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Is "emotional vulnerability" a romantic concept?


LBMango
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This came out of another thread.

 

I'm trying to figure out if I'm conflating two different things, or they're actually related. (So the answer of "no it's not a romantic concept" is totally plausible)

 

I have never understood the concept of "emotional vulnerability" because I never felt that there was any possibility of me coming to harm. "vulnerable" means (to me at least) that there's some risk, or danger. I'm not closed off. I'll pretty much tell anyone anything, if they care. But I have never felt "emotionally vulnerable" because I can't imagine the danger... 

 

Pretty much I imagine it like, if I share something, a person is either going to be an asshole about it, or not. I trust my own judgement that the people I share with aren't going to be assholes. But if I'm wrong, I trust my ability to cut them off... But like, with a romantic partner, why would I want to be in a Relationship with someone I didn't trust to not be an asshole? OBVIOUSLY many people are, and people are in, and remain in abusive relationships. But I have never experienced that, so believe that I would be able to avoid it (I may be wrong, but since I'm aro, I'll probably never find out)

 

So, is this related to aro? or is this just me being a 100% NT on the Meyer's Briggs? Correlations? Causations? Anything?

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I think emotional vulnerability is a concept which is exclusive to romantic relationships. Although there doesn't seem a clear cut definiton, "emotional vulnerability" seems to mean the action of telling someone things he or she could use against you thereby showing your trust that they wont do that. This can be in the context of a romantic relationship as well as a friendship. But I think it is used in a romantic context more often as being emotionally vulnerable seems to be in the "core package" of a romantic relationships whereas it seems to be an "add-on" to friendships.

At the same time, as far as I understand, being in love can seriously cloud your judgement about somebody while at the same time making you more vulnerable to somebody being an asshole. This, together with being forced into telling things about you due to conventions etc. might lead to more damage being done in romantic relationships than friendships, generating more awareness for emotional vulnerability in romantic relationships.

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I think it really depends on the person. For me, emotional vulnerability is mostly about expressing feelings even when I'm anxious about other people's response to them. Some people might only be willing to do that with a romantic partner, but other people might do it with friends, family, counselors, etc. So I think whether or not emotional vulnerability is romantic is really dependent on the context and the person.

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28 minutes ago, bananaslug said:

For me, emotional vulnerability is mostly about expressing feelings even when I'm anxious about other people's response to them.

I guess I'm never anxious about other people's responses to me expressed feelings... 

I'm not sure what that says about me... 

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10 hours ago, LBMango said:

I guess I'm never anxious about other people's responses to me expressed feelings... 

I'm not sure what that says about me... 

Hell, I'd be glad if I could express feelings, but that's another topic entirely 🙃

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  • 3 weeks later...

Fellow NT here. I know what you mean about not being anxious about other peoples responses. I'm mostly the same, but sometimes I do care and I think that's when  the term emotional vulnerability applies. To me it means that you give another person a means to hurt you, trusting that they wont.

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On 10/15/2019 at 3:03 PM, LBMango said:

I have never understood the concept of "emotional vulnerability" because I never felt that there was any possibility of me coming to harm. "vulnerable" means (to me at least) that there's some risk, or danger. I'm not closed off. I'll pretty much tell anyone anything, if they care. But I have never felt "emotionally vulnerable" because I can't imagine the danger... 

 

My understanding of "emotional vulnerability" is being in a position where your emotional state depends to some extent on another person, or other people. Is saying or doing things which put your emotional state at risk, depending on how others respond.

 

So yeah - if you're not worried at all about how others see or feel about you, you're probably not going to feel emotionally vulnerable no matter how open and honest you are.

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On 11/2/2019 at 3:46 PM, Holmbo said:

To me it means that you give another person a means to hurt you, trusting that they wont.

that's what it means to me too, except more with a side of not knowing if they won't hurt me, but hoping they won't

 

On 11/2/2019 at 6:09 PM, eatingcroutons said:

if you're not worried at all about how others see or feel about you, you're probably not going to feel emotionally vulnerable no matter how open and honest you are.

yeah, and it's often talked about in the context of romo relationships, but I'm worried about how my friends see and feel about me, and talking about myself can be a struggle; it's definitely not exclusive to romantic relationships for everyone

On 10/15/2019 at 11:00 PM, bananaslug said:

Some people might only be willing to do that with a romantic partner

maybe for some people the stakes are just higher in romantic relationships, or they learned to be vulnerable with friends who were in their life for a long time, but romantic relationships seem to require sharing a lot and quite quickly too..?? maybe that's the problem for some

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  • 4 weeks later...

Emotional vulnerability is not exclusive to romance, it's a feature of any really close emotional bond.

 

Basically, it's the emotional equivalent of a cat letting another cat lick their neck. You allow another person access to stuff they could use to seriously hurt you emotionally, because you are confident that they won't.

 

For example, when I was first questioning my sexuality, I briefly thought I might be a pedophile (confusing squishes for sexual attraction). And the way I dealt with it was by confessing my worry and the reasons for it to my mother.

 

That was me making myself emotionally vulnerable. She could have freaked out and told me that I was a disgusting monster, and I'd have been absolutely crushed if she had. But the whole reason I told her was because I was very certain that she wouldn't react that way - that she'd listen and support me and help me figure this out. And it turned out I was right to trust her with that.

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