communication · emotional connection

Why Connecting Hurts (Part 1)

connectintMany of us have gotten to the point where we are honest with our emotions. We have learned to communicate them more effectively and openly. We want to connect. So what is it that still keeps us from actually allowing the emotional connection we want to badly to happen?

Simply put: It hurts. Or it has hurt in the past. You’ve been let down. You’ve been lied to. You’ve had broken promises and collapsed expectations. It happens to everyone but we feel like it is not worth the pain of trying to connecting again.

If I could give you the single most important piece of advice I think I could ever write on this blog it would be this:

Honesty is the healthiest and happiest way to build connections and relationships.

Connecting often hurts because we are not honest. That is not the only reason of course (sometimes honesty hurts!). But by and large from my experience, what I’ve read, and what I’ve observed, when people are less than honest in a relationship (any type of connection not just dating), that is when they are exposed to getting hurt. And this can go both ways. Me no being honest with you can hurt you. But it can also hurt me.

Sadly this is a self-perpetuating cycle. The most common reason I find that we are not honest is that we’ve been hurt before while connecting. We are simply trying to protect ourselves. While I don’t condone dishonesty in relationships (even for the sake protecting yourself emotionally), I understand why we often do it.

If I open up completely and tell you how I feel, I make myself vulnerable. You now have the power to use this intimate knowledge against me. If instead I fudge the truth a bit and give you just enough that I sound like I’m connecting, without ever really being vulnerable, than I protect those intimate emotions from your reach.

Quick word of caution: I’m not saying spill everything at once. And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with telling someone “ I’m not comfortable talking about that with you right now, I think we need to get to know each other better first.” That’s honesty.

But going back to why connecting hurts: connecting hurts because you are exposing yourself and making yourself vulnerable. You are allowing someone else to become entangled in a part of your life. Someone who could ultimately walk away.

Part 2 Later this week will finish this series on emotionally connecting with women and why connecting hurts.

Author: Jesse Leake

Questions? Need advice or want to share your story? thelovemanifesto@gmail.com

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59 thoughts on “Why Connecting Hurts (Part 1)

  1. Connecting sure can hurt. I have lost friends, been through a number of rocky intimate relationships, and have had a number of issues with family members. Opening yourself up does indeed expose your heart and when/if the one you connect with walks away, it breaks a part of yourself. And not it’s not always that someone simply walks away, sometimes that person passes away. No matter how or why they leave your life, it’s devastating.

    So, many of us ask ourselves, why even bother connecting to anyone? Everyone is going to leave in one way or another eventually and I just don’t want to be hurt and not really fond of hurting anyone myself. Not only will we be let down, but we will let others down as well. It’s a part of life, unfortunately. We can never truly promise someone we will never hurt them. If we do, we’re lying to them and to ourselves. We may have the best of intentions when we say things like, “I will never hurt you.” or “I’ll always be there for you.” However words like never and always are words we should be careful with.

    I have been hurt by and hurt so many throughout my life. There has been so much pain, sorrow, and heartache. However, there has also been a lot of laughter, joy, hope, and love. It’s those wonderful moments and the amazing memories I have been left with that remind me of why it’s worth it to have people in my life. A life without friendship, companionship, etc is very lonely and that too hurts and in a way I’d rather not experience anymore. Shutting oneself off from the world isn’t the answer. I do agree that a lack of honesty hurts the connections we try to make. Making ourselves vulnerable to another feels so risky and why hand someone the “power” or “control” to hurt us? If I let them know just enough about me or tell the truth, but not all of it….I should be safe, right?

