Background: My boyfriend says he wants to be my support and my shoulder. He says he loves me (I was his first love 32 year ago and we reconnected), that he cares for me and wants to be there for me no matter what. We have good times, we laugh and joke and express love in many ways. He has troubles which he shares with me but he says little things such as "I want a strong woman in my life", "Ive had enough negative things in life and dont want any more" and "I really just want to communicate when are not feeling tension". Yet he turns around and says I can be vulnerable with him. I am confused...

Question: How can I be vulnerable with him without seeming to be weak? I have troubles, too and I cant figure out how to lean on him when I feel he will see this as weakness.


Answers


bella
1434 days ago
Hi Nomoretogive,

have you experienced a negative relationship in the past - it sounds like you're through with complicated relationships and I understand this. Saying "I want a strong woman" is a fairly ambiguous statement, so you need to ask him what he means. You can also talk about how you need honesty and the ability to share your vulnerabilities as well. A person can be strong and sometimes vulnerable.

It all boils down to communication, understanding and honesty. Men and women communicate and interpret in different ways - hopefully you can share ideas and find a common ground. If you find you have to stifle your own feelings to preserve his feelings, this isn't a good sign. Best of luck.



Edahn
1434 days ago
First off, it takes strength to be vulnerable, not weakness. It takes guts to admit what you're really feeling. To me, that's what vulnerable means: not that you cry and hug him, but that you admit whatever's going on.

What's going on NOW is actually staring at you in the face. You are confused about what he's asking for and wants. So to me, your first step should be admitting your confusion. That is being vulnerable.

In general, I think the best way to think about being vulnerable is not going to your partner to FIX what you perceive as broken or heal you (which is the way I think most people conceive of it). I think the superior way to think of it is just opening up and sharing for the sake of knowledge. Tell him what's happening without any particular expectations. When you have that mentality, you can keep your composure and relate to each other from a healthy place, rather than a needy place. That makes for good intimacy, rather than dependency.

G'luck! And remember, he might not know everything and might need some help in steering this relationship. Use your best judgment and think about things critically, rather than just accepting that "this is the way it's done."



Nomoretogive
1434 days ago
Thank you bellacutie, yes, I have had nothing but negative relationships in the past. All the way from both my parents, to my siblings, lovers and husbands. I have learned that noone really wants to bear or hear your troubles even if they say they do. My family cant seem to let the past go as if they never reached out to me, it is continuously brought up. I was hoping there was one man, one person who actually was a soft place to land but I am getting this Charlie Brown feeling when Lucy is holding the football for him to kick. Lucy promises she will not pull it away so when he kicks he falls flat on his face and Charlie Brown keeps believing her. You guessed it... bam, splat.



Nomoretogive
1434 days ago
Edahn, your words sound solid. I may have to read and reread them to gain the confidence to be your definition of vulnerable. The other night he mentioned that I am too sensitive (because I let my mother get to me when she is mean) so here is the tiger chasing her tail: would I come off as too sensitive if I explain my confusion to him? Okay, after I submit this I am going to study what you wrote and figure out how to approach this with him without being weak or sensitive - I guess that means no crying? lol



Edahn
1434 days ago
There are different kinds of crying. There's the crying that happens when you feel so in touch with yourself and open-hearted, embracing your own "flaws," where you're just so filled with beauty that you start to tear. The other kind of crying is when you're just so afraid and hopeless and miserable and hysterical. If you just remember that you're a student of life, that you don't have everything figured out but that you're learning, and that you have nothing to be ashamed about, you'll be headed in the right direction. Another way to arrive at that attitude is to remind yourself that ultimately, ULTIMATELY, your peace of mind is going to be a product of your own self-acceptance, not the acceptance from a separate person.

I don't think your confusion is a symptom of, or reaction due to, being oversensitive. You're confused because this-vulnerability, intimacy, authenticity-is a confusing subject. Not only do we often lack good teachers growing up, but there's so much information floating out there about what a good relationship is supposed to be like that, when coupled with some of the messages he's sent, there's bound to be confusion. Like I said, you're figuring this out. We all are.



lynprice
1434 days ago
nomoretogive, this relationship sounds too complicated and you do not sound happy or relaxed in it. A good relationship should be one where both parties can be vulnerable(and comfortable) without one of them driving themselves crazy with over thinking so as to avoid losing the other person. I had this in some early relationships before I learned that IF it is a healthy relationship, why am I so miserable jumping through HIS hoops? If this cannot be talked out and behavior changed, I would walk away. It is a lot cheaper and a lot less hurtful to avoid a bad relationship rather than having to divorce one.



Nomoretogive
1433 days ago
I think my handle actually says it all right now. I sit here after not hearing from him for the past two days thinking what did I do wrong. He could just be busy with his family (two teenagers, an exwife and a mother), his job in which he works long hours, and other day-to-day stuff that eats away at the rest of his daylight hours... and I cant cry. I dont even have the desire to email him to go over all of this. I literally have no more to give. I have no compunction to be around my family, especially my mother who is aggressive. She even was to him when she found out we were in a serious realtionship. Could that be why he isnt calling me? He says she plays no part in how he feels about me. I dont know, I guess I just dont feel anything anymore. I am nearly 49 years old and I read about such hurt and anger and depression here in teenagers and it breaks my heart that you feel what I am feeling at so young an age. I want to give you all hugs.



Nomoretogive
1433 days ago
lynprice: I see what you are saying. There are other factors playing roles in my life right now that I have to make sure to separate them to determine how I actually feel about my situation with him. I dont want to lose out on a great man and great relationship because I jumped the gun or attributed one set of feeling where it should not go. Assuming things is all I am doing right now based on some gloomy feelings I am harbouring. I do have to talk with him, yes, and I will but not until I can sort this out. Being able to express this here with your feedback is a step in the right direction so please keep it up. Thank you all so very much and I am absorbing what you are saying.