This is a preview. The full article appears in Neil's book: Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship

Note: This is the second of a two-part series.

Think about the many moments in a relationship when your partner lets down his or her guard and exposes a soft spot.  Perhaps it is when he is scrutinizing his bald spot in the mirror and looking forlorn.  Perhaps it is when she has removed her make-up and feels less than glamorous.  Perhaps it is when he has just finished a painful phone conversation with his ex.  Perhaps it is when she is watching a movie and tears start streaming down from her eyes.

When your partner risks being vulnerable in your presence, you can feel very powerful.  This quickly becomes a real test of your desire for a healthy partnership.  What will you do with that power?   Do you insert a little dagger in the soft spot that has just been revealed?  Do you use it as an opportunity to assert superiority or to settle an old score?  Do you seize that power because it feels good?

All of these are certainly options, but none of them are constructive partnership options.

There is only one constructive option: to make your partner feel safe.

Here are a few things to understand about safety and vulnerability:

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