The higher a couple’s emotional intelligence (EI) is, the more likely they are to succeed as a couple, according to this research study published in the Journal of Psychosocial Research. In the counseling setting, we see how emotional intelligence affects all aspects of a couple’s life.

What does a lack of emotional intelligence look like?

When individuals don’t work on increasing their own EI, they tend to fight more, have more difficulty communicating, and hold onto resentment longer.  Individuals may also stunt their partner’s ability to respond with emotional intelligence by covering up their true feelings rather than working to find considerate ways to communicate difficult feelings openly.

Breakdowns in communication happen when partners have stopped working on their ability to recognize and respond to the pain on both sides of the relationship that need to be managed in healthier ways.

Luckily, emotional intelligence is something that can be learned.

Even if an individual comes from an upbringing that put little to no focus on EI, it can still be learned and practiced in a growing relationship.  When a couple starts to address their combined emotional patterns, they can start to see improvements immediately. Working with the objective insight of a relationship counseling professional during this process helps make sure that both partners are approaching the work together.  If one partner assumes the role of teaching the other- it may create a dynamic of superiority or inferiority- which could create more problems.

What does high emotional intelligence look like?

When a couple is exhibiting high emotional intelligence, they anticipate how their actions affect their partner before reacting.  Instead of jumping into an argument, they take extra time to cool off.  They may even ask to schedule a different time and place to talk about a difficult subject. Couples who have high EI understand their internal emotional triggers and how it may color their perception of a situation.

The benefits of improving EI stretch far beyond a committed relationship.  Improving EI can positively impact workplace communications, family relationships, and friendships across the lifespan.  

If you’re ready to start improving your emotional intelligence as a couple, our professional relationship therapists offer virtual counseling to help you get started right from your own home.