What’s The Role Of Vulnerability In Relationships?

One of the biggest problems in modern relationships is still the stigma of vulnerability. It can often be seen as equal to weakness, frailty, delicacy, meekness, and other seemingly unwanted traits in a romantic partner. However, that’s not at all what vulnerability is. 

No wonder, then, the amount of intimacy avoidance and lack of emotional and physical intimacy in marriages and relationships. We all deserve to be seen and heard by the people whom we love and create connections with.  

Without vulnerability, it can feel as if you’re negating an integral part of your personality, burying it deep inside, along with other feelings you’d also consider challenging to display. Know this, healthy vulnerability is not negative. Expressing it could be the very thing your relationship’s been lacking and the something that could improve it. 

What Is Vulnerability In A Relationship?

It’s important to note one that vulnerability is not a form of weakness in any way. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s expressing strength and willingness to become fully open with your partner and share your innermost feelings, fears, and thoughts with them without being scared of their reaction.  

Vulnerability doesn’t represent your inability to cope with life’s many trials and tribulations, it represents an invaluable opportunity to grow and develop as a person and as a partner, both in your relationships and outside of it. It takes strength to open up, and showing your vulnerability to others helps you overcome your potentially existing fears of rejection and nurtures the building of honesty and trust with your partner. 

In essence, being vulnerable with your partner allows them to get to know you completely. It allows them to become aware of your thoughts, challenges, strengths, and weaknesses. It allows them to get to know you without holding anything back. As such, vulnerability in a relationship is essential for deepening your connection and building healthier relations. 

What Is Healthy Vulnerability?

Healthy vulnerability is a form of emotional wellness and a powerful skill that opens you up to a deeper truth that can be shared and heard by another.  Healthy vulnerability serves to foster greater connection, honesty, healing, and enhanced self-awareness. 

Is Vulnerability Good In A Relationship?

Expressing your feelings is a skill not everybody develops in their lives. Showing your emotions can carry a negative connotation for some indidividuals, and vulnerability can easily be mistaken for a negative thing. This is why discernment is KEY!  

Who you choose to be truely vulnerable with matters.  If you have a history of being neglected, abandoned, not seen, etc.,you want to consider who you are opening up to so you do not rewound yourself.  This is why our circle boundaries are so popular.  If you and your partner are having challenges and there is emotional bombing being used to defend your position, this would not be a good time to be vunerable.  Getting help to overcome your challenges would be a good first step until you feel safer about opening up more.

If you relationship is in a fairly good place and you are wanting to have deeper connection, learning to be more vulnerable is very beneficial for creaitng intimacy, as showing your feelings to your significant other only leads to a deeper connection and stronger bonds. Knowing the deepest corners of each other’s souls can only be beneficial to your long-term understanding and relationship. 

10 Benefits Of Vulnerability In A Relationship

The initial sharing of feelings is only the beginning step in relationship vulnerability. This kind of emotional openness will only benefit your relationship in numerous unexpected ways, such as:

  • Increasing the chances of your partner recognizing and meeting your needs. 
  • Improving your and your partner’s sense of worthiness and authenticity. 
  • Building a stronger foundation of mutual trust in your relationship. 
  • Experiencing genuine comfort, support, and care from your partner. 
  • Becoming open to being truly loved by your partner.
  • Increasing the psychological and physical intimacy between you and your partner. 
  • Fostering stronger empathy in your relationship. 
  • Creating a solid foundation of mutual trust. 
  • Facilitating positive growth and change for both partners. 
  • Helping you deal with negative emotions better.

How To Be Vulnerable In A Relationship?

For some people, being vulnerable, or open, with their partner isn’t easy. Revealing everything that you are can be tough for a number of reasons, be it lack of proper understanding what vulnerability truly means or fearing getting hurt again as you could have been in the past. 

Whatever your root cause of not showing your vulnerable side might be, it’s important to first understand just how beneficial it can be for both you and your relationship if you try to work on showing your vulnerability. 

7 Ways To Learn To Present Your Vulnerability

Upon understanding what vulnerability is, and more importantly, what it isn’t, and understanding how it could benefit you and your partner, it can be challenging at first to actually start engaging in. 

As hard as it feels, it’s well worth working on, as the positive changes that vulnerability brings to your relationship and life are positive. As every journey begins with a single step, so does your journey to vulnerability: 

  • Begin by asking yourself why you’re so reluctant to open up to your partner and to others and try to detect the root cause of it all. 
  • Once you understand the root of the problem, try to better understand the feelings you have toward yourself, your partner, your friends, family, and other important people in your life. Working the Relational Circle boundaries with a PIVOT coach can help you with this. 
  • Start small and take baby steps in showing your vulnerability to your partner and other close people. 
  • Practice your vulnerability through those initial baby steps and slowly attempt to transition into sharing your deeper feelings with people whom you trust. 
  • Try to be as honest as possible with your partner about your daily challenges, struggles, and fears as well as your happiness and successes. 
  • As time passes, try to become more open with the emotional support you require. Become vulnerable enough to be able to tell your partner what it is you’d like them to do. 
  • Eliminate the potentially negative connotations of vulnerability and embrace it for all the good it can bring. 

How Do You Deal With A Vulnerable Partner?

You really don’t have to “deal” with a vulnerable partner, you just have to be there for them. Ask them what they need and give them what they ask within reason. Be honest and open, and remember to slow down and be present with them. Do your best to be there so that they have a shoulder to lean on, and over time you’ll watch the pieces fall into place. 

How Can I Help My Partner With Vulnerability?

We all operate in different ways and all of us need a different approach that would help us and encourage us to show our vulnerable side. Essentially, talking to your partner openly about their emotions and inability to open up is a good first step.

Is Vulnerability Good In A Relationship?

7 Ways To Help Your Partner Express Their Vulnerability

However, talking about it will only get both you and your partner so far. As unique as we all are, there are some things you can attempt to do to reach your partner and show them that you’re the person they can feel comfortable being vulnerable in front of: 

  • Remind your partner that you’re trustworthy and that they’re safe showing their intimate emotions to you. 
  • Be supportive toward your partner and try to show appreciation for their attempts at opening up to you. 
  • If you’re wrong, take responsibility and admit you’re at fault, as this will show them you’re ready to be vulnerable in the same way they are trying to be. 
  • Listen to what they say and don’t use it or hold it against them. 
  • Find the right time to have fun with them. Also, try to recognize the situations in which they need you to be serious and closely listen to what they have to say. 
  • If you see that your partner’s unwilling to be the first one to show their vulnerability, help them by doing it first and opening up before them. 
  • Express true interest in their lives, feelings, challenges, and victories, as this will illustrate just how much you’re dedicated to them and to your relationship. 

PIVOT Can Help Resolve Intimacy Avoidance In Marriage Or Relationship And Foster Healthy Vulnerability

Vulnerability, when it’s healthy and not self-encumbering, can actually be very positive to both you and your relationship. It can serve as a supplemental method of self-actualization within your relationship and it can be one of the ways of authenticating yourself and your feelings alongside your partner

Also, showing your vulnerability can help you find the support you need in your marriage or relationship and prevent you from getting lost in your partner. What’s more, vulnerability is also a form of pure relationship honesty, allowing you to freely express your innermost feelings and be completely honest with both your partner and yourself. However, vulnerability can also run rampant if you let it, causing potential problems for both partners. That’s why PIVOT’s here to help you learn how to properly channel your vulnerability. Our individual coaching sessions with experienced advocates and couple retreats for developing adequate support mechanisms will help you find stable ground. Call us today!

© 2022 Lori Jean Glass, LLC | PIVOT