6 Signs You're Not Being Vulnerable in Your Relationship
Vulnerability is a scary word.
It naturally implies being exposed and powerless, and in reality that's not too far from the truth. Being vulnerable requires dropping some of your defenses and allowing another person to see the more fragile parts of your personality. It's scary, but it's also essential to the success of any relationship, particularly a romantic one.
The problem is, protecting your heart by keeping someone from getting too close can become so ingrained in your behaviors that you don't even realize you're shutting your partner out.
So how you do know if you struggle with vulnerability? Keep scrolling for six signs you're not being open enough in your relationship.
1. You Find It Hard to Put Your Feelings Into Words
Vulnerability requires expressing some of your deepest thoughts and emotions. It stands to reason, then, that struggling to find the words to communicate all your feelings means you have difficulty opening up. In your own mind, you know exactly what you're feeling, but once you try to explain to your partner, you can't seem to find the words you need to get your point across. If this happens every now and then, it's not a big deal. But if you find that you consistently can't find the words you need to explain your feelings, it's probably a subconscious way of protecting yourself from being too vulnerable.
(Riverdale via The CW)
2. You Dodge Their Questions
Part of the natural flow of a healthy relationship is a give and take of information. You ask a question and your partner answers, giving you some insight into their innermost thoughts and feelings. Then your partner asks a question and you reveal some personal information—such is the process of getting to know someone. Answering questions and talking about yourself requires trusting your partner with that information and believing that they'll listen without judgment. If you struggle with being vulnerable, it's the last thing you're going to feel comfortable doing.
3. You're Stingy With Your Time
Building vulnerability and trust between you and your partner takes time. The more you're together, the more comfortable you'll feel discussing personal and sensitive information. If you struggle with vulnerability, there's an easy solution to actually having to open up to your partner—just don't spend time with them. If you find that you're constantly making excuses that keep you from hanging out with your S.O., or if you spend all your time together watching the clock, you're probably struggling to be genuinely open and candid about your feelings within your relationship.
(To All the Boys I've Loved Before via Netflix)
4. You Get Annoyed Easily
If you fear being truly vulnerable with something, you're always going to be looking for excuses not to open up. Therefore, the simplest of actions on their part increase in importance, causing constant frustration and irritation on your end. In reality, however, you're not actually upset with them; being annoyed simply gives you an excuse to pull away and build up your walls, protecting yourself from sharing the intimate details of your life.
5. You Have An Image You Want to Portray
Everyone has an image in their mind of the person they ideally want to be. Sadly, that image is often a little more confident, a little less stressed out and overall just a little bit better than who you really are. At the beginning of any relationship, everyone wants to put their best face forward, usually channeling the "better" you that's been idealized in your mind.
Vulnerability, however, requires showing someone your real, authentic self—aka allowing them to see how you really think and act, and not just how you'd want to behave. If you find that you're still trying to fit a particular mold around your partner, vulnerability is probably a big issue in your relationship.
(Chilling Adventures of Sabrina via Netflix)
6. You Keep Your Partner Separate From the Rest of Your Life
It's undeniably true that you are who you surround yourself with. Even if you struggle with vulnerability, there are always going to be people in your life who know the real you. If you can't seem to integrate your partner into the rest of your life, it might be due to the fact that you're worried you'll be exposed if someone who knows you too well speaks out of turn. Keeping your partner separate from the rest of your life ensures that you're the only one with control over your narrative, effectively managing your desire to be vulnerable, and preventing your partner from becoming too entrenched in your world outside of them.
Looking for more relationship advice? Click HERE to learn why your relationships will improve when you stop searching for "the one."