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20 Things to Do to Be More Vulnerable in a Relationship & Feel Closer

Sharing yourself with your partner is healthy, but it’s not always easy. So, here’s how to be vulnerable in a relationship so you can grow your bond.

how to be more vulnerable in a relationship

For those of you that suffer from trust issues, this one is for you. So many people have such an incredibly difficult time opening up to people, and not just their partners either. This stems from some standard deeper issues that a lot of people have. Anyways, it can be hard to know how to be vulnerable in a relationship, especially if you’ve been burned by a previous relationship.

Yes, it’s hard, we’ve established this, but it’s super important to get past all of it. You have to learn how to be vulnerable in a relationship, otherwise, you won’t be truly happy. And your relationship won’t be as successful as it could be.

What is vulnerability?

Many people know what being vulnerable feels like, but how is it actually defined?

Being vulnerable is a state of being when you are exposed to the possibility of being physically or emotionally harmed – or even attacked.

Being vulnerable requires emotional risk. When you’re vulnerable, you share who you are at the deep core of your being. You allow your partner to know exactly who your true inner self is – without any filters. 

When you do this, you open yourself up to the possibility of being rejected or judged. It requires you to share what you think, feel and need. This requires complete authenticity. When you are truly vulnerable, your whole true self is visible to your partner.

[Read: What does it mean to be vulnerable and how can you learn to open up more]

How to be vulnerable in a relationship – 20 ways to feel closer and trust your partner

Open the heck up, dudes. Relationships need honesty and trust. It starts with YOU being vulnerable!

1. It all begins with you

Before you can begin to be open and honest in your relationship, you first must be open and honest with yourself. Before you can explain how you are feeling to your significant other, you really should understand it yourself.

Everybody has a different way of understanding their emotions. You can write them out, or just sit alone with your thoughts and work it all out. Many people prefer to talk about them with a friend.

Whatever your method, you should understand how to be vulnerable with yourself before you can be vulnerable with your partner. [Read: 25 self-discovery questions will will help you understand yourself in minutes]

2. They deserve it

You are in a relationship with them, so we assume you care about them and know that they deserve 100% of you, not just 60%. This means you should be vulnerable with them and give it your all. It is tremendously easier to be vulnerable when you know that they deserve your vulnerability.

It can be difficult to open up to someone who has wronged you and maybe doesn’t deserve your honesty and transparency.

3. If they don’t, cut them loose

Seriously, if they don’t deserve your vulnerability, then what the heck are you doing with them? Cut them loose!

Don’t waste your time opening up to someone who isn’t going to give a damn about you or what you have to say. You’re worth far more than that. [Read: Do they care or are they emotionally detached? 15 signs they just don’t give a damn about you]

4. Have a discussion with them

Being vulnerable means that you are opening up to them, every part of you. This means the good and bad parts come to the surface. Make sure they are prepared for that. Ask for their support through this, and make sure they understand how difficult this is for you.

5. Be patient with yourself and your partner

Listen, this isn’t going to be a walk in the park for either of you. It is going to take some time. It’s okay if you fall back a few steps and feel like you can no longer be vulnerable. That’s okay. Take a deep breath, and start again because you CAN do this.

6. Encourage your partner to do the same

So, you are opening up and being honest with your partner, right? Well, it’s time they do the same with you. It’s only fair!

If you are choosing to be vulnerable with them, and share every part of you with your partner, it is only fair they attempt to do the same. This is a journey you should share together. [Read: Understanding the characteristics of a healthy relationship]

7. Have a conversation with yourself

Dig a little deeper into your personal thought bubble and understand why you haven’t been vulnerable in the past. What is stopping you?

Understanding why it took you so long to get to this point will make it easier for you to get back on track if you ever feel like giving in and building all of your walls back up.

8. Practice with a friend or family member first

Yes, it is hard to be vulnerable with your partner, because we definitely put a lot of pressure on our romantic relationships to succeed. We fear that if we are vulnerable and open up to them, they may find something that they don’t like. Then, they will leave us.

First of all, if they do that, they aren’t someone who deserves your vulnerability anyway. But to rid yourself of that anxiety and doubt, be vulnerable with a friend or family member first. Practice makes perfect.

9. Don’t be vague about your needs

If you want them to just listen to you, tell them that exactly. If you want input and advice, tell them that as well. Don’t just start opening up to them without telling them what you need in return.

It is unfair to them that you have expectations of this interaction that they have no knowledge of. They are doing their best to give you what you need, but can’t possibly give you what you need if you don’t tell them. [Read: How to learn more about who you are and what you need]

10. There’s a time and a place

Please don’t decide to be vulnerable at a family dinner or in the middle of a movie theatre. Make sure the timing and the location are appropriate.

Once again, you can’t expect your partner to react in a great way when the conversation completely takes them by surprise. Try to do it when you have some alone time and the environment and atmosphere is intimate.

