What feels personal, exposing, troubling, risky, honest, emotional, or important, all differ wildly from person to person, and especially from women to men.
So, to all the women who seek for their partners to display vulnerability, I would encourage you to broaden your awareness of what that word actually means, especially for men.
As well as to realize that he might already be getting vulnerable with you regularly. It’s just that he is doing so in ways that you wouldn’t normally recognize and label as “vulnerability.”
For example, one of the most vulnerable things a man can ever do with his partner is express fear, doubt, or uncertainty in regards to his career. Because fulfilling the roles of security and provider has been conditioned into him by tradition and evolution. They are ways of being valued as a man and valuable in the eyes of his partner. It is a concern that runs his life.
Because our life’s work is so central to our core identity as men, if your man expresses doubt about his work (either about his level of competency with it, or potentially shifting jobs, or being uncertain about his professional direction) you must realize that there is almost nothing more vulnerable he could be speaking to you about.
His eyes might not be welling up, and he might not be ranting in detail about his emotions, but I assure you that he is cracking himself wide open and bearing to you one of the rawest parts of himself.
This is just one small example. But it’s one to keep in mind.
If you crave more vulnerability from your man, hold the intention of expanding what exactly vulnerability could look and feel like for you. Perhaps there’s something more specific you can boil it down to that you want to experience with him, or hear him speak about, that would make you feel more intimately connected and result in a better relationship with your man.
More often, you might realize that he is already showing you many things that are vulnerable to him, and you can begin recognizing all of them more often and build a better relationship with your man.
3. Attach clear goals to your asks
Want to get your way in a relationship with your man, while not feeling like you have to take on the masculine, leading, directive role?
Then I would suggest attaching goals to your asks.
What do I mean by this?
It’s no secret that men can be highly competitive and task-oriented. In other words, men love to WIN.
So, if you frame the things you want in contexts where your man is in a good position to win – where he has a clear aim and a finish line to pursue – then his goal-achieving nature will kick into gear and generate results. All the while giving him a sense of fulfillment in the process.
Here’s an example of this in action…
Let’s say that you want him to set up a romantic date for the two of you.
Many women might resort to complaining and telling him how he hasn’t taken her out for a long time (which would register to his male mind as “She is upset… therefore I am already losing…”). If you’ve ever done that, you may have experienced your man either completely shutting down and pulling away, or getting defensive.
This is a lose-lose scenario.
Neither person gets what they want, and the connection is tarnished.
And I get why many women might have this as their natural instinctual reaction. No matter how ineffective the complaining route is, it’s ultimately coming from frustration that their man isn’t taking action on something, or isn’t aware of her needs – and they don’t want to have to push to make it happen themselves.
But instead of complaining and building resentment on both sides, try giving him a positive opportunity to achieve a goal.
For example, saying, “Mmmm… I haven’t had Indian food in a long time! I really miss eating Indian food.” Or even more directly, such as, “I would love to have an extended date night soon where we just cuddle and watch a movie.”