You don’t see the Chuck Norris’ and the Clint Eastwoods of the world letting their guard down, talking about what’s been bothering them and their relationship fears, 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 men are the spitting images of the stoic, mustachioed, “serious” men that we mentioned.
In fact, most men crave more flexibility in that gender role and expression. No wonder, according to research, contrary to what most people think, vulnerability in men is actually a strength. In order to be a strong and healthy individual, vulnerability must take place with the people that you have built trust with. In doing so, one strengthens relationships, improves mental health, and improves the quality of life.
So, why would a guy be vulnerable with you? Is he hinting at a deeper connection, or that’s just the way he is? Let’s take a look at what’s going through his mind when he is finally opening up in a relationship.
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 by ‘vulnerability.’ There is a fine line between trauma dumping and letting it all out. Vulnerability is ‘not’ the following things:
- It’s not when someone opens up and expects something in return for “letting them in”
- It’s not 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 not when a person shares their pain in the hopes that their partner will fix them
- It’s not when they try to gain sympathy so that their bad behavior can be excused
- It’s not 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.” That’s what being vulnerable means. When a man is vulnerable with a woman, these are the things on his mind:
- 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 is being vulnerable with a woman, he might be aiming for a deeper connection
- He wants her to get to know him better – his fears and ambitions, his inhibitions and insecurities, and his needs
- Because you’ve been listening, he feels 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.
Related Reading: 9 Examples Of Being Vulnerable With A Man
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 guy shares his vulnerabilities with you, what’s running through his mind, and what changes the relationship might 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 is showing his actual thoughts to you. He’s not thinking about portraying a favorable image of himself to you. He is being his true self, complete with a few anxious, imagined, worst-case scenarios he has been replaying over and over in his head. 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.
We all have fears, and when someone is hesitant while opening up in a relationship, it often indicates these things:
- A lack of emotional connection
- Trust issues in the relationship
- Ulterior motives like being interested in someone else
- Fear of being judged
2. When a man is vulnerable with a woman, it enhances emotional intimacy
Brene Brown Ph.D., author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, is a research professor who is an expert in the field of vulnerability. She evaluated those who have a strong sense of connection and belonging, and those who don’t. Her research has found that the difference between the two groups was that those who had a strong sense of love and belonging believed they were worthy of it. People who believed they were worthy of connection experienced greater connectedness.
That’s why it is important to understand that when a guy shows his vulnerable side and when a guy shares his insecurities with you, it means he is ready to own and express his needs, fears, secrets, and opinions. Furthermore, if a guy is vulnerable with you, he is ready to create healthier relationships in general, and specifically with you. This is bound to lead to the development of emotional intimacy in your bond.
However, it’s important to gauge the intentions behind his venting. Is he doing so hoping that you’ll have the answers to his problems, or does he want to establish a deeper connection with you? Figuring that out is easy. Reciprocate his vulnerability by being vulnerable yourself. If it seems like he couldn’t be bothered, it’s the former. 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, and asking follow-up questions or offering support, 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 admitting his performance anxiety, all his past fears and insecurities, and core relationship needs, 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.
It takes courage to be vulnerable and let your partner know the crazy inner world of insecurities you are living in. But once you feel emotionally connected to someone, it could lead to the two of you having an amazing and meaningful sexual experience. Here are some tips to enhance your vulnerability if you want to have better sex:
- Sex isn’t just about intercourse. Be involved with each other completely
- Don’t focus on your own body. Pay attention to what your partner likes and enjoys too
- Listen to the sounds they make and appreciate them
- Look at their facial expressions and body language
- Ask about each other’s sexual desires, and fulfill them if you can. And if you can’t, respect and talk about their kinks and desires nonetheless
Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips To Stimulate Vulnerability In A Relationship
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 why he might think 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.
