Being vulnerable with someone may sound like a weakness, but it's actually a huge strength for your love life. Being able to expose who you are, what you want, and what you need will allow you to get into an authentic relationship— rather than just being in one that stops you from being alone. “Real intimacy comes from letting your guard down and allowing [someone] to witness you in a less than stellar light," Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes, licensed psychologist, dating coach, and the founder of relationship consultancy Rapport Relationships tells Bustle.
For some people, it comes more naturally than others. Some people regularly open up, share, emote. Others have their guards so far up that they wouldn't even know how to take them down if they wanted to. But everybody can make themselves vulnerable when they're dating if they're willing to put in the effort — and it can be an effort. Because it means feeling exposed and opening yourself up to the possibility of getting hurt, which is never fun. But the rewards — the intimacy and connection that you gain from it — mean that it's definitely a risk worth taking.
So how do you become more vulnerable in your dating life? Well, in a word, it's all about honesty.
1Stop Trying To Be The "Best" You
Don't put on the fake version of you that you think is the most impressive — or the one you think they'll like the most. Try really putting yourself out there. “Putting oneself ‘out there’ simply means being open and honest about who you are and how you feel. It’s a key step in creating a deep connection with someone else,” life and dating coach Elaine Beth Cohen tells Bustle. “To do this, one needs to communicate ‘their truth’, which could be uncomfortable but it’s a brave and essential effort! Communicating in this way is a deeply rewarding challenge and is a necessary step towards building deep intimacy and love in one’s life.”
2Be More Honest
You don't like the way they treated you? Say it. Don't agree with their opinion? Say that too. Having a bad day? It all should be out there, it all should be honest, all the time.
3Stop Playing Games
Playing games is just a way of protecting ourselves and trying to make ourselves less vulnerable — by never coming across as more interested than the other person. "You may automatically assume that dating is some kind of game or competition to be mastered rather than something fun and enjoyable. If this isn’t checked you can lose a sense of trust and the belief that two people can meet, like each other, and form a relationship in a natural, easy way," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "The best way of combating these bad habits is to truly be yourself and don’t play games. Reach out to someone if you had a great date. If you want to be in a long-term relationship, let them know. Be yourself and be authentic and you have a much better chance of making a true connection with someone."
4Don't Live Behind Your Phone
We can hide a lot when we live behind our phones. "Put down the phones, get off the iPad and talk about your day," Hartstein tells Bustle. "It doesn't have to be deep or complicated but you do need to sit and connect every day. Otherwise it's easy to lose track of each other and your connection." And we can stop having to deal with our real world problems. Make sure it's not hiding who you really are.
5Ask More Questions
Being vulnerable means jumping in and learning all about the other person— rather than just clinging to some version of them you want them to be. Instead, make sure that you're really demanding they open up, as you open up to them.
6Go For What You Want
You like someone? Let them know. Putting yourself on a limb is not only a great way to make yourself vulnerable, it also is a good test of how they're feeling. “If they can’t be direct with you about their feelings and whether or not they’re into you, it’s time to move on,” Samantha Daniels, relationship expert and professional matchmaker tells Bustle. Take the leap.
7Admit When You're Grateful
One of the ways we act strong is by pretending we don't need anyone else — and never admitting when we've been helped. Start making it clear to the person you're seeing when you're thankful. "A great way to build intimacy is expressing gratitude for something thoughtful [they] did that day," Samantha Burns, relationship counselor and dating coach, tells Bustle. It doesn't make you weak, it makes you kind.
Opening yourself up to someone new is tough, but it'll help you find the relationship you want to be in. Plus, the best version of you is always the honest one.