What is one thing that you would like your ex to know?

Tldr; Shift through the people in your life and find the ones who are emotionally available. Learn to slowly open up to these people about your life. Some will push against it while others will lift you up. The ones that lift you up are the people you can try to begin making emotional connections with overtime. Understand that sharing emotions is a vulnerable act. If you shut the door so sadness can't get in, you also lock out happiness in the process.

I'm still a work in progress, but I would be happy to share what has been working for me.

To nudge my comfort zone of trust with others, I decided to start with friends/family. My plan was to start small and share a detail with others that I would normally withhold.

The first item on my list to share was that I was in therapy. An example of how I would mention it to a friend while we were meeting up might sound like:

Friend: "How you been man? It's been a while.

Me: "I've been good. I've just been working on myself lately and even picked up some therapy sessions along the way. It took a lot to finally push myself to try it."

I didn't mind sharing this info with them for a couple of reasons:

1) It was a small step towards me being authentic and vulnerable instead of giving my closed off standard response, "I'm good. How you been?"

2) It was a response that had the potential to get emotional, if the other person was comfortable taking it down that route as well.

3) It let me gauge how they felt about me being open and talking about what is going on with me.

People's responses landed in three categories: resistance, neutral, and support:

Resistance: "You don't need therapy, you're fine".

Neutral: "Thats good. Glad to hear you're making improvements."

Support: "Nice, do you feel it's helping? Funny you brought that up because I've thought about taking some therapy myself."

The support crew was the ones I was looking for, to begin building my trust with. What I began to notice is that sharing little details caused some to talk about things they are going through. One friend cracked wide open and started to talk about how anxious they were all the time and that they have to be in therapy a lot. I would have never guessed that person was struggling at the time. I was able to relate and that's when I could start to build trust with this person. I wouldn't treat them like my therapist, but I would be fully present in those moments when we both were showing our imperfections. As time went on, we grew closer together and would check up on each other.

It may sound odd, but these are the types of conversations I never had in the past with anyone in my life. I didn't know it is okay. I was the resistance mentality towards others. I grew up very closed off, distant, and everything is "fine". Others most likely felt this and didn't pursue any further.

Hopefully this helps and if you have questions feel free to let me know.

/r/AskMen Thread Parent