Signs you're married to a perfectionist

Just as no person is perfect, no marriage is perfect. In fact, this is a good thing. Not only would a perfect marriage be a little, well, boring, but marriages flourish when people have room to grow.

As licensed psychologist Shauna H. Springer wrote for Psychology Today, "The way to partner with a soul mate is not to arrive as the perfect match for each other, but to become this over time. The key is how you will shape each other in the marriage as your life together unfolds. Mutual growth towards this end requires each partner to express a full range of emotions, including feelings associated with a sense of personal vulnerability."

What happens, then, if you're in a relationship with a perfectionist? And how do you recognize the signs that your partner is one?

Perfectionists live in constant fear of failure

A perfectionist isn't just someone who tries their best. A true perfectionist is someone for whom doing their best isn't good enough. Perfectionists don't know how to deal with failure, something that a healthy person realizes is inevitable. As Springer noted, perfectionists don't have "a full and healthy range of emotions" but instead bounce back and forth between dread and relief.

She added that perfectionists live in constant fear of failure. Successes are only met with a fleeting feeling of relief rather than satisfaction. Perfectionists also tend to have low self-esteem, and their inability to handle failure can lead to depression.

What should you do if you're married to a perfectionist?

Since perfectionists can't handle failure, Springer said that they "are often hypersensitive to perceived rejection or possible evidence of failure," which can lead to tension in a marriage. "Unfortunately, when an individual is caught up in the bondage of perfectionist striving, that person is likely to be less interested in developing a healthy, mutually satisfying marriage and more interested in chasing the elusive rabbit in his or her own head," wrote Springer. 

If you're married to a perfectionist, it doesn't mean that a divorce is inevitable. Perfectionism is treatable, so if you think that your spouse is a perfectionist, therapy is advisable. Springer wrote that "when perfectionism has been conquered, healthy self-esteem can flower."