After the glow of the honeymoon period in a relationship wears off and we regain the full awareness of our reality by taking off the rose colored glasses, we slowly become aware of the small and not-so-small imperfections in our partner.
Depending on our need for perfection we slowly but surely start to work on repairing our partner.
Usually it is one partner that more feels the urge to suggest improvements and these might range from an updated wardrobe, removing excess hair, squeezing pimples to picking on the shirt that is tucked in too tightly. Besides the personal improvements there might also be suggestions on books to read, encouragement on courses to join, engaging with a specific set of friends, or softly controlling your partner’s choice on the amount of time spent alone or with other friends.
Relationships ultimately are one of the main highways to increased self-awareness and self-actualization. Through the mirroring with an intimate and attentive partner previously hidden or unhealthy behaviours, habits or unattended flaws are being uncovered. This pattern is driven by one person’s (the one who’s wanting to fix) need for perfection. It has therefore also the potential to be beneficial in dealing with that need in a constructive way beyond the ‘wanting-to-fix’.
The process of managing and therefore learning and growing out of that pattern starts with your awareness. Your reading this article is an indication that there is a certain degree of awareness. If you found yourself smiling at the example rather than diminishing or arguing with them there is a good change that you are willing to give this a go and progress to a new level.
So once you are aware of your pattern, ask yourself the following questions and write down some of the answers:
- 1. How does my partner’s imperfection, bad habit etc reflect on my identity?
- 2. What does it mean for me and to who I am if my partner’s presentation or actions are not up to my standards?
- 3. How do I feel and think when I see something in my partner that does not sit well with me?
- 4. What do I feel and think once I have corrected the ‘error’?
- 5. What do I think and feel about my pattern of ‘wanting-to-fix-my-partner’?
- 6. Who might I have modelled or learnt that behaviour from?
Answering these questions will give you insights in the structures underlying the behaviour of fixing.
This is your invitation to practice non-attachment to identity, status, opinions of others and your programming. In order to uncover even more underlying drives stop yourself from fixing your partner and watch what is coming up: Justifications? Reasoning? Any other feeling or thoughts?
What would happen if you were to give yourself permission to feel that rather than engaging in the behaviour?