Vulnerability means deciding not to hide your emotions, no matter the consequences. It means being open about your thoughts and feelings without worrying about what others may think of you.
So, if a man shows vulnerability to a woman, does that mean he doesn’t care about what she thinks of him? Actually, the answer is quite the opposite. When a man is vulnerable with a woman, he’s choosing to show her who he really is and to offer himself to her to love.
Keep reading to find out what it means to be vulnerable, what vulnerability isn’t, and what it looks like in a man who’s not afraid to show it.
What Does It Mean When A Man Is Vulnerable With A Woman?
When a man is vulnerable with a woman, he’s proving that he’s ready to start falling in love. He’s not trying to impress her or to make her fall for him with some scheme. He’s telling her, “Look, this is who I am.” He’s not asking her to love him but telling her that he’s ready to give her all of himself.
The foundation of healthy relationships is honesty, and emotional honesty is an important part of it. By choosing to be open about his thoughts, feelings, dreams, and fears, a man shows a woman that what he wants with her is a profound emotional bond based on honesty and trust.
Is vulnerability a sign of weakness?
If, when you think about vulnerability, you’re picturing something like a guy crying and slobbering all over you while you’re hugging him and giving him head pats, you have the wrong idea of what it means.
It has nothing to do with obvious displays of difficult feelings – it’s about becoming comfortable with your feelings instead of hiding them. Vulnerability is strength, and that’s the beautiful thing about it. It means refusing to hide who you are. This is why it’s so vital when it comes to building deep emotional connections.
Playing it cool and not showing your feelings, protecting yourself from getting hurt by never giving yourself a chance of an experience – that’s what it means to be weak. Luckily, with some practice, it’s possible to become stronger and allow yourself to open up.
What’s the difference between being vulnerable and being needy?
It might seem like there’s a fine line between being vulnerable and needy, but there’s one crucial difference: intent. Neediness means depending on others to meet our needs without consideration for their own. Vulnerability means taking responsibility for your needs and knowing that others aren’t to blame if they can’t meet them.
VULNERABILITY: This is why vulnerability is so scary. You open yourself up and expose your deepest, rawest feelings, and yet, you know that the person you shared it all with has every right not to meet your needs.
A man who can show vulnerability will let you know that he loves you, but he’s ready to accept rejection without blaming you. It’s excruciating to put your most delicate feelings out there and know that the other person doesn’t have to respond in the way you’d like them to and to accept you, so think of the great strength a truly vulnerable man has.
NEEDINESS: On the other hand, a man who shows you his feelings to get you to reciprocate is needy. If he’s behaving in a certain way just to get you to like him, he’s not being genuine. That doesn’t mean that those aren’t his real feelings, but the problem is that he expects you to do something about it.
At first, it might seem like there’s not really anything wrong with a man doing something because he wants you to like him. However, in the long-term, someone who doesn’t know how to meet their own needs can’t be a reliable partner until they learn.
A relationship with a needy person whose happiness wholly depends on you will make you both unhappy. You’ll be unable to meet all of his needs because it’s impossible, which will make him feel insecure and unloved and leave you with resentment and disappointment.
Men who fake vulnerability
Speaking of men who only act vulnerable, apart from the needy kind, there’s the manipulative kind: a man who believes that there’s something in it for him.
How do you recognize a man who’s trying to manipulate you by pretending to be vulnerable?
The most obvious sign is when he demands something from you in return for his vulnerability. He’s being manipulative if he’s acting vulnerable just to look vulnerable when he’s, in fact, using it as a tool to get you interested.
If he insists on you giving him a chance after you reject him or tries to use tactics to make you change your mind, he’s not being authentic – he’s being manipulative. If he wants to convince you of his worthiness, even when you tell him you’re not interested, he’s being manipulative.
A man who genuinely shows you his vulnerability isn’t doing it to seduce you but because he’s honest about who he is.
What does vulnerability look like in a man?
The signs of vulnerability in a man are all about authenticity – showing his real self to you, knowing that he has no control over how you’ll respond.
1. He’s honest with you.
Real honesty equals vulnerability, and it’s terrifying. Being honest with someone gives them the power to turn it around and use it against you, so when a man is honest with you, he’s giving you that power. He’s jumping without a safety net and showing you the courage he has.
