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7 Things To Do If You're Having A Hard Time Being Vulnerable In A Relationship

Practice Being Vulnerable

Practicing vulnerability includes knowing your vulnerability and expressing your real thoughts instead of what you think your thoughts and wants should be.

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7 Things To Do If You're Having A Hard Time Being Vulnerable In A Relationship

7 Things To Do If You're Having A Hard Time Being Vulnerable In A Relationship

https://www.bustle.com/p/what-to-do-if-youre-having-a-hard-time-being-vulnerable-in-a-relationship-8830401

bustle.com

7

Key Ideas

Getting To The Root Of Your Reluctance

If you find it difficult to share your past experiences, ask yourself why you are reluctant to open up. Getting to the root of the reluctance is key.

Work Out Your Feelings First

Before you talk to your partner about something difficult, find the right words to express it first. Until you can verbalize it, it remains unknown to you and to your partner.

If you do not feel safe enough to talk through these issues, consider journaling, or talking with a counsellor until you are clear about how you are feeling.

Open Up In Small Steps

When you decide to open up, start by taking small steps to test the waters first.

The more you practice and see that you can do it, the easier it will get for you to open up.

Practice Being Vulnerable

Practicing vulnerability includes knowing your vulnerability and expressing your real thoughts instead of what you think your thoughts and wants should be.

Be Honest With Your Partner

Consider communicating to your partner that you are having a hard time opening up and may need extra time.

Ask For What You Need

It's good to be honest about what you need or want from your partner after you open up.

Let them know that you do not need to be fixed. The purpose is to connect.

Consider The Timing

... before you talk about something important.

Invite your partner to sit down with you, without distractions, and let them know that you want to talk to them. Let them know how you feel and that you find it important to feel emotionally safe with them.

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Codependent vs Interdependent

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Keep Working On Yourself

The key to making your relationship more interdependent is to take stock of your life. Find purpose and meaning outside of your relationship. 

Not only will it make you happier and better as a person, but it may also improve intimacy and passion in your relationship.

Have Regular "Friend Dates"
Counting on your partner to be your person for everything can put a ton of pressure on them. 

It’s healthy to have regular time with your friends without your partner. A little time apart also creates mystique and plays into that tried but true adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

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Feeling Safe

A relationship based on compatibility can make you feel safe and content. Relying on that feeling can become a problem if you become too dependant on your partner.

Not needing to feel vulnerable

When you're in love, you should be comfortable to reveal your good and not-so-great emotions.

Your Relationship Is "Nice"

If you can only describe your relationship as nice, but it lacks the spark of attraction, it may be difficult to be happy in the long-term. 

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Two relationship complaints

The two worst things in a relationship are:

  • The thought of a partner leaving.  
  • The frustration of a partner not sharing their feelings.

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Offering vs obligated

Offering to share with your partner is intimate.  Being bullied into sharing is undercutting the very intimacy we think we're building.

Other people's emotions are theirs, not ours. Hearing them share their feelings is a privilege, not a right.

Correcting wrong views
  • “Sharing is caring!”. But care is about love and love is about respecting your partner's personal space.
  • “Yeah but if I don’t know what’s wrong, then how can I fix it?” Our partners are not our personal projects. Our relationship isn't a game of codependency.
  • “But I just want them to share!” Yet, we are not entitled to it.
  • "But why won’t they tell me?! Why is that so hard?” Because they don't want to. They may not be ready, or maybe nothing is wrong. You can't push it.

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Interdependence

Being dependent on another person can be unhealthy. Independence, taken to an extreme, can actually get in the way of us being able to connect emotionally with others in a meaningful way.&nbs...

Codependency

A codependent person tends to rely heavily on others for their sense of self and well-being. There is an enmeshed sense of responsibility to another person to meet their needs and/or for their partner to meet all of their needs to feel okay about who they are.

Traits of a codependent relationship
  • Poor/no boundaries
  • People-pleasing behaviors
  • Reactivity
  • Unhealthy, ineffective communication
  • Manipulation
  • Difficulty with emotional intimacy
  • Controlling behaviors
  • Blaming each other
  • Low self-esteem of one or both partners
  • No personal interests or goals outside the relationship

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See Relationships Like A Therapist

Relationships nowadays are regularly in the doldrums, with certain factors that tend to ruin them. These same factors can be ‘reverse-engineered’ to help us strengthen and improve these relations.

