Sure, there's a lot at stake when we start becoming close to a new partner, but if we want to reap the rewards of meaningful connections with people (including a greater quality and longer life), we need to be vulnerable. The Emotional Intimacy Scale was created and validated. Dowdy SW, Sinclair VG. Development and validation of a new measure of emotional intimacy. Journal of Personality Assessment. 1991;55(3):491-501.
It consists of seven items that describe different aspects of emotion disclosure between partners. Participants are asked to what extent they agree or disagree with each statement using a five-point Likert scale. Scores on this scale can range from 7 to 35, with higher scores indicating greater emotional intimacy.
The importance of being vulnerable with a new partner is highlighted by research conducted by Fiske et al. They found that high levels of emotional intimacy with another person are a significant predictor of continuing the relationship beyond the first few months. This means that if you want your partner to feel valued and loved, you need to be open about your feelings.
Vulnerability is not only important in long-term relationships, but also in friendships. According to sociologists who study these types of connections, emotional intimacy is one of the key factors that makes them work. It allows two people to understand and share their feelings with one another which helps them to build trust and respect over time.
As perilous as it may appear, the benefits of vulnerability are numerous. "People may deepen their connections in close relationships and create real intimacy via emotional openness and vulnerability," Land said. We asked relationship experts to explain why vulnerability might be intimidating and how we can incorporate more of it into our lives in the meantime.
Vulnerability is scary because we believe that people will use it against us. They won't. "Being open about your feelings allows others to know what you want and need from them," Kilduff said. "It's a powerful tool for connection." And when you share more of yourself, you build trust which helps prevent hurt feelings and broken promises. Being honest also shows that you're willing to make changes when things go wrong, which lets your partner know you're not looking for escape hatches.
The key is to be honest with yourself first. If you feel like opening up later, try out these tricks: Write down what you want to say (this makes it easier to get it out), tell someone who'll support you (like a friend or therapist), and don't overshare (details such as sexual history should be shared only with someone you trust).
Being vulnerable doesn't mean that you'll let everyone walk all over you. It means that you're able to admit that you are weak and need help from time to time.
Vulnerability should be one of the most appealing attributes you want since it indicates that your partner will communicate their feelings more plainly. Recognizes the significance of trust Develop a greater sense of empathy and understanding.
We are protected from harm when we lock off our vulnerability, but we are also protected from love, intimacy, and connection. They all come in through the same door. We close it to everyone when we close it to just one. Relationships suffer when they lack vulnerability. Vulnerability is saying, "Here I am," with my tattered edges, secrets, worries, and affection. Vulnerability is saying, "I can't help myself." When we say that we cannot open ourselves up because it will not be fair, or because we think people will use what we reveal, or even because we feel shame about some part of us, we are closing off our chances for happiness.
Vulnerability is saying "Yes" to the other person rather than trying to fix them. It's showing up for love even when we don't feel like it. It's being honest about our needs and feelings instead of pretending that they aren't important. Vulnerability is risking rejection, but it's risking rejection that allows room for love to grow.
Relationships require vulnerability from both parties if they are to succeed. Vulnerability is needed so that people can be trusted, loved, and cared for. Without it, any bond between two people is purely physical.
When we fear exposure, we risk shutting ourselves off from intimacy and connection. We shut ourselves off from those we love, and they from us. However, vulnerability is not only necessary for relationships to work, it is also capable of bringing them back from the dead.
People may learn to disclose sensitive sentiments in ways that create intimacy and connection by increasing their comfort with intense emotions, he says. "Therapy may provide a secure setting for people to explore with healthy emotional vulnerability," Land noted. Recognize and validate your partner's emotions. Express empathy. Listen actively.
In relationships where one or both parties are less willing or able to be vulnerable, it can lead to problems between partners.
Vulnerability is important in any relationship, but it becomes even more critical when one person is diagnosed with an illness or disability. The less-able-bodied partner must understand how being vulnerable affects his or her lover and make adjustments where necessary. For example, if your partner feels uncomfortable being intensely emotional around you, ask him or her what kind of emotion he or she wants to feel instead and help him or her find ways to express that emotion (such as talking about his or her feelings or writing them down).
Relationships are not easy. Being vulnerable means putting yourself out there, allowing others to see and know all of you. But only when you are open can you hope for true connection and intimacy with another person.
5 Advantages of Vulnerability
According to research, we are typically drawn to partners who appear familiar to us and have characteristics similar to our parents. One of the reasons people are drawn to emotionally unavailable spouses is because of the romantic role models they received as children. In other words, they want to marry their mother!
If your parents were never married, then it's probable that you're looking to marry someone who has some sort of relationship with his or her father too. Even if your own father is alive, if he's a cold person who doesn't care about you or your mother, then you'll likely be attracted to an equally cold spouse.
Emotionally unavailable partners don't feel compelled to understand how we feel, nor do they try to learn about us through conversation. They also tend to minimize our feelings by telling us not to get so attached to things.
People look for emotional support from others in order to feel safe and secure. If someone is unwilling to listen to us when we talk, or refuses to show us any affection, then we have no reason to believe that they will ever change.
We should be willing to put ourselves out there and risk being rejected in order to find love. But if you expect everyone you meet to be ready to jump into a marriage without thinking things through first, then you'll likely end up alone.