Cleo's Dating Blog

Vulnerability

Posted on: July 5, 2010

What do you think of when you hear the word vulnerable? What character traits do you associate with vulnerability?

I think of Bambi. I typically associate vulnerability with weakness, immaturity, ignorance, insecurity, or helplessness. It is not something to aspire too or even admit to being. It can cause problems in relationships, act as a hindrance to life’s challenges, and be a driving force for depression. I think of babies, kittens, and wounded antelope.

However, my whole opinion of vulnerability has changed in the past few months. Based on personal experience, I now believe that are healthy and non-healthy forms of being vulnerable.

Many people fear being vulnerable in a relationship. If you are vulnerable, you forfeit some of your control to your significant other. You become an individual that is unable to fulfill your needs or wants independently and thus are relying on that man or woman to fill that void in your life. Whether it is lack of love, loneliness, insecurity, longing for companionship, etc., as a vulnerable person, you are looking for someone else to solve your problems. In my last serious relationship, I was definitely that person. My heart physically hurt when my boyfriend and I were not together because I felt that I “needed” him. I was constantly yearning for affection, for my boyfriend to make me feel beautiful, and for him to validate that he wanted to be with me. I would become anxious if we didn’t see each other three times a week, if he hadn’t texted me by 10am, or if he wanted to spend time with his friends instead of me. I was crazy! I basically handed him on my heart on silver platter and expected him to know what to do with it to make me happy. Why would I ever assume that was realistic?

I’m sure readers can infer that this relationship did not last. I mean, it is hard to date a needy person that expects you to climb mountains for them from day one. The relationship transforms from fun and exciting to nothing but work, obligation, and drama. Eww.

However, there is a different way of looking at vulnerability then what I just described. The unhealthy version illustrated above is where your vulnerability becomes a tool for you to transfer your “baggage” to another person. (It is okay to admit that you have some baggage- everyone does). Signs that someone is doing this is when the words “I need a boyfriend” come out of her or his month or if she or he is constantly on the prowl and is not happy until they find a guy. Once in a relationship, these people are constantly under satisfied, disappointed, anxious, and high maintenance because they are expecting their significant other to know how to fill their emotional holes. This is not something that you can realistically expect.

We need to eliminate this type of vulnerability from our lives entirely. Although I have never been married, I believe this type of behavior is NEVER appropriate, even in a relationship bound by the sanctity of marriage. Expecting someone else to “fix” you is just impossible.

It may sound like I am expecting you to be  a lonely spinster that knits all day and does not date, but that is not what I mean. I am not even proposing that you must “fix” or figure out all your emotional needs before you can have a healthy relationship.

Instead…

1. Stop being in denial. Take time to truly recognize and identify with the issues of your heart. Personally, I often feel lonely and just want stability from a man. I want to be able to share my inner most feelings with him, be the little spoon, and have that person in my life that I can always count on. I want to be so well connected that even if we act irrationally, he knows what type of person I am and will still  be there for me, and vis versa.

2. Accept these insecurities or vulnerabilities as part of who you are. I do not mean this in a sinister way, but your emotional needs are not going to be fulfilled anytime soon- not in day, a week, or a month. I think it took me a about six months of deep thinking and personal reflection to get to the point  where I love and accept my loneliness as part of what makes me Cleo. When I am dating a guy, I am now able to express what I want or need without expecting anything. I am not waiting for a guy to take my heart in his hand and kiss away the loneliness or be that stable rock in my life that I can build a safe haven on. I do not need that.

I like my loneliness. It adds dimension to my personality, connects me with others, and gives me a way to measure the growth of my maturity. The crazy thing is that I honestly mean that. I am at such peace with every aspect of who I am that there is nothing someone could say to make me embarrassed or insecure about who I am emotionally (I am not as stable in all areas of my life, like my career abilities, but I am working on those too). At this time in my life, I do not want a man to come around that thinks he can fix my loneliness. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a man I can trust my feelings with, but deep down, I will always know that if he were not around, I would be fine and just as happy.

Knowing your own weaknesses, strengths, desires, and quirks will empower you to take control of your emotions and raise your self-confidence to a whole new level.

I feel so liberated writing this post and so happy that you are reading it. I hope it helps you on your dating journey and in realizing how you would not be as amazing without your vulnerabilities.

Best,

Cleo

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