How emotional intelligence (EQ) impacts relationships
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the secret of lasting intimate relationships, largely because it makes us extremely aware of the changes—large and small—that are constantly occurring in ourselves and others. By building your EQ, you’ll have the sensitivity that each of us is always seeking in a significant other. You’ll automatically sense, through active awareness and empathy, the little shifts in the dynamics of your romance that signal a need for action.
We have the potential to attain the kind of love we all dream of—deep intimacy, mutual kindness, real commitment, soulful caring—simply because of empathy, our innate ability to share emotional experience. But to reach the height of romance we need all the skills of a high EQ: sharp emotional awareness to avoid mistaking infatuation or lust for lasting love; acceptance to experience emotions that could harm a relationship if left to fester; and a vigilant active awareness to appraise us of what’s working and what isn’t.
Building emotionally intelligent romantic relationships
We don’t have to choose the wrong lovers, end up in multiple failed marriages, or let the romance seep out of our long-term relationships. We don’t have to let conflicting needs and wants to come between two people who love each other. We don’t have to resign ourselves to boredom or bickering in our love lives.
We have the potential to attain the kind of love we all dream of—deep intimacy and mutual kindness, real committed, soulful caring—simply because of empathy and our innate ability to share emotional experience. But to achieve those relationship goals, we need all the skills of a high EQ:
- astute emotional awareness to avoid mistaking infatuation or lust for lasting love
- acceptance to experience emotions that could harm a relationship if left to fester, and
- vigilant active awareness to apprise us of what’s working and what isn’t.
Fortunately, your EQ doesn’t need to have peaked before you embark on love. In fact, for many people, falling in love serves as motivation for reeducating the heart. That’s why some of the most deeply passionate lovers are in their eighties: They discover that two high EQs add up to a romance that never stops growing, never loses excitement, and always strengthens them both, individually as well as collectively.
Actively seek change in your relationship
When you ride out your fear of change, you discover that different does not necessarily mean worse. Things often come out better than ever on the far side of change. Relationships are organisms themselves, and by nature must change. Any relationships not nudged toward the kind of growth you want will drift into change of another kind—maybe one you don’t want. Your ability to embrace change pays off in courage and optimism. Ask yourself, does your lover need something new from you? Do you need to schedule some time to reevaluate together? Are external influences demanding a change in your respective roles? Are you as happy as you used to be? Without EQ, such questions are often just too scary to face, so many lovers ignore signals of change until it’s too late.
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View the challenges you encounter as opportunities rather than problems
Your courage and optimism allow you to view dilemmas not as problems, but as challenging opportunities. How creative can the two of you be? When you don’t need to blame each other for your emotions, you’re not controlled by negative emotional memories, and you’re alert not to repeat the same old mistake. When you have a high EQ, you’re liberated from ruts and resignation, and you can get down to resourceful problem solving. You can meet differences between you and unavoidable crises, as invitations to find each other, challenges to get closer and emerge individually and collectively stronger.
Respect all the feelings you have for each other
We’re not always delighted by the discoveries we make about the person we love, but when it comes to emotions, it’s necessary to accept them all. Being in love doesn’t mean never feeling angry, disappointed, hurt, or jealous. How you act on your emotions is up to you; what’s important is that you actually feel them. Many relationships have been ruined by blame, and millions of couples have missed out on deep intimacy because of shame. Both are cruel remainders of unfelt anger, fear, and anxiety. If you’ve done the work of building EQ, you’ll experience the emotions and get on with your life together.
Keep the laughter in your love life
To avoid intellectualizing emotions you, need acceptance, and a big part of your acceptance comes from laughter. Lovers who can’t laugh together about themselves probably aren’t very accepting of their relationships. They may not be able to tolerate its unique flaws and inevitable stumbles, any more than they can put up with their own. They’re also less likely to be open to a relationship’s most pleasant surprises. Your high EQ, in contrast, means you can keep improving your relationship, but you’ll never get trapped by intolerant expectations of perfection.
