VULNERABILITY IN RELATIONSHIP

In Nigerian slangs, there is this thing we call the “Mumu Button”. It a literal sense, it is an imaginary button in a person that makes them act beyond their norms when activated and in the real sense it simply means a person’s vulnerability as a result of love.

Truth is this, no matter how hard we think our heart is, no matter the level of defences that we put up around our hearts, even if they are high as the walls of Jericho, there is that one last trumpet, that one special sound that can pull those defences down. In fact, those who do not admit their vulnerability are usually the worst victims of heartbreaks because they never admitted their heart could be broken and never got ready for what is to come.

Most times, people who appear all tough on the outside are those who are the most vulnerable. They act tough not because they are really tough but because they are scared and therefore they put up a front that makes you think otherwise. This front makes you think they are strong and discourages you from penetrating. However, anyone who gathers the courage to penetrate will usually find a way in only to discover that although these people appear tough, they have a very soft heart.

I remember my Dad whenever I talk about this because he is a very good example of one who has a very tough outward expression but a very soft heart. My Dad can shout and the entire neighbours will hear his voice, my Dad expresses his anger, fume and never even verbally apologise. My Dad can pretend he is unbreakable but within him is a very vulnerable heart that is even very easy to be taken advantage of.

This minute you may his “enemy” but if you come the next minute asking for help, he will literally take it up as though it is his own problems, he may make a cloud of dust out of nothing but he’ve got a heart that can’t even reject apologies. I believe God gave him a wife that compliments that very vulnerable part of him because while my mum may look soft and full of smiles, she is a warrior woman.

No matter how we try to pretend, we’ve all got that mumu button, we’ve all got that place in our heart where we can act beyond our normal selves because of love. Why do you cry when someone walks away from you? Does it mean your life ended? No, but you cry because a part of you has been touched!

Why do you want that voice to be the last thing you hear before you sleep? Will you die when you don’t hear that voice? Will anything change? Will your hair change colour? Nothing will absolutely change but you still don’t feel good when you don’t talk with him or her throughout the day. It is because a part of you has been triggered to feel the need for someone making their absence or silence a very loud one.

You are not weak for admitting that you are vulnerable in love, it, in fact, takes vulnerability to love. If you have to calculate your gains before you can love then you can’t truly love. Relationships shouldn’t be all about what you want and what you feel is right, there should always be a place of compromise and a place where you strike a balance for the both of you to agree.

Jennifer loves red clothes and Jake loves black clothes. If both of them want to go out together in uniform, they may have a tough time trying to agree on what to wear. There is nothing wrong with Jennifer’s choice of red and there is nothing wrong with Jake’s choice of black, they both have their personal preferences. However, they can reach a compromise that brings a balance to their individual choices without having to hurt anyone’s feeling. They can decide to wear a mix of red and black and it solves the problem!

It is called a relationship because it has to do with the other person. Nothing is wrong with knowing what works for your relationship and doing your best to stick to it. Somehow, our lives are sums of other people’s contributions into it. I don’t eat pepper until I got into a relationship where the other person loved pepper. She also reached a compromise and reduced the amount of pepper she uses. As long as that relationship lasted, she would visit and eat my food comfortably, I’d visit and eat hers comfortably. Till date, I may still use some amount of pepper to cook because someone came into my life and made an addition.

To sum it up, being vulnerable in a relationship means being very open and giving your partner that opportunity to know what your thoughts, struggles and feelings are. It is also being able to compromise or balance your lifestyle to fit into the other person’s life. Without being vulnerable, I doubt a level of trust and intimacy can be built in a relationship.

Many of us are scared of vulnerability because we don’t want to open up to people who will know all about us, change some structures where our values find a strong foothold and walk away. We are scared of opening up because once upon a time, someone came, had access to our lives and left us; leaving a very large space in our heart.

One thing is certain; we shouldn’t let our experiences with one person who may be ungrateful and unloving determine how we relate with someone else. That someone took advantage of our vulnerability, played with our emotions and walked away doesn’t mean we will have to tighten up against every other person. It is okay if you want to take a break and not commit emotionally to anyone at the moment, it is okay if you want to clear your head and figure out how to stay on your guard even in vulnerability but never see yourself as weak or blind.

You did the right thing in opening up; you did the right thing in trying to find a balance that works for you and your partner. That it never worked out doesn’t mean you didn’t get it right. It is okay to take a break but it is also okay to open again to someone at the right time.

Blessings.

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