Emotional Intelligence and Why It Matters in Relationships

A happy couple displaying emotional intelligence Emotional intelligence is an essential ingredient in healthy relationships.

Maya Angelou said that people will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

You can be an academically smart person. But when it comes to having fulfilling and sustained relationships, you can put your set your brain smarts aside because it’s emotional intelligence that will often carry us through.

As far as the types of intelligence go, emotional intelligence is often undervalued. In order to function as a society, we all must be able to comprehend our emotions and empathize with each other.

When we understand the depth of our emotions, we can grow and become better people. You’ll also learn why being emotionally intelligent matters in our relationships.

Being Emotionally Intelligent

What is emotional intelligence?

Being emotionally intelligent means you’re aware and in control of your emotions while being able to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously. Emotionally intelligent people are able to communicate well, build connections and form partnerships at a personal and professional level.

Being emotionally intelligent comes naturally to some people. But many others need time, self-awareness, and practice to develop it.

How is emotional intelligence measured?

There are two ways to go about this. You can take self-report tests or ability tests.

Self-tests are the most convenient, wherein the participants rate their own behavior by how they respond to a set of questions. Third-party examiners can also assess you by how you respond to simulated situations and problems.

The 4 Pillars of Emotional Intelligence

What makes people emotionally intelligent? You’ll know a person is in tune with their emotions when these 4 attributes are present:

I. Self-awareness

Are you aware of your emotional triggers and their effects on other people?

That’s what we call self-awareness. Some experts consider this the foundation of emotional intelligence because it teaches us to get to the bottom of our feelings.

Being self-aware is difficult for some. Self-awareness can be challenging because they sometimes don’t understand why they’re feeling certain things. In other cases, they don’t want to confront themselves and their feelings. Why? If they do, they fear they won’t get a grip on themselves.

II. Self-management

Have you ever stopped yourself before potentially making a decision you would regret? If so, that’s an example of self-management.

Self-management, or self-control, is when you make decisions through reasoning, and not simply giving in to your impulses.

You know you’re in control of your emotions when you learn to channel them in healthy ways. Before making poor choices, assess whether you are doing it because you feel like it, or because the outcome is best for all involved.

The ability to self-manage is a sign of maturity. Not only are you objectively assessing yourself in the process, but you’re also welcoming change in the process.

III. Social awareness

Two people holding hands Understanding the depth of our emotions paves the way for empathy.

While self-management, which involves looking inward, is critical to your growth, looking outward is just as essential. Once you learn to understand and release your emotions properly, you become more aware of other people’s emotions and how they affect your interactions.

One example of social awareness is the ability to read the room. Being socially aware means knowing when to give others their space to speak and when to listen. As you identify their non-verbal cues, you adjust to their emotional climate.

IV. Relationship management

What is relationship management in emotional intelligence?

This fourth pillar refers to developing relationships with others.

You know you’re good at managing relationships when you easily connect with and frequently interact with people. While this doesn’t mean you have to befriend every person you encounter, it means having a healthy rapport with the people already in your life.

What Is Emotional Intelligence in a Relationship?

Now that we know what it takes to be emotionally intelligent, let’s discuss the role of emotional intelligence in relationships, especially romantic ones.

But before we get into specifics, we’d like to clear up one thing first.

Many of us interchangeably use EQ (emotional quotient) and EI (emotional intelligence). They may seem the same, but they’re different. EQ is used to measure EI, and psychometricians usually use UQ when assessing a person’s knowledge of their emotions.

Now that the difference is clear, let’s move to the discussion, shall we?

Being Emotionally Intelligent in Love

A romantic relationship benefits greatly when the couple is highly emotionally intelligent.

A heightened awareness of your emotions helps you regulate them better. The more you’re in touch with them, you’ll learn to recognize your partner’s feelings. Once you two are on the same page emotionally, communication and conflict resolution becomes easier. How’s that for a healthy relationship?

Everyone has different relationship standards and dealbreakers. However, both parties should be emotionally intelligent enough to make their union work despite their differences. If you’re a guy reading this, we’re sure you’re aware that meeting the emotional needs of a woman in a relationship requires more than grand gestures and declarations.

Signs of Emotionally Intelligent Partners

How can you tell if your partner is emotionally smart? Look no further than these signs:

There is more independence

Man talks to a counselor. Displaying emotional intelligence in relationships takes more than just words of affection.

Emotionally intelligent partners can meet their own needs because they’re in tune with their bodies and emotions.

For example, if you regularly eat your meals on time, you won’t succumb to feeling hangry (hungry and angry, for the unaware). When you frequently feel hangry, that may be your body and feelings asking you to pay attention to them.

By understanding your own proclivities and tendencies, you can take measures to avoid being emotionally upset. In the case of being hangry, you can either eat on time or eat before possibly provoking a fight with your partner, not because you disagree, but because you were simply hungry.

More apologizing and forgiveness

Admitting to committing mistakes can be difficult for some. Who likes confessing their wrongs?

The thing is, couples shouldn’t brush mistakes aside. If they truly respect each other, they know that making a genuine apology is the way to go.

You’ll know there’s no lack of emotional intelligence in relationships when the party committing a mistake apologizes without hesitation. This shows that not only can they hold themselves accountable, but they also place you in high regard.

Apologizing and forgiving are most effective when there is empathy. You acknowledge that you have hurt someone, or you understand why that person has acted against you. By acknowledging each other’s feelings, you can move forward and take action to resolve your fights.

Boundaries are a non-issue

The self-awareness developed from emotional intelligence heightens the importance of personal boundaries. Everybody has limits, and we know better than to push past them. Should you cross a line, they won’t hesitate to let you know.

Likewise, an emotionally intelligent person respects their partner’s boundaries. They show that by giving them enough space to let them be their own people because they’re more than just 1/2 of a couple.

Their non-romantic relationships remain healthy

Couples shouldn’t stay within their own little bubble. They have other relationships too! If your partner’s long-standing platonic relationships and familial ties remain firm, they’re aware of their preferences and limits, putting their emotional know-how to good use.

Emotional intelligence is just as important as academic smarts. Our relationships will be better if we learn how to display it.

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