Pay attention to how you feel when your lover is not around
Fortunately, you have a flawless way of monitoring exactly how your relationship is going: Use the three gauges of well-being to figure out how the rest of your life is going. Are you feeling restless or irritable in general? Do you drag through your day at the office or school after a night of marital bliss? Do you resent family and friends even though the two of you are spending every available minute alone together? Love never benefits from tunnel vision. If you don’t feel energetic, clear headed, and benevolent all the time, it doesn’t really matter whether you coo like doves when you’re together. If the sex couldn’t be better but you’re slipping at work, if you feel safe and cozy hearing “Hi, honey” when you come home at night but are having trouble getting up in the morning, something’s not right—even though everything feels warm and fuzzy in the castle.
When this happens, all the information about you, your lover, and your relationship that your emotions and your intellect have gathered will steer you to the best solution.
10 Ways to Love Smart
If you’re new to love or new to EQ, your course will be surer if you remember to stick to these tips:
- Let the three gauges of well-being inform you about the romantic choices you make. If you feel energized, mentally clear, and more loving generally, you’re in a relationship with a future.
- Let your lover know what you feel. If you’re going to communicate anything, express what you feel—as it defines who you are. If you pretend to be someone or something you’re not, you’ll never feel loved.
- Listen from emotional experience. Attune to your lover’s feelings as you listen to his or her words.
- Show the support and love that your lover needs. One person may find a suggestion or a helping hand useful or comforting; another person may find the same action intrusive. Not everyone likes to be touched in the same way, enjoys being affectionate in public, or responds the same way to receiving gifts. Let empathy guide you.
- When in doubt, ask. Love doesn’t grant that you’ll know everything. If you don’t ask how your lover feels about something, you’ll never know.
- Be prepared to work at the relationship. Why do so many people believe their work is done once they’ve found true love? Relationships grow and thrive with attention, or wither and die of neglect.
- Learn from your lover. Active awareness keeps you from relying on past assumptions.
- Watch out for emotional memories. Emotional remainders of past hurts are most dangerous with those we love today.
- Remember that the only problem with making mistakes is not admitting it. The complexities of relationships guarantee error, but even mistakes are opportunities for growth if met without blame.
- Use change as an opportunity to grow your relationship. Any change is stressful, but it is also an opportunity to renew and revitalize your relationship.
Finding “the one”
When you’re first falling in love, how can you tell whether this person is “the one”? How do you know whether you’re in love with a real person or just in love with love? If you’ve been burned before, how can you avoid repeating your mistakes?
Listen to your body, not your mind
We choose a mate for reasons that have to do more with what we think than how we feel. We conduct our relationships based on how things should be or have been. This is exactly where we go wrong. We don’t lose at love because we let our emotions run away with us, but because we let our heads run away with us.
People think they’re in love for many reasons—lust, infatuation, desire for security, status, or social acceptance. They think they’ve found true love because the current prospect fulfills some image or expectation. But unless they know how they feel, their choice is destined to be wrong.
Whenever your daydreams of a prospective lover take the form of mental debates justifying your choice or agonizing over it, breathe, relax, and focus to get out of your head and check in with your body. If a feeling that something’s wrong persists or grows, chances are your choice is probably wrong. If you let mental images versus physical sensation guide you, you’ll never know what you really want.
Heed the messages from your entire body
For most people it’s hard to get clear signals from the whole body during new love, because they’re often drowned out by sexual desire, which is why it’s important to notice other, more subtle feelings. Muscle tension, migraines, stomach pains, or lack of energy could mean what you desire is not what you need. On the other hand, if the glow of love is accompanied by an increase in energy and liveliness, this could be the real thing.
If it’s more than infatuation or lust, a benefit will be felt in other parts of your life and in other relationships. Ask yourself these high-EQ questions:
- Is this relationship energizing the totality of my life? For example, has my work improved? Am I taking better care of myself?
