5 reasons to stop being a perfectionist for the sake of your relationship

shame, relationship coach
shame, relationship coach
Is perfectionism destroying your relationship?

5 reasons to stop being a perfectionist for the sake of your relationship

Is this you?

  • I just want everything to be sorted so that I can relax/ enjoy life
  • I wish my partner could do things the “right” way
  • I feel uncomfortable / stressed if things are not all “right”
  • I find it hard not to point out things that are not “right”

If you can relate it is quite likely that you are a bit of a perfectionist.

Perfectionists know that there are benefits to this way of being, such as high standards and constant quality control for starters.

But it also has its challenges and at worst can be quite destructive.

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Here are 5 reasons to let go of perfection in order to have a thriving relationship.

  1. You never get there
While it is a nice idea to strive towards perfection and have high ideals, the truth is that our lives and marriages never really get “finished or sorted”.
We say to ourselves that we will be happy once…. he helps more with the housework, disciplines the kids my way, or starts remembering to buy me flowers on Valentine’s day…. but it is not true.
The truth is that if and when we finally get there, we realise that our need for perfection is insatiable. Now we want more. Perfectionism is thus a path to stress and dissatisfaction.


  1. You can’t be as intimate

When you are perfect – you are wearing a mask. A mask consisting of all the conditions that you have on how your partner and your life must look, to be okay. But is this really you? 

Perfectionism, in my experience can be an excuse that we use to keep our distance. Our list of issues and problems acts as a screen that keeps our partner away from getting too close to our inner self. The real issue here may not be that we need everything “just so” but we are terrified of what they might find when they get too close. Exposing our true self is terrifying, so we use perfectionism as a buffer.

Letting them truly see you, imperfections and all, means deeper connection and intimacy which is what your heart actually desires. 


  1. You can’t have as much fun

The focus on being perfect creates a block in your capacity to feel pleasure. Pleasure comes from the act of letting go of control and opening to the moment. When the focus is on keeping up to a standard and controlling things tightly, it is difficult to relax enough to let go and enjoy yourself.

Relationships these days can so often feel like business transactions. With all the work, logistics and responsibilities taking up so much of our time, fun can be a long-forgotten memory. Yet having fun with your partner is most likely what brought you together and what keeps you strong. Letting go of perfectionism opens up the possibility of bringing a little fun back.


  1. You are afraid of mistakes

When you are focussed on being perfect, you see mistakes as bad.  If you are not able to allow your partner mistakes, it becomes hard for you to accept that you, yourself might make them too from time to time (and who doesn’t?). Which means that when you do stuff up, you have to cling to your decisions and attitudes defensively rather than humbly saying “I’m sorry”.

We all know that relationships are full of messy moments and mistakes. It is not the lack of mistakes that makes you thrive, it is the seizing of these messy moments as opportunities to inquire, strip off the layers between you and feel more connected. 


  1. You are exhausted

Aside from the extra workload created by needing everything perfect, you are exhausted because of the constant anxious state you are in created by the vigilance in looking out for problems and errors.

On top of that, perfectionists are not well-known for asking for help, feeling that they often have to do everything themselves in order to do it right.

While your house may be pristine, and everything ordered and controlled, your inner being may be screaming at you for a rest, your adrenals failing and nervous tension giving you an eye twitch. It is very hard to be the best wife or mother when you are in this state of depletion. In fact, the exhaustion can bring out your most sensitive and cranky self.

What to do about it

If you feel like it is time to release Perfection’s grip on you, the most important thing to do is to find more balance between focussing on how things look on the outside to how things feel on the inside. And I have a free gift below to help you do just that.

Ask yourself:

What is your idea of a successful relationship? Is it a good looking couple who ticks all the boxes of what a couple “should” be and do? Or is it more about the quality of closeness and connection that you share together?

The “to-do lists” of your head are important, but without the presence of moments felt in your heart  in which you truly open to your partner, life can feel pretty empty.

To build and strengthen towards more of these moments, get closer to yourself first. The key here is self-care. Instead of policing the world out there, which you cannot really control, come back to the state of being in your inner world, which is the only thing you really can control.

How does it feel to be alive in your body?
Are your thoughts helping or hindering the way you feel?

The aim is to shift your focus from being the caretaker of perfection in your partner and your world to being the caretaker of you.

The key to making this shift is practice. It is the practice of looking after yourself, managing your thoughts and becoming aware of how it feels. Practicing these things builds the muscle that allows you open to your partner rather than building a wall of perfect protection.  

I have put together a compilation of 10 tuning in and nurturing practices to help you make this shift and practice being your own caretaker, so that you can breathe life and love back into your relationship.

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  1. kate on June 18, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    Hi Nicole, thank you so much for your regular gems/prompts/reminders!
    this perfection thing has been such a burden for me for a long time. I am definitely in the process of kicking the habit in many parts of my life, but when I read this email I realised that I’ve really slipped backward in the realm of my relationship, my partner.
    Not giving myself lashings for it, just realising and resolving to give some attention and time to letting go and being and having some fun with my man……
    Thanks again,

    • Nicole on June 19, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Kate,
      Thank you so much!
      I am so glad to hear that you are on the perfection mend and I am glad that this post has helped you. I totally think that FUN is the antidote. It is kind of the opposite to perfection isn’t it?

      Take care

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