Striving for excellence is never a bad thing, but there’s a fine line between doing your best and perfectionism. Maladaptive perfectionism can ruin your dating life by creating unrealistic expectations for yourself and your mate.
Perfectionists often have a loud inner critic that screeches over everything they do and say. They often find themselves avoiding social circles, family, and friends in fear of saying the wrong thing or looking a certain way.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
Most people, if not all, have some level of social comparison that can become unhealthy. However, this can be overcome.
Perfectionists tend to overthink things in relationships and end up paralyzed by fear or focusing on trying so hard that they come across as desperate and low-value. Women can see through this try-harding and are often unimpressed by it.
Instead, focus on what is working in your relationship and what you can be proud of yourself for. Eventually, you will start to believe in your own worth and confidence. This will help you let go of the sabotage that comes from romantic perfectionism. Keeping the bar too high and setting unrealistic expectations only leads to disappointment, resentment, and conflict. The antidote to this is finding an internal compass for your self-worth, like Benjamin Franklin did by keeping a daily tally of accomplishments.
2. Stop assuming your mate had a better life before you
Movies and fairytales paint a picture of what love and relationships should look like. Perfectionists hold their significant other to these ideals and become upset when they don’t live up to them.
These high expectations can cause a lot of stress, anger, and anxiety. They also lead to a lack of trust and intimacy.
It’s important to realize that the line between healthy confidence and unhealthy perfectionism is thin. Perfectionists take everything at face value and see no gray areas. They often believe that they have to win at all times, which can be toxic for their relationship. If you catch yourself criticizing your mate or believing that they don’t have what it takes, it’s time to take control of your perfectionism. It’s not fair to your partner and can be harmful to your health.
3. Accept that you will make mistakes
A major problem for romantic perfectionists is their high expectations. They hold their significant other to unrealistic standards that they themselves wouldn’t meet, and that sets them up for unavoidable frustrations.
They also tend to focus only on the negative, ignoring the things they like about their mate, and miss out on enjoying life’s little moments. This is a toxic pattern known as martyr leadership that can sabotage the relationship.
Most people who struggle with perfectionism don’t realize that their pathological need for excellence is damaging their lives. They may think that their behavior is a sign of strength, rather than a source of problems such as sleeplessness, chronic stress and anxiety, or depression. They often don’t seek help for their issues because they think that they are strong enough to overcome them.
4. Don’t force your partner to meet your standards
If you’re a perfectionist, it’s hard to accept that a mistake does not automatically mean a failure. Instead, you’re more likely to see it as a setback or a disappointment. This can lead to resentment in your relationship.
Your mate may feel exhausted by your expectations and become frustrated with your need to be in control. They might not understand why you want everything to be perfect, and they may begin to feel like they are a liability in the relationship.
A mate of a perfectionist can often find it difficult to celebrate their successes or joyful moments. They may even be hesitant to let themselves enjoy the moment because they are worried that their inner critic will return. They may also become overly critical of their own mistakes, a habit that can eventually cause them to abandon the relationship.
5. Don’t expect perfection from your partner
Perfectionists tend to expect their partners to live up to the same high standards they set for themselves. This can lead to frustration and resentment in the relationship.
For example, a perfectionist may assume that their partner should never make a mistake. However, this is unrealistic and impossible to achieve. Instead, try to be more accepting of your partner’s mistakes and focus on improving yourself together.
Practicing open communication is also helpful in getting rid of perfectionism in dating. This will help to avoid miscommunication and misunderstandings that can cause conflict in the relationship. In addition, it will allow you to focus on the positive aspects of your relationship and celebrate small achievements (such as taking out the trash without being asked). This can help to deflate perfectionism.