Romantic perfectionism is a common way of thinking that can get in the way of creating the kind of connection that we want.
Here are some ways that romantic perfectionism can show up, and some ways to shift your thinking one percent to be a little less romantically perfectionistic:
1. Romantic perfectionism can be wanting your partner to have a specific physical appearance and not having a lot of flexibility about that.
Sometimes we can think that having a partner who very physically attractive validates our own attractiveness or worthiness.
Instead of focusing on physical features such as height, hair color, or body type, focus on how your body feels around that person.
Once you turn inwards, you might be surprised by how you feel and who you’re drawn to.
You don’t have to date people you’re not attracted to, but try to shift your focus from looking at the person like a picture in a magazine to tuning into the authenticity of how you feel around them.
Other people’s opinion about whether your partner is more or less attractive than you will feel a lot less important, too.
2. Romantic perfectionism could also be comparing your partner to past partners, or even to a future partner who doesn’t actually exist.
If you’re still thinking a lot about your past partner, you might have some unresolved thinking from the break up that you need to work through.
Thinking that your ex was “the one” can stop you from being open to new partners.
It’s important to let go of that previous connection so you can see they couldn’t have been “the one” because you’re not together.
If you're comparing someone you’re dating to a future perfect partner who doesn’t even exist, it’s usually because you’re imagining them minus their flaws.
We imagine we can take all the positive things that we love about someone, remove the negative aspects, and have that be our next future relationship.
The idea to remember is that are no relationship with zero problems.
You will always be working on accepting some basket of issues with each person you date.
3. Romantic perfectionism also shows up as comparing one of your partner's qualities to someone else’s best quality.
By the time you’re 30 you’ve probably already met the hottest person you’re ever going to meet, and the kindest person, and the funniest.
Romantic perfectionism makes you think that because you have dated someone who had a higher expression in this one quality, you need to pursue that.
The problem is we want our future partner to have the highest expression of every single quality we are looking for.
We overlook the whole of an amazing person who has all of the qualities we are looking for but maybe isn’t the best in every one of those qualities.
Let’s say you’re comparing the funniest person you’ve ever dated to your partner’s sense of humor. Maybe you think your partner is less funny than that person.
But ask yourself, is my partner funny? Do we laugh? Are we playful together?
You don’t need ask yourself if they are the funniest person you’ve ever met.
The person you’re with is not just one quality, they are a combination of qualities.
Even if you dated someone who was the best you’ve ever seen in any one area, it’s not in combination with the other special qualities your partner right now.
Your partner is probably amazing in several specific ways (and slightly more average in some other ways), and added all together it makes them an extraordinary person and an extraordinary partner.
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This content was originally published on the Women's Dating and Confidence Podcast. Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.