How does a man show vulnerability? By trusting you with his deepest needs, traumas, and irrational fears. He will confess why his past relationship didn’t work out. The real him will make you fall for him even harder. However, here are some things you need to keep in mind when he places his trust in you and shows you his vulnerable side:
- Be empathetic
- Be a good listener
- Don’t interrupt him when he is talking
- Ask respectful and sensitive follow-up questions
- Validate what he’s saying
- Don’t be judgemental
- Don’t ever use his vulnerable emotions and flaws against him
5. You’ll be more empathetic toward each other
Vulnerability begets trust, compassion, support, and respect. Hence, when a man shows vulnerability to a woman, and she’s vulnerable with him as well, it can result in both of you being more empathetic in your relationship. This will lead to more care and kindness in the dynamic. By walking a mile in your partner’s shoes – which is a tall order if this is required in the middle of a conflict – you’ll inadvertently make sure you’re not making any harsh decisions or saying hurtful things.
Now that you are aware of his true feelings, you will find your own emotions changing. If you were rude to him before, you will find yourself becoming a lot more patient with him now. You will end up consciously choosing the relationship’s betterment rather than wanting to be right. You will develop stronger bonds with him and his family members. He has emotionally exposed himself to you, there is no bigger sign than this that he wants a lasting relationship with you.
6. Communication will improve between them
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 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 improved communication that will be honest and devoid of judgment. In this case, talking to a romantic partner becomes easier and ironing out any differences or future conflicts gets smoother too. So, how does a man show vulnerability? His communication style won’t just improve, he will also make it clear how he wants to be loved and what love languages he prefers.
This is coming from my personal experience. The longer he dodges his true personality, the more difficult it is to have a lasting relationship with him due to an utter lack of intimacy. So, if a guy is vulnerable with you, you can finally have effective conversations with him. You won’t be walking on eggshells around him and you won’t be confused or offended by each other’s perspectives.
Related Reading: 15 Signs He Is Ready To Settle Down With You
7. When a man is vulnerable with a woman, he makes her feel heard and respected too
What makes a man vulnerable to a woman? The desire to establish a deeper bond with someone he trusts. Validation is one of the most important things for a relationship to be healthy and harmonious. So when a man starts to share his innermost thoughts and feelings, he validates you immensely. You feel special and important to him. It’s clear that he respects you. This leads to the development of a stronger bond and mutual respect.
Also, he will listen to you in return. He will make you feel seen and heard just as much as you make him feel seen, heard, and valued. An equal conversation is one that doesn’t make it seem like he’s waiting for you to finish talking so he can talk about himself. When a conversation entails vulnerability and reciprocity, he’s going to make sure he listens to you intently. This makes you feel respected as well.
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 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. Men feel like becoming vulnerable when they are in love, that’s an important thing to remember as well. Here are some more signs he is vulnerable with you, and loves and values you:
- He celebrates your flaws and vice-versa. When you celebrate his flaws, it triggers emotional attraction in a man
- He respects your boundaries and doesn’t invade your privacy
- He makes romantic gestures like cooking for you and sending you good morning messages
- He resolves conflicts in a healthy way and doesn’t punish you by giving you the silent treatment
- He wants to see you grow in life
- He loves to hear you talk and enjoys your presence
9. You move one step closer to a lasting 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, she will feel like his safety net and his special person. You’re able to effectively communicate with each other and you trust each other. When a guy shows you his vulnerable side and you develop feelings for him, you might tell about him to your friends and even your closest family. And that’s certainly a step in the right direction.
- Being vulnerable means showing your true feelings and speaking your heart out without any agenda
- When a guy shows you his vulnerable side, he will trust you more than ever because it’s not easy for men to be seen as ‘weak’ in a patriarchal society
- When a man starts to be vulnerable with you, it could also mean he’s in love with you or considers you a very close friend
Now that you have a better insight to the question, “Why would a guy be vulnerable with you?”, you finally understand 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.
This article was updated in February 2023.
It means you are consciously choosing to let your partner know your flawed and damaged side. That you are ready to let them in completely and see you without your mask. When you are no longer afraid to show your vulnerabilities, you will end up developing stronger bonds with your loved ones, especially with your romantic partner.
A woman can make a man feel vulnerable by showing love, confidence, and trust in him. Be honest, loyal, and gentle with him. Make him a priority in words and actions.
Men show their vulnerability by crying. Men have been told to hide their emotions because this makes them appear “tough.” They are conditioned to suppress their ‘weaker’ emotions. Nowadays, being vulnerable is one of the most attractive qualities women look for in a man. And men show their vulnerability by talking about their insecurities, traumas, and fears, and expressing their need for love, physical touch, and affection.