2. He’s himself around you.
Showing his authentic self and not hiding his true nature tells you that he’s comfortable around you but also that he believes you’re worth it. No one can be vulnerable with everyone, and we choose people who deserve it. When he shows you who he truly is, he’s telling you that you do.
3. He shows you different sides of himself.
People act differently in different situations: for example, at work, he’s the confident career-oriented man, but with his family, he’s the funny youngest brother. If he’s open about what he’s like and lets you see him when he’s upset and when he’s happy, when he’s sick and when he’s tired, it’s a sign of vulnerability.
4. He’s open about his failures and flaws.
A sign that a man is showing you his vulnerability is if he’s not trying to be his best self around you. If he doesn’t hide his true feelings, if he tells you about his imperfections and flaws, he wants you to really know him, just the way he is.
5. He lets you into his world.
Sharing personal things doesn’t mean that he’s only sharing things about his experiences, but that he lets you inside his world. This means that he makes space and time for you and includes you in his life. He has nothing to hide and wants you to be there for everything.
A man who is willing to be vulnerable with you won’t make you speculate about his exes, his past love life, and where he’s been. If you ask or if there’s something really important that you should know about, he’ll tell you.
What he won’t do, however, is unload all his undealt-with trauma and make you feel like it’s somehow your responsibility to heal him. If he does that, he’s the needy kind.
7. He talks about his feelings.
The idea of a man who doesn’t want to talk about his feelings is basically a cliché. This stems from the fact that a lot of men think that showing any emotions apart from anger makes them weak. A strong, vulnerable man isn’t afraid of his own emotions and talks about them, letting you in.
8. He tells you what’s on his mind.
When a man is vulnerable with a woman, he doesn’t expect her to read his mind, and vice versa. He tells you when something bothers him or when he’s sorry about something. He expresses his gratitude and tells you when something you did upset him.
9. He asks you for help or advice.
A man doesn’t have to be perfectly self-sufficient. When a man is vulnerable, he’s not afraid of turning to you when he needs help with something or when he needs advice. In this way, he’s not only sharing a part of himself with you, but he’s also letting you in on his life decisions and showing you he wants you in his life.
10. He makes you feel loved.
People who keep their romantic partners at a distance are trying to protect themselves from potential heartache. When a man is vulnerable with a woman, he doesn’t hide how he feels about her or play it cool. If he loves you, he’ll make you feel loved, but he won’t smother you or make you feel obligated to respond in the same way.
11. He wants to know the real you.
In the same way that he shows you his true self, he wants to know you too. By being vulnerable with you, he’s proving that you can be vulnerable with him too. He trusts you not to abuse the power he’s given you, so he wants you to trust him with your inner self as well. The more of you he knows, the more of you he will love.
12. He communicates even when it’s difficult.
Some topics are hard, and a lot of people would rather sweep them under the rug and never even think about them. Being vulnerable means opening up about those things too. It’s hard, but sharing your burden makes it lighter.
13. He admits his mistakes.
It takes courage to admit your mistakes, and many men feel like mistakes are a sign of weakness, so they hide them. Admitting his mistakes shows not only vulnerability but maturity and responsibility, and it lets you know that you’re dealing with a real man.
14. He shows you his appreciation.
A man who is vulnerable with you will let you know that he appreciates you without waiting for you to ask for it. He’ll do it first by telling you how he feels, then show it in many ways, such as showing you affection, buying you gifts, and spending quality time with you.
15. He speaks up.
No relationship is perfect, and to prevent misunderstandings and escalating problems, he doesn’t avoid confrontation. He won’t keep quiet when he’s upset by something you’ve done or when he doesn’t like something. This shows his commitment because, by speaking up, he’s not letting things pile up and cause resentment.
What does it mean when a man is vulnerable with you?
A man being vulnerable means that he’s making his feelings and needs known without expecting or pressuring you to step up and take responsibility. He knows that he might be rejected, and he’s ready to accept it.
This shows how much he’s prepared to put on the line to share his authentic self with you.
1. He’s strong.
It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable. Men are taught to fear being seen as weak and inadequate, so a lot of them put up a front of false bravado and pretend to be tough. A man who throws away insecurity and shame about who he is and how he feels shows true strength.
2. He trusts you.
A man who is strong enough to be vulnerable knows that he has to find ways to meet his own needs instead of placing that responsibility on you. Still, your reaction will have an effect on him, so the fact that he’s showing you his vulnerable side shows that he has no trust issues when it comes to you.
