What To Do If You're Having A Hard Time Being Vulnerable In A Relationship

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At the beginning of a new relationship, you and your partner will have so much to learn about each other. Although it's easy to open up about the fun, lighthearted stuff — like your go-to guilty pleasure movie or your most embarrassing childhood memory — when it comes to the big, scary, emotional stuff, being open and honest isn't always so simple. But why is it that it can be so hard to open up and be vulnerable in a relationship, even if you feel like you trust your partner?

"There is this idea that being vulnerable means opening ourselves up to attack," Gwendolyn Nelson-Terry, MA, LMFT, tells Bustle. "Within a relationship, though, it is necessary to be vulnerable in order to build intimacy with your partner. Being vulnerable in a relationship means allowing your partner to know you fully: your thoughts, feelings, challenges, weaknesses. It can be scary to show those sides to our partners out of fear of being judged."

It's not always easy to reveal all the parts of yourself to someone you care about, but being able to open up in a relationship is crucial if you want to be able to build intimacy and form an intimate connection that lasts.

"It is important to be able to open up to our partners because in order to achieve intimacy our partners need to know all parts of who we are and accept all of those parts, the good and the bad," Nelson-Terry says. "This is how true intimacy is achieved. We are known, accepted, supported and loved. We dare show who we are and in turn our partner acknowledges, accepts, and supports all of those pieces."

There's nothing better than feeling totally loved and accepted by someone, and the more your partner gets to know the real you, the more they'll be able to accept you. If you're having trouble being vulnerable with your partner and you want to open up, here are seven expert tips that can help you on your journey to becoming more vulnerable in your relationship. (Keep in mind that if you don't feel ready to open up about something, that's OK, too: take your time and don't force it.)