The One Kind Of Person That Does Not Exist, According To A Couples Therapist

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At first glance, someone might appear low maintenance. Yet, in any committed relationship, you'll likely discover your partner becoming increasingly high maintenance.

"There's no such thing as a low-maintenance person," says psychologist Stan Tatkin.

And despite our best efforts to seek out low-maintenance individuals, or to be low-maintenance ourselves, we will likely end up disappointed once we get in deep with another person.

Tatkin explains that someone's appearance doesn't indicate whether that person is high maintenance. It's when you get up close in a committed relationship that the high maintenance aspects of us all reveal themselves.

So, what exactly makes someone a high-maintenance person, and how can we be high-maintenance in a healthy way?

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What It Means To Be High Maintenance

What does it mean to be high maintenance? High-maintenance people are those who require a lot of, attention, time, and resources from others.

High-maintenance individuals tend to demand a lot and can come off as difficult to please. And right off the bat, this can sound toxic and unreasonable.

But if we take a step back we'll begin to realize that many of us are high-maintenance. After all, how many of us demand a lot of attention from our partners? Or how many of us want to spend lots of time with our partner?

So, being high maintenance isn't necessarily the issue. Rather, being high maintenance respectfully is key here. So, how do we become high maintenance the right way?

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Being High Maintenance The Right Way

Remaining respectful and fair when expressing your expectations is key to being high maintenance in a healthy way.

Psychiatrist Susan L. Edelman advises us to be less demanding in our approach.

"Give him a choice," says Edelman. Give him the choice of if he wants to make you happy or not. Never whine and insist he pays for the date or picks you up. Say, "Sorry, that won't work for me." Approaching it this way allows you to better understand if they're willing to meet you halfway there.



Next, turn things down with grace.

Don't say, "I refuse to do XYZ." Instead say, "I love you, but I need XYZ." This wording shift, though small, can change how defensive your partner gets.

"Remember, our goal isn't to talk down to our partner like they're a kid," says Edelman. But we do want our needs met, and handling it with a little grace is probably our best move. 

Lastly, keep in mind that actions matter more than words.

When frustration hits, it's tempting to want to correct our partner's behavior. However, it's crucial to allow our partner the space to take the initiative in reassuring us, Edelman suggests.

If they genuinely care, they'll be open to compromise; if not, at least you'll know where you stand.

By understanding what it means to be high maintenance, we can help level up our standards in healthier ways.

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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.