The Imperfect Perfectionists...
The Imperfect Perfectionists...If only relationships could be perfect and you felt undying love for your partner every day. You never argued, and hurdles, challenges and issues? Never! But hang on a minute - wouldn't that leave relationships homogenous and bland?
Yes, harmony’s important to long-term relationship health. But it’s the testing times that strengthen a relationship and foster real understanding.
Not from Nancy’s point of view. At 39 and with two divorces under her belt she was looking for answers to her failure to persevere in a relationship long term. She simply hadn't been looking in the right place.
It's a touch unsettling when you meet a perfectionist (for starters, what will they think of your imperfect ways!) but Nancy was in a different league. Often perfectionists have certain “domains” that matter most - their looks, their career performance, the home they keep, etc.
However Nancy’s perfectionism wreaked havoc in her relationships plus other areas. She expected perfect behaviour - at all times - from a partner. She wanted the romance to be perfect. And the roses too!
What do you find when peaking behind the shiny, slick and perfect facade of someone like Nancy? Imperfections like the rest of us, but also long-held anxieties driving them to be better than their best.
Crucially Nancy was ready to change particularly as she wanted children. She was prepared to acknowledge that insecurities fed her behaviour. Previously she attempted to keep these at bay by being "perfect" and what she saw as the only way she was loveable.
I suggested a regime of "letting go". She chose many things to try relaxing about like not having to be decision-maker about what film to see or place to dine. She tried hard (as it was hard for her and any perfectionist at first) to go with the flow that others set.
Alongside this Nancy began identifying the roots of her insecurities and how she could challenge these. And finally she accepted she was just like the rest of us: imperfect…but still loveable.
A similar article was published in The Times