    Proceed with caution! Our minds tell us that so many times, especially after being let down so many times. But again, a life led that way gets so hard to deal with and it’s not truly fulfilling. I usually lead my life with my “heart” wide open. Yes, it has made myself more susceptible to being hurt, but I can’t be someone other than myself or even only part of who I am. I need to be who I am, to be honest with those I want in my life. If they’re going to love me, going to stick around….then they should do so because they love me for who I am and not just who they think I am. Whenever I have held a part of me back from a friend, family member, or guy I have been interested in, it always felt wrong….even in the name of protecting myself. I want the same in return, though I know I won’t always get it. Many live a little bit guarded, but some seem to feel comfortable being more of themselves when they see I am doing the same or least it seems that way. I suppose, how do we ever really know how much of themselves they’re giving, exposing? That is definitely something to ponder….

    1. Having gone through experiences where you have lost loved ones or been broken up with helps significantly with understanding why connecting hurts. And hopefully you grew from those experiences.

      I agree that we can’t promise someone we wont ever hurt them. We might never intentionally hurt them but it can happen inevitably through circumstances, changes in our lives, or accidents. I’ve seen it happen in my own life where someone I care deeply about was hurt by my actions which had no hurtful intentions behind them at all.

      Its good to have the perspective of focusing on the good memories rather than the hurt. That is something that takes cultivation and practice. We don’t naturally focus on the good. But looking back on my life that is basically all I remember. Even the bad is seen in a comical light most of the time.

      There is no foolproof way to keep from being hurt. If you completely detach you will never really connect. But the closer you get the more your risk being hurt. I think learning how to deal with hurt in a healthy constructive way is the most essential piece of the puzzle.

      Thanks for the comment!

      1. Indeed, there isn’t a foolproof way to prevent hurt. It’s going to happen, plain and simple. But, one must stay a part of this world. Making connections is healthy, detaching isn’t. And you’re right, finding positive and healthy ways to deal with the pain we experience is essential, tricky, but essential. I use my emotions, good and bad, to fuel my writing, music, and so on. I let my experiences teach me and help me with the future now, instead of letting things hinder me. 🙂

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  2. I completely agree with you , we try to protect ourelves by not revealing every detail about us , but when people don’t wait for you to open up , don’t give you enough time to me comfortable , you somewhere loose hope , why try half way when they are not going to stick up till the end ….
    No I am not being pessimist , I am just trying to say we need to first figure out whose gonna stay till the end ….
    Waiting for Part 2 of your post….
    😉

    1. I personally would not worry so much about waiting for someone to stay until the end. What is the end? When you die? That could be tomorrow? We live for the moment that is the healthiest way to live because it is the only thing that we have to read we have today. Not tomorrow.

    2. It is very tough when you open up for someone but they do not reciprocate. often you find that without knowing it you have begun to give 100 percent and they are still only getting 50 percent. I’ve been there. It’s tough but you realize that you can either enjoy what you have or move on. Part 2 will be out either later this week or early next week.

      1. yeah dts wat worries me , you open ur life in front of them , & than they just start pointing all the flaws rather than undrstanding … how do you react … you than curl up into your own shelve , & it takes time to open up again ….

  3. I should forward this to a certain someone…I think you should also add that transparency is necessary to connecting with others. To be honest is one thing. To be forthright is a whole other matter.

    1. So are you saying that being honest mean simply telling the truth if asked. But being transparent means telling things that the other person might not guess. Sometimes I think it is bad for the relationship to be to transparent. Unless a woman is very secure it would not be a good idea for the guy to tell her every time he sees a girl that he think is attractive. There are just some things that should be kept inside. However when it comes to feelings about the relationship or the directions a relationship is going I believe that transparency is absolutely essential for a healthy relationship.

  4. Connecting with someone is so scary! Being that vulnerable and then having someone betray that vulnerability, it can be too much sometimes. Well this is where I am in my life at the moment. Beautiful post, I really love it.

    1. So you were open and vulnerable with someone and trusted them and they let you down? People will inevitably let us down. All people will. No matter how much they love us. But sometimes when that trust is broken so severely and it is in a way that we do not expect it can really hurt. I can’t say I know how you feel because I am NOT in your situation. However I’ve been through similar situations and they are tough. You have to keep going and realize that you will get through it. You always get through these situations. And you find someone you can trust again and open up with again. Good luck.

