Happy couples aren’t smarter, wealthier or more resilient than others. They don’t (necessarily) spend more time together, share more interests or have a better regime for dividing chores. You won’t find them sitting around staring into each other’s eyes, and even the healthiest of relationships will have just as much bickering as any other couple. Instead, these happy couples often have one thing that prevents them from sinking into the mire of battle or discontent – emotional intelligence (EQ).
Dr. John Gottman is a relationship expert and says: EQ is the “surprisingly simple secret” to making an intimate relationship work. It’s the key predictor of whether a couple will stay together — happily.
EQ is a person’s ability to notice, manage and express their emotions healthily. In relationships, it can influence trust, communication, intimacy, and conflict management. In short, it makes the whole deal easier and much more fun. Contrary to that, relationships which lack EQ will often struggle. Disagreements will blow up into massive fights, distance will creep in and anxiety will constantly bubble beneath the surface. People with low EQ struggle to understand and express their feelings in a healthy way. This could make them shut down, lash out unpredictably or have other emotional outbursts that seem out of control or “too much” for the occasion. All of which can put a huge strain on a relationship. When both parties struggle to regulate their emotions, it can cause an explosion which will then usually lead to a breakup. Do you believe that together, you and your partner are an intelligent couple? Listed below are 8 signs of an emotionally intelligent couple and if these sound like your relationship, both you and your partner are probably on the road to a long and happy relationship!
Signs Of An Emotionally Intelligent Couple
1. You’re Not In The Relationship For Personal Gain – We see people forge ahead with relationships for personal gain all the time. Whether it’s publicity, financial gain or even a pregnancy, people go into relationships for all the wrong reasons. An emotionally intelligent couple is not in a relationship to grab whatever they can and then just up and leave. Instead, these types of couples are in it for the long-haul. They want to benefit from the relationship, but together as a couple, not as just one single unit. Decisions are based on how it will affect the couple. How does it benefit their relationship? Does it add value or take it away? Does it add stress, or reduce it? These conclusions can only be drawn by having conversations, listening, and then making a mutually beneficial decision.
2. You Allow For Healthy Time Apart – Emotionally healthy couples are not always together. They can see their own friends, commit to their favorite hobbies, visit the gym and spend time alone doing other things without the fear that their partner will be jealous, resentful, or make them feel guilty. Time apart is exceptionally important in a relationship and if your partner is having problems allowing you that freedom, it can be very challenging. Before throwing in the towel, delve into their past to find out if they’ve been cheated on by a partner whom they trusted, and were then made to feel like they were at fault.
3. Each Person Actively Seeks Time To Connect – Life can get insanely busy at times, with schedules that leave little time for breathing, let alone making additional time to connect. Throw in a few pets, some kids, work, household chores, and a few family members, and what’s left at the end of the week? Not much, that’s for sure. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist in New York City and faculty member in Columbia University’s clinical psychology Ph.D. program spoke for NBC News and said, “Emotional intimacy could be defined as allowing yourself to connect more deeply with your partner through actions that express feelings, vulnerabilities and trust.”
4. You Each Work Towards Becoming Better People – Human beings are not born to be stagnant objects. We’re meant to grow, change, learn, and improve. If your partner is not interested in changing or bettering themselves, that can prove to be problematic in a relationship. If only one person in the relationship is focused on growth, they’re going to surpass their partner quickly, and eventually the couple will have nothing in common. Japanese martial artist and founder of aikido, Morihei Ueshiba, once said “If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.”
5. They Say Thank You And I’m Sorry – Believe it or not, a simple thank you goes a long way in relationships. You feel appreciated and valued when your partner acknowledges what you’ve done. Saying sorry isn’t always easy, but it changes lives. Couples that can apologize and then take action to correct their mistakes are couples that are emotionally intelligent. The popular website Goalcast.com says that “Saying “sorry” denotes that you have chosen your relationship over your ego.”
6. When Having Issues, Your Partner Is the First Person You Talk To – If you’re going through a hard time, who do you usually turn to first? Your partner or your friends? If you’re unable to go to your partner first, that’s usually a big red flag – as emotionally intelligent couples are able to trust their problems with their partners. If the problem is with your partner, communication is the only way to remedy it. And there are simple ways to making those hard conversations easier. Don’t talk down to your partner, don’t interrupt them, pick up on their non-verbal cues, don’t drone on and on, and reach an agreement that you can both move forward with. If having difficult conversations doesn’t bring a common closure or move in the right direction, consider seeking some professional help.
7. You Have A Deep Friendship – If you’re treating your friends with a lot more kindness, fun, and giving them the best bits of you but not your partner, that can be tricky to balance in a relationship. Emotionally intelligent couples save their best parts for their partner. They go out of their way to please them, to make them feel good, and to let them know that they’re appreciated, loved and valued. They nurture the friendship as much as they do the physical side of their relationship. That’s because we all know, the physical attraction does fade over time. Meanwhile, hanging out with your partner, or best friend, will be there for life.
8. You Make Time For Fun – Having fun with one another is such an important part of a relationship, but it’s also one part that tends to be neglected when the monotony of long-term relationships kicks in and the honeymoon phase ends. Routine is expected, but emotionally intelligent couples will set a date to have a date. They’ll go roller skating, have a picnic or visit a museum. Even if it’s something that doesn’t cost a lot of money. Happy couples just make time for fun!