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Help, my Spouse is a PERFECTIONIST!!

by on 02/12/2013 4085

Does your spouse always insists that their way is the right way? Do you feel like you can never meet their “standards” of doing something or satisfy them? If your answer is “Yes” then perhaps you may have indeed be married to a “perfectionist”.

Then there is the irony where, that is the exact reason why you chose to marry them in the first place, perhaps you have always admired their ability to organize things, how committed they are, how hardworking and detail oriented.

So what do you do? How do you deal with a spouse that has all these “rules”? Even for things like folding underwear, they have a “right” and “wrong” way for it. The thing with perfectionistic spouses is that very slowly they can erode your sense of self-esteem. The following are some survival tips on how to live with a perfectionist partner: -

Patience is a Virtue

Try being patient with them, sometimes you can have the urge to explode and because they may seem so unreasonable, but try to make it a point to “cool off” before you address whatever issue with them. For instance, it can be disheartening that you try to do everything to make them happy, and when they come back all they do is pick on the one thing that you have neglected to do. So lots of patience is required when living with a perfectionist spouse.

Communication is Key

Communicate and try to see things their way sometimes. Lots of communication is required in this challenging relationship. Perhaps you can constantly remind the person that your way of doing things is different from his or her way. If you respect their way, they can try to do the same for you too. Remind them that being perfectionistic is a choice, they choose to do things a certain way, which is their right. But it stops there, they have no right to force you to do things their way. Regardless of how right they think they are.

Having Separate Spaces

You and your perfectionist spouse can also set up certain rules or separate out things. You are allowed your own space where you can organize it the way you want to, and they can have their own space that they can keep as neat and clean as they choose to.

Set Minimum Standards

Another option that you and your partner have is to agree on maintaining a certain “standard” because even if we were to live with a roommate in college, we do have to keep to certain rules of cleanliness for instance. To co-exist, compromise is necessary.

However, you do have to be very firm and clear regarding who you are and whether being in this relationship is making you very unhappy. If you are giving up your happiness just to make this other person happy then you need to revisit your goals. Remind them that they are not your parents, who can control and dictate how you do things. He or she is your spouse. Once again bring this up to his or her attention, if they truly love you they will listen. Both of you are equal in this marriage so both need to be happy. Ask your spouse if being a “perfectionist” is more important than your marriage?

Furthermore, always remember we are in control of how we set boundaries for our relationship. If you let someone else control you may it be your parent, or your spouse then you are responsible for your own unhappiness. If you don’t take care of yourself and stand up for your own right to be happy, no one else will.


About the Author

Kopi Soh has a MA in Psychology, Specializing in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. Her area of specialty is in working with children, adolescents, couples and families. She is also an artist and has published two self-help best sellers distributed by MPH, available in all bookstores throughout Malaysia.