11 Easy Ways To Get A Man To Be Vulnerable With You

It can feel a bit scary for men at first.

couple sitting on couch laughing and talking Goksi / Shutterstock

It's not always easy for men to open themselves up emotionally in relationships. Very often, this has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with how men are treated in our society.

Men are supposed to be tough and strong, which means keeping their feelings deep under wraps. When they get into a relationship, opening up can feel near impossible, even when you know there's nothing they'd love more.


But where does that leave you? You can't force someone to bare their soul, but you can't be in a relationship with someone who doesn't have the courage to take that leap of faith and start opening up to you, either. So, here are a few helpful guidelines to help him do just that — without scaring him away.

Here's how to get a man to be vulnerable with you in 11 easy ways.

1. Let him know why you value your relationship

Talking about your feelings (the good, the bad, and the uncertain) doesn't come naturally to everyone. So, be the one to set a precedent.

Let him know in clear, simple language what you appreciate about your relationship. It doesn't have to be some grandiose gesture; in fact, make it a habit, so he's constantly reminded of how much you see and value him.




For example, when the two of you are working in tandem in the kitchen to make fajitas, and you can do it like close-knit teammates without saying a word or getting in each other's way, tell him how great you think that it is at the dinner table. Or make a point of saying a genuine "thank you" every time he performs a chore without a reminder or any complaints grumbled under his breath.

Adds sex therapist and author Gloria Brame, "Men seldom hear enough compliments, so they value their woman's praise very highly. To make the praise believable, be specific. Don't just say 'you're the best' — say 'you're the best because you XYZ'. Some examples could be that they're reliable, know a lot of things you don't, do chores really well, financially support the family beautifully, or are great dads."

You're setting an example, letting him know that it's okay to say what you're thinking and feeling, to be present in the relationship and how each of you shows up for the other, and that it can actually feel pretty awesome to do just that.


RELATED: 6 Ways Men Deal With Emotions Way, Way Differently Than Women

2. Show that you appreciate and support him

Along with talking about your feelings, getting a man to be vulnerable with you entails letting him know just how much you love, support, and appreciate him, no matter what he's going through.

So, show you appreciate him by outwardly acknowledging his efforts and achievements through encouragement, kind words, and even nice simple gestures of your own. If you know he's had a rough day at work, write him a card to lift his spirits; if he recently made dinner for you, return the favor by getting his favorite takeout.

The options to make him feel appreciated are endless, but by doing so, you make him feel loved.


3. Truly listen, without responding

Active listening is essential in every partnership and can actually improve any relationship. But some couples tend to have problems practicing active listening, choosing to instead chime in with their own responses.

To make a man feel like he can be vulnerable with you, he needs to know that you're fully present when he's speaking. That means keeping your eyes locked on his, giving your undivided attention, refraining from making commentary, and giving him time and patience to articulate his thoughts.

It might be tempting to try to offer solutions, but that's not why he's opening up to you. He wants to feel heard, seen, and not judged.

how to get a man to be vulnerablePhoto: Katerina Holmes / Pexels


“As most men do not respond well to demands, particularly demands that they do something uncomfortable, I recommend following the ‘less is more rule’ — i.e., Be there, don’t demand. Let him know you think he has something on his mind. Be a safe person for your partner to speak to,” suggests Patricia O’Gorman, Ph.D., a psychologist and life coach.

RELATED: 10 PhD-Backed Habits That Can Make Your Relationship Better Than 98% Of Other Couples

4. Share your hopes for your relationship

It's normal when you're happy in your relationship to think about where you see it going in the future. Why not? The road ahead, when you've found a person you want to share it with, can be so exciting to contemplate and explore. However, for him, it may be overwhelming.

Try to hold back from peppering him with questions like: Do you ever want to get married? Do you want to have kids? Where should we look for a house to settle down in? That's especially true if the relationship just isn't there yet.


There are other ways you can express your hopes for a future together. Saying something like "I am so hopeful that our relationship will keep growing because of how much fun it's been so far" is a lot easier on him and more digestible to handle than confrontational blows like, "All my friends are getting married — what's your timeline?"

Sharing your hopes, without putting undue pressure on him, lets him know that there is no expectation for him to pour his whole heart out, but that, if he wants to open up, you'll be kind and receptive to him and what he has to say.

5. Be reliable and consistent

You can't expect your partner to want to talk to you, especially about deep, personal issues, if he can't count on you to keep your promises and be consistent in your actions. Building trust is a gradual process, but any long-term couple will tell you that trust is a bedrock of any happy, healthy relationship.

To be reliable and consistent, show him that he can count on you. Follow through on things you promise to do, prove that he can confide in you, and show up for him when he needs it. Once you do so, it will provide him a sense of security and confidence, leading him to be more open with his thoughts and feelings.




6. Share your fears for your relationship

When you're in a romantic relationship with someone who is having a hard time opening up emotionally, it can be hard to let down your guard, too.

