One of the most important things you will ever learn in life is how to be vulnerable in a relationship, because it’s key to a successful relationship.
For those of you that suffer with trust issues, this one is for you. I’d first like to say, I feel you! I used to have such an incredibly difficult time opening up to people, and not just my partners either. This stems from some standard daddy issues, that I talked about here. 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. Your relationship won’t be as successful as it could be.
How to be vulnerable in a relationship – 12 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. Personally, I like to write them out, or just sit alone with my thoughts and work it all out. I know 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: These questions will bring you to self-discovery]
#2 They deserve it. You are in a relationship with them, so I 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.
#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.
#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 a 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, I think 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. I get it. 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 one on one 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. 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, 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.