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Removing perfectionism from the heart of our relationships

Perfectionism so often makes an appearance in our romantic relationships.

When a perfectionist approach has worked well in other parts of our lives, it’s natural that we apply this approach to one of the most important aspects of our lives. Why would we not hold these relationships to the highest of standards? But over time, the sneaky idea that “perfect” is possible in a relationship starts to take a big toll. It can cause us to:

→ Become increasingly harsh with our partners

→ Create confusion for our partners about where they stand with us

→ Ultimately reject imperfect, but very good relationships

In my own journey, one of the best things about letting go of perfectionist patterns has been getting to be more playful and relaxed with my partner. These days, we’re getting more moments of:

  • Being playful and silly with each other

  • Feeling grateful for what we have versus fixating on what we don’t

  • Going with the flow, adapting as life throws us curveballs

This has certainly required work on my part. But it has also required my partner’s deep commitment to give up some of the very good things my perfectionism affords our relationship.

So often, our partners get surface-level benefits from our perfectionism. Maybe they enjoy having an organized home, benefit from our thorough planning or analysis, or value having a partner who takes care of her body against impossible odds.

But perfectionism ultimately undermines what both partners more deeply desire: a loving, intimate relationship where we are seen and accepted for who we are.

So my challenge to you this week is this: Discuss with your partner how they benefit from your perfectionism, asking if they are willing to give up some of those surface level benefits in service of the things you both care more about.

I’d be willing to bet your partner longs for perfectionism to be removed from the heart of your relationship. But they have to support you on that journey, acknowledging the very real things they’ll also need to give up as you both prioritize what matters so much more.

What good things await in YOUR relationship when you both commit to removing the sneaky idea of “perfect” from its center?

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