My husband and I have a boat (cabin cruiser, the kind you can sleep on) at Lake Cumberland, in Kentucky. The boat is docked at a resort on the lake about 4 hours from our home and for years has been our summer get-away. For the last 3 or more years, however, it has become an issue. My brother-in-law and his "significant other" live in Florida and love the cooler climate and area so much that they bought a small lakehouse at Cumberland.

The problem is, my OCD manifests itself in several ways, some of which seem bizaare to someone without the disorder. I need 45 minutes in the shower, and another 45 drying off and drying my hair. I need to do this every day and it involves several rituals. Unfortunately, the lake house only has one bathroom and trying to share it with 3 other people is very uncomfortable for me. One thing is the "clean thing", another is the length of time I occupy the bathroom, the towels, and the list goes on and on. In other words, I don't want to stay at the lake house when my in-laws are there. I prefer to stay on our boat. It is crowded and not air-conditioned, but at least I have privacy there and can feel more relaxed and look forward to going.

There are also simple good manners to be considered. It seems as if every time we plan a week at the lake, my in-laws are going to be there, too. If we "co-owned" the lake house, it would be fine, but we couldn't afford to do that and have the boat both. I feel like we are a big imposition on my in-laws and infringe on their vacation time. My "sister-in-law" refuses to let me cook (which I'm secretly relieved about, because I don't want to contaminate anybody), but I could at least help with the dishes, but she consistently refuses any help. In other words, we are treated as guests, not family, and I feel extremely awkward. My husband and his brother get along great and have no problem sharing the space, which is wonderful for them. My husband refuses to stay on the boat when we go down, because he thinks his brother would be insulted and because it is more comfortable to stay at the lake house. This has become a real issue between us and has taken the fun of going to the lake away from me.

Any thoughts anyone has would be appreciated. Maryanne

  1. ancientgeekcrone 11 years ago

    Confronting some of your rituals and obcessions would be a place to start. It would take the power out of them.

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  2. Neil_ODonnell 11 years ago

    I have found that being open about my OCD with my in-laws has helped them understand my need to have separate space on vacations.   Additionally, I have definitely found my fear of contaminating others has dimished considerably since getting treatment/confronting my obsessions/compulsions.  You might want to speak to your doctor about ways to better address your OCD if you haven't already.


    I hope this helps.

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  3. maryanne 11 years ago

    Thank you!  I have told my in-laws about my OCD, but they aren't very receptive when it comes to understanding what is really involved (much to my dismay).  Even my husband doesn't fully comprehend what goes on.

    I'm doing my best to limit the time we have to spend as guests there.  That's about all I can do for now.  My contamination problem is lots better than it used to be (it was very extreme), but I still can't shake it altogether.  Have a great day and thanks for the advice!  Maryanne

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