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Vulnerability: Are Women Unfair To Men?

Vulnerability: Are Women Unfair To Men?

Husband kissing wifeMen complain that when they show vulnerability, their wife don’t like that.

They feel that vulnerability for them is ok when it comes to share domestic tasks, or listen to their wife’s need to talk, but this vulnerability on women’s terms is deeply unfair. As I have written before about Brene Brown’s message to promote accepting our own vulnerability, I think it is worth to open a discussion on the reality of it in our romantic relationship. My husband and I had a fruitful discussion on that matter recently and it is true that women have mixed feelings about their husband’s vulnerability.

Is a vulnerable man reassuring for a woman? I welcome your opinion.

I don’t find a vulnerable man attractive at all because it switches me back on my mothering mode that I find already overwhelming in my life. No I don’t want my husband to be an additional child. I find no pleasure in that kind of relationship with a grown up man.   If we listen closely to Brene Brown’s message it seems I have missed the point entirely. Witnessing vulnerability in others should not trigger our own anxiety, it should open our own vulnerability, shouldn’t it? In fact it does, as anxiety is a mere symbol of vulnerability.

What is vulnerability? If we take a close look at the etymology of the word we will see that vulnerability is directly linked to wound, damage, hurt and pain.  The good news is that we don’t need Brene Brown’s message to feel that vulnerability, life provides enough “opportunities” for us to be hurt, wounded, and damaged. And we all know how impossible it is to ignore that feeling when it occurs.

The way I understand her message is that it is important for us to raise our awareness in order to appreciate the lessons that lie in the uncomfortable feeling of pain. It is the opportunity to understand that in discomfort there is the potential for discovery and growth.   Does that mean that we need to share that process with our partner in particular? Not necessarily. Accepting our own vulnerability does not mean being emotional at every corner and asking the world to respect that. Opening our heart to the lessons that come from the inside is a personal journey. These insights are precious for both men and women. Yet it remains a yin, feminine characteristic that men should not share overtly with their female partner if they don’t want to create an imbalance in their relationship.   It may be very intense; it may be difficult to handle the emotional turmoil alone. Yet we should never forget that every one of us is in his or her own personal story that may or may not play well with their partner’s. If we women no longer need physical protection from a man in their daily lives, they do love the yang side in a man that symbolizes strength.

The biggest gender difference in accepting our vulnerability is that, if it is necessary for both genders, the exploration should not be disclosed as much for men if they don’t want to lose themselves in the process.

A healthy relationship is a subtle balance of yin and yang at play. The white dot in the dark side is indispensable but it is only a dot. We can switch roles as much as we want. In reality though men thrive in yang and women thrive in yin. It is as damageable to block yang as it has been to block yin.119 MjMyMzQtLmpwZw==    

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Anne Benissan
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