Tips for handling your partners vulnerability
Many people tell me they want their partner to open up more and share with them their deeper thoughts, anxieties, fears and insecurities.
These intimate and vulnerable conversations are the “secret sauce” of relationships and lead to a deep and lasting connection between humans.
However, your partner needs to know that if they expose themselves, they can trust that you will be supportive, empathetic and affirm their thoughts and feelings.
Here are some ways to respond and encourage these conversations:
Keep these conversations to yourself. (Sharing with your mom and best friend is not ok)
Don’t try to fix them. This can lead to rejection and feelings of unacceptance of their feelings or experiences
Be supportive and kind. Monitor any initial reactions that could come off as judgmental or disappointment
Don’t make jokes about what they share, and most importantly don’t use this information against them in the future. This is a common way trust is damaged in relationships
Be aware of your own vulnerability and triggers, but know when it is appropriate to share in response to them. Respond with openness, but remember that this is not a competition.
People learn how to relate to others from a very young age. If your partner was vulnerable as a child with friends, family or a past relationship that backfired, they may be very afraid to open up again.
As Brene Brown’s research explains, when we get hurt we develop an armor in an effort to protect ourselves from getting hurt again. Unfortunately, that also prevents you from true connection with another person. It's not a winning formula for happiness and fulfillment in life.
When vulnerability and openness goes badly, people often internalize a message that there's something wrong with them and feel shame about themselves and their worth going forward.
I've noticed that couples are great at telling each other what they don’t want in their relationship, but they aren’t so good at saying what they want (and need) from their relationship. Encourage a more open and vulnerable conversation with one another and see how this will work to build trust and connection.
Admit where you're flawed but believe you are deserving of love anyways.
Book your couples session today if you would like help with being more vulnerable & increasing connection within your partnership. ~Laura
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