- Is my head on straighter? Am I more focused, more creative and responsible?
- Do my “in love” feelings go beyond feeling positive caring for my beloved? Do I feel more generous, more giving, and more empathic with friends, coworkers, or total strangers?
If the answers you get from your body aren’t what you wanted to hear, try to push beyond the natural fear of loss we all experience. Finding out now that you haven’t found true love can spare you the pain of a pile of negative emotional memories—a legacy that can keep you repeating the same mistakes or sour you on love altogether.
Take a chance on reaching out
We’re often on guard with someone new, and we automatically build barriers to getting to know each other. Leaving yourself open and vulnerable at this stage can be scary, yet it’s the only way to find out if real love is possible between you, and if you’re each falling for a real person or a façade. Try being the first to reach out—reveal an intimate secret, laugh at yourself, or show affection when it seems most frightening. Does their reaction fill you with warmth and vitality? If so, you may have found an empathic, kindred soul. If not, you may have found someone with a low EQ, and will have to decide how to respond to them.
What you need to feel loved vs. what you want
To find the person who is really “the one”, know the difference between what you can’t live without, versus what you’d like. The following exercise can help.
- Select five qualities or characteristics in descending order that feel most important to you in a lover. For example: neat, humorous, adventurous, considerate, emotionally open, athletic, attractive and/or stylish, protective, creative, conversational, smart affectionate, monetarily successful, well known, well respected, popular charismatic, maternal/paternal, spiritual, nurturing, empowering.
- As you consider each characteristic, ask yourself whether it energizes, calms, and stirs you emotionally. Is the experience pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral?
- A desire will be fleeting or rather superficial, while a need will register at a deeper feeling level.
- Do the exercise several times to get an even clearer understanding of the differences between your desires and your felt needs in love.
- Does this person you think you’re in love with fulfill these needs?
Responding to a low-EQ romantic partner
We don’t all grow emotional muscle at the same rate. If you’re ahead of the one you love, here are some high-EQ ways to respond to low-EQ behavior and poor listeners.
- Take time to consider the feelings as well as the words that you want your partner to hear. If you’re not clear about what you need and why you need it, your message may be mixed up.
- Select a time when you and your partner are not rushed or hassled. Take a walk together or make a date for brunch or dinner, but watch the alcohol if you want them to remember the discussion.
- Send “I feel” messages—about your needs—if you want your partner to hear that something is wrong with them. For example, “I feel like making love more often, but I have this thing about the odor of onions and garlic, so would you be willing to brush your teeth before coming to bed?
- If your partner reacts defensively to the feeling you’ve expressed, repeat their concerns: “You’re afraid that if I take this job you and the kids will be neglected.”
- Repeat your “I feel” message, then listen again and keep up the process until you’re satisfied you’ve been heard.
Adapted from Raising Your Emotional Intelligence: A Hands-on Program for Harnessing the Power of Your Instincts and Emotions by Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.
Last updated or reviewed on February 27, 2023
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the secret of lasting intimate relationships, largely because it makes us extremely aware of the changes—large and small—that are constantly occurring in ourselves and others. By building your EQ, you'll have the sensitivity that each of us is always seeking in a significant other.What are the five 5 principles of emotional intelligence explain? ›
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Goleman's work outlines four key aspects of emotional intelligence necessary to creating better relationships: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management (Goleman, 1995).How high emotional intelligence can improve the relationships? ›
By understanding your emotions and how to control them, you're better able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively and forge stronger relationships, both at work and in your personal life.What happens to you when you fall in love emotionally? ›
Researchers concluded that falling in love is much like the sensation of feeling addicted to drugs with the release of euphoria, including brain chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, and vasopressin.What are the 3 C's of emotional intelligence? ›
The college's work to nurture a culture of Collaboration, Connection & Caring (3Cs) continues with training resources and guides.What are three 3 key principles of emotional intelligence? ›
- Social skills.
