Exploring How To Approach Vulnerability In Relationships For Those Who Struggle Emotionally

For a relationship to grow deeper, there is a level of vulnerability and emotional honesty that is required that can be daunting for many.

In life, many people are conditioned to be “tough.” This can result from previous hurts that have taught a person to keep their guard up and stay protected at all times. And while keeping your walls up may prevent you from getting hurt, impenetrable walls also make it difficult for love and to flow in and to flow out.

The hurdle is that when someone with a moat around their heart enters a relationship, they may want to be vulnerable. However, the years of conditioning can make this especially challenging to the point that a person may not know how to open up.

Why Does Vulnerability Matter In a Relationship

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The beginning of a relationship is usually the fun, frivolous part where you talk about some of your favorite series, awkward childhood memories, and other light-hearted matter. However, talking about the more emotional “stuff” doesn’t always come as easy, even when you really like someone and want to share.

“But why does it matter?” One might ask. Being open in a relationship allows you and your partner to experience each other on an intimate level. And really, what feels better than to love and be loved beyond the projected version of oneself. That’s where are all the good stuff is at. But alas, how does one bring themselves to the point where they can be open with their partner when they’re having a hard time?

Have A Conversation With Yourself

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Start by interrogating your feelings and finding out where the reluctance to open up is coming from. Try to be detailed about it.

Ask how you built these walls and what was the incident or different incidents that made you feel fearful of being emotionally intimate. Visualize different relationship, not just romantic that may have developed your hesitation. This is a practice in intimacy with yourself, searching through old boxes of memories in your mind you have suppressed.

Acknowledge To Your Partner That This Is A Challenge For You

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Let your partner know that being vulnerable is something that you’re struggling with. If you need patience, an ear, or advice, tell your partner. Making it clear what you require to be comfortable to talk lets your partner know how to best be there for you and gives you a safe space.

Everyone opens up at their own time, and your partner might understand this. Having this conversation also assures your partner that they are not “the problem.”

Visualize And Take Baby Steps

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You can start opening up how you prefer to. It’s not a once-off offloading, and then that’s that; vulnerability complete. It’s more like an invitation to your partner in.

This will hopefully allow the two of you to be more intimate moving forward and grow your relationship. The goal isn’t always to resolve.

Don’t Force It

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Timing is everything. Open up when you feel ready, and also consider the timing in general. Let your partner know you want to talk and ask if they’re available (time-wise and emotionally).

If they are, you can talk but try not to see it as a rejection. Remember to be gentle with yourself and your partner while you find your footing in your relationship.

Written By:
Tumisang Mosito

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