Love Harder: What It Means To Be The Vulnerable One In A Relationship

by Paul Hudson

Vulnerability is a necessary part of loving relationships. It’s the one thing that allows for mutual trust to fully develop, however, this is only the case when both parties allow themselves to be vulnerable to the other.

As luck would have it, most relationships have one party feeling much more vulnerable than the other.

Being the vulnerable one in a relationship can be difficult. Not just because of what it allows or doesn’t allow for, but also because it’s difficult to cope with. Being vulnerable and being the only one vulnerable just adds to your vulnerability.

Most of all, it can be incredibly difficult to understand what the way you are feeling means.

You were the first one to fall in love.

People are very complex – but thankfully, their complexity is mimicked by countless others.

It often feels like the emotions and thoughts we’re experiencing are unique, that they have never been experienced by anyone before, but the truth is, what you feel has been and will be felt by countless others.

Of course, no two emotions a single person feels are exactly alike, so therefore, neither will two emotions felt by two separate individuals be identical.

Nevertheless, there are patterns to be found in the way human beings experience emotions. Most interesting are the emotions we experience when we’re falling in love.

Vulnerability is a necessary part of loving an individual. For you to love someone, you’ll need to pull down your walls and allow this person in. You need to show him or her the person only you know yourself to be.

What this does is make us vulnerable. It makes us vulnerable to judgment, ridicule, to the possibility you may scare him or her away. If you’re the first one to feel vulnerable, then you’re most likely the first one to have fallen for the other.

But don’t worry, no one ever said true love manifests in both parties simultaneously. Sometimes, you just have to give it a little time.

You are the more sensitive one – especially when it comes to his or her seeming insensitivity.

If you are the only one vulnerable in the relationship, then there’s a good chance you’re going to make life more difficult for yourself than it necessarily has to be.

Let me explain: If you are the only one feeling vulnerable, and you know you’re the only one feeling vulnerable, then you’re most likely going to worry about getting hurt. And justifiably so, as love wouldn’t be love without the possibility of heartbreak.

You’re likely going to take your partner’s coolness and inability to read your mind as him or her not caring enough or being sensitive enough to the way you’re feeling. Of course, this is a silly thought, but people in love are often very silly.

Just because you know you’re feeling vulnerable doesn’t mean your lover knows you’re feeling vulnerable. Now, I know this may seem like a crazy idea… but why not talk to your partner and let him or her know how you’re feeling?

I know it’s scary, but just because you opened yourself up doesn’t mean your partner necessarily realizes you're open – some people are oblivious to such things.

You have more to lose.

This is an unfortunate truth. If you’re the vulnerable one in the relationship – and are the only vulnerable one – you have more on the line to lose.

It’s always during this sweet spot, the point in the relationship when one person begins to fall for the other, that we have no choice but to put ourselves out there.

Most people spend the majority of their earlier years doing their best to shield themselves, to build a fortress around themselves – in other words, to keep people out.

Then comes a time when we realize the fortress we’ve built is awfully lonely. So the only thing we can do is begin to trust people, begin to allow them in and hope they respect us and all we’ve kept locked up and hidden.

There is a high chance of you getting hurt.

Risk wouldn’t be risk if there weren’t a chance of losing, of feeling hurt. I know most people like to ignore this possibility, pretending like it doesn’t exist.

Ignorance is most certainly bliss, but this isn’t you remaining ignorant; this is you pretending like you don’t know what you know. It’s an inability to deal with reality.

If you are making yourself vulnerable, then there is a chance of getting hurt. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed – being that vulnerable makes the smallest prick feel like a stab wound. Just keep in mind that with the larger the risk, comes the greater the reward.

The more you open yourself up to another, the deeper you’ll be capable of falling in love. This doesn’t guarantee things will work out between the two of you, but it does remove friction.

And if you do get hurt, you learn whatever lessons are to be learned and bring them with you into your next relationship. You live on and move on.

You have to accept your position and move past all the negative possibilities that haunt your thoughts.

If you’re feeling vulnerable, then accept that as the way you are feeling. It can be a little scary, but it’s also exciting.

Cherish this moment because it is one of the best moments human beings experience in their lives – the moment of choosing to be vulnerable.

The most difficult part is going to be maintaining a grip on your reality. Being vulnerable does cause us to worry. It causes us to imagine unlikely yet possible events that, were they to come to fruition, would devastate us.

The human mind is a powerful thing, but all that power can be difficult to control. Sometimes our thoughts run away from us. We lose control and begin thinking dark thoughts.

It’s such thinking that often leads to ruined relationships. Sometimes the only thing between a successful relationship and a failed one is your mental capacity for remaining focused on only the future and reality you wish to be a part of.

You’re utterly and completely in love.

There will be times in your life when you feel vulnerable, and there will be nothing you can do about it. In fact, that’s almost always how love starts out.

The reason people have built societies around the concept of love is – in large part – because it feels as if it is out of our control. We say we can’t help who we fall in love with.

We feel this way because when we first fall in love, we feel a sort of vulnerability. This need for another person develops and scares us.

If we need people, then we are necessarily dependent on them. And if we are dependent on them, then we are vulnerable to their influences.

Yet, this sort of love is rather shallow. Falling in love feels amazing because it is out of our control, however, it isn’t true love.

It isn’t the love that books, philosophies, religions, cultures, societies have been built upon. To love someone in such a way, you have to take control of it. You have to take responsibility for it. You have to be vulnerable because you’re choosing to be vulnerable.

When you do that, and your lover does the same, it transforms your relationship and the world you see.

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