The Private Man

Attraction and dating information for all men

A Red Flag – Perfectionism

My previous blog post described a woman’s red flag of no emotional impulse control. That particular red flag is relatively obvious and makes a woman easy to pass by. In keeping with the red flag theme, there’s another one for men to be aware of, perfectionism.

There’s a good description of the psychology of perfectionism in Wikipedia. The Wiki entry goes into some detail about concept of perfectionism complete with links to sources. It’s a fairly long entry so I’ve quoted some of the more salient points that relate to dating.

They also tend to dissociate themselves from their flaws or what they believe are flaws (such as negative emotions) and can become hypocritical and hypercritical of others, seeking the illusion of virtue to hide their own vices

I frequently see women in their online dating profiles claim to be perfectionists. These are women to avoid. I’m sure that many of my readers have come across perfectionists in their dating and relationship experiences.

Perfectionism is the behavioral manifestation of being a control freak. Control freaks are miserable people. If a man falls into web of the control freak, he’s going to hate life unless he wants to be bossed around by a dangerously neurotic woman. The woman, in her desire to be a perfect, attempts to control all within her grasp, especially the man in her life

In its pathological form, perfectionism can be damaging. It can take the form of procrastination when used to postpone tasks and self-deprecation when used to excuse poor performance or to seek sympathy and affirmation from other people. In general, maladaptive perfectionists feel constant pressure to meet their high standards, which creates cognitive dissonance when one cannot meet their own expectations. Perfectionism has been associated with numerous other psychological and physiological complications as well.

To make the flag even redder, there’s a relationship between perfectionism and narcissism as observed by researchers. Narcissists are wildly toxic people unfit for dating and intimate relationships

According to Arnold Cooper, narcissism can be considered as a self-perceived form of perfectionism – “an insistence on perfection in the idealized self-object and the limitless power of the grandiose self. These are rooted in traumatic injuries to the grandiose self.”

I’m keenly suspicious of any personality disorder being blamed on “traumatic injuries”, a very nebulous term open to exploitation and rationalization for a having a shitty personality and behaving like crap. The entry goes on.

Narcissists often are pseudo-perfectionists and require being the center of attention and create situations where they will receive attention. This attempt at being perfect is cohesive with the narcissist’s grandiose self-image. If a perceived state of perfection isn’t reached it can lead to guilt, shame, anger or anxiety because he/she believes that he/she will lose the imagined love and admiration from other people if he or she is not perfect.

The take away advice for men is this – when reading online dating profiles and meeting a woman in person for the first time – look for signs of her perfectionism. If in doubt, just ask her. Perfectionism is usually perceived as a positive trait so a woman will proudly state she’s a perfectionist. In actually, however, perfectionism is a serious character flaw. Gentlemen, avoid the perfectionist. That also goes for the guys you know who are perfectionists.

You’re welcome.

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12 thoughts on “A Red Flag – Perfectionism

  1. Pingback: A Red Flag – Perfectionism |

  2. Narcissists are wildly toxic people unfit for dating and intimate relationships

    I assume that you mean the distaff variety. Entitled, vain, self-absorbed. They have a habit of burning bridges in all relationships.

    Men are classified as narcissistic if we are arrogant, self-reliant, and self-confident. Maybe there’s justifiable cause for some arrogance if we have significant accomplishments.

    • GeminiXcX on said:

      I’m an arrogant son of a bitch when it comes to not tolerating deliberate bad attitudes, and worthless people.

      One of my most pronounced peeves being people who complain about simply having to work for a living, or those who blame “isms” of some kind to excuse their own lack of impulse-control.

      My wife derives a solid feeling of security, knowing her ‘owner’ doesn’t put up with BS or despicable first-world “value systems”.

      Damn right a man should take pride in his useful accomplishments, << those last four words being the key.

      He should also know how to swallow his pride when he makes a mistake, and even *we men are not perfect* — get it, boys?


      • Women can get away with being arrogant, self-reliant, and self-confident while men cannot or else men are considered abusive if they have these traits while women are not.

  3. GeminiXcX on said:

    Another well-composed piece, PM.

    I’m curious, though, about the “perfectionism” against oneself that arises from feelings of extremely low self-worth.

    To clarify. . . I mean those who demand such high standards, but only on themselves. This includes never giving oneself credit even after doing something worthwhile. No pride in one’s own accomplishments; feels guilty when praised; won’t judge others negatively, (even if they would have deserved it.)

    “Traumatic injuries”, including a very violent upbringing coupled with religion, caused me to be a “perfectionist” later. However, my “perfectionism” was as described above.

    I sorted most of that stuff out as I matured, but, even all this time later, there can be a threat for unjustified negative self-talk to want to come creeping back.

    I will likely have to keep tabs on this until I cease to exist.


  4. Very enlightening, and validating. My X procrastinated and sought sympathy constantly. It seemed strange to me that she was also controlling and critical of others. Her inability to complete projects undermined any actual credibility she had. That’s where the cognitive dissonance kicks in. Thanks Wikipedia for tying it all together.

  5. Well duh…right? LOL

  6. Wikipedia as a source = instant loss of all credibility.

    What you have blockquoted above as authoritative text is just the synthesized musings of a random, unknown volunteer Wikipedia editor.

  7. Well, describes my Asian step mom,( Tiger mother on steroids. ) Thankfully, I was a stubborn and willful child, lol,

    I wonder if the problem with young men in Japan who wont leave their rooms is caused by this. Too high of a standard of perfection and not enough teenage rebellion.

  8. feeriker on said:

    Wikipedia as a source = instant loss of all credibility.

    Not necessarily. Check the external sources used to formulate a particular Wikipedia article. Many are well-respected and thoroughly vetted.

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