Resist the urge, however tempting it may be, to keep your fears and insecurities bottled up, for fear he will not be able to handle them. This could cause all kinds of problems down the road. Blowing up at him later on about pent-up resentment is near-fatal in most instances.

By sharing your fears with him in a low-key way, before it has the chance to turn into a knock-down, drag-out fight, you'll be exhibiting important exemplary behavior for a healthy relationship once again.


If you’re as open about the bad stuff as you are about the good stuff, in a way that allows him to voice back his feelings without feeling attacked or judged, he will start to feel safe with you, which is key to sharing vulnerability in a relationship.

how to get a man to be vulnerable

RELATED: 10 Silent Ways Men Show Their Love Without Speaking A Word

7. Ask him questions about himself

When you ask him questions — whether they are simple ones about how his day went, or deeper ones like his goals for the future — you're showing that you care what he has to say. You're also encouraging him to reflect on his own feelings.


To get a man to be vulnerable with you, show genuine interest by asking open-ended questions related to his experiences, ambitions, and emotions. Show that you're curious without prying, and that you want to get to know him on a deeper level.

"You can ask about his well-being at work, his relationships with your kids, or his relationships with family members or friends," suggests Brame. However, "Don't interrupt him. Instead, let him give you his complete answer and express support for his view. Let him learn that you accept him. Sometimes he might just need to vent, sometimes he needs to share something deeply personal. Treat his openness with respect."

8. Make him feel truly safe in your relationship

There are plenty of great ways to build the foundation for trust and a safe space within your relationship, but there’s still more to do to really tap into his vulnerable side.

Safety in a relationship means knowing that every single fight you have won’t be the last conversation the two of you engage in. It means not constantly feeling judged, misunderstood, unimportant, or without a voice.




Make communication about your relationship a comfortable thing for both of you to do. That way, he won’t come to dread “big talks” and clam up in fear of them. When you’re feeling stressed out and cranky, tell him that so he can separate your feelings from your feelings about him.

Always share what’s troubling you because, in not doing so, you create a tense environment that is a disservice to you and your partner. Vulnerability will be out the window.

RELATED: Couples With The Strongest Relationships Have These 7 Traits In Common


9. Pay attention to your body language and nonverbal cues

While many people think that communication in a relationship is solely verbal, your body language can reveal a lot about how you feel inside. As such, it's essential to pay attention to your nonverbal cues in order to make him feel comfortable.

When you have a warm demeanor, you only make him more relaxed and open to sharing with you. Brame stresses the importance of physical cues, saying, "The physical cues you give him are as important as the words you choose when you talk to him."

Keep your posture inviting and open, rather than defensive; maintain eye contact to convey compassion and empathy; be sure to smile when he's talking to you, reassuring him that you're listening intently without judgment.


Additionally, adds Brame, "Scowling or folded arms send visceral signals that you're angry and uptight with him. So, learn to keep your face and the rest of your body in a relaxed and open attitude to encourage him to feel safe with you, no matter how delicate the conversation topic."

10. Be forgiving

When you allow yourself to forgive, you create an environment that encourages him to open up and be vulnerable. Everyone makes mistakes, even you, but it's important to practice forgiveness with your partner.

how to get a man to be vulnerablePhoto: Dmitriy Ganin / Pexels


"Before you express anger, ask yourself 'Is it worth it?' What's your end-game here? Do you want to have a big fight or go to bed angry? Think about the totality of the relationship, remember the good things that have happened and are still happening, and focus on the kind of relationship you want to have with your partner down the road," Brame recommends. "Forgiveness and emotional generosity aren't just good for him, they are good for you, and may help him to be more forgiving and generous with you as well."

When you're forgiving, you're showing your man that you accept him, flaws and all; that you don't hold on to past grudges; that you want him to be honest and open about how he feels, without fear of judgment.

11. Let him know that you are partners in this relationship

A relationship is an agreement between two people. You're supposed to be teammates, fighting for each other on the same side. It’s a balancing act, and it’s a partnership that can be a lot of ongoing hard work. But when it works, it’s the best thing there is.

"Couples are a very powerful team when they are on the same page working towards the same goal. Let him know he's your ally for life, and that you enjoy teaming up with him to make changes — whether to your home, to your security, or to your lives together," Brame asserts.


She also suggests certain phrases that get your message across: "'I couldn't have done it without you' is a solid affirmation. 'I love how we hit our goals as a team' makes the team message sink in. Drop in an 'I really appreciate you' or 'I love how well we work together' now and then to bolster team positivity."

Let him know from the beginning that you're there to balance and support him and that you, in return, expect the same. Vulnerability is a two-way street. And sometimes, it starts with you.

RELATED: 3 Emotions That Have The Power To Destroy A Relationship

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a freelance writer, editor, former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek, and former Senior Staff Writer for YourTango. She has a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime topics. Her bylines have appeared on Fatherly, Bustle, SheKnows, Jezebel, and many others.