The Art of Empathy: A Guide to Being There For Your Partner

dating 101

While some will say that the most difficult part of dating is actually finding someone to love, others will argue that it’s keeping your person by your side in the long run that’s the real test. 

Sorry to break it to you, but love isn’t the only ingredient needed for a healthy and successful relationship. Depending on life’s ups and downs, and maybe even your karma sometimes, seeing eye-to-eye with your partner on a day-to-day basis is far from being a simple task. In fact, it can be incredibly complex. 

As tensions grow and arguments may spark, finding the right words to navigate a quaky situation can become an art in itself. And, as much as you’d love to have the last word in any given quarrel, instead, try to communicate, listen, and compassionately respond to your significant other’s needs (if you want your relationship to last, that is). Most times, what they are seeking is a solution to a problem or just sympathy towards their feelings— and it shouldn’t take you long to figure out which approach is needed if you know your partner well enough. 

Unfortunately, we’re not equipped to offer tailored advice as solutions tend to vary based on unique scenarios, however, when it comes to empathizing with your loved one during their emotional struggles, rest assured, we got your back.

Below, four invaluable tips to keep your partner’s spirits afloat during the toughest times.

Relate to what they say

Nothing is more reassuring than hearing someone relate to what you are feeling. From the receiver’s end, they feel as if they are not alone in their struggle anymore, and reinforces your connection with them as both of you have a shared experience of pain. However, it’s important to remember that this is not about you. Make sure you listen and emphasize on how much you understand what they are going through without diverting the focus. 

Ask open-ended questions 

Encourage your partner to express their feelings by asking open-ended questions as it will most likely help them share in greater detail what they are upset about on their own terms, without feeling interrogated. It gives them the space to share at their own pace and in their own words, without being intrusive.

Validate feelings

Acknowledge and validate your partner’s emotions by letting them know that you understand how they’re feeling and that their emotions are important to you regardless of whether you agree with them or not. Whether you think that your other half is being overdramatic or that they’re exaggerating, remember that emotions are subjective, and what might seem futile to you could be very intense and overwhelming for them. 

Offer physical comfort

Provide emotional support through gestures like hugging, holding their hand, or simply being by their side. Reassure them that you’re on their side and you unconditionally care about their well-being. At the end of the day, human beings are mammals, meaning that we have an innate need for physical touch in times of distress. However, you must remember that everyone’s emotional needs are different, especially when it comes to physical touching, so adapt these tips to your partner’s personality and the specific situation. Ultimately, showing empathy and being there for your loved one during tough times should strengthen your relationship but you wouldn’t want it to come across the wrong way or seem as if you’re overstepping boundaries.

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