Why You Might Need an Emotionally Intelligent Partner

"man and woman facing each other standing on footpath beside body of water" by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash
7 min read.

I’m not one to tell you who you should date or what you should value in a partner. No one can. You have to find what it is you care about, both within yourself and with a partner. 

Not everyone is going to care about emotional intelligence, or think it’s sexy. Let’s be real, a little too much EQ can sometimes ruin the fun and mystery of it all.

If you keep finding yourself going on one date after the other, or feel something off about your current relationship, then.. it might be your breath. It’s gotta be your breath.

But seriously, you might be feeling like you’re missing something right now because you’re actually looking for something more, something deeper.

What does that look like? And how do I know if that’s what I want?

It’s what you want if you care for emotional intelligence, if you value the human experience. This is for those who want meaningful, emotional connections with those closest to them.

This is for those who want to show up as a better person for their relationships, and more importantly, for themselves.

This is for those who value awareness of their strengths, weaknesses, and how their emotions can affect their perception of them, who have awakened to something greater than themselves.

These are the qualities of an emotionally intelligent partner.


1. Self-aware

The self-aware strive to learn how their own mind works. They know their strengths and are not afraid to admit to their faults.

They spend as much time understanding themselves as they do with the ones they care about.

They pay attention to how they exude themselves and how it affects people, while not putting too much weight on what people think about them.

They are comfortable reaching out for feedback, criticism, help, ways to improve. They accept them calmly and look for ways to work on them rather than defend or deny them.

They are aware of what does and doesn’t work for them, what they like and don’t like.

They know that there’s so much we don’t know, enough to never assume or present arrogance.

2. Empathetic

Empathy is not innate to being human. It is something we learn, practice, and give meaning to. Some will read as much as they can about it. Some will do as much as they can to apply it. Emotionally intelligent people will do both.

They are the ones who can see past just the words that are said and understand the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives behind them.

They believe that no one is innately broken. They are empowering because they know that each individual has the ability to both break or strengthen their own core.

They know how to relate. They don’t need to have everything explained to them. They get it.

They know that love is communicated not just through physicality, but through feelings and thoughts of the heart and mind.

They are considerate, compassionate, and know when and how much to put someone else first.

They know that how people feel is more important than what people think.

3. In-tune with emotions

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

An emotionally intelligent person is attentive to their own emotions and how it’s portrayed and received.

They have learned the vocabulary and patience to identify the specific feeling that’s occurring in not just their brain, but in their body as well. They are vulnerable enough to admit to any weaknesses that may have triggered it.

They also know they can’t completely trust every emotion or thought. They are aware of how it makes them feel and how to rationalize the validity and truth behind them.

They use their emotions as an antenna to help translate what’s happening around them, but they are the ones who ultimately choose how to respond to them.

They’re not afraid to voice out their thoughts and feelings, even if they’re incomplete.

They’re accepting of the fact that intelligence is not solely based on intellect or logic. Life has an unspoken energy that connects us in ways we don’t understand, or would ever need to understand. There are things that require no words or reasoning.

4. Curious

Curiosity is what inspires the emotionally intelligent. They love learning. They want to get to the root of things.

They know when to dig deep and when to back off.

They know when there’s a struggle and will ask the right questions at the right time.

They show interest, but they don’t pry. They know that they don’t have to know everything right away.

They’re willing to give their partner all of their attention because they want to understand them, why they say the things they say, what makes them think the way they think.

5. Understand the love languages

A partner who has high emotional intelligence understands how to love.

They know that people give and receive love differently.

Some will use words.

Some will show them, do things for them.

Some will spend time with them.

Some will give them gifts.

And some will touch them in all the right ways.

They know how to communicate what kind of love they need and want.

They know how to grow. They know, like any language, that it takes practice. It takes work. It takes making many mistakes and learning from each of them.

6. Respect people’s decisions

An emotionally intelligent person respects the choices of their partner. They know that there doesn’t have to be one right answer. They know when to provide guidance and when to let them explore.

They encourage them with whatever they decide, if it will inspire growth. They create space for their partner to fill it. They’re their partner in crime, their accomplice to everything joyful, naughty, and risky.

They trust them, they believe in them, and they don’t do it blindly. They’ll spark discussion as a form of feedback.

They let them be them.

7. Emotionally resilient

Being emotionally intelligent is synonymous with being emotionally resilient.

They’re able to weather through tough times. They accept that adversity is inevitable, that things are going to happen outside of their control. They understand their strengths and weaknesses, when to do something about it and when to move on.

They understand that failure is not defeat, as long as they learn from it. They know when to surrender so they can prepare for the next fight.

They re-frame their mind and experience towards optimism, towards something they can take action towards. They see the benefits of whatever situation they’re in, rather than sulk over all of the negatives.

They maintain composure, while not being afraid to be vulnerable or ask for help when they need it.

They are confident in their beliefs so much that they’re willing to listen to opposing opinions.

Emotionally resilient people properly respond to what’s happening internally or externally, rather than react on impulse. They appreciate time and patience.

8. Look for connection

A partner who values emotional intelligence likes to connect deeply.

They might not be extroverted all the time, but they get along with your friends, parents, and siblings. They are comfortable spending time alone with each of them.

They value the human experience. They can empathize with pain and struggle, and they will celebrate joy and excitement.

They are unapologetically themselves and still willing to learn from anyone they meet. They express their opinions while accepting those of others.

They are aware of who they’re speaking to and how their audience receives information.

They connect to the hearts and minds of those they care about.

9. Adaptable

Someone who seeks to increase their emotional intelligence is someone who is adaptable.

They know that perseverance is important, while stubbornness is limiting. They know when to adjust when appropriate, instead of wasting their strength and energy plowing through obstacles.

They know that some balance is crucial, but they don’t beat themselves up for being imbalanced.

They are grounded in any situation and environment, while also light and loose.

They are easy-going, but purposeful. They know when to lead and how to follow. They know how to work and how to relax.

They enjoy wherever they are, whatever they’re doing, whoever they’re with.

10. Efficacious

Highly emotionally intelligent people are aware of their emotions, and don’t let the emotions get to the best of them. They don’t allow the negative ones to limit their capability, nor the positive ones to distort their reality.

They’re self-motivated and passionate and alive. Their words have intention and action behind them.

They don’t try to rationalize their emotions, they listen to them, use them to take them to beautiful places, to do great things. They act in spite of fear.

They don’t suppress their emotions, they learn from them.

11. Treat themselves accordingly

Love is not only meant to be given outwardly but inwardly as well. The emotionally intelligent person cares for their own hearts and minds as if they were a loved one.

Emotionally intelligent people are not just in a relationship with their partner, but with themselves. They treat their partner right, they treat their family right, they treat strangers right, and most importantly they treat themselves right.

They know what they need, not just what they want. And they know when and how they need it. They know what is good for them and when they deserve it.

They are selfish, but not inconsiderate. They value generosity and selflessness, which includes being generous and selfless to themselves.

They show love in all directions.


These qualities are not meant “the best” or the “most enlightened” or whatever you think is perfection. Don’t expect everyone to exhibit all of these at all times. Nor should we think that we have to have all of these qualities in order to be an emotionally intelligent person, let alone a good partner. Don’t burden that expectation onto your partner.

Instead, all I ask is to choose one or two that you value for yourself. Practice the ones that work for you and your partner. You don’t have to be perfect, just willing to learn.

What are some specific things I can do?

I’ve collected 11 exercises to practice your emotional intelligence. Some may work better than others, but staying consistent with a few of them will help you build a life to love.