How to Survive Living with a Perfectionist
My husband is a perfectionist and while I love being with him, doing so sometimes takes its toll on me. Living with a perfectionist has its frustrating moments (lots of moments actually) and there are those times when I just want to step outside and scream my lungs out in frustration and exasperation.
Thankfully, there are fewer of these moments these days or should I say I have developed a good technique for coping with the situation.
Like me, there are women who will agree that living with a perfectionist can be trying and you will oscillate between wanting to be with this person and wanting to take a walk far, far away.
Perfectionists are great people with lots of amazing qualities (these not limited to hem being reliable and go-getters), but they also can be a handful and somewhat controlling and people who love them come to find it takes a lot of patience to continue to be with someone with such a high standard.
Signs He is a Perfectionist
Most perfectionist are usually easy to identify, but for a few others, it will take a little while; a little hanging around or living with them to fully identify this perfectionist trait in them.
While it’s a great quality to want things done right often, this very high standard of demanding it from everyone all the time can be a double-edged sword which ends up harming anyone around them.
If you suspect you might be living with a perfectionist, here are some clear signs to look out for:
1.They Give Room for No Errors
As earlier said, the perfectionist has a really high standard and there is no room for errors in his books.
He demands the best from everyone, including himself (and since his partner might not hold herself to such a high standard) all the time and this is what puts a lot of strain on his relationships.
2.Things Have to be Done a Specific Way
The perfectionist also has a specific way he likes things done and going out of this norm is disrupting his ideal world.
As I tell my husband in a very light tone all he time, if he were a CD, he would have just one track in it.
The perfectionist husband is used to getting things done one way all the time and expects you to toe the line.
3.They are Hard on Themselves
Its funny to know that the perfectionist doesn’t just expect perfection from everyone, but first demands it from himself first. While this makes him a person of with a very high standard, it doesn’t change the fact this standard remains hard to meet always and expect others to is actually expecting the impossible.
Surprisingly, he doesn’t see the futility of trying to always meet this standard and expects to, becoming very hard on himself and highly unsatisfied if he’s unable to.
4.They Want to be in Control
The perfectionist has a strong need to always be in control. He tries to control everything around him to fit into his ideal world.
He will control not just the way you do things, but the things you like and if care isn’t taken here, you will begin to resent his actions which you will see more as an intrusion into your person.
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5.They Have Really High Standards
The perfectionist has a really high standard that’s high to meet, which explains why they drive everyone around them crazy.
6.They Have a Low Self Worth
Deep down the perfectionist feels a sense of inadequacy, which is why he struggles to be perfect. In a way, he draws his validation from being able to achieve and be the perfect standard he’s set for himself.
He’s happy and feels valuable only when he gets approval and accolades from around him.
7.He is a People-pleaser
The perfectionist also is a people-pleaser as he needs external validation to feel good about himself.
How Perfectionism Affects Relationships
Because perfectionists demand and expect perfection allghe time, especially people they are close to, it can make their relationships strained.
The need to constantly live up to his expectations can put you under a lot of pressure, and you’ll find this same quality that drew you to the him in the first place, also ends up pushing you away.
How to Make Living with a Perfectionist Husband a Success: Effective Ways to Deal with the Situation
Living with a perfectionist can be done, it just take understanding their personality trait; living with the good, learning to work with the not-so-perfect, and helping them change those that are impacting everyone around them negatively.
Here are some techniques that have worked for me:
1.Communicate Your Feelings to Him
Its possible your perfectionist husband is unaware of how his perfectionist trait is affecting you. He’s likely been that way for all or most if his life and might not know how to be different.
This happened in my situation and it took some good heart-to-heart to make him see how his perfectionist trait was hurting our relationship and marriage.
I had to lovingly (and sometimes scream- yea, I had to), to make him see that side of his personality was driving me up the walls and needed some toning down.
Next, I had to make him realize why I loved and appreciated a lot of the things he did for me and the family, we were two separate individuals and would most times love different things.
I made him understand his need to want things done a certain way all the time wasn’t working for me. If anything, it was making me lose my self as that wasn’t how I was used to or wanted my own things done.
In the end, we came to the conclusion we each would get things done our individual ways and reach out to the other if we needed help.
3.Try Not to Overreact to Any of His Actions
Understand that while you might want things to fall perfectly in line the first time you have that conversation, things might not go as expected for a while.
If anything, things might become worse as you try to fight the status quo.
No one likes change and he might see your actions as you trying to change him.
4.Understand You Might Both Need to Compromise Sometimes
Most times, for a relationship to work, a lot of the changes have to come from the perfectionist and this can feel like a rug is being pulled from under his feet
Relationships work when two people come to the realisation they are two distinct people with different personality traits and upbringing and to make things work, they have to find a middle ground to make things work. Expecting one person to make all the changes all the time will make the person resentful and lead to a whole new range of problems.
Therefore, we both had to make compromises, each letting go of a few things we expected of the other.
5.See a Therapist
Your husband didn’t just become a perfectionist overnight, these traits have had months and even years to gain roots and you will find it might be really hard to change from his way of life.
At this point, you might want to consider a professional who would walk you both through to that point of healing your relationship needs.
6.Let Him Know You’ve Got His Back
As a reformed perfectionist, it took a number of years for me to drop what to me, seems like the shackles of perfectionism. My healing came in stages, some of which happened over the course of a few months.
You might need to exercise a lot of patience as your perfectionist husband makes the slight personality adjustments needed to make your relationship work.