Ever felt terrified to tell a boyfriend or girlfriend how much you needed their help or support? Or perhaps you’ve avoided bringing up an issue with a S.O. because you didn’t want to seem inadequate or unlovable. Maybe it was you who bounced on a partner or friend when their needs felt too overwhelming.
All of these reactions can arise when we feel vulnerable in relationships, explains Geraldine Piorkowski, Ph.D., author of Too Close for Comfort: Exploring the Risks of Intimacy. Often, she says, because we fear having our deepest desires trampled upon, rejected, or unfulfilled.
We’re not saying that letting people in—especially when you’re not used to doing so—is an easy process. But with a little bit of self-awareness and a few communication skills under your belt, you may just be able to lock down that loving, authentic, and mutually supportive relationship you’re afraid to admit that you yearn for. While this is sometimes scary, it is precisely what enables us to enrich our lives and grow.
No, You’re Not Weird
We’ve all struggled to open up to others at some point in our lives, says Jeffry Simpson, Ph.D., a social psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota. If you’ve ever balked at th…