Emotional Vulnerablity and Commitment

Emotional Vulnerability and Commitment; Diving into the unknown

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to talk about emotional vulnerability and the fear to commit. 

First a quick update:

“The 3 reasons men fear commitment!”
Watch me live on The Mike and Juliet Morning TV show when I will be revealing the 3 reasons why men are afraid of commitment – and the greatest fear men have regarding commitment and marriage: “Am I big enough?”


Now let’s talk about the link between emotional vulnerability and the fear to commit, a point that I will be highlighting in the TV interview I will be giving tomorrow with Mike and Juliet.

The dictionary defines “vulnerable” as 1. Capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt; susceptible to physical or emotional injury 2. Open to moral attack, criticism or temptation.

I like to view vulnerability as opening up yourself emotionally to someone else. Vulnerability is emotional intimacy or “into-me-you-see.” In other words, that involves sharing your fears, dreams, aspirations, disappointments, hurts, failures, pain, goals and deepest, most private thoughts.

I am sure that there are many people reading this right now and shuddering at the thought of doing that, opening up. Most of us fear taking off our mask or masks and revealing our true selves. The fear of removing our masks or becoming emotionally vulnerable is not just a male phenomenon. Many of us hold back out of fear of rejection, criticism or condemnation.

In the Western world, men have been taught to be strong, to be “male” and macho. The problem is that we have come to define strength as being cold, indifferent, unemotional, unaffectionate, insensitive, hard-skinned, showing no feelings or sensitivity, unsympathetic and uncompassionate, shutdown and closed up. I will clearly and boldly state that it takes much more courage and strength to open up and reveal yourself than it does to shut down and hide your true feelings and thoughts. It is much easier and more cowardly to be a robot than to make yourself vulnerable. Being shut down is equivalent to the soldier that runs away from the battle because he is scared that he might get hurt. You cannot win or feel fulfilled if you don’t give of yourself. And yes, most men who refuse to open up and become emotionally vulnerable do so out of fear of rejection, criticism or even being mocked or laughed at. Inside, we all have a fear that should we show our true selves and people see us as we really are then they might not like us, they might reject us, judge or condemn us.

There are two key points here:

  1. It is better to reveal yourself now than do this later and realize that the other person doesn’t or can’t love you for who you truly are. Many marriages fail because once the masks are removed and the husband or wife reveals his or her real values, insecurities and feelings, the other person cannot handle it or concludes that his or her partner has changed. No. He or she never changed, he or she just waited till now to reveal him or herself. He or she waited until he or she felt secure within the establishment of the marriage to unmask the true self. It is also better to open up than to live a life of cold, unfulfilled masking and hiding. You cannot ever be happy or fulfilled if you are always playing a role and wasting your energy and time trying to be what or who you think someone else wants you to be. Remember, the reason we label someone as “best friend” is because we feel safe and we open up to them!
  2. You cannot feel the pain of rejection by someone else if you have already revealed yourself to you and accepted all of you. In other words, if you truly know yourself and can love, forgive and accept yourself, then you either won’t attract someone who rejects you when you open up or you will know that this person is not the one for you. You will not spend your time trying to convince this person, trying to please him or her, and you will simply move forward to open the door to someone who loves and accepts you as you are. And don’t wait for someone else to accept you so that you can accept you.

This leads to another closely connected point I will be making on The Mike and Juliet Morning TV show tomorrow: Know yourself. Know who you are what you want in life. Know your values and what is important to you in life. This is another key reason why marriages fail, the two people do not have the same values; they have clashing values. It cannot be a partnership if the values are not the same.  So although money and se-x are listed as the two top reasons that marriages fail, it is actually the arguments and clashes over the values and significance given to money and se-x.

And for the ladies, yes, I will be giving advice tomorrow about how to help guide, encourage and inspire your man to open up and become more vulnerable.

Remember to check out my Blog on my website to read my past Success Newsletters, post your comments and take a few exciting quizzes. If you have received this newsletter as a forward and would like to receive all of my newsletters please enter your email address on the home page.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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8 replies
  1. Avatar
    Peggy says:


    I guess I am afraid that he is not ready to go to the next level in our relationship. I’m giving him some time and space. We’ll see what happens. I’ll let you know how it goes. I really appreciate your guidance.


  2. Avatar
    Patrick says:

    Dear Peggy,

    it sounds like your partner is still grieving over the death of his father or he has never truly dealt with it and it has had a much greater effect on him than he is even consciously aware. Please note, that most of us, male and female, do whatever we can to avoid pain, particularly if we feel we might not be able to handle it. He needs love and support and the right time and place to help draw from him his feelings and help him to release the pain. Also, it seems that he is suffering from anxiety and panic which often come from the feeling of being out of control. See how you can respectfully find out if he in any way feels guilty or responsible for his father’s death. One client of mine was late in arriving at the hospital where his father was already admitted and so he felt that he was responsible for his father’s death. Of course, that is not true, but we often blame oursleves or feel that we could have done more. Sometimes we do this because we cannot face the fact that the person is gone and face our pain over the loss, so we transfer it into guilt.
    Also, why are you afraid to take the relationship to the next level?
    I hope this helps. Please let me know how it goes.

  3. Avatar
    Peggy says:

    Dear Patrick,

    This was the first time I had seen my lover in a couple of months. What I said exactly was that I care about him and I felt terrible for what he went through when he lost his father. After I had said that was when he broke out in a sweat, his hands got clammy, and I saw panic in his eyes. Although, once he realized it was not a threatening conversation, he said he appreciated my feelings. That was it. We’re still talking, but I feel uncomfortable taking our relationship to another level. Thank you so much for your advice, I will let you know what happens next.



  4. Avatar
    Patrick says:

    Dear Peggy,
    what do you say exactly when you express your true feelings? Are you expressing your own pain, fears and vulnerabilities or are you attacking or blaming the other person?

    If you are epxressing how much you love and care for the other person and he feels anxiety then see if he will allow you to hold him and just say, it is OK, i am here. Later, at a neutral setting, when you are both calm and relaxed, bring it up in a conversation. Just ask a question or say, i care about you and want to know if there is anything i can do to help you to feel safer with me. Remember, trust occurs when the other person feels safe. Maybe, something happened where he was betrayed or hurt and so he feels he cannot trust and open up – fears rejection, being laughed at or humiliated. Let me know how it goes. Remember also, you can only offer love and acceptance but you are not responsible for his fears.


  5. Avatar
    Patrick says:

    Dear Gillian,

    you are enlightened! You are so right. We cannot change the past, we cannot change anyone else; we can only change ourselves and our perception of the past. And when we change our perception of the past, we change ourselves, we set ourselves free, we feel better about ourselves and life! I am proud of your progress and growth. Well done Gillian!

  6. Avatar
    Peggy says:

    Question for Patrick…

    When I express my true feelings to my lover, he gets very uncomfortable with lots of anxiety, almost like a panic attack. I laugh it off and so does he, but how do I get him to feel more comfortable with intimacy or is he a lost cause?


  7. Avatar
    Gillian says:

    Patrick, the new awareness is that my mom had me totally convinced that I could not change the past and never let go of it. What she had done to me would follow me all my life. I had no choices.

    The truth is I can change the past by accepting, acknowledging it and recognizing the lesson and then letting it go. So I can change the past!!! I win!! I am in control and I am powerful. So a person can change the past, but not by changing the people, but by changing themselves and their perspective. They are not powerless to change the past. I just didn’t like giving up. Everything is possible! I CHANGED THE PAST.

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