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How Vulnerability Can be Powerful in your Relationship

Can vulnerability be a good thing? Let's explore the paradox and power of vulnerability...

Can vulnerability be a good thing? How can vulnerability be powerful in your relationship?

The Power of Vulnerability

If you’re a man reading this, you may be thinking:

"But it’s the WOMEN in my life who are the hardest on me when I’m vulnerable… I don’t think women really want me to be vulnerable.”

I get it.

You are right: women have work to do here.

But, I want you consider for a minute:

Can vulnerability be a good thing in your relationship?

AND, what I want to talk to you about today is a different kind of vulnerability.

You see, when I use the word ‘vulnerability’ — men often think of crying / losing it — or of the kind of physical vulnerability that leads to defeat in battle.

What I’m talking about is authenticity.

It’s a powerful form of vulnerability.

Here’s how vulnerability can be powerful:

When I talk about vulnerability, I’m talking about emotional vulnerability, which means:

  1. Using “I” statements to reveal how you really feel (and not twisting this into an underhanded attack by saying “I feel THAT you are mean” — that’s not a feel. Or “you are amazing” — that’s a judgment)

  2. Being able to notice charge in your body and speaking about your experience (“I notice I feel angry right now”) rather than blaming, attacking or defending.

  3. Being able to say “You’re right, I was wrong” instead of manipulating to make yourself look good

  4. Having the strength to feel uncomfortable feelings like shame or embarrassment, anxiety or fear — rather than lashing out and making someone else responsible for your feelings.

  5. Asking for help — such as co-regulation or soothing — when you need it.

  6. Not pretending to be ‘fine’ or answering ‘I’m fine’ or just avoiding discussing or feeling what’s really going on for you.

Vulnerability can be a tough one, especially for men, since we often equate vulnerability as weakness — it gets tied up in old ideas of war and fighting.

But emotional vulnerability, modeled in a mature way — as Brené Brown’s research shows — is actually what gets you respect, not just at home, but in the workplace.

Very often when I give reflections to people about how they show up online, I’m met with denial and defensiveness and all sorts of getting out of taking responsibility or being vulnerable.

Now, I can always get better at giving gentle feedback in a way that can be received — that’s my job. Getting under someone’s defenses is an artform that good coaches study and refine over time.

AND — the default in our culture is defensiveness. Hell, I spent most of my life being defensive. I still have to watch it.

So my invitation to you is to stay humble and get curious and take feedback instead of doubling down on defensiveness.

When you or your partner defaults to these 5 Losing Strategies (from Terry Real) in relating, you’re not relating as an adult — you’re letting a childish part run the show.

These are:

  • Being Right (or righteous)

  • Controlling your partner

  • Practicing unbridled self-expression

  • Retaliating against your partner

  • Withdrawing

I often hear about ALL of these from the people I work with.

What is the thing that’s missing from all of these?

You guessed it: Vulnerability.

If you’re experiencing these from your partner, ask yourself:

  • In what ways have I not made it safe for them to be vulnerable?

  • Is this a defense mechanism from their childhood that they are acting out?

  • What’s underneath these things — what are they feeling?

And then set a boundary with compassion, that these are not acceptable.

Think about what YOU need to do to make it safe enough for your partner to be vulnerable with you.

Share vulnerably about how you feel (hurt, sad, scared…use feeling words).

This can help the other person soften — eventually! It may require repeated outreach (SKILLED outreach) and time — weeks or months.

See how vulnerability is what ‘wins’ here? It’s what defuses the pattern — from both sides.

It would seem now that the answer to the question: Can vulnerability be powerful in your relationship?



Now, Here’s The Paradox...

  • On the one hand, deep sexual turn-on comes from the connection that you get through the power of vulnerability

YES! Vulnerability = turn-on

  • On the other hand, having a centered, strong masculine presence — and even being a little bit Dark Knight (ie, Dom, ‘dangerous’) is ALSO such a turn-on.

So, how do you bring BOTH?

You don’t wanna be an asshole…

But it’s also not a good idea to be a wet mop overrun by emotions (this is what most people’s idea of vulnerability seems to be)

You know what? It’s a dance.

You might hate that metaphor, but it’s a fucking good one. Because you need to be skilled at shifting with the moment, bringing different kinds of energy, and tuning in — letting your relationship be ever-unfolding, ever evolving.

Yep, you don’t get to settle and relax forever in some kind of ‘certainty’ paradigm.

That’s a sure way to kill sex.

What is SUUUUUPER hot in BDSM circles is mixing dark energy with periods of sweet soothing.

It’s so irresistible.

That's how vulnerability can be powerful.

Having that foundation of safety, deep listening, being that ground of support for her with your delicious strength and presence, AND sharing your authentic truth (hello vulnerability!)

And from that, also bringing your seducer, sex god, dark knight energies sometimes too.

It’s an art form you get to refine over your lifetime!

The best work of art, the best dance -

THIS is where the spice of life is.

Master the Art of Relating to Women

If you’re looking for more on how to master the art of relating to women — check out my free guide: Download my “4 Keys for Passion” here and discover how to:

  • Show up as a powerful presence that women love (no more worries about being seen as ‘creepy’)

  • Fix your ‘upper limit’ so you can actually receive the pleasure and connection you’re longing for

  • Create high-quality relationships across the board in your life (with your partner, kids, parents, boss, and friends)

With love,

Dr. Jessica


P.S. Join my free Facebook community: Passionate Relationships for Powerful Men for more tantric wisdom on how to master the art of relating to women.

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