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      1. Hi Ann, I made macarons a few weeks ago (the pink ones priesouvly) and they were perfect. This time I made chocolate ones following your response on a comment, it stated to reduce the icing sugar to 1 1/4 and add 1/3 cup of cocoa powder. The batter seemed the same but when I baked them they turned out to be rocks!! Do you know any reasons to why this happened? I’m trying them again this week.

  5. Great perspective on things. There is always an inherent vulnerability when you let someone in, and honesty is the best way to go.

    Looking forward to the rest of this series.

    1. I do wish that more men would be proactive. I think that women in general are more open to the idea of learning and growing in relationships. Men are less likely to go online and read a blog article. At least about relationships. But there are some who do and the input from the women that read it is healthy for me. It helps me know what you guys are thinking and how to better understand women. Also outside of the series I don’t only right for men.

      1. Haha. Yes, it’s great to hear both sides and perspectives. We don’t always understand ourselves all of the time (that goes for men and women), let alone the opposite sex. So I agree that what you’re doing is good.

        Also, I was just jesting. 🙂

  6. Hello….
    First of all I would like to say thank you for saying you like my blog “newly single life” next I would like to say I think this was fantastic, your writing is a joy to read.
    Kind regards
    Julz 🙂

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  7. In my youth and ignorance, I thought I knew all there was to know about love. Excitement, joy, pain, loss…. Only recently did I come to understand that real love includes vulnerability. This was a huge revelation for me. My relationship with my husband is strong and beautiful, always has been. However, when we recently suffered a tragedy, we learned that being vulnerable makes a bond so much deeper, honest, and powerful. Thank you for sharing this! It’s a valuable life gem.

  8. Insightful blog…there really is no sure-fire way of avoiding hurts. Yet, if we do not become vulnerable, are we really connecting. From experience, I lived in a cage for over 20 years, and had not a friend to my name. I opened up, became vulnerable to others, and viola’, many friends! AND many hurts. The challenge is learning not to dwell on the hurts, and picking yourself up after they have happened. One cannot receive something with a closed hand! 🙂

  9. Crap! Previous comment was not complete. Anyhow, great post! Thanks for stopping by my little blog. I agree it’s tough to let your guard down and be completely honest with your partner. But I can’t do it any other way. I love how my partner and I communicate really well together and I will have it no other way. Even though it does make is feel vulnerable but in that vulnerability, comes trust and a wonderful closeness I’ve never felt with any other before.

  10. Reblogged this on Lady J's Voice and commented:
    I absolutely LOVE this post. It is one of the most HONEST things I’ve read. Nothing can explain it any more clearly than this. We must get over the fear. We’ve made it through the past hurts and guess what, we’ll make it through any more to come. Love is a risk that, in my opinion, is well worth taking.

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  11. This was well written and I like the perspective you put on this. It is nice to hear what a guy thinks about connecting and the fear of getting hurt. I know for myself I have a tendency to hold back for fear of getting hurt but I know that either way if it is going to happen it will happen all I can do is learn from it and hope that it makes me a better person. It is hard when you actually let go and put yourself out there and you get hurt…..ouch! I have to stop myself from going “ah yes that is why I don’t let my feelings be known” because of course it isn’t the case it just seems that way. It is all a learning experience. Great post and I look forward to reading more of your stuff and thanks for following me as well!

    1. It is also hard learning to balance controlling your motions and feelings with allowing being open and giving people a chance. Sometimes being jaded is a good thing. Sometimes it screws u over.

  12. I have a concern because in counseling and books about getting closer, they suggest to put things in terms of “I” so that the person doesn’t feel like you are saying “you did this….” You can put a person on the defensive. But, that being said, I have heard a few comments in discussions with exes that say by my explaining my reactions or thoughts that I sound selfish or self centered. Usually they are referring to my using the word “I.” How do you get around this? Thanks for your input! Also, for visiting my posts! (and liking them!)

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