11. Own your mistakes

When telling your story, it can be tempting to open up about all of the terrible things that have happened TO you, and not the things that happened BECAUSE of you. But make sure you tell both sides of your story, not just the side that makes you look good.

If we are going to be vulnerable with our partners, we need to tell the whole truth *especially the other side, which shows you in bad light*, because none of us are perfect. [Read: The tips you need to transform your love life]

12. Don’t just share your history

While you will want to discuss your past, it is also important to discuss your future. Learning how to be vulnerable in a relationship also includes talking about your goals and aspirations. This shows true vulnerability.

Dreams are fragile things easily crushed if shared with the wrong person. Take a deep breath, and tell your partner about your hopes and dreams.

13. Be in the moment

If you want to learn how to be more vulnerable in your relationship, you have to be willing to be in the moment. When we spend a lot of time in our heads with our own thoughts, we can miss out on emotional intimacy.

Look your partner in the eye, listen to what they are saying, and be willing to give time and attention to them in every moment when you talk.

These are acts of vulnerability that are not always easy for people to do. But, if you do this, you will grow closer to your partner and to your own feelings too.  [Read: How to live in the moment – 24 positive ways to live in the now]

14. Say what you really think

It’s important to express your needs and wants and be your true self. Try not to be afraid to say what you really think. You shouldn’t be insensitive or hurtful to your partner, of course, but you should still say it.

It’s all about being honest and authentic. You should be open to giving and receiving feedback without getting defensive. No one is perfect, and so you should have some self-compassion for your flaws. This will help you have honest conversations with your partner. [Read: How to be emotionally available – 17 ways to open up to love and life]

15. Ask for what you need from your partner

If we have emotional pain, it’s easy to dismiss it or try to protect ourselves from others by closing off to them. But when you have vulnerability, you have a close connection with your partner. 

When you have this close bond, you feel safe and willing to speak up and tell them what you need. When you admit what your needs are, that you’re struggling with something, or that you want to lean on your partner allows them to feel for us and respond in ways that will build emotional intimacy.

16. Be brave and expose your feelings

Many people are scared to express their feelings – even to themselves. They are pretty good at lying and denying these emotions. But you need to acknowledge and accept all of your feelings – good and bad. [Read: How to express your feelings – 16 must-know ideas to speak your mind]

When you do this, you are getting in touch with yourself and sharing that sense of self with your partner. This is a huge part of getting comfortable with being vulnerable and strengthening your connection with your partner.

17. Say what you want

Instead of telling your partner what you don’t want from them, tell them what you do want. Don’t blame them or complain that they don’t understand you when you’re not helping them understand you. Keep it positive. Believe it or not, it’s pretty difficult for most people to do this.

So, take a chance and try to get in touch with what you want. This might bring up feelings of sadness by being vulnerable. But when you are open like this, it softens your partner and they are not as defensive. Their body language will change for the better, and they will start to really feel you. [Read: How to communicate in a relationship – 16 steps to a better love]

18. What are you feeling?

This might be the most important part of learning how to be vulnerable in a relationship. You can’t really share yourself with your partner if you – yourself – are unaware of who you are and what you are feeling. 

Your past experiences have shaped who you are. When you share these with your partner, it can impact your relationship in a positive way. Be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Remind yourself that your feelings are valid. Don’t judge them. 

Also, try to become more aware of what triggers your emotional responses or causes you to shut down or explode. Once you are aware of your deepest fears and needs, you can be vulnerable to your partner by sharing them. [Read: How to get to know yourself and reveal your life’s true passions]

19. Start slowly

When you deeply share yourself, it requires trust. And in order to trust someone, it requires time. You shouldn’t share all of your personal feelings all at once at the beginning of a relationship. So, just start slowly and go at your own pace.

Ask your partner questions too, so you can understand them better. Encourage them to be vulnerable with you too. This can help you feel safer when you share your feelings. You can start with something less personal, such as how you’re feeling about a problem at work. Once you build trust over time, you can start feeling more comfortable opening up about more personal topics. [Read: 20 sensitive questions to ask each other and form a deeper connection]

20. Share your fears

When you share your fears with your partner, you will create a much deeper level of intimacy. This can include telling them that it’s scary for you to be vulnerable, too. So, try to open up about your fears instead of shutting down when you feel insecure.

We all have insecurities and fears. Even if you think they are irrational, they can still have an impact on how you behave.

Sharing these fears might seem difficult, but it will bring you closer. When you share these concerns, you give your partner more opportunities to love you. They will probably respond to your sharing with empathy and compassion. And then you will feel more understood.

[Read: How to fix the lack of communication in your relationship]

Once you learn how to be vulnerable in a relationship, you can do anything. It is something intimidating for most, but not for you–because you are secure, powerful and strong. You can do ANYTHING.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...