The secret to making good decisions that can simplify your life is always to take a single breath — lasting four seconds — before acting. It may sound incredibly simple, but that pause has been proven to be all the time you need to reign back your impulses and find the presence of mind to make the smartest choice.What are the 12 competencies of emotional intelligence? ›
Each domain contains twelve competencies: emotional self-awareness, emotional self-control, adaptability, achievement orientation, positive outlook, empathy, organisational awareness, influence, coaching and mentoring, conflict management, teamwork, and inspirational leadership.
True love is a unique and passionate bond that connects you as a couple that wants the best for the other person regardless of what that means for them. It is the foundation for a healthy, loving relationship. True love is authentic and genuine.How do you control love pain? ›
- Talk about it… A conversation with the other person about how you feel can seem frightening, but it's often the best way to address the situation. ...
- … but don't linger. ...
- Feel your feelings… ...
- … ...
- Find meaning in the experience. ...
- Ask yourself what you really want.
Passionate love feels like instant attraction with a bit of nervousness. It's the "feeling of butterflies in your stomach,"Lewandowski says. "It's an intense feeling of joy, that can also feel a bit unsure because it feels so strong."What hormones make you fall in love? ›
Testosterone and estrogen drive lust; dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin create attraction; and oxytocin and vasopressin mediate attachment.What does lack of affection do to a woman? ›
Since affection is the primary basis on which women bond, not having affection in their relationships makes women feel disconnected and lonely. For a woman, a lonely relationship is one where she feels unseen, unheard, and invalidated.How do you show emotional love? ›
- Gifts. Some people express and feel love through gift-giving. ...
- Acts. Another way to express love is to do something kind or helpful for another person. ...
- Time. Spending quality time together is also an expression of love. ...
- Touch. Love can be expressed through physical affection. ...
Physical attraction, sexual compatibility, empathy, and emotional connection are key to making a man fall in love with a woman.What happens to the brain when someone falls in love? ›
Researchers have scanned the brains of people who are madly in love and found a heavy surge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain's reward system that helps people feel pleasure. Dopamine, along with other chemicals, gives us that energy, focus, and obsession we feel when we're wild about someone.What is emotional intelligence in a man? ›
What Defines an Emotionally Intelligent Man? Men who display emotional intelligence are able to recognize, interpret, and respond constructively to emotions, within themselves and others. In order to be emotionally aware, one must first be able to recognize, regulate and manage their own emotions.What is the most basic element of emotional intelligence? ›
1. Self-awareness. Self-awareness is about recognising and understanding your emotions – what you're feeling and why – as well as appreciating how they affect those around you.
The 333 Method comprises a powerful practice to reprogram your emotional intelligence, your mind consciously at the core and spiritual levels. This method combines knowledge of universal laws, the same as scientific theories, and provides you with a daily mental exercise routine.What do psychologists say about emotional intelligence? ›
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- They embrace change. ...
- They have a strong sense of self-awareness. ...
- They show empathy toward others. ...
- They have balanced lives. ...
- They're curious and eager to learn. ...
- They're grateful for what they have.
That's the 90-Second Rule. As described by brain scientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, “When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there's a 90-second chemical process that happens; any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.”What is the 12 second rule? ›
Next, check for oncoming traffic and the road space available. Make sure that the approaching traffic is beyond your 12-second visual scan and that there is no road hazard within the 12-second distance. Remember that it takes about 10 seconds to complete your overtaking manoeuvre.
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- Have Confidence. Emotionally stable people radiate confidence as they walk into a room. ...
- Surround themselves with positive influences. ...
- Forgive others. ...
- Do their own thing. ...
- Believe in themselves. ...
- Show genuine kindness. ...
- Willingly love. ...
- See each day as a blessing.
- Manage your negative emotions. When you're able to manage and reduce your negative emotions, you're less likely to get overwhelmed. ...
