Learning how to open up to someone you’re dating is never easy. Even when smitten, it can seem like the most terrifying thing in the world to be vulnerable around them. Even when you want to get closer and take your relationship to the next level, the fear of getting hurt can stop you in your tracks.
That fear is perfectly natural. If you’ve been hurt before, you know what it feels like. You subconsciously want to prevent that feeling from reoccurring. Last time you were vulnerable, you were hurt. It makes sense you wouldn’t want to do the same thing again.
As much as that logic lines up, in the long run, protecting yourself from being hurt prevents you from getting close to someone. By closing yourself off to vulnerability, you actually hurt yourself. It sounds complicated but learning how to open up to someone you’re dating doesn’t have to be so scary.
[Read: What does it mean to be vulnerable: 13 ways you can open up]
Why you want to open up
One of the best ways to open up to someone you’re dating is to look at the situation practically. You want to open up to the person you’re dating, but why? If you can explain to yourself what will realistically come of opening up, you will be more likely to actually do it. When you think about opening up to someone you’re dating as a risk ,you hesitate and run in the opposite direction.
Make a list of the reasons you want to open up to this person. They can be about you or them. Maybe you want to build trust with them. Maybe you do trust them. Or they opened up to you and you want to do the same.
When I met my boyfriend, I had a healthy outlook on dating, and these were the reasons I wanted to open up to him. These may not be the same for you but are good examples.
[Read: These unique traits show you if someone is trustworthy]
#1 I wanted a partner I could be myself with.
#2 I trusted him.
#3 I wanted to be accepted with everything on the table.
#4 I didn’t want to have regrets.
#5 It felt right.
These things reminded me of why I was dating in the first place. Yes, some people date for fun without connection, and it is great. But, for those who look to make a connection, opening up is necessary. Now, you don’t have to rush into it, but listing the reasons why you want to open up will give you a push in the right direction.
When I stated the reasons I wanted to open up and share more with my boyfriend, it was easier to take those steps. No matter the outcome, it was what felt right to me and what I needed to do.
You came searching for ways to open up to someone you’re dating, and you did that for a reason or even a few reasons. What are they?
[Read: How to remain hopeful while date and not give up]
What does it mean to open up to someone you’re dating
Once you know why you want to open up to the person you’re dating, you’ll have the motivation to do so. But, how do you get started? You can’t just hand them your childhood diary and say I’m opening up. Opening up to someone you date is not instant. It takes time.
Life isn’t a reality TV show where you have one date, share something from your past, and fall in love. Real life is more complicated and drawn out than that. When you start opening up to someone, it comes in stages. You might mention that your parents’ divorce was a hard time for you. Maybe you’ll mention your most embarrassing moment or your biggest fear. [Read: How to get someone to open up so you both can really connect]
Eventually, you’ll talk about your dreams and what you want in the future. Opening up is also about listening to them without judgment. It is about not just opening up about your past and future, but how you feel now.
Telling the person you’re dating how you feel about them is one of the hardest things to do. Once you admit that you care for them or even love them, you feel like you lost the power. In fact, you’ve reached a new level in your relationship.
[Read: How to know if you love someone – learn the signs of a new romance]
How to open up to someone you’re dating
Learning how to open up to someone you’re dating is all about the baby steps. Take it slow and do what feels comfortable for both of you.
#1 Share something embarrassing. This is a great way to get your feet wet when opening up. You don’t have to share your deepest darkest secret with them, but if you want to ease into being more open, share something you aren’t so proud of.
It can be something more serious like your political views before doing research and learning more. Or it can be funny. With my boyfriend, I told him a story about how in middle school my crush asked me to the dance in the cutest way. I spaced out and didn’t notice it for ten minutes.
Sharing something embarrassing or unflattering shows your confidence and ability to laugh at yourself. Offering a story like that connects you through humility. It also shows honesty about the less than impressive moments in your life, and it can be rewarding. [Read: 21 questions for new couples to get to know each other better]
#2 Ask them about themselves. Asking someone you’re dating about themselves starts the conversation. Also, ask them about their dream job or what they’re most proud of. This will get them to open up and as they do so, you will do the same.
When someone shares something personal with you, you feel compelled to return the favor and vice versa. This will help a dialogue form and continue so you can be on the same page. [Read: How to be more playful and flirty and open up to someone]
#3 Talk about your passions. Talking about what makes you happy can be very personal but also easy to do. When I’m talking about my job, I could go on for hours. We all have a hobby or passion like that, even if it is reading or watching movies.
Opening up about something you’re proud of will show the person you’re dating your drive and ambition. This gives you a chance to be confident and happy around them, leading to more of this in the future.
#4 Discuss your families. Talking about your family is always personal. It is a great way to get to know someone and what they’ve been through. Whether you have a good relationship with your family or not, discussing that with someone you date brings you closer together.
Trusting them with something so private shows your willingness to open up and your desire to move forward together. It could also introduce them to the possibility of meeting them one day. [Read: How to be vulnerable in a relationship and feel closer instantly]
#5 Be honest. Always be yourself. Of course, you want to put your best foot forward when dating someone. Opening up is about being yourself, flaws and all. If you sugarcoat things or say what you think they want to hear, you do both of you a disservice.
Being yourself when opening up is the only way to really get to know someone and build a collection. Without that, you are only making things more difficult and uncomfortable.
#6 Separate your past and present. One of the main reasons why it is hard to open up is the pain from your past. It makes sense you don’t want that to happen again. Learn to separate what happened before from what’s happening now.
You can do all the same things as before, but with a new person, it could be an entirely different relationship. Just because your ex hurt you doesn’t mean the person you date now will do that. Differentiating your past from the present will help you make new connections. [Read: How to stop making the same mistakes in relationships and learn]
#7 Let go of expectations. Fear and pain are all built off of connections. You may open up to someone with the expectation they’ll reciprocate. If they don’t, you feel hurt. If you open up to someone with hope but knowing anything can happen, accepting the outcome becomes a lot easier.
The same goes for fear. If you expect someone to hurt you, it will be hard to put yourself out there. But if you let go of that expectation and just hope for the best, things will go a lot more smoothly.
[Read: Realistic expectations to keep in mind if you’ve been dating a month]
Learning how to open up to someone you’re dating doesn’t have to be so scary if you know how to take it slow. Use these steps, and you’ll get there faster than you think.
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