Being vulnerable with your partner is only going to strengthen your relationship.
There’s no harm in giving them a peak into your inner world and letting them know what’s on your mind or in your heart.
Some people find it hard to open up. This could be because they were neglected, abandoned, shamed, or rejected in the past when they were vulnerable.
Of course, there is always the possibility of getting hurt when you show your vulnerable side in your current relationship too. It happens.
Still, vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. It’s an important part of a healthy relationship.
Keep reading to find out what it means and how to be more vulnerable in a relationship.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you show vulnerability with your partner if you currently struggle with it. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
What Is Emotional Vulnerability?
Emotional vulnerability involves showing someone how you really feel and who you truly are despite the risk of rejection or getting hurt.
No masks, no defensiveness, no regret. Just you baring your soul to someone who wants to get to know you and connect with you on a deeper level.
The fear of being judged or rejected makes people hide their true selves. But being vulnerable means revealing your innermost thoughts or worries. Vulnerability deepens your connection.
Being your true self is always worth the risk, especially if it’s with someone you love and who loves you. Your partner wants to know you for who you are, and that is why it’s important to show them your vulnerable side.
How? Let’s find out.
10 Ways To Be More Vulnerable In A Relationship
There are a lot of ways to open up to your partner, and you are about to learn some of the most effective ones.
Later on, you’ll read exact examples of showing your vulnerable side in a relationship.
1. Don’t be afraid of getting hurt.
The first thing that you need to do is accept the possible risks.
If you can’t let your guard down, it’s probably because you had bad experiences when you were vulnerable before, maybe in your childhood.
Your attachment style could also influence your willingness to open up to your partner. Are you afraid that they’ll judge you or abandon you if you share your feelings with them and show them your true colors?
If this is the case, consider the reasons behind it. Did your partner do something to deserve your lack of trust, or are you afraid of something from your past happening again?
A therapist could help you deal with each of these situations. Consider talking to someone about it if all your partner sees when they want to get to know you better are your emotional walls.
In relationships, there’s always the possibility of getting hurt, whether you open up or not. And opening up significantly improves your bond, so it’s worth it if you love this person and trust them.
Being vulnerable is not about expecting a positive response. It’s about being honest, true, and genuine, no matter the outcome.
If you can’t do that with your partner, there’s a problem in your relationship that you urgently need to address.
Talking to a therapist can help you learn to be more open with each other, overcome your trust issues, or deal with traumas from your past.
2. Be aware of your feelings and share them.
The thing about being vulnerable is that we often don’t show this side at all, not even to ourselves.
While you might, for instance, feel scared of ending up alone, you never say these things out loud. Maybe you don’t even let yourself think about them. You bottle up your emotions and don’t acknowledge or validate them.
But do you even know your true self if you frequently hide your emotions? Start being more in tune with your feelings. Try to do this frequently and sit with the emotions rather than running from them.
Experience all kinds of emotions, acknowledge them, and tell someone about them. Are you angry because your sister didn’t call, or are you excited about a concert you’re going to?
Start sharing these things with your partner, but also the other people in your life. Vocalize your emotions to become more aware of them.
This can also help you change your reactions. If you don’t like the way you are reacting to something, consider whether you’re just repeating toxic patterns.
We often act on autopilot without really being aware of our inner world, let alone inviting someone in.
Change this and become more emotionally available to your partner. Start thinking and talking about your feelings more often. Share your thoughts and feelings with your partner without the fear of being judged.
They will enjoy getting to know how your mind works, and it will help you know yourself better too.
3. Ask about your partner’s feelings and validate them.
Vulnerability is about sharing, and this goes both ways.
How does your partner feel, and are they okay with opening up to you?
Maybe they don’t bring up their feelings a lot, but you could always ask them questions to find out how they feel. Be curious about your partner, their emotions, and the reasons behind those emotions.
How did that make you feel? Why do you think it made you upset?
Simple questions like these go a long way in a relationship.
You could also learn a lot about your partner by asking them about their past experiences and how they feel about them now.
Couples therapy could help you bond, but you can try it on your own as well.
Set some time aside for talking to each other, sharing your feelings, and really listening. Don’t wait for your turn to start talking, but instead focus on your partner. Ask questions, and make sure that there are no distractions.
