Where Growth Happens

Love & Vulnerability

Love & Vulnerability goes together like snow and Northern winter’s in the United States of America; which if you’re from anywhere up north in the USA understand that you can’t have one without the other. In fact, if we were to have winter without snow a northerner might think the world was about to end.

Much like cold winters, love comes across excruciatingly cold if vulnerability isn’t attached with it and yet many people are attempting to modern-day date without being vulnerable (myself included). It begs the question, are people looking for love or are they looking for someone to help pass the time with? The truth of the situation is there’s no true love without true vulnerability which I’ll explain in a bit.

In my writing’s, articles and conversations I use to say there’s no wrong way to love because we’re all shaped by the environments we grew up in, the past relationships we loved in and the belief boxes we’ve placed ourselves in when it comes to understanding love but we know through experiencing life we can love incorrectly right? So I don’t say there’s no wrong way to love anymore because it’s inaccurate.

Clearly wrong love is done through physical abuse, mental abuse and cheating to name a few but outside of that, it’s not that someone is loving you the wrong way, it’s that they’re loving you the only way they know how and their type of love doesn’t make you feel loved. They’re loving you the right way for them and vice versa. Getting that person to love the correct way that works for you is up to both people involved to teach, listen and learn.

Past Experiences teach us how to love but that doesn’t mean it taught us how to specifically love you. -Jay Noetic

The correct way to love is through vulnerability but vulnerability is scary as shit, let’s just call a spade a spade and call it what it is. We know what vulnerability isn’t and it isn’t easy to be and still, we expect others to be vulnerable before you and I in the dating world and I think we all know that’s unfair and likely to fail at each attempt of finding love.

Vulnerability has a negative connotation attached to it which may explain why so many avoid it (especially men) and if you look up the definition of the word vulnerable it’s not defined as anything good. It’s defined as “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm” and one of the main synonyms for the word vulnerable is “defenseless”. Let me ask you two question’s, can you find love being always guarded? Can you give love if you’re guarded in your actions?

Love requires that you let down your guard, love requires that you become emotionally defenseless and love requires that you see the person trying to get to know you enough to love you as your friend and not your enemy. It’s about trusting in your ability to distinguish between an ally and a foe, it’s about remembering that the hurt you remember from being vulnerable in your past relationships don’t define the rest of your potential relationships unless you let it.

For whatever reason vulnerability seems to come easier for most women than it does for most men. Why is that? We can debate for day’s but here’s a semi attempt at explaining based on living as man. Men for most of our lives have been educated by societal norms on being strong, non-emotional and stern and it takes a special woman coming into our lives to show us the softer side of things and the other side of things. Sorry ladies but we don’t know how to take chances on love until we have no other option but to. This isn’t because we don’t want to it’s because love requires being emotionally available and most men are not emotionally available at first.

Most of us (women and men) know nothing about complete openness and most of us don’t know what it feels like to let anyone see our true selves because inside our true selves is a complicated web of messy energy that we’ve never sorted out and we’re scared if someone see’s that, it will scare them away. Truthfully, the one or two times that we’ve actually decided to be vulnerable it backfired and now we hold on to those painful memories and experiences like our lives depend on it.

The sad truth is that by holding on to that painful past experiences and memories it actually sucks the life out of us and that energy can be felt when we’re on a date with someone and that scares more people away than our messy deeper issues. You owe it to yourself to take more chances on finding a life partner and the only way to find that life partner is by first being vulnerable with the person who reciprocates exactly what you’re giving to them.

Once love arrives and is found it requires communication to the highest degree to sustain it and mold it into a loving, defenseless and passionate relationship. Passion dies when communication subsides. Remember that!

I personally will be working on my vulnerability beginning with the very next young lady that comes into my life. I’m going to trust in the process of love and take more chances in love with a focus on being less guarded. That’s scary as hell but growing old by myself scares me more.

Now, I can’t speak for women because obviously I’m a man and I can only give you the man’s perspective from the outside looking in but it appears that more women are taking on characteristics that were once associated with men and not being emotionally available seems to be one of those characteristics.

Maybe this “I don’t want to be vulnerable” trait has always been part of women as well, maybe society taught little girls to shoot for marriage, kids, house and a picket fence but not vulnerability. I don’t know, maybe some of my women readers can speak on this but what I do know is that modern-day dating feels like standing outside in a New York winter with no long johns and Parka jacket, meaning “hey, it’s cold out here” (in New York Italian voice). Maybe women are just getting pay back for all the years of men being unattached.

What I do know is in a recent study published in the Journal of Social Psychology, showed that men were more likely to fall in love within a few weeks, while most women said it took several months. In another survey taken in London (don’t let that dissuade you, after-all, all men are the same right?) one in five men claimed to have fallen in love at first sight. Just over half were smitten after one meeting and nearly three-quarters had lost their hearts within three dates.

In contrast, only one in ten women said they had experienced love at first sight. Most waited until at least the sixth date before deciding whether or not they had found the ‘real thing’. In that same survey most men were likely to say “I love you first” than most women. So really, who’s the least likely to be vulnerable first? Men or Women?

I personally believe that most men have a harder time expressing themselves than women  and I believe finally making a decision to be with someone comes easier for women because they ask more serious questions in the initial dating phases. But if the study and survey holds any weight then once the right woman comes into a man’s life that man has no problem being vulnerable first.

The fact is, no one is innocent in this debacle of the dating world that we’re living in right now but everyone is responsible for setting realistic dating expectations. The question for all of us single people should not be who’s more vulnerable but instead how do we become vulnerable together.

And to that question I have no certifiable answer but I think honest communication with self and the people we’re dating is a great place to start. If we can learn to look at vulnerability as a strength and not a weakness I think we can begin to change the scene. We clearly have bigger issues between men and women but I have no doubt that the people who’ve found love; found love by being open for a potential attack and setback but kept pushing onward regardless………..now, where’s my parka?

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” ― Brené Brown,

 

 

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