Emotional intelligence (EQ) is our ability to understand, use and manage our emotions in a positive way. And while it would be nice if everyone displayed emotional intelligence, the honest to God truth is, it’s really rare these days.

Because of that, finding an emotionally intelligent partner is difficult. And being with someone who lacks emotional intelligence on a romantic level can be a nightmare, to say the least. The fact of the matter is, we all have emotions, and sometimes, those emotions are going to bubble over. We can’t be emotionally sound and stable all of the time, because emotions can get the best of us. BUT- we can strive to have the high emotional intelligence to help us handle our emotions to the best of our ability when they strike.

No amount of emotional intelligence will make your intense emotions disappear for good. But, it most definitely will help you to be a better person and partner. As I said before, emotional intelligence can be difficult to find in a partner, but when you find an emotionally intelligent partner who shows the following signs, you’ve likely found a keeper.

1. They show a clear understanding of emotion-based words.

When discussing their emotions, they use words to define their emotions and not just the basics like upset or anger. They say things like “I feel frustrated, because,” or “I feel downtrodden, because…” Their emotional vocabulary is expansive and they are very in tune with their own emotions.

2. They are curious about new people.

Upon meeting new people, they show a genuine interest to get to know them. They ask questions about new people and are very open to listening and showing attention.

3. They know their strengths and weaknesses.

Everyone has weaknesses, and that’s part of what makes us human. If you meet someone who is not only afraid to be weak sometimes but also understands where their weaknesses lie and also their strengths, they are likely emotionally intelligent.

4. They feelings check you.

From time to time, they check in with you about your thoughts and feelings. They genuinely want to make sure that you are feeling okay in every sense of the word.

5. They display compassion.

When you are going through a difficult emotional situation, even if they don’t understand what you are going through, they show compassion. They would never expect you to just stop being upset when you are upset, but they are happy to support you and help you through your difficult emotions in any way they can.

6. They show emotional control.

When they are upset, they don’t typically blow up or act out. Instead, while you can tell they are going through something, they can maintain themselves without acting irrationally.

7. They pause before reacting.

And when a major emotionally fueled situation comes up, they can take a step back and pause before reacting. They know if they react emotionally, they are likely going to act out of character. In turn, they pause to calm down so they can react logically.

8. They are open to criticism.

When you tell them something they could improve upon helpfully and respectfully, they listen and take note. They understand that criticism (constructive) is helpful in their growth.

9. They show authenticity.

And they are genuine. They don’t change who they are from day to day or depending upon who is around. Instead, they are the same person no matter what, and not in a way that seems fake.

10. They demonstrate empathy.

The exercise and demonstrate empathy. They know when you are upset and when others are upset, and why you feel that way. They are very understanding and you don’t have to explain or rationalize your feelings to them.

11. They give praise and encouragement.

When they are happy for you, they let you know. They aren’t afraid to congratulate you or let you know how wonderful you are to them.

12. They give useful feedback.

And when you are doing something that bothers them, they don’t jump to tell you what you are doing rudely. Instead, they give useful feedback that makes sense and is fair and just.

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