Show your partner that you understand them, validate their feelings, and make them feel heard. This will encourage them to open up to you more often.
Don’t interrupt them while they talk, keep an open mind, and show them that you care, but don’t try to fix everything. Validating their feelings can be as simple as “That makes sense” or “I get how you feel.”
They’re not looking for advice when sharing feelings with you; they just want to be understood. So, just listen and show empathy. Stay curious and keep asking questions to better understand them.
4. Share your fears with them.
Is being vulnerable with them scary for you? Share that with them to connect deeply with your partner.
When you’re feeling insecure, don’t try to hide it. Let them in on your fears and insecurities to help them get to know you better.
After all, your reactions and responses can be influenced by these fears and insecurities.
For instance, maybe you’re scared that they’ll cheat on you because your ex did, and that is why you act possessively sometimes. Opening up about your fears could help your partner empathize with you, care for you, and understand you.
Chances are they will act compassionately, so share these things with them.
Ask them about their fears and insecurities too. Get to know each other better by talking about these important things that influence your relationship.
This is all about letting your partner see you for who you are, not for the brave mask you put on for the world to see. It’s okay to feel scared and tell your loved one about it.
We all have fears and insecurities, and sometimes they dictate our thoughts or actions.
For instance, maybe you freaked out when your partner asked if you gained some weight. You made a scene and yelled at them, which they couldn’t understand until you later told them that you suffered from an eating disorder and had body-image issues.
Maybe your story is something entirely different, but the point is that you might be holding back a piece of information that would let your partner understand you better.
Let them know who you really are to give your relationship a healthy chance of success.
5. Share your past.
We all have skeletons in our closets, and we all carry baggage from our past. While the first few dates is too soon to bring these things up, it makes sense to open up about them as the relationship progresses.
Share some secrets and embarrassing stories with your partner to help you connect. It doesn’t have to be anything huge.
Maybe you have an embarrassing story from your childhood that your parents tell people anyway. Start small with something that you’re comfortable sharing.
However, be willing to step out of your comfort zone and open up about your past. If you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s also best not to keep secrets from each other.
Let your partner know the real you and let them love you for who you truly are, with all of your self-doubts.
Don’t forget that sharing things about your past can involve talking about positive experiences too. Let them know the bad parts, but make sure to also include some happy memories that you like to think about.
You will, of course, talk about your past relationships too. Don’t feel like this needs to be all bad either. Sure, you might hate your exes now, but refrain from badmouthing them and include some positive experiences when you tell the story.
Be honest with your partner if you loved this person but they hurt you. After all, this could explain some of your current behavior in your relationship. If you’ve been betrayed before, you’re not going to trust your partner so easily.
So, open up to them, clean out your closet, and unpack your bags.
6. Tell them directly what you want or need from them.
Could you give me a hug? Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking for what you need. And let’s face it, no one is going to reject a free hug.
Asking for what you need is the surest way to get it.
Don’t wait for your partner to figure out what you need or to offer it themselves. Be open by directly saying what you want or need from them. Give them a choice to decide if they want to meet your needs or not.
I had a bad day, could you come over and just comfort me?
Can we just cuddle up under a blanket right now without it leading to anything more?
These are just some of the things that you could ask for from your partner.
This requires you to be in tune with your needs and wants. You might be under the impression that you don’t need anything or that you don’t know what you need. If this is the case, start small by simply being honest about what you want or don’t want at the moment.
Want to go to a coffee shop?
No, I’d rather have dinner at an Italian restaurant.
This is just an example of a conversation that you can have with your partner where you’re being honest about your wants in a small way.
Generally being more honest and genuine with each other is an important part of vulnerability that will strengthen your bond.
7. Share things in the moment while you’re thinking about them or feeling them.
Maybe your partner hurts you or does something that upsets you, but you stay quiet about it. Later, you bring it up in an unrelated fight.
Don’t do this.
Instead, share what you are thinking and feeling in the moment. When your partner hurts you, say something about it right away.
But this is not just about your fights. Share your thoughts with them during your everyday life.
Maybe you’re having dinner, you eat an olive, and you say something along the lines of:
I like olives, but I can’t stand grapes unless I’m eating them with cheese.