Validate, Not Solve

When someone talks about their problems, we are jumping in the problem-solving mode straight away. While dealing with people, this approach can backfire. A better approach is to just listen and validate their struggles, make them feel heard and understood.

Actions Have Underlying Functions

Many times, the external appearance of behaviour isn’t the full story and has underlying functions. It is just a symptom and not the problem.

Example: When a teenager is mad for no reason, it helps to understand the underlying problems they usually have in this age, and be compassionate.

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A “power imbalance” in a relationship

Power in relationships is the ability of each person in the relationship to influence each other and direct the relationship.

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Negative relationship dynamics

  • The demand-withdrawal dynamic. One partner seeks change, discussion and a resolution to issues within the relationship, while the other partner is withdrawn, and tries to avoid the issues.
  • The distancer-pursuer dynamic. One person tries to achieve a certain degree of intimacy with their partner, while the other considers this affection to be "smothering."
  • The fear-shame dynamic. The fear and insecurity of one partner would bring out the shame and avoidance in the other. 

Positive power struggle

Not all power struggles are destructive. Some types of power struggles allow growth within the relationship and encourage a deeper understanding and respect for each other.

While it is still a struggle, by the end of it, you have reached an understanding about which lines can be crossed, which not, and how much each partner is able to compromise.

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A toxic relationship

Is any relationship between people who don’t support each other, where there’s conflict and one seeks to undermine the other, where there is competition and there is disrespect.

...
What makes a relationship toxic

People who consistently undermine or cause harm to a partner (whether intentionally or not) often have a reason for their behavior, even if it’s subconscious. 

Maybe they were in a toxic relationship, either romantically or as a child. Maybe they didn’t have the most supportive, loving upbringing. They could have been bullied in school. They could be suffering from an undiagnosed mental health disorder.

Warning signs

The most serious warning signs include any form of violence, abuse or harassment, which should be dealt with immediately. But in many cases, the indicators of a toxic relationship are much more subtle: Persistent unhappiness, negative shifts in your mental health, personality or self-esteem, feeling like you can’t talk with or voice concerns to your significant other.

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Understand your attachment style

We come out of our family of origin with a blueprint of how we attach to others. The closer someone is to another person, the greater the likelihood that their attachment style can becom...

Identify your triggers

Journal about the experiences in your relationship that trigger behaviors you experience as self-sabotaging. Ask yourself: What was happening? What did you feel at the time? What were you afraid of? How likely is it that the outcome you feared would happen?

Having an awareness of what triggers these behaviors can prepare us for the inevitable conflicts that arise.

Be mindful of your behavior

Insecurity in relationships is inevitable because everybody has issues to work on.

It’s critical to know what yours are. With this insight, a person can then stop negative behaviors, learn to tolerate the discomfort, and engage in alternative and more healthy behavior.

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Soft language vs. hard language
  • Soft language: it uses “I” statements and focuses on the actions that took place, how they made us feel, and what we want to happen.
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Create space

It's useful to agree in advance to call a “timeout” or “press pause” before arguments begin.

It will give you the time to work through what happened. Because arguing when you are in a low emotional state is not going to help you.

What if…?

Ask yourself these questions: “What if the other person had a point? What if I wasn’t being honest with myself? What if I wasn’t taking responsibility for something?”

This will provide a new lens through which you'll see the situation. You might realize that there are things you could take responsibility for, that you were probably ignoring based on your initial triggered response.

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Really see each other

Making eye contact with someone can relieve stress and create a deeper sense of connection. 

Even making eye contact with a stranger can soften your heart.

Listen with all of your senses

When you talk with someone in person, notice the posture and body language of the other person. Focus on the tone in their voice. Consider the meaning of their words.

Reach out and touch someone

Touch is a way we communicate and essential to our development. Touch makes us feel safe and encourage trust, love, and compassion.

Reach out to your loved ones and see if you notice a difference.

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