You don’t see the Gary Coopers, the Chuck Norris’, and the Clint Eastwoods’ of the world letting their guard down, talking about what’s been bothering them, do you? This conditioning is precisely why men correlate vulnerability with weakness, and ironically, that’s also why when a man is vulnerable with a woman, it ends up being a beautiful thing.
That’s not to say that all men are the splitting images of the stoic, mustachioed, “serious” men that we mentioned. Some tend to be more vulnerable than others, but the point remains that vulnerability is essential to be able to connect with someone on a deeper level.
Why would a guy be vulnerable with you? Is he hinting at a deeper connection, or does his vulnerability not mean much? Let’s take a look at what’s going through his mind when he finally lets his guard down.
What Does It Mean When A Man Is Vulnerable With A Woman?
Before we get to what it means when a man is vulnerable with a woman, let’s talk about what we mean when we say vulnerability. No, it’s not when someone opens up and expects something in return for “letting them in,” or when a person inconsiderately trauma dumps on someone and leaves the listener feeling distraught since they weren’t ready to handle the intensity of the conversation.
It’s also not when a person shares their pain and hopes their partner will fix them, or when they try to gain sympathy so that their bad behavior can be excused, or when they can coerce their partner into doing something by playing the victim card. Simply put, vulnerability is when a person, without any ulterior motives, opens up about their fears, weaknesses, emotions and flaws. It’s when a person lets their guard down, only to foster a stronger connection with whoever they’re talking to.
As Paulo Coelho puts it, “The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.” When a man is vulnerable with a woman, he’s letting her know that he is letting his guard down, and he’s not afraid to appear fragile in front of her, despite how fragility in men is often associated with weakness.
When a guy friend is vulnerable with you, it almost always results in a deeper connection. You get to know someone better – their fears and ambitions, their inhibitions and insecurities – and just because you’ve been listening, they feel closer to you. If you’re wondering what makes a man vulnerable to a woman, in most cases (assuming that it’s not a toxic coercion technique), It’s because they feel the need to unburden themselves to someone they can confide in, trusting that the listener won’t think any less of them for doing so.
Now that we have a clearer picture of what it means, let’s talk about what happens when a man is vulnerable with a woman, and why he chooses to be so.
9 Things That Happen When A Man Is Vulnerable With A Woman
Some people can find it difficult to admit to being vulnerable, even to themselves. Admitting that there are some unresolved issues in a dark corner of your mind means that you’re making them real, and that you’ll have to deal with them.
In an attempt to protect ourselves, we may often ignore the things we know we need to deal with. That’s why, for those who find it difficult to open up, finally doing so with another person who they might feel deeply in love with, can change a lot of things for them.
Let’s take a look at what happens when a man is vulnerable with a woman, what’s running through his mind and what changes the relationship might possibly go through.
1. He becomes his authentic self
When he lets his guard down and admits that he’s worried about the path his career is headed toward, he’s not thinking about portraying a favorable image of himself to you. He is being his authentic self, complete with a few anxious, imagined, worst-case scenarios he has been replaying over and over in his head.
We all have fears, and always trying to portray an image of fearlessness often indicates either a lack of connection, trust issues in the relationship, or ulterior motives. If you see the signs of vulnerability in a man or see that a guy friend is vulnerable with you, consider it an indication that he feels comfortable enough to be himself with you.
2. When a man is vulnerable with a woman, it enhances emotional intimacy
When a person is comfortable enough to let their guard down and tell you what’s been going through their mind, it’s bound to lead to the development of emotional intimacy in your bond. However, it’s important to note his intentions behind his venting. Is he doing so, hoping that you’ll have the answers to his problems, or is he doing so because he wants to establish a deeper connection with you?
Figuring that out is easy. If you reciprocate his vulnerability by being vulnerable yourself, the way he listens to you will tell you what his intentions were. If it seems like he couldn’t be bothered, he’s probably just talking to you to rant and doesn’t care much about how you’re doing.
On the other hand, if he’s listening as intently as you were, looking into your eyes and giving a few nods every now and then, that signifies a wholehearted attempt at fostering a unique connection.
