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Being Vulnerable

I’m not much of a touchy feely person and I have this thing about personal space.  When strangers want to hug me, I get quite uncomfortable. So, sometimes intimacy is challenging for me.  Yet, I crave it.

 

Being intimate means showing your vulnerabilities. I’ve spent a lot of my life developing a thick skin to survive mentally and physically, so showing my vulnerable side is difficult for me. It leaves one exposed and more fragile when those weaknesses are exposed.

 

Most of my life has been spent taking care of others to the point that I feel guilty needing reciprocity. Sometimes I wish for the opportunity and safety to be weak. Being strong all the time gets quite exhausting.

 

There have been very few people that I could be comfortable enough to be so intimate with. My husband was one of them, but he’s become one yet again that is unsafe to be so with.  He’s got PTSD and is an alcoholic. When he’s home lately, he’s been back to his old ways, so I’m in self-protection mode.

 

My father was one, but he passed away a few years ago. I could tell him anything.

 

The other person is my best friend, who lives four hours away.  He’s the only one who has seen all of my vulnerable side and not taken advantage or belittled me due to those weaknesses.  I spent many a night lying in his lap crying while he ran his fingers through my hair and vice versa.  At one time, because we were so touchy feely with each other, people began to dispute him being gay and I would have to defend his gayness.  He and I would talk often about how we would retire together and live in an old farm house. We would be the freaky queer and scary old crone that the neighborhood kids would be afraid of.

 

When we moved away from each other, we always knew when something was wrong with the other one and we would call each other.  My husband grew jealous of our relationship and would get angry, so I lost contact with my friend. After not talking for a month, I decided to call while my husband was gone. His phone was disconnected. When I questioned a mutual friend, I found out that he was traveling to different parts of the world with a boyfriend. I was so happy for him, but he has been on my mind a bit lately, because he and I had not spoken for six months.

 

He and I finely were able to talk again tonight. It felt so wonderful to be able to be weak again and exposed.  I missed that and I missed him so much.

 

You see, intimacy doesn’t have to be about sex. It’s about being vulnerable and sharing emotional moments with others.

 

deleted deleted 26-30 19 Responses May 12, 2012

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I really could relate to this story. Like you, I put up walls and don't feel I have someone consistantly there for support. It gets lonely and it's tough always being the strong one, the one who always cares for others.<br />
I wish all the time that I had someone in my life who would just listen to me and hold me. But again, like yourself sometimes I feel guilty and wrong for that. It's like I won't let myself be OK with NOT being strong. I enjoyed this story, thank you.

Thank you for your honesty. I totally agree about intimacy not being all sexual, being in a sexual relationship can mean you have other forms of intimacy with the person but not always. I think intimacy is, for me, being able to open up to someone and not being scared of their reaction. I don't get it often. Sometimes I think it's easier with strangers, less to lose.

A very nice post dear I enjoyed it thanks for sharing.

Absolutely right!! intimacy is at its core about vulnerability, not touch, although touch can be a part of it. Its very hard for me to be vulnerable with another person ... I have to really be able to trust them, which means knowing them well, and knowing they will not judge me.

I understand that also. One of the very few people I chose to allow myself to be vulnerable with betrayed me. That happened 15 years ago and the wounds are still painful. So yes, it really is more about trust than fear of judgement.

So happy you reconnected with your friend. I know what it's like to detach from an alcoholic spouse to protect oneself. <br />
<br />
Your comments tonight/this morning helped me a great deal in not worrying about what others think. I'm glad we're friends. :-D

Me too, im not the touchy feely type to and I always have alot of gay friends. I can't have straight male friends as they tend to always want to ruin the platonic ba<x>sed relationship we have. But yeah what you said all in the above is so true,

yes i do agree however at times you will realize that love needs continuous reciprocation in all form. it is important to remain connected. call it spiritual love :)

I can definitely agree with a lot of this. Being a caregiver as I am you get to a point where you crave intimacy that doesn't require being a caregiver. You want that intimacy coming from someone who is caring about you. Letting down ones guard to make that happen can be very sticky and sometimes I find myself hiding so as to not allow it to happen.

I had a friend like this, I guess still do.. wherever she is. glad you are back in touch with yours.

I hope you can find another close friend that you will be able to share that type of intimacy with, that is closer when you need it most. You deserve it. Best wishes to you.

I have a best friend like that and I miss her terrible! she lives in another state and I so miss having that kind of friend. I have been living here for four years and have not met anyone that I can call a friend. It gets so lonely not having any one to talk to.

That is a really great story. Thanks for sharing.

It takes great strength to admit that you are weak and in need of some lovin'. I too don't feel comfortable admitting this much for the same reasons that you have stated. Vulnerability is hard to embrace, especially when life teaches you that at one point or another people will let you down. But as you have already noted, without vulnerability there is no intimacy. And without intimacy (in-to-me-I-see) there is no friendship, no growth, and no love. So we need to embrace this weakness. It is easier to put up a front and pretend as though we don't need anybody, but deep down we know we do.<br />
<br />
I don't know what point I'm trying to make. I hope you can find someone to be vulnerable with again. I hope all of us will. :-)

That's good. I hope you do not lose each other again. And I hope your husband will be able to put his jealousy aside. BUT, men will be men, a little bit of jealousy is expected.

Intimacy is more a touching of spirits than bodies. When I can reach in and gently play the heart strings of a freind to give them amelody they will carry forever and never be alone. That is a closeness physical touch can never bring. To give someone tht moment when it is so good that they want time to stop and remain there always (and do in there memories), that is the most precious gift one can give. This is intimacy to know someone knows you, your weaknesses, strenghts, failings, and successes and all youa re and excepts that and cherishses youa nd finds great value in you. I hope you can have that.

I feel sorry for your walls. You are obviously a lovely person. Your husband is petty. Why do men feel they can have women who are friends, but they cannot accept when their wives have male friends? I find this ludicrous! Your beloved friend...do you carry on as before with your friendship? Cause male friends like this make all the difference in your life! You can love them and not love them yet love them deeply! Your husband is a very foolish man...Your last statement is absolutely true. Thank you for your posting. Others will know why you are like this...

I do...

...very beautiful Terra. I understand your desire for emotional connection, and appreciate your knowledge that true relationship starts there. Great sex only comes when that soul-mate emotional connection is there...otherwise it is just an act that is temporal and unfullfilling. I know...I lived it for the last 22 years. I love your perspective and know that because of your wisdom you will have a great and deep relationship some day. I also understand your fear...and relate to it greatly. Best wishes to you. -David

Affinityterra,<br />
<br />
That is quite something to admit. To me, odd as it sounds, you are showing huge amounts of strength by showing your vulnerable side. I am terribly sorry for you lack of people to intimate with. I am rather similar. I am very careful who I show my real me too. (Funny coming from a man who happy be naked) <br />
<br />
I am very happy that you can enjoy the time with your friend and that he is also happy too. I hope you can spend some moments with him, because I agree, being the strong one all the time is very tiring. <br />
<br />
Bare Hugs<br />
Nudy

We all need somebody we can lean on... They make us stronger with their support!

Aww Affinity...what a beautiful story. I'm sorry you and hubs are going thru a hard time but I'm glad you were able to touch ba<x>se with your buddy. Intimacy can run really deep in a lot of ways that doesn't even come close to anything sexual......A person who truly knows and understands us is PRICELESS! We all need to experience our weaknesses. Doing that is one of the BEST ways to find our strengths!!