Very basically, emotional intelligence is how well individuals manage their own emotions and react to the emotions of others. While it first appeared in a 1964 paper, the term rose to prominence in psychologist and science journalist Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Emotional intelligence is important because we live in a social world, meaning we’re forced to interact with others constantly—whether we like it or not. Emotionally intelligent people are better able to manage conflict, understand and respond to the needs of others and keep their own emotions from getting the better of them.
But what about emotionally intelligent couples? For Talkspace therapist Dr. Amy Cirbus, LMHC, LPC, “Emotional intelligence in a couple is when each person in the relationship is doing the work to be aware of their own emotions, emotional reactions and responses and is able to communicate their experience to their partner in a productive way.” She adds that, “Of equal importance is to then be able to listen and respect their partner's emotional experience.” Together, an emotionally intelligent couple works toward helping each other understand the emotional dynamics within the relationship and grow together in a safe and mutually respectful space. Here are five things, per Dr. Cirbus, that emotionally intelligent couples have in common.