all he has to do is tell you what to do, and you'll do it. The problem is that if you do manage to persuade him to tell you what to do, he will likely exercise that privilege more and more. That isn't good for you, and it really isn't good for him either - it's not healthy for someone with OCPD to have all of their control issues complied with, any more than it's healthy for an alcoholic to be handed a drink every time they have a craving. It would be better, IMO, to set boundaries, refuse to be told what to do, and put the responsibility for their anxieties on them


I agree with you. This was part of what I thought at the time was a normal part of adjusting to living with someone. I have my own anal things that I prefer, like I will separate knives, forks, spoons into separate areas in the dishwasher - he doesn't. I have asked him to accommodate me in this area. Now I realize that on his part I can never meet his expectations and so I need to determine what I am comfortable with and set my own limits. (also difference is I wouldn't be upset at him when he doesn't do it - I just correct it to make myself happy if I feel the need to.)

favasquash wrote:
That doesn't mean that you never cooperate with him, but it's important to understand that it's probably not going to be possible to cooperate enough to make him happy, so you have to stand up for yourself and behave as if this is your home, too.


That is going to be the tricky part. More reading and learning is needed on my part and it will be good to get our counselor on board with this.

Thank you to all who have replied. This is going to be quite a learning process for me. I can say that he is not an angry person at all and is quite personable. He has been my mother's next door neighbor since I was 19 years old. He is 59 years old, and just retired after 33 years as a firefighter. I tease him all the time that he is George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life because he is so nice and friendly that he knows all his neighbors and just anybody that over the years has traveled past his house more than once. He is very outgoing, friendly, and helpful to anyone in need. His big thing is his home and he did admit to me once that he is married to his house.

I write all that because I read so much on here about OCPD people being angry and hard to live with. He really is not like that at all. We don't "fight." If we have a disagreement, like when he finally will break down and tell me that I don't keep the house up and it is a disaster, it is a discussion between us.

I already am being more assertive about getting my needs met with him. Saturday night after dinner he went up to work on research on the computer and I went up and asked him to delay his computer work and come have a family night with me and kids. I could tell that it created a little angst for him to not dig right into finding a new pool pump, but he left that behind and we had a great night with the kids. Before I would have just left him to do his research and spent time with the kids by myself.

Looking forward to reading the links given to me and learning more.

Thanks again. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 9:54 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:43 am
Posts: 7
I just recently ended a relationship with my OCPD SO and it wasn't until I got out of the relationship that I started to recognize that many of my needs weren't being met. There are some big red flags in your post. Are you really ok with being with someone who isn't in love with you after two years? My SO also didn't want to get married, but for different reasons. I tried to rationalize so many things to myself as to why I didn't need what he wasn't able to provide. But, I think the bottom line is that you deserve to be with someone who can meet your needs. Why settle for someone who is not in love with you? If you are really being honest with yourself, how does that make you feel? You derserve to be with someone who is in love with you and who does want to get married. Maybe the counseling will help, but now that you have seen the red flags don't lose sight of them. I finally decided that my relationship shouldn't be this difficult. My SO was also very particular around the house, and although he was usually nice about it, it still takes a toll. I get why you have a very difficult decision to make becuase it was very hard for me to make the decision to leave. I also had invested a lot of time and emotional energy in the relationship. We tried counseling, but I finally realized that I would never have the "normal" relationship him that I was wanting. Only you can make the best decision about your situation, but pay attention as to whether or not you are trying to rationalize his behavior to yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 10:20 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:26 pm
Posts: 10
Leaker - I hear you loud and clear. This is what is worrisome for me because it is a fine line when it comes to rationalizing and very easy to fall into.

I do believe that he loves me and he tells me so all the time and is very loving with me. For him it is a distinction of "being in love" that he doesn't feel. That is part of the reason I gave him for going to counseling originally. I thought at that time that there was something from his past that he wasn't letting go of or just fear of being hurt again that wasn't allowing him to have those feelings for me. (the butterflies in the stomach, unable to think about anything but the person you are in love with, etc.) Personally, as I have told him, I prefer a deeper love to "being in love" feelings. To me being "in love" feelings are fleeting and can have nothing to do with truly being compatible with another person, but are more of a hormonal reaction to someone.

As part of our counseling, I am to determine how much time I am willing to invest before I pull out. That was something I was already trying to determine and this just adds a new wrinkle to it. I think it will be interesting to go forward with my new understanding of OCPD and see how things go with me being more aware of making sure I am not compromising my needs and not catering to his obsessions.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 2623
amysbest wrote:
More reading and learning is needed on my part and it will be good to get our counselor on board with this.


"Our counselor" worries me a bit. My understanding is that couples counseling is modeled on the idea that both members of a couple are equally at fault, and both must compromise. But with a personality disorder, there are many things that you cannot afford to compromise on. Couples counseling often makes abusive relationships worse; I suspect that it may make relationships involving someone with a personality disorder worse, too. You may end up needing separate counselors.

(Edited to remove the double quote.)


