Why Emotionally Intelligent Men are More Likely to Have a Lasting Relationship

The benefits of emotional intelligence have been widely reported. Emotional intelligence helps us understand our own feelings and those around us. In doing so we typically have a heightened understanding and compassion for others. We also become open to different perspectives and opinions. These are important considerations for men who want a successful and lasting relationship.

Emotionally Intelligent Men

According to Dr. John Gottman, emotionally intelligent men are more likely to accept influence from their partners. Gottman also says that couples who accept influence from one another are more likely to stay married. In his research, he found that 1/3rd of men are good at accepting the influence of their partners. However, a certain percentage of men reject outright any influence from their partners of any kind. These are typically men who can be violent in relationships. The third group of men is just “ok” when it comes to accepting influence. The overall trend though is that men have a long way to go when it comes to accepting influence.

What is Accepting Influence?

In simple terms, accepting influence means compromising and listening. For example, let’s say you are watching television and your partner says they want to talk to you. They need your support and want you to listen. You could choose to turn off the TV and accept the influence of your partner by giving them your undivided attention. Or, on the other hand, you could reject that “influence” or request and continue to watch your show.  

Of course, both men and women can struggle with accepting influence. However, heterosexual men are simply not as good at accepting influence from their partners than women.  Communicating in a humorous, gentle, or soothing manner has been found to help men be more open to accepting influence from their partner. This approach is of course very different from communicating in an attacking or complaining manner (which will likely only lead to conflict).

How Does Mindfulness Come Into This?

An emotionally intelligent man will be much more open to accepting influence than one who avoids influence (or ignores their partner). Sometimes men will avoid the influence of their partner because they are afraid of her having power in the relationship. According to Gottman, these men are afraid of being controlled. If they accept their wife’s influence, the husband believes their wife will have power and control over them. Not surprisingly, these men are not connected with their own emotional selves either. In fact, they are typically afraid that if they give in to this influence they will be controlled for the rest of their lives.

Gottman cautions though, that men are not 100% of the problem when it comes to conflict in relationships. Yet, men who are emotionally intelligent and do accept the influence from their partners are much more likely to have a connected and satisfying relationship.

How to Accept Your Partner’s Influence

  • Accepting influence should be looked at as a learned skill. It starts by paying attention to your partner every day. When we resist our partner’s influence, often we do so without realizing it. Stereotypically, men who are not emotionally intelligent often don’t realize that their partners are trying to express themselves and connect with them.
  • Start to track and observe when you are either resisting or accepting your partner’s influence. Is there a pattern? Are there times that you accept their influence vs. times that you don’t?
  • It is also important to pay attention when you are trying to influence your partner.
  • During a conflict keep in mind that the goal should be to try to truly understand your partner’s perspective. Find an area of agreement or potential compromise. The goal is to develop an understanding that is mutually agreeable.
  • If you and your partner are still stuck and are at odds with one another, it is important to get professional help and attend couples counseling.

Through practice and effort, men can learn how to become more emotionally intelligent. Improving their emotional intelligence not only increases their relationship satisfaction but can noticeably enhance all their interpersonal relationships.

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