It’s no secret that relationships can be challenging at times. Especially if you struggle to open up and share your feelings with each other. Exposing your vulnerable side leaves many people stressed and overwhelmed.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Curiosity and compassion are big parts of fostering a safe place to be vulnerable. Understanding more about your partner and your shared goals is entirely possible.
Take time together and be kind to one another as you try the following:
6 Tips To Start Opening Up To Each Other & Embrace Vulnerability
Be honest with yourself.
Before you can be honest and open with your partner, you first need to be open and honest with yourself. It can be easy to bury feelings. If you put things in a box instead of dealing with them, it’s time to deal with anxiety and face your fears. Take time to understand yourself and your feelings first.
Keeping a journal or sessions with a counselor can help you practice opening up. Doing your own emotional work may make vulnerability seem less scary!
Set time aside for these conversations
One of the simplest ways to open up to your partner is to sit down and have an honest conversation. Yet, that can be a scary activity you might push aside, avoid, or delay. To overcome avoidance, prioritize time for talking and sharing. Sit down and have open and honest conversations with your partner routinely.
Block out time in your diary, calendar, and stick to it. These don’t need to be long, never-ending evenings. Try 30 minutes, once a week.
Be clear about your intentions.
Use a bit of time before you speak in-depth to discuss your individual intentions. Understanding what you both want from communication will help you make the most of it.
Do you want your partner to know more about your goals? Do you want to know more about their hopes for the relationship? Is there an unresolved issue causing resentment?
Being vulnerable with your partner can be scary, it’s true. Still, remember that your partner loves you and wants to support you. Opening up early and often about your wants and needs will lead to positive results over the course of your relationship.
Use open dialogue
It can be easy when someone asks, “How are you?” to reply with, “Good, thanks,” and then move on. But that won’t help you embrace vulnerability or foster deeper understanding and meaning in the connection. Going deeper can be stressful, especially if you have a difficult history or simply haven’t opened up with a partner in the past.
That’s okay. Be gentle with yourself and each other. Start slowly, with open-ended questions. Use language that will allow you and your partner to fully express yourselves and your emotions.
You don’t need to rush this; it’s a process that you will hone over time. Encouraging and comforting each other with words and body language is a vital part of staying safe as a couple.
Share as much as you feel ready to. If you are tempted to pull away, remember to take deep breaths and pause when needed to gather your thoughts. Be honest about how hard this is for you. The success of any relationship is this open dialogue.
Listen to your partner
Talking is just one part of opening up and being vulnerable. You also need to listen well. Active listening allows you to hear what your partner is saying and respond in ways that engage and support optimal understanding.
Also, make more of an effort to listen to your partner at all times too, not just during these conversations. The more they feel heard, the more likely they are to open up.
Some physical touch here can go a long way if it feels appropriate as well. For example, if your partner talks about loss or a painful memory from their childhood, touch their hand or stroke their leg. Let your partner know you are attentive and available for emotional support.
Set ground rules if necessary
It can feel a little forced initially, but once you get talking, you’ll be surprised how quickly you get used to sharing! Some rules that help create a safe space for vulnerability include:
- Using your phone’s “off” button
- Letting each other share complete thoughts (no interrupting)
- Sharing how thoughts and ideas make you feel
- Thanking them for sharing with you and showing that you support them
- If appropriate, coming up with a plan to improve your communication
Embrace vulnerability and open up to your partner with some or all these tips as you see fit. Remember to be kind to yourself at all times and go slow. Lifting the lid and sharing everything can be daunting. So, take your time and remember to support your partner as you share and become more vulnerable with one another.
Keep therapy in mind as a safe starting point if you need it. Reach out to an experienced couple’s therapist who can help you embrace vulnerability as a team.