Being in an intimate relationship requires taking risks. There is no way around it – in order for your partner to know who you really are, you must be vulnerable. You have to reveal your soft spots, your weaknesses, and your authentic self in order to create a deep connection with your partner. Of course, to the extent that you get close enough to be vulnerable with another person, you get close enough for that person to invalidate you. That is why this feels risky, because it is! Indeed, putting yourself out there can be scary, but you will find that in order to increase your connection with your partner, you simply must take these risks.
When faced with the choice of retreating to safety, closing yourself down, and avoiding the risk of invalidation with your partner, keep in mind that you can be bold and courageous instead. A likely outcome is that you will at least feel proud of yourself for being authentic and courageous. You may also get the added bonus of receiving all the validation you need from your partner, in which case you will be glad you took the risk. Here are just three relationship risks that you can take in your relationship today.
- Speak up. Although it can be scary to “put yourself out there” and reveal your deeply held values, share personal past experiences, or even just state your honest opinion (even if it is in opposition to your partner’s), these things are precisely what make you you. Ultimately, it is important that your partner know who you really are, not just a version of yourself that is a mirror of your partner. Be bold and speak up!
- Take some time apart. By this, I mean take time to do your own activities. Risk putting a little space between you two and see what happens. Solid relationships should be able to tolerate individuality and a healthy degree of separateness between partners. It is within this space that curiosity, longing, and ultimately, desire grows.
- Make a bold gesture. Maybe it’s saying “I love you” first or sending a gift to your loved one “just because,” but these gestures are a clear statement about your feelings for your partner. Maybe you will be nervous that it is too much or is coming on too strong, but why hide your feelings? Give yourself permission to be bold in stating your loving feelings. Your excitement may actually buoy your partner’s feeling toward you, as well.