3. Sexual vulnerability can lead to better physical intimacy
Due to past experiences or the “in control” image men think they’re supposed to have in bed, he may not open up during sex. He might not talk about the insecurities and fears he deals with, which essentially means he’s withholding his emotions. Unless you bare yourself – in all aspects of the word – you won’t achieve true sexual intimacy.
When a man is vulnerable with a woman in bed, he’s shrugging off all the performance anxiety, all his past fears and all his insecurities, as if to say, “I love you, and I’m not afraid to be myself with you, even during this intimate act.” The signs of vulnerability in a man in bed will in turn prompt his partner to be vulnerable, which can lead to an explosive yet safe space that you two create and share.
4. He will confide in you more often
Why would a guy be vulnerable with you? It’s because he knows that you’re someone he can be himself with and he won’t be judged for it. If you reacted favorably to the last time he put his guard down, he knows he can count on you emotionally and he’ll do so again when he wants to. That’s also probably when he thinks you’re “the one” for him.
A confession during those long drives or just an admission of guilt during those late-night phone calls can be all it takes to know that he trusts you.
5. You’ll be more empathetic
Vulnerability begets trust, compassion, support and respect. Hence, when a man is vulnerable with a woman, and she’s vulnerable with him, it can result in both of you being more empathetic in your relationship.
When two people are more empathetic toward each other, there’s more compassion and kindness in the dynamic. By walking a mile in your partner’s shoes – which is a tall order if you’re both upset – you’ll inadvertently make sure you’re not making any harsh decisions or saying hurtful things.
6. Communication will improve
When you’re not afraid of letting your guard down and opening up to someone, the resulting conversations won’t feel forced or pressured. Think about it, when he’s talking about his anxieties and the things that he fears, he’s going to be his truest self, not worrying about the kind of persona he needs to maintain.
And when it’s reciprocated by the listener, it’s going to result in communication that will be honest, empathetic and devoid of judgment. Talking to someone, especially a romantic partner, becomes easier, and ironing out any differences or future conflicts will be smoother too.
Related Reading: 11 Ways To Improve Communication In Relationships
7. When a man is vulnerable with a woman, he makes her feel heard
An equal conversation is one that doesn’t make it seem like he’s waiting for you to talk so he can continue talking. When a conversation entails vulnerability and reciprocity, you’re not going to feel that way. If you decide to open up to him, he’s going to make sure he listens to you intently, just as you listened to him.
As a result, you feel heard, validated and respected. What makes a man vulnerable to a woman? It’s the desire to establish a deeper bond and establish mutual respect with someone he trusts.
8. He starts to value you in his life
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s not easy for some people to let others see their vulnerabilities. Especially in the case of some men, who have grown up believing that the only way to get through la vida loca is to appear stoic and unphased by whatever life throws at you. Hence, when a man is vulnerable with a woman, it’s almost an admission of the fact that he values her presence in his life.
He knows that if something bad were to happen, this person can be trusted to lend an ear and have his back. He will do things for you to express his care for you. Even if he’s someone who finds it very easy to be vulnerable with a lot of people, he still values and trusts you enough to let himself be that way around you.
9. You (potentially) move one step closer toward a healthy bond
Establishing a “healthy” relationship depends on a myriad of factors. There needs to be mutual respect, trust, compassion and a lot of effective communication. When a man is vulnerable with a woman, you move one step closer toward achieving such a bond, by being able to effectively communicate with each other and trusting each other.
When a guy friend is vulnerable with you, you often feel closer to that person than most of your other friends, don’t you? Though romantic relationships and friendships are very different, it’s still a step in the right direction.
Now that you have a better insight to the question, “Why would a guy be vulnerable with you?”, you really know what’s going on during those late-night conversations. A vulnerable conversation can lead to more empathy, better emotional intimacy and a better sex life among other things. The next time he opens up about his fears with you, please know that it probably took some courage for him to be able to do so. Acknowledge this act of vulnerability by giving him your undivided attention. He deserves it.