8 months in. Understanding my Germaphobic girlfriend.
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8 months in. Understanding my Germaphobic girlfriend.

This is a discussion on 8 months in. Understanding my Germaphobic girlfriend. within the Troubled Loved Ones forums, part of the Depression Forums category; We've been good pals for almost 5 years, and emotionally intimate for almost 2 years, but: For these past 8 ...

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Old 07-21-13, 03:12 AM   #1
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Question 8 months in. Understanding my Germaphobic girlfriend.

We've been good pals for almost 5 years, and emotionally intimate for almost 2 years, but:

For these past 8 months in... my girlfriend has crescendoed into a germaphobe. I've dealt with all kinds of people in my life before, but trying to maintain a relationship with her is one of the most challenging things I've encountered in my life. Most of you might think that I am crazy for even remaining emotionally intimate with someone who has a phobia at all, but I truly love this young woman and I desire much to help her. I know being in a relationship still can most definitely stunt our growth, and not to sound shallow, but there have been some complications in my several attempts to break up with her. I know she really needs someone to build her strength and hope along the side and in the field of life, and she doesn't really have many people to go to as it is. Her condition was abrubt to me. And I still need help understanding her condition, though it's been well maintained for about 8 months. It can be frustrating, because she needs a lot of help. Not just mentally, but physically as well. I open doors for her all the time, which isn't a problem. But sometimes she'll ask me to open the front door to my house for her when she is leaving, because I have had guests over and "god-knows" where they came from and what they were touching. sometimes I can't hold her hand because they are so cracked from over compulsive washing. I know what you're thinking...: "Who would ever want to be in a relationship with physical limitations?" To many of us, touching door nobs and handles, using public restrooms, and sitting on park benches, and skipping a shower one day of the week doesn't come off as something so detrimental to our way of daily living. But for a germaphobe, the "normal" life of living is hell breaking loose. I tell her she has been living her life dominated in fear. She responds to me saying, "I'm not scared, I'm aware." After hearing so many of her draining, redundant streaks of venting and angrily fusing herself out on me, I still want to be there for her. And it really makes me think. Am I the one who is wrong? Trying to convince a germaphobe that she is safe in a germ-fully-"contaminated"-world? I accentuate to her how I want her to do what she needs to in order to heal herself and cleanse her mind, because her mind is what reproduces with virus-thinking, and her consistent thinking and over-analyzing germs, and disease, is what stimulates her germaphobia. I also try to accentuate that she needs herself more than she needs me. That there is nothing I can give to her that she cannot give to herself. But I'm still so lost. She wants to maintain a healthy relationship with me, but we've been arguing a lot and a lot of it is because of the inconveniences that occur between my "normal state" of living and her life as a germaphobe. But when I bring up how I don't think we should not be in a relationship because she is having trouble healing herself, in general, she gets defensive with me (and kind of clingy), and my compassionate, unconditional love for her always gets the best of me. She has been living in a cage. And if I were to tell her that, she would respond to me resentfully and frustratingly, as if I don't understand her condition, and as if I don't care anymore and am giving up, even though I tell her that I always want to be a part of her life. And that we don't need to be in a relationship in order for me to still help her and be around for her. Geeze it's been, really hard, guys. I don't know so much what to do anymore. I don't want things to keep on like this. She is a bit of a procrastinator as well and when I talk to her about calling her insurance and seeking "professional" help, she never even really ends up doing it. Even though I tell her I will help her find it and attend her sessions with her, and after we mutually agree for her to talk to a cognitive therapist or someone synonymous to that. Everytime she has a germaphobic outbreak, she tells me how depressing it is. And I honestly do not know what would happen if I weren't around for her. I love this girl. We have history together. And I'm not going to give up on her. What am I to do?!?! :( much love.
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Old 07-21-13, 03:23 AM   #2
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Well the best thing is for you to get help in dealing with people with phobias... Be ause then you know what to do. You then love her like you always do. I don't even know if phobia is the right term. Probably OCD? What is the cause? Do you know? My mum hates germs, she was sexually abused. Maybe think of little kids scared of the dark. Even if you tell them thousands of times nothing will hurt them, they still need a night light and reassurance. It's best to let her get help herself, and you just remind her to make appointments, otherwise she might not go. Good luck :)
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Old 07-21-13, 03:29 AM   #3
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I actually do know the cause, but feel I've already said to much and if I publicized what caused her germaphobia it would be very disrepectful towards her. I love your simple response, thank you stranger, you've helped someone this day :)
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Old 01-25-14, 03:22 PM   #4
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Hey Soul.
Germaphobes are...soo afraid of germs. I am one of them, tho managed to overcome some of my issues, not extremely afraid anymore, tho the fear is still in my mind and heart. My best friends are disinfectants and wet napkins i use outdoors and wherever i go. What can i say, i always been conscious about the germs around me. The funny part is even on skin we have a lot of them, and we live happily so can i say. Everybody has them, naturally. Doesn't really matter what triggered it, matters that now it is. Do not want to get into personal stuff or so. You can help her giving her space and try not to criticize her actions too much or get angry. One thing u can try doing, and would be best for her skin, is to buy soaps that are very good moisturizer (creamy soap bars). Living with a germaphobe is hard, i know it is, i even realize there are many things that i could stop doing so much, but can't yet. It makes me happy. You can try making a deal with her, like, washing her hands before and after important things (like eating, dressing, going to bed, touching pets and other things). She will realize step by step that not everything is a threat. And we all have an immune system, should let it work a bit. If running all our lives from, let's say "normal bacteria", from our homes, we won't be able to even get outside anymore and live a normal life. Don't argue with her, just show her statistics, information, that germs are not so scary if she just protects herself, but not washing over 40 times a day. If her hands are cracked and red, contacting disease will be much more easier. This is why you need to make her understand that she needs her skin upright, without scratches and cracks.
All the best, and i am sure everything will work out fine. Have a little faith and make her confident as well.

Oh yeah, i managed to overcome myself and with the support of a dear friend.
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depression loved one, germaphobia, hardship, love, relationship

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