3. He feels an emotional bond between you.
Because he trusts you, you can tell that he’s already feeling an emotional connection with you. Emotional bonds and vulnerability go hand in hand – the more open you are, the more deeply you connect and want to share more. He can trust you and keep sharing his feelings because you’re already emotionally connected.
4. He wants to strengthen your relationship.
He wants more from your relationship – he wants to develop the emotional bond he feels with you into an even deeper connection. You’re already connected because you know each other’s real selves. This is what vulnerability is all about: continuously sharing yourself with others and creating stronger bonds with them.
5. He’s serious about you
Vulnerability isn’t only limited to romantic relationships. People are open with their friends and family members, and this is how we stay connected to the people we love. When he’s serious about you, he includes you among his loved ones – you’re his best friend, his partner, and his love.
6. He’s comfortable with you.
Nothing is as comforting as being able to be your genuine self with another human being. If he’s able to be with you without hiding anything about who he is, it means that you make it possible for him. You’re his comfort and his safe space where he can be who he is without fear and shame.
What are some ways a man can be vulnerable with a woman?
It’s all in what seem to be the little things but are really things that are hard to do. Vulnerability takes practice, so it won’t always be easy for him to show his genuine self at all times. Sometimes he might slip and pull back, but if you assure him that you won’t judge him, it will help him get back on track.
Here are some ways a man shows vulnerability to a woman:
• He asks for what he needs.
• He doesn’t expect you to put his needs ahead of your own.
• He tells you if he has a problem.
• He talks about difficult topics.
• He asks for help when he needs it.
• He says “I miss you” when he misses you.
• He says “I love you” without an agenda.
• He admits if his feelings aren’t there yet.
• He asks you about your worries.
• He shares his own fears.
• He tells you when you’ve upset him.
• He tells you when you’ve made him happy.
• He tells you about his uncertainties.
• He apologizes when he does something wrong.
• He admits his mistakes.
• He asks when he wants to know something about you.
• He says thank you.
• He tells you what he wants.
• He tells you how he feels.
• He’s honest about what he thinks about something.
• He shows care.
What stops someone from being vulnerable?
Letting your guard down is no easy task, and there are lots of things that can make it even harder. Loving someone means giving them the power to hurt you. Loving someone and showing it to them with all that you are multiplies that power.
Keeping your heart closed keeps you safe, but it also stops you from feeling a deep connection to another person. It takes great strength to be vulnerable, and avoiding it means protecting yourself from potential pain. Bad experiences, mental health issues, and upbringing can all make being vulnerable even more difficult.
So it’s understandable why some people find it difficult. For men, it’s especially hard because they’ve been taught that vulnerability is a weakness and that being weak means that you’re less of a man. Only the strongest and most secure men are able to reject this and put their own genuine masculinity ahead of what society teaches them.
How to learn to be more vulnerable
Becoming more vulnerable will open doors to closer connections, deeper emotional bonds, and fulfilling long-term relationships. Learning to become more open isn’t complicated, but putting it into practice isn’t easy. Still, the enrichment it brings is worth it.
A relationship coach can help you if you find it challenging, but there are some small steps you can use every day to get into the habit of being more vulnerable.
1. Be honest with yourself. This is the most important step. Unless you’re open about your needs and feelings and understand your authentic self, it’s impossible to become close with other people.
2. Learn to meet your own needs. When you don’t have to depend on others to take responsibility when you express your feelings, it’s much easier to do.
3. Start small. Start by being sincere about things that aren’t too scary. For example, if you’ve bought an item of clothing because you’ve seen a celebrity wear it, don’t lie and say you had it first. Admit these small things, and don’t try to be cool to slowly open up.
4. Become genuinely interested in people. You might wonder what this has to do with your vulnerability. When you listen to others and pay attention to who they are, showing who you are becomes easier.
5. Accept that your vulnerability can bring you pain but that you don’t have to hide it after it does. This is the hard one and will probably take some time, but this acceptance is key to becoming more vulnerable.
When a man is vulnerable with a woman, he’s showing his strength, his trust, and his willingness to connect with her. Vulnerability is hard, but the deep emotional bonds it makes possible are worth it. Closing off your heart to protect it is easier, but in the end, it keeps you away from love.