Perfectionism in Relationships: How It Affects Us and What to Do

Perfectionism is a quality that many manifest, which has its good but also its bad. This quality can have negative effects not only on the professional field, but also on the couple.

Being a person who wants everything to go well, for everything to be perfect, can be a real headache for people with more conformist tastes, in the sense that they do not need to strive for perfection in what already is. good as it is.

Being in a relationship with a very perfectionist person can be difficult, especially if there are conflicts that cause one to have very high expectations about the relationship that the other doesn’t seem to be meeting. we are approaching perfectionism in relationships and what are their implications.

    It’s perfectionism in relationships

    Perfectionism is often seen as a positive trait, and it can be if given in an adaptive and functional way. Being a good perfectionist, in the sense of wanting things to go great, avoiding all possible setbacks, and making sure everything turns out perfectly, is a desire of many and possessed by a few. This does not mean that there are few perfectionists. There are many, but there are profiles who far from being able to do things right, what they achieve with their high demands and low tolerance for errors is frustration, conflict and conflict. tensions.

    Perfectionism can catch us, making us obsessed with doing everything we can to get something right, to the detriment of our physical and mental health. What many try to bring out the smallest and least important detail, wastes time and exhausts itself physically and psychologically. And not only does this affect the individual because, in addition, the environment close to the perfectionist person may end up getting fed up with their absurdly high standards and constantly telling them things that are wrong.

    Perfectionism in relationships is especially harmful. This blow it can lead to the paradoxical situation of turning the love life into something extremely frustrating and disappointing, source of conflicts and tensions of all kinds. Rarely does a person want to date someone who says they want to but constantly reminds them that they are doing things wrong, that they don’t follow their method, or that they have many flaws.

      Different perfectionist profiles

      Not all perfectionists are the same, so the way perfectionism manifests itself in relationships varies. Below, we’ll talk about the different types and their implications for human relationships.

      1. Who offers unattainable goals

      One of the profiles of a book perfectionist is one who sets unattainable and unrealistic goals for himself. These are people who set goals they are unlikely to achieve, which will frustrate them. In addition, they are individuals who do not accept their weaknesses and are very critical of themselves.

      It is difficult for them to understand that we are all human, that no one is perfect, and therefore they have flaws that no matter how hard they try it is difficult to change. As they continue to strive to change what cannot be changed, they experience great emotional distress..

      This profile does not necessarily mean harming the life of a couple, but it is difficult to date someone who is not able to see the positive in themselves and who is constantly frustrated because they have very ambitious goals but that he fails to reach.

      Depression and anxiety are two common issues in this profile, in addition to obsessive-compulsive behavior.

        2. Who wants social recognition

        There is another perfectionist profile that is also very common. He is someone who wants to please others, who wants to obtain a lot of social recognition. He wants to be accepted and avoid criticism. It is not good to hear negative phrases about him or his actions.

        People with this type of perfectionism may incur obsessive behaviors that give them some sort of social advantage. For example, if they want to be socially recognized by the physical, they will enroll in a gym and spend hours and hours training. They will never be happy with the exercise routine and will try to climb the difficulty.

        Whatever their obsessive behavior, the fact that they do allows them to spend less time as a couple. Also, if your obsession is to invest a lot of energy, as is the case with the exercise we just saw, this it will make you less likely to do activities with her once you are with your partner, especially if you see them as something that takes time to improve on that skill or trait that you think will give you some social recognition.

          3. The foreign error detector

          Finally, we have the perfectionist who sees the mistakes in others to meet their own demands. He’s the one who thinks that no one is doing well, only him. This is the profile that most social conflicts can bring because, as he sees others as people who do not know how to do things correctly, following his “method”, he initiates conflicts with anyone. It is the profile that can energize the coexistence of a couple.

          The Alien Error Detector is constantly critical of the way others do things and does not tolerate the mistakes of others. In the workplace, it’s easy to recognize the boss who is never happy with your job or the coworker who thinks his coworkers are all incompetent. In the couple realm, it would be the groom or the wife who tries to tell us, all the time, how we should do things in order to do things right at home.

          In relationships, perfectionists are easily angered. They do not tolerate “mistakes” (which they see as such) and accuse others of sour sarcasm, slurs and yelling when describing the erratic behavior of the person they claim to want. As you can imagine, this is an extremely toxic attitude, detrimental to the other person’s mental health and self-esteem, and one that he sometimes incurs ill-treatment.

          The person who is supported by their perfectionist partner can react in several ways. One of them is that he doesn’t sit idly by, bouncing back and showing feelings of anger and helplessness. If this is someone who needs the approval of others, it can lead to constant discussions, in addition to a loss of self-esteem if the person in recovery attributes a superiority to the perfectionist person. or if there is any emotional dependence.

            How do you deal with this perfectionism without damaging the relationship?

            Overcoming perfectionism in relationships is complex. To achieve this, you must first get the perfectionist to realize how this trait limits their happiness and conditions the relationship with their boyfriend or husband. Getting rid of perfectionism is something that takes a long process of self-knowledge and reflection, and it is best to have professional help, especially a partner psychologist.

            The following two recommendations can help us reflect on how perfectionism in our relationship may have affected happiness.

            1. Analyze the effects of this trait on our partner

            In order to overcome this type of perfectionism, it is necessary to analyze the effects that this implies for the couple. It could be that every time our partner does something, we think he has done something wrong, we tell him and a conflict arises. It can also happen that when we try to do something the right way (for example, clean the bathroom) we spend hours and hours in it while putting our love life aside.

            There can be a lot of things. The point is, once you’ve identified and analyzed this problematic perfectionist behavior, we can stop and think about when to do them and when to stop them. It’s not easy, but it’s better than being aware of the perfectionist behaviors that affect our relationship.

              2. Think about what perfectionism does for our partner.

              As we mentioned, being a perfectionist doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Wanting things to go well and striving to make it so is not in itself a bad thing, quite the contrary. However, is when it becomes an obsession and a relationship and mental health problem when you can see that it has become something harmful.

              One way to see if our perfectionism is problematic for our partner is to see what they bring to our relationship, and also what they bring out. Sometimes when we focus on an exaggerated goal, we don’t realize how much time we waste doing this when we don’t spend it with our partner. Others are the amount of conflict that causes us to want things to be done right, rather than the satisfaction of having everything perfect.

              Whatever the specific consequence, the point is that if our perfectionism is more of a disadvantage than an advantage for our partner, then there is a problem that we have to solve. With this in mind, it would be advisable to go to both individual and couple psychotherapy and try to overcome the problem with a professional.

              Bibliographical references

              • Stoeber, J .; Childs, JH (2010). “The assessment of self-directed and socially prescribed perfectionism: the subscales make the difference”. Personality Assessment Magazine. 92 (6): 577-585. doi: 10.1080 / 00223891.2010.513306. PMID 20954059
              • Smith, MM; Sherry, SB; Chen, S .; Saklofske, DH; Mushquaix, C .; Flett, GL; Hewitt, PL (2017). The Perniciousness of Perfectionism: A Meta-Analytical Review of the Perfectionism-Suicide Relationship. Journal of Personality, 86 (3): p. 522 – 542. doi: 10.1111 / jopy.12333. ISSN 0022-3506. PMID 28734118
              • Limburg, Karina; Watson, Hunna J .; Hagger, Martin S .; Egan, Sarah J. (2016). The relationship between perfectionism and psychopathology: a meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 73 (10): 1301 – 1326. doi: 10.1002 / jclp.22435. hdl: 20.500.11937 / 38934. ISSN 0021-9762. PMID 28026869

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