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Perfectionist Husband


I have been married to a man for 20 years and have finally come to the conclusion that I feel he suffers from some sort of mental disorder. let me describe these behaviors to you:

  1. he is a perfectionist
  2. he is not at all open minded
  3. he takes a good thing, and tries to make it better and with doing that, usually ruins it
  4. does things to the extreme
  5. has got to complicate any task or job by being so thorough
  6. cannot “not sweat the small stuff”
  7. does not learn from his mistakes
  8. is somewhat gullible


p>my marriage has suffered terribly from this, we went to counseling, some past emotional things for him came up in relation to his parents which I think had a great deal to do with why he learned this type of behavior. he is obsessed with sex and cannot get enough, even though we have it 2 to 3 times a week. please tell me if there is a name to this? is it obsessive-compulsive personality disorder? I am going to talk to a doctor friend next week and explain some of this to her, but I don’t thing he will go for therapy anymore, because he says yes, then a few days later, changes his mind. does medication help in this instance? what can I do if he wont go for help? our counselor said he has a long way to go because he is so black and white. please help me.

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What you are asking for (a definitive diagnosis) is not possible (or ethical) to give you over the net. Your husband will have to be seen by a competent Doctor for diagnosis if you want the “definitive” answer to your question. However, whatever is going on, your description does suggest that the term “obsessive” might fit how your husband acts. There are broadly two forms of obsessive disorders: Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD; a personality style characterized by preoccupation with details and rules, perfectionism that interferes with getting things done, over devotion to work, over-conscientiousness, emotional rigidity or stubbornness, etc.) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD; a serious anxiety disorder characterized by the presence of either obsessions (intrusive, often unwanted, repetitive thoughts or impulses) or compulsions (repetitive often ritualized actions (physical such as hand washing or door-lock checking, or mental such as counting or praying) that the person feels compelled to perform in order to reduce overwhelming distress. There are some helpful treatments for OCD including medications and some cognitive behavioral interventions. OCPD can also be helped some by these means. Both disorders create real problems for the afflicted person and often for his/her spouse and family. You should consider getting some therapy or finding a support group for yourself – because you are suffering apart from whatever is going on with your husband.

Good Luck.

More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists

  • Shelly

    My husband has the same problem. He is sometimes impossible to deal with. We have been married for 6 years.

    I can tell you that leaving the house for any period of time is a chore. He finds ten million things that MUST be done before he leaves the house. Thank goodness, for me, he will do them himself. I find myself saying do we really need to do that now. Of course, it has to be done.

    Of course, the stories go on and on.

    He sometimes hurts my feelings. I don't think he tries to do so, and I try to remember that. I suggested that he marry his mom last week. I am just me and I can't try to become an obessive perfectionist that can't relax.

    I spend a lot of extra time pointing out the high points. I hope he has tolerance for our children as they grow. I am pretty happy with myself and can tolerate some critism.

  • Kimberly

    It's really hard to get along with a perfectionist husband. In every mistake that I've made, it becomes stupidity to him. Everything is not enough for him. As a working wife, I go home late and supposed to sleep early at around 10:00 P.M.. But I cannot do that thing because my husband wanted to have a talk with me until 12:00 A.M. and by the time I get sleepy, he will get mad because for him, it means that I don't like to talk to him, I don't love him anymore and blah blah blah...I'm always losing my patience and it always turn out not so well for both of us..

  • Miss L

    I dated someone who I found out to be a perfectionist. At first I was all wondering about this petty questions he would ask me. I felt I was being graded or I was being sized down, if I fit to his criteria. It was the most humiliating experience in my life. He would even correct my grammar and pronunciation. He would comment on almost anything. Would comment about my behavior. I lost my confidence, self-worth and I forgot who I was. I was intimidated all the time. The worst part was, I got sick, I suffered lightheadedness for 3 months! I went to Neurologist and prescribed me to take anti depressant drugs. But I didn't, I researched on how to get well without drugs. I figured I need self healing, to forgive and to forget, I do things that would make me feel better like talk-therapy. I study to make myself busy. Prayers is a big part in my healing too. Family and friends support.

  • Anonymous-1

    Editor's Note: We're in the process of converting URLs. The comments have moved to the new URL but the old URL still resolves. Shortly, it will redirect to the newer URL, and all will be syncronized again. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Dimps

    I agree, it gets pain in the neck when somebody always wants you to be his way and do things his way. I almost forgot how to react myself my way.He wants me to eat what he likes wear what he likes and go to places where he wants. He doesn't want to listen a no for an answer. He is a good husband otherwise and he compromise on many things but I don't know what he is obsessive about certain things. I have been married for last 8 years and most of the times think of ending it for his possessive and irritable nature.what to do? anybody to suggest.

  • P.G


    What irritates me the most is that he gets away with his perfectionist attitude with " it's for your betterment honey,I want us to be a better couple all the time". We have been married for a year now and he is a very kind, responsible , loving and caring husband otherwise.

    He has been so good to me and my family that at first I used to think it's just his spiritual inclination that he always sees his and my weaknesses. But he has increasing shown signs of passive aggressiveness and insists on details esp about things which he thinks are important. For eg the way a letter should be written, a comma, a sign, he would not give up unless i do it right and he becomes upset when I don do much about it. I am a very laid back and fun loving person, i find it demeaning at times and now i feel low , suddenly his accomplishments and overtly couteous manners have become a barrier for our marital bliss.He lectures me all the time about my ways of life, which were perfectly fine to get me through the past 27 years.

    Off late he seems so distant ( he has even noted he isn't emotionally dependent or attached to me, some spiritual buff i guess) that i feel neglected in a way.Is this some mental blockage that he has?

    Please help.

  • Delie

    I think my husbund should get some help, really for the past 5 years of Marriage the guy is everywhere in our lives and home from opening the curtains to packing the groceries in the fridge and when he packs, it has to be exact, we have three children and these poor kids dont have an opportunity to be just kids they are made to be like adults. as it is now we are barned from being in the launch area as he feels we are messing the place with my kids. my fear is we are growing apart and worst of all is he is not working currently and I am left to handle the bills so when I try objecting him he feels intimidated and it breaks in to a fight. so I just keep quite and now I am a moving bomb waiting fo burst, then what. pls help

  • Lena

    I just wanted to write this for people like Shelley, who commented last. I am now a 20 year old UC Berkeley student. Since last year, I started to get therapist help for my anxiety problems that had come out on the open with stress from my dad because of tuition reasons. Now, I know that I suffer from anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, lack of self-confidence, perfectionism, and being too critical of myself. My dad is a perfectionist and 19 years of "not being good enough" in his eyes, I suffer from these things. I'll be blunt and say that, honestly, I know that I am pretty, smart, and capable, but his brainwashing doesn't allow me to be rational. My little brother tried to cut his wrist when he was in 6th grade and I have cut myself before. Neither of my parents know about this, because my dad is a control freak and will not accept the fact that he is wrong. My dad is physically abusive and obviously he has more problems than just being a perfectionist. I hate myself for being similar to him in anyway and have been wishing all my life that I had never been born.

    I just wanted to tell my experiences so that people can know how a perfectionist dad impacts his children.


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