5 Signs You’re Dating An Emotionally Intelligent Partner

The modern dating world can feel like a minefield. Between mindless swiping, ghosting and overly filtered pictures, it’s hard to discover genuine, meaningful connections. 

Even if you get past the apps and into the initial dating phase, discerning whether a potential partner is a great long-term match can be challenging.  

But here’s one green flag you should definitely look out for: emotional intelligence (EQ). Research shows that it strongly predicts romantic relationship satisfaction and length. 

So, how do you know whether the person you’re dating has a high EQ? Here are the subtle signs to look out for. 

They’ve got grit

Grit is a term popularized by psychologist Angela Duckworth. It’s a trait that combines resilience, perseverance and passion in pursuit of long-term goals. 

People with high EQs demonstrate these characteristics in abundance. They know themselves, accurately understand their strengths and weaknesses, and strive to live their lives according to their values. 

This begs the question: when your partner’s life goes through a rough patch, or they don’t get what they wanted, how do they react? If they give up, fly off the handle or blame the world for their issues, it’s a sign of low EQ.

That’s not to say that a partner with a high EQ won’t feel down or frustrated when they run into roadblocks. Instead, they’ll manage their emotions healthily, giving themselves time to feel sad while also reflecting on the next best step to take. Despite any setbacks, they’ll remain optimistic about their ability to bounce back.

They’re self-aware

Self-awareness, as defined by one of the psychologists who first studied EQ, refers to a state of being “aware of both our mood and our thoughts about mood.” In essence, it’s the ability to understand what we’re feeling and why we feel that way. 

But beyond just being attuned to our feelings, true self-awareness enables us to manage our emotions. Putting this in context, self-management could look like calming yourself down when you’re feeling anxious or quieting negative self-talk through self-compassion. 

You can uncover whether your partner has good self-awareness by assessing how they talk about their thoughts and feelings. Do they feel comfortable talking about their emotions? If they feel down or frustrated, can they explain why clearly? Are they able to bounce back from negative moods quite quickly? 

On top of demonstrating these characteristics, it’s important to note that healthy self-awareness - and a high EQ - go hand in hand with self-esteem. Look closely at how your partner talks about themselves, their capabilities and achievements. Hopefully, they show respect for themselves and feel confident in who they are.

Side note – self-regard shouldn’t be confused with arrogance. The latter is actually a sign of a low EQ: failing to see oneself accurately and over-exaggerated self-importance.  

They’ve got a solid network of friends 

Emotional intelligence goes far beyond being able to understand yourself. It also helps you understand other people through empathy and social awareness. Empathy is the ability to understand others’ emotional experiences, and social awareness is the skill of knowing how to respond to others thoughtfully and appropriately. 

Combined, these skills make for excellent interpersonal skills, enabling people to cultivate long-standing, fulfilling relationships.

Consider the person you’re dating and analyze their relationships with friends and family. Do they have solid and long-standing friendships? If so, this is a sign they’ve got a high EQ. 

By contrast, if their interpersonal relationships are characterized by drama and frequent fallouts, this could indicate that they’re lacking in the EQ department. 

They notice when you’re having a bad day 

Thanks to honing their empathy skills, emotionally intelligent individuals naturally pick up on other people’s emotions by analyzing their body language, tone of voice and so on. It’s almost like they have a great emotional antenna, which enables them to pick up on the feelings of the people around them. 

Think back to the last time you were having a bad day around the person you’re dating. Did they notice that you were feeling down and ask for details? If so, they probably have highly developed empathy skills.

However, individuals with high EQs aren’t mind readers, so don’t base your EQ assessment solely on how easily they pick up on your emotions. What’s more important is how they respond. 

Minimizing your problems, edging away from emotionally difficult conversations and showing a lack of interest indicates a low EQ. On the other hand, a partner with a high EQ will help you feel seen, heard and understood. 

They aren’t afraid of conflict 

As lovely as it would be to have a relationship without conflict, it’s unrealistic. Disagreement is inevitable in any long-term partnership. But how your partner disagrees will tell you a lot about their EQ. 

For a start, if you find yourself in a situation where your partner always agrees with you and is entirely conflict-averse, this indicates their EQ needs work. Chances are, they are underplaying their innate needs and should work on being more assertive and self-confident. 

Secondly, if disagreements with your partner always turn into raging, spiteful arguments or the silent treatment, these are also indications that EQ is lacking somewhere. People with low EQs find it hard to disagree healthily due to poor emotional regulation and low self-esteem. To these individuals, criticism feels like a personal attack, and they jump into ‘fight or flight’ mode as a result. 

While disagreements are never pleasant, people with high EQs tend to argue well - at least for the most part. They aim to keep conversations respectful and find the middle ground. Of course, everyone is human, and even someone with a high EQ can make an occasional hurtful remark - but they’ll be good at recognizing where they went wrong and apologizing for it.

EQ is a skill, not a trait 

If your partner demonstrates all the characteristics above, then congratulations! They likely have a high EQ. However, even if they lack emotional intelligence, there’s still hope.

You see, developing EQ is like learning a language or upping your fitness. Almost anyone can do it with time, dedication and practice. Of course, your partner must be willing to put the work in. Cultivating skills like empathy and self-awareness isn’t easy, but it’s well worth it.

Research, after all, shows that people with high EQs experience lifetime benefits like improved relationships, increased job satisfaction and even higher salaries. Clearly, everyone has something to gain from boosting their EQ. 

The best way for anyone to start? By getting a firmer understanding of what their (and your) EQ levels are like right now – and we’ve designed a free test to help. Take our emotional intelligence test here and start your journey towards a happier, healthier and better-connected relationship today.  

Hannah Pisani
Hannah Pisani is a freelance writer based in London, England. A type 9 INFP, she is passionate about harnessing the power of personality theory to better understand herself and the people around her - and wants to help others do the same. When she's not writing articles, you'll find her composing songs at the piano, advocating for people with learning difficulties, or at the pub with friends and a bottle (or two) of rose.