I’m kind of insecure about my body. I’m not obese or horribly overweight but I know I could stand to lose a few pounds. I’ve been nervous about being naked in front of my girlfriend, especially since she’s so stunning.

This is a pretty new relationship and we had sex for the first time today. It was amazing and we fell asleep in each other’s arms afterwards. When we woke up and it was time to get up and dressed she was just staring at me and my body. I asked her:

“What’s up?”

She got up and walked over to me, took my face in her hands, kissed me and said:

“You’re so beautiful.”

I started crying grown man tears right there and she just kept kissing me all over my face. She guided me back down to the bed and let me lay my head on her and cry. She rubbed my back, wiped my tears, kissed my forehead, and just held me.

As a black man I don’t often feel like I’m allowed to have emotions and be vulnerable but she makes me feel so safe.

My girlfriend made me cry today and I’ve never felt more loved.

Screenshot of the original reddit post headline
Original post on Reddit

Theo originally posted this piece on Reddit. I've reached out to Theo (pseudonym) and he was happy to share his experience here.

What can we learn from Theo?

It's okay to be vulnerable front of your partner.

Contrary to what some guys proclaim on social media, women don't just suddenly lose all their respect for us just because we are showing our tears.

Building a genuine connection with your partner based on vulnerability and honesty is fulfilling. A man is no fortress. Our partner should be the closest ally that we have in life. Pretending to be alright when we are not, separates us from our favorite human. We would be harsh when we don't mean it and our partner wouldn't understand. Thus, they'd take things personally. Quickly, the strong façade would become a wedge that slowly drives us apart.
However, when we open up, we give our partner the chance to understand and support us. A matter of trust. That's how relationships become robust. That's how love grows.

It's okay to have insecurities.

We, men, easily get caught up in the never-ending cycle of self-improvement. Many of us face rejection after rejection from potential partners: On the street, on the dancefloor, on campus, on dating apps. So we start to think that we are unworthy of love unless we have arrived at perfect. We subscribe to the grind. We hustle ourselves rich because that's how we measure our lives. Here is a prime example of the grindset:

I fully believe that Dr. Shefali, a Psychology PhD from Columbia University, is right when she says that we humans can't just work work work and then when we are 35 find our perfect partner and build our perfect relationship. This is because, we get to know ourselves better in each romantic relationship that we have. If we've never been with anyone, how are we supposed to know what kind of partner we really need? We would start from scratch in a time of our life where other people have already learned these lessons. We would make the same mistakes, just with higher stakes. Because in our 30s or 40s we feel pressure to get it right.

Theo shows us that we are worthy of love even long before we ironed out our self-perceived flaws. Theo shows us that we can heal and grow through healthy relationships. Theo's partner shows us that there are women who love us in our vulnerable moments.

Be honest with your partner

Just like Theo, I want to encourage you to take that war helmet off in front of your partner - at least from time to time. It's tough out there, I know. Allow your partner be your sanctuary and be the same for them.