It seems like everyone has been told what they should do when it comes to emotions, and this is especially so for men. For a lot of guys, the only emotions presented as acceptable are anger and stoicism. At the same time, all humans have emotions and want a chance to be fully themselves.
Against this backdrop, it’s no surprise that emotional vulnerability is polarizing topic. There’s a real tension present in our discussions of just how much vulnerability is acceptable in a man.
You desire to open up and share your emotions in relationships and, at the same time, receive the message that doing so makes you appear weak.
How is an emotionally vulnerable man to win? Is emotional vulnerability unattractive?
Discover below what emotional vulnerability is, why it’s essential to your human experience, common mistakes, and what you can do instead to enjoy emotionally vulnerable and sexy relationships.
Vulnerability Takes Courage
“For men, shame is not a bunch of competing, conflicting expectations, shame is one.” – Brene Brown
Vulnerability is the conscious choice to not hide your emotions or desires from others. You may instead experience it as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. Luckily, there is magic in vulnerability and when it’s done well, sharing portions of yourself with others often allows them the space to do the same.
You may experience a fear of communicating vulnerably, and it not being reciprocated. Vulnerability is an example of courage. It takes courage to put yourself out there, without knowing the reaction of the other side.
Courage and bravery are attractive.
Giving Vulnerability a Bad Wrap
For some, emotional vulnerability is only associated with sharing your negative emotions. Only expressing the negative can be exhausting for everyone.
What often gets forgotten is that sharing positive emotions – joy, happiness, excitement – is an exercise in vulnerability, too.
It’s also important to remember your partner can not be your therapist. Many people make the mistake of turning to their partner as their only outlet for emotional release. You help yourself immensely when you expand your network of trusted people you feel able to share your emotional experiences with.
Additionally, when emotional sharing is isolated to your romantic relationships, this can create pressure on the person you love to manage all of those emotions for you. When you displace your emotions without being aware of the pressure it can create, you’re exercising a lack of boundaries. This can be referred to as entitlement.
Entitlement is simply a lack of awareness of the expectations we place on others.
Lacking boundaries can look like many things, like initiating a conversation about emotions, only to have it end up in a deep rabbit hole of negativity. Some show their lack of boundaries when they begin to share personal stories early in a relationship and maybe don’t consider what they’re sharing could impacting the person on the receiving end.
When we have clear boundaries, we are aware that sometimes others are affected by what we have to share, and they may not be prepared for it.
Steps to Emotional Vulnerability
- Take personal responsibility for your emotional life. You can’t do this alone and it’s okay to ask for help. Go to therapy and maintain friendships and relationships where you can share your emotions.
- Begin as you mean to go on. Be willing to be vulnerable from the beginning of a relationship. Be honest on your dating profile about yourself and your dreams. While sharing joy can feel scary, it’s the perfect place to start in a new relationship.
- Spend time processing emotional experiences before you share them. By developing emotional awareness you can come up with a plan of action to ensure you are distributing the load. Do things that calm you down, and reach out to people who make you feel better.
- Set personal boundaries and make sure you are respecting the boundaries of others. Boundaries are a two-way street, and you may need to negotiate boundaries with your partner. If you overpower conversations, set a time boundary for yourself. Give people an out and remind them that they can say no.
The magic of emotional vulnerability is truly at work when you dump all of the shoulds and expectations. There’s a lot of power and pleasure in making the decision to share who you are and what you want with the world.
Some people do not want, or will not be ready for, emotionally vulnerable relationships, and that is okay.
If an emotionally vulnerable relationship is what you want, then you know such people are not a fit for you.
While it’s not easy, choosing emotional vulnerability in relationships is worth it! You’ll have courage, self-awareness, boundaries, dignity, confidence, and personal power.