This gives your partner a lot of information about your likes and dislikes.
I’m feeling lonely right now, could you give me a hug?
This is another example of how you can share in the moment and ask for what you need at the same time.
When your partner asks about your day, don’t simply respond “It was fine.” Give them details about the thoughts and feelings you had during the day.
Sure, you can’t cover everything, but maybe you could mention that your coworker upset you but your favorite coffee cheered you up during your lunch break. This gives your partner so much information, and it’s just a small part of your day.
Use this example to give your partner more chances to learn about your likes, dislikes, wants, and needs. Let them get to know you on a deeper level.
You can practice saying what you’re thinking and feeling at the moment it occurs with other people close to you. Be more open and honest with people you love, not just your partner.
I feel like I could take a nap after this burger.
Sharing things can be as simple as that. Start small and go from there.
Allow yourself to be loved for who you are by letting people get to know you.
8. Use more “I” statements.
Avoid pointing fingers or always making it someone else’s fault. Instead, talk about how you feel and what you think.
Use “I” statements when you talk to your partner about your feelings.
So, instead of saying something like:
You hurt me when you suddenly did that.
You would say:
I felt hurt when that happened because I wasn’t expecting it.
This is something couples often do in therapy as it helps them communicate more effectively.
Another trick that therapists use is setting a timer for each of you to have a chance to talk for the same amount of time. So, the person who responds gets the same amount of time as the person who talked first.
Combine this with using “I” statements, and you will better understand each other and connect.
9. Learn from others who show vulnerability.
Do you know other people in your life who tend to show their vulnerable side? You can learn from them and follow their behavior.
When other people open up to you first, share something about yourself too.
Welcome your partner’s vulnerability, or anyone else’s, without judgment or negative feelings. Keep an open mind and follow the example of people who open up.
It’s also a good idea to ask for feedback from others. Is your behavior okay? Asking about it to confirm is a great way to show vulnerability, whether it’s to your partner or to other people close to you. In addition, this feedback can be valuable and help you improve.
10. Keep checking in with yourself and your partner.
Your thoughts and feelings change on a regular basis, so keep checking in with yourself and your partner. You should schedule a regular time for just sharing, at least once a week.
Talk about how your day went, what happened, and how it made you feel. Keep checking in, and don’t postpone feelings for later. If there’s something that you need to talk about with your partner right away, let them know how urgent it is.
Be willing to improve your relationship by being your true self and sharing your thoughts and feelings with each other. Don’t suppress difficult feelings. Be constantly aware of how you feel and keep your partner updated.
Ask them about their feelings and use some of the examples below to be more vulnerable with them.
15 Examples Of Emotional Vulnerability
What does it mean to be vulnerable with your partner? Here are some examples to help inspire you to do these things in your relationship.
- Asking for a hug or help when you need it.
- Directly saying how you feel about them.
- Validating their feelings.
- Letting them know when you feel hurt, embarrassed, or ashamed.
- Admitting your mistakes and apologizing for them.
- Sharing your thoughts with them and being upfront about your needs.
- Trusting them with your secrets.
- Opening up about your past and possible traumas.
- Talking about your negative feelings without trying to defend yourself.
- Listening to how you hurt them without defending yourself.
- Trusting them completely and believing that they’ll always be there for you.
- Opening up about your insecurities and problems.
- Asking them for advice.
- Sharing your fears and self-doubts with them.
- Asking them to be there for you when you’re down and to just listen without trying to fix the problem.
Still not sure how to be more emotionally vulnerable with your partner? A therapist is an invaluable aid when trying to lower your guard and open up because they can help you identify the reasons why you struggle to in the first place.
They can then help you to address those reasons so that, bit by bit, you are able to share more with your partner and allow them to get to know your true self. It really is the best path to take if your circumstances allow for it.
And don’t worry, you’re in capable hands with online therapy – you get access to trained and experienced professionals just as with traditional in-person therapy.
Seeking help isn’t something to feel ashamed of. In truth, many people could benefit from therapy for all sorts of reasons. Don’t be one of those people who tries to muddle through and find solutions via self-help if you can genuinely afford therapy. Think of it as an investment in yourself.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.