A Stronger Relationship Starts With Being More Vulnerable

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Having worked in pharmaceutical sales, Mark Groves understood the power of forging connection for his line of work. After the end of a serious relationship, he returned to school to learn more about psychology, with the intent of helping both himself and others improve their emotional intelligence and maturity. And thus, Groves became a so-called "human connection specialist."

For a recent Friday Sessions on Men's Health's Instagram, Gregory Scott Brown, M.D., spoke with the relationship expert on how men can improve their mental health—and why being happy out of a relationship is just as important as when you're in one.

Groves says people often put too much value in having a partner and not enough in their own personal well-being. "We're socialized to put our value in our relationship status," he said.

Similarly, Grove added that men too often rely on their partners for emotional support, which means they struggle to build themselves in and out of relationships. "When they lose their relationship, they actually lose the sort of support system they have. We're more likely as men to get re-married quicker and that's due a lot to the ways that we're not socialized to sit in sadness and grief."

Groves wants men to be self-aware and not fear emotional intimacy, though society has trained them otherwise. The first step is self-acceptance. "We are not in a lifetime sentence based on what's occurred in our lives," he said. "To me that was just so freeing when I realized it. Like 'Wait, if I take responsibility for how I communicate, how I show up, how I define myself, then I'm free.'"

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