What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is a person’s capacity for identifying, expressing and responding effectively to both their own emotions and to those of others. Emotionally intelligent individuals are adept at comprehending others’ feelings and adapting their own behavior accordingly.

Emotional intelligence is of huge importance when it comes to relationships. In fact, brand-new research coming out of Germany has demonstrated that couples in which even just one partner has high emotional intelligence are much more likely to be stronger, happier and more stable. The study, published in the Journal of Psychology, analyzed 136 couples in order to ascertain their relationship satisfaction, personality traits, and stress management. Couples were shown to be significantly more content in their relationship when at least one partner scored highly on emotional intelligence tests. Why is this?

Emotional intelligence leads to better relationships

Emotional intelligence entails highly developed communication skills because of heightened awareness of the nuances of social interactions and the idiosyncrasies of individuals in one’s life. People with higher emotional intelligence are better equipped to explain their feelings saliently and simply. Such individuals also have more empathy; they are more sensitive and aware of others’ feelings, as well as more intuitive about what the underlying causes of those emotions might be. Emotionally intelligent individuals find it easy to relate to myriad kinds of people, treating them with a baseline level of generosity, compassion and kindness regardless of their identity.

When it comes to relationships, therefore, emotionally intelligent couples are able to effortlessly forge and maintain a profound level of respect for one another. They communicate their feelings effectively, establish healthy boundaries, and read their partner’s emotional states with ease. In fact, high emotional intelligence is an even greater predictor of relationship satisfaction than is attraction or mutual interests.

Dyadic coping

Emotional intelligence is associated with better stress management, and this translates also into how couples deal with highly emotive situations within their relationships. Emotionally intelligent individuals are great at supporting their partners: they proactively attend to negative emotions, find ways to solve problems as a team and voluntarily shoulder extra responsibilities in order to relieve their partner’s stress. In fact, there’s a psychological term for this ability to be collaborative and supportive in stressful situations: dyadic coping.

Emotionally intelligent individuals are far less likely to dismiss or downplay their partner’s negative emotions or leave them to work out their issues and stress by themselves. By subconsciously and automatically developing a dynamic of dyadic coping, both partners develop a deep comprehension of just how much more effective it is to work things out as a team.

Make emotional intelligence a priority in your relationship

If you’re single and active on the dating scene, it is highly recommended that you consider a potential partner’s emotional intelligence before committing to something serious. People have lengthy checklists of what they’re seeking in a partner: career, appearance, interests, style, politics, religion. But the bottom line is, these are bonuses. It’s great if your partner checks out on these criteria, sure — but if they’re not emotionally intelligent, it’s highly unlikely that a long-term relationship with that person would be successful by any measure.

And remember: finding an emotionally intelligent partner would make for an amazing relationship, yes, but so would working on your own cognizance of others’ feelings. Your capacity for empathy is not set in stone. You can work on building those skills simply by taking the time to listen to what people say and sincerely think about their emotional states. In the long run, you’ll become a much more attractive prospective partner for doing so.

Are you struggling with a lack of emotional intelligence in your relationship? Or perhaps you feel your own capacity for empathy is hindering you from finding the partner of your dreams? Maclynn (formerly Vida) can help. We are far more than a multi-award-winning elite international dating agency. Our in-house relationship expert and dating coach Madeleine Mason Roantreee has over 15 years’ experience helping people work through their issues in their relationships. Get in touch with Maclynn today and let’s get you on the path to a strong, loving, profoundly meaningful relationship with someone truly amazing.