Emotional Vulnerability vs.Conflicting Rules
Remember that first intimate gut-spilling conversation with a special somebody? The one chock-full of vulnerability that instantly upgraded the two of you into the realm of puppy love and googly eyes? We call this emotional vulnerability, and it is one of the essential elements of relationships that leads to an emotional connection. Revealing everything about yourself to another person, especially that you have feelings for them, is basically leaving yourself exposed to rejection, repulsion or humiliation. But if in turn, that special someone responds with support, love and acceptance, it could be the beginnings of a great relationship. That is the magic of vulnerability.
Then as the relationship progresses, another force begins to come into play – your rules. Your rules determine how you play in the relationship game. A rule is how you think life should be, and not only determines how you act and think in a relationship, but also your expectations. The problem is that the person you love also has his or her own set of rules. When there are two varying sets of rules, at some point, there will be conflict in the relationship. Think of playing poker with someone who plays it with different rules. Everything could be going well. Then one proclaims that aces are wild, have always been wild, and lays down a four-of-a-kind. Faces are slapped, arguments ensue, duels and battles and escalations. The same happens in relationships, except with more devastating consequences because of the added force of emotional vulnerability.
Another word for ‘vulnerability’ is ‘defenseless’ – meaning that you have lowered your emotional guard. Your shields must be lowered in order for an emotional connection to take place. We are all like kingdoms, with our most guarded areas being inside our castles. We all have some sort of defense to keep out enemies. In order for two kingdoms to communicate, the drawbridges must lower to allow messages go back and forth. This is the same with emotional connection in a relationship.
Now imagine that two connected kingdoms have a disagreement and go to war. Each has let the other know their weaknesses. So even with their drawbridges up, each can exploit the other. Then only real outcome of this scenario is that both kingdoms get damaged. Perhaps one gets completely destroyed. The same when two people in a relationship become embattled about conflicting rules.
This is what we do to each other, even though that other person is the ‘love of our life.’
Sounds awful but this is what we do to each other, even though that other person is the ‘love of our life.’ So what’s the answer? For kingdoms, nations, and any connected group, it is the peace treaty. For relationships, it is Partnership. Both are based on agreements and followed through with altruistic reciprocity.
This is why we, at Partnership and Love, do our best to reach out to people before or just starting relationships. Why not start with the peace treaty? Why not start with Partnership? And for people already in a relationship, you can start at anytime to create agreements. Start small – such as which way the toilet paper goes on the roll (if at all). Then work up to the bigger stuff.
“Wherever there is peace, there is prosperity. And wherever there is Partnership, there is abundance.”– Chris Enni
We need to be emotionally vulnerable to be in relationship. Yet we bring our rules to the relationship as well, setting up a potential disaster where there should be our greatest security and safety. Avoid the conflicts altogether and have conversations about your rules, expectations – what you want the relationship to be, then create rules that both of you can agree on so that you are both choosing the relationship you want. That’s a Partnership conversation. Because as I say, wherever there is peace, there is prosperity. And wherever there is Partnership, there is abundance.
Thank you for reading!
Chris Enni – Partnership and Love