- Be mindful of your vocabulary. ...
- Practice empathy. ...
- Know your stressors. ...
- Bounce back from adversity.
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A man who's falling in love tends to show his desire for greater closeness and intimacy in many different ways. He will likely prioritize spending time with you and put in real effort to make you happy. He may show you his softer side, while also serving as a source of strength and comfort when you need it most.What is the example of purest love? ›
The purest form of love is selflessness.What is the greatest pain that comes from love? ›
The greatest pain that comes from love is loving someone you can never have.What is one-sided love called? ›
Unrequited love or one-sided love is love that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such by the beloved. The beloved may not be aware of the admirer's deep and pure affection, or may consciously reject it. Merriam-Webster defines unrequited as "not reciprocated or returned in kind".What is the pain of love called? ›
A broken heart (also known as heartbreak or heartache) is a metaphor for the intense emotional stress or pain one feels at experiencing great loss or deep longing.What is a pure love? ›
Pure love is unconditional. It's kind, compassionate, generous, and nurturing. It's warm and forgiving. It's given without expectations of reciprocation. Pure love costs nothing to give, yet it seems like loving one another, loving ourselves, and loving our world is hard to do right now.What is true love between a man and a woman? ›
The signs of true love in a relationship include security, respect, and understanding. In fact, true love in its real sense involves how you act in a relationship with someone. The signs of true love between a man and a woman are about meeting each other's expectations, respect, and care.Is love is a choice or a feeling? ›
Love is both a matter of choice and a strong feeling. While feelings can change over time, love is more stable. Even if you don't feel the same way you felt about someone at the beginning of a relationship, you can choose to stay with them even in the more difficult or boring times.
Emotional Intelligence is what helps us facilitate deep conversations with others, enhance relationships and help deal and relate with children. This is extremely important today, when the world is experiencing so much trauma, grief and deep divides.Why is intelligence important in a partner? ›
Intellectual compatibility is an essential factor that sets the tone for the relationship. Not only does it make the relationship exciting, but it allows each partner to learn more about the other on a deeper level.Why is emotional intelligence necessary to success in relationships and work? ›
But what is EI and why is it so important? Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and regulate one's emotions and understand the emotions the others. A high EQ helps you to build relationships, reduce team stress, defuse conflict and improve job satisfaction.How does low emotional intelligence affect relationships? ›
A person with low EI may have difficulty maintaining relationships due to a lack of social skills or difficulty empathizing with other people. They may also find it hard to regulate their emotions and use them to guide appropriate behaviors.How do you control your feelings for someone you love? ›
- Acknowledge the truth of the situation. ...
- Identify relationship needs — and deal breakers. ...
- Accept what the love meant to you. ...
- Look to the future. ...
- Prioritize other relationships. ...
- Spend time on yourself. ...
- Give yourself space. ...
- Understand it may take some time.
 When we have strong emotional intelligence, we are better able to build and strengthen relationships with others, thereby enabling us to accomplish not only our own goals but the goals of the organization.What is the intelligence of relationships? ›
What is relational intelligence? RQ is the ability to discern if someone should be a part of our lives and what place they should occupy, and then align them accordingly. It also gives you insight into whether you are putting too much or too little effort and time into a relationship.How to deal with a spouse with low emotional intelligence? ›
- Listen, really listen. ...
- Choose logic over emotion (and get straight to the point) ...
- Don't take everything personally. ...
- If things get heated, redirect the conversation back to the topic. ...
- The bottom line: it all comes down to collaboration.
Why is Emotional Intelligence Important? Having a high level of emotional intelligence allows you to empathize with others, communicate effectively, and be both self and socially aware. How we respond to ourselves and others impacts our home and work environments.Is love a part of emotional intelligence? ›
A person's capacity for empathy and ability to talk about emotions in a healthy and loving way are both components of emotional intelligence.