Last edited by favasquash on Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 2:15 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:43 am
Posts: 7
Amysbest

Another question to ask yourself is are you changing your behavior due to him? I didn't realize it when I was in the relationship, but I realized after I got out that I had changed my behavior to try to make him happy. For example, he didn't drink much (because he never wanted to be out of control!!). I like to have a glass of wine at night or a beer. He used to make comments about me having a glass a wine..saying that it was somehow wrong to do this. He would make me feel bad about it. I found that I altered my behavior to have wine when he wasn't around...eventhough there is nothing wrong with having a glass of wine! This is just one example.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:49 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:17 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: SoCal - 5 yrs moved out/4 1/2 yrs broken up w/6 year live-in with OCPD b-f.
amysbest wrote:
I do believe that he loves me and he tells me so all the time and is very loving with me. For him it is a distinction of "being in love" that he doesn't feel.
My ex used to say this, too. "I love you but I'm not in love with you."

Much, much later, I realized this was a way of trying to hold back, to keep himself safe emotionally. Because if he wasn't "in love" with me he wouldn't be devastated when I left. And he "always knew" I would leave him.

When we moved in together, I had a bunch of cleaning products, and HE had a bunch of cleaning products. We decided what to put under the kitchen sink and stored the extras in a small cellar (in California, almost no one has a cellar).

Well, the cellar flooded and the cardboard boxes got wet, so I transferred the remaining contents to a (shared) big plastic utility box. He hit the ceiling, because now when I left him I was going to be taking all of HIS cleaning supplies. (Three years into living together.)

In a relationship, the one with the most power is the one who wants the relationship the LEAST. By him saying he's not "in love" with you, he's trying to establish that HE is the one with the power, because he's not "in love" with you.

Btw, when I left, I not only left behind all of his cleaning products, but most of mine, too. Also my flowering potted plants in the yard, my gardening supplies, the sheets I'd purchased...

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And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
Follow the latest Scoop: http://www.scoop.it/t/iso-mental-health-wellness
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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:16 am
Posts: 34
I feel like I am just starting to breath, 2 weeks out of my relationship with a man with OCPD. I think that getting a breather may be the best thing for you - a chance to see the forest for the trees. You may not realize just how accommodating you are being until you don't have to be for a bit. Or the amount of stress you're actually under, etc.


Last edited by Island Girl on Tue Aug 28, 2012 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:14 am
Posts: 127
Hello and i am sorry that YOU are going through this dilema....
Please remember, telling YOU that he loves you is NOT ENOUGH! Love must be shown with ACTIONS!!!
My exocpdh didnt stop saying- i love you...it meant nothing!
Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:15 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:25 am
Posts: 4874
There are plenty of red flags but I will address these -
1) If you aren't married, why go to couseling to try to make a relationship work that isn't working?
2) You have young children, why would you want them around his obsessiveness?

This type of personality disorder does not have a quick fix. Even with medication and counseling it takes years and years to make changes and even then OCPD is still a struggle.

Just MOVE ON.

_________________
Married 10+ years
Diagnosed 18 years ago
Fairly good marriage


“ When people show you who they are, believe them, the first time."
― Maya Angelou


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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:31 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:26 pm
Posts: 10
more-freedom wrote:
There are plenty of red flags but I will address these -
1) If you aren't married, why go to couseling to try to make a relationship work that isn't working?
2) You have young children, why would you want them around his obsessiveness?

This type of personality disorder does not have a quick fix. Even with medication and counseling it takes years and years to make changes and even then OCPD is still a struggle.

Just MOVE ON.



I do appreciate your sentiment in this post. I guess I think the counseling is appropriate because the reason we started going was not because the relationship isn't working - it was because he took marriage off the table. He has told me that all the guys at the firehouse were always telling him how lucky he was not to be married - they are married and unhappy. Divorces happen much more than we know happy couples. We both have seen and experienced how people can be happy and in love and then they get married and things fall apart. So I understand from a normal viewpoint that marriage is a scary institution to try and tackle. Now I see that he has the added complexity of being OCPD to add to that.

His OCPD about cleanliness only affects me as much as I will allow it. (and I'm not going to let it bother me one whit now!) Though I asked him previously to tell me if something was bothering him, only once in the last 6 months did he actually ask me to do something. (clean my bathroom) His obsession only bothers him and in hindsight I can see that when he is very stressed has been the times that he has then actually said something to me about the house not being kept up.

I went home yesterday after work to find out that he had of his own volition contacted his insurance to find out what the hold up is on being reimbursed for our previous counseling sessions. This speaks to me of someone who is very willing to work on this issue.

The other way it does affect me is his workaholic tendencies which can leave him with no energy for me. I already am taking charge of that as well as seeing him consciously making a change. I let him know in a very loving way, that I was anticipating us having a romantic night together, if you know what I mean. ;) I was getting ready to start dinner and he was going to head off to Lowes. (a favorite haunt!) Then he decided not to go and just stayed and helped me cook dinner. We had our usual great evening together. So he definitely will meet my needs if I let him know.

I guess I'm not willing to just walk away without at least having some counseling around the issue and advice from a professional who can quickly and easily see if I am rationalizing things away or if we do have a chance to work through these issues in a healthy way.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it crazy to consider staying in relationship with OCP
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:24 am 
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Location: OBX, NC, 'Merica, Earth, Milky Way, Local Galactic Group
amysbest wrote:
I went home yesterday after work to find out that he had of his own volition contacted his insurance to find out what the hold up is on being reimbursed for our previous counseling sessions. This speaks to me of someone who is very willing to work on this issue.

Given what you've learned about OCPD, is this a likely reason or motivation, and a realistic futuristic inference?


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