How to Date a Perfectionist

by Jennifer Zimmerman Google

About Jennifer Zimmerman

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Jennifer Zimmerman is a former preschool and elementary teacher who has been writing professionally since 2007. She has written numerous articles for The Bump, Band Back Together, Prefab and other websites, and has edited scripts and reports for DWJ Television and Inversion Productions. She is a graduate of Boston University and Lewis and Clark College.

Perfectionists are people who place excessive importance on their high personal standards. When they make mistakes or miss the standards by even a little bit, they feel like failures. They don't enjoy the strive for excellence and when scoring a 98% on a test, they will focus on the 2% mistake instead of the 98% that was correct.

Dating a Perfectionist

Make sure your partner really is a perfectionist. Someone who demands perfection from his or her partner and feels entitled to yell or withdraw based on the partner's lack of perfection is not a perfectionist; that person is controlling and potentially abusive. Avoid dating him/her at all.

Focus on her personality, not her achievements. Perfectionists attach their self-worth to their achievements, so make it clear to your date that you value her for herself, not her fancy title or big bank account.

Look for relaxing activities. Perfectionists tend to focus on goals instead of fun while doing their hobbies, such as being unhappy and depressed about a loss in a friendly game of tennis. Look for activities like watching a sunset or reading books to each other that don't lend themselves to "achievement."

Talk about it. You can't undo years of perfectionism by being a good date, but you can help your date focus on things besides achievement. If you play golf together, focus on how much you enjoyed her company rather than how well she did.

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Tip

  • Remember that because a perfectionist wants everything to be perfect, he may spend a lot of hours at work or school. It won't mean that he doesn't want to spend time with you, just that he can't overcome his perfectionism to do so all of the time.

Warning

  • Perfectionists tend to be very negative people; it really takes a thick-skinned optimist to handle one.