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5 ways to build emotional intelligence as a couple

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the foundation of all good relationships. It is just another word for using your emotions or feelings to gauge how others truly feel about a situation and respond to it by keeping their feelings in mind. Another word for it could just be humane or kind behaviour. It is most important that you are aware of your and your significant other's emotions. As couples therapists like to say, no couple ever broke up because they were too understanding or encouraging.

So here are 5 ways to build your EI together as a couple so that you can have an emotionally fulfilling and stable partnership.


Raise your awareness.

This one is the first steps to any good relationship. You cannot build or fix a relationship in which you aren’t paying attention to one another. So the first step is to pay attention, watch for cues, learn your partner’s patterns for moods or feelings and see how they react when they are low or upbeat. If certain triggers make them sad or unhappy or depressed, learn to watch them and find out what they are. Build your EI by first becoming more aware of your partner’s needs and wants.


Find out what your emotional nutrients are.

This could even be a fun exercise amongst partners where you talk about or write down the feelings and emotions that nourish and build you up. It could be simple things like wanderlust or a professional ambition or have kids together. Once you find out what behaviour nourishes you both you can establish healthy patterns within your relationship.


Understand what are the toxic aspects of life that drain and anger you?

Again, you could create a list together or talk about this with your partner, but it is important to establish the kinds of negative patterns and behaviour that both of you would prefer to avoid to maintain a stable and happy union. This could include fairly obvious points like not spending enough time together or prioritizing personal ambitions over those you have as a couple or even not pitching in enough with chores at home. If your partner feels neglected or is worried you are spending too much money, but has not been able to voice this, this is a great way to get those bottled emotions out.


Manage the emotions that affect your relationship.

This is one of the most crucial steps about building EI. Now every relationship has certain emotional traps that damage it, be it jealousy, a trust deficit, commitment-phobia or anger. Also within a relationship, emotions are contagious so if you don’t trust your partner, then chances are they will return the favour or act out in a way that makes them feel less trustworthy. The important thing is to understand the key fault lines in your relationship and work towards addressing them.


Finally learn to relax your emotional triggers on cue.

This is one of the hardest parts of building EI in your relationship and this is generally the end goal that most couples work towards, perhaps over the course of their lives. Once you have become aware of your own and your partner’s feelings, the key step to a strong partnership is to indulge in the patterns that bring you together and refrain from those that tear you apart. So give in to their requests for quality time together or check your anger when they talk about expenses. This kind of emotional intelligence only comes into play once you start putting your relationship and your partner above all else. And remember it is okay to fail once in a while and to make mistakes. The key thing is that you pick up where you left off and keep it going.

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