How empathy could help your relationship

The first thing we need to clear up is what exactly is empathy? Well, empathy is the ability to be aware of someone else’s emotions from their perspective. It is different (and more beneficial) than sympathy, which is when you distance yourself from someone else’s feelings directly, and often ‘feel sorry for’ someone, whereas empathy involves a higher level of understanding and emotion. Empathy can help your relationship a great deal, but how?

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How empathy could help your relationship

Why is empathy good for a relationship?

Sometimes it can be easy to overlook how someone else might be feeling, especially if they react differently than we think we would. For example, if you are the messier person in the relationship, it might be difficult to understand why your much tidier partner gets so upset about you leaving your clothes on the floor. If you use empathy, you can begin to imagine the frustration and discomfort that the other person is feeling and therefore change your actions to make them happier. If you don’t have empathy, you are likely not to break this habit as you will struggle to see how they are feeling. Understanding the emotions and feelings of the person you love will help you become a better partner and strengthen your relationship.

Developing your empathy is certainly not an easy thing to do and will take time, practice and patience; however, the results will be worth it, as you come to a deeper level of understanding in your relationship. One of the easiest ways to be empathetic is to imagine yourself in your partner’s situation. Think about the feelings that this might bring up, and what you would want others around you to do to ease these emotions. Then do them!

Communicate about emotions and withhold judgement

Communication is one of the most important parts of a relationship and by being open and honest about your feelings you allow yourselves to empathize much easier with one another. Let these talks be a regular part of your relationship. You simply cannot empathize while passing judgment, so practice withholding all judgments where possible. This is a very difficult skill, but once you have mastered it, empathy will come a lot easier to you.

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How empathy could help your relationship

Take on some of their responsibilities

The best way to understand and empathize with your partner is to see what it’s like to be them. Even for a short while as an experiment, take on some of your partners work, chores or responsibilities so you can really understand what it is like in their shoes. This will allow you to empathize much easier.

Consider their wants and needs without them needing to ask

You can show empathy for another person by thinking ahead about what it is they may want or need to make things easier or better for them. By practicing empathy, you will begin to understand their feelings and emotions and will be able to work out what it is they need at that moment. This will make you a much better partner.

Be present

It is increasingly hard to be present in any moment, as we are always on our phones, checking notifications, writing lists of things we have to do or just generally multitasking. Tune into your partner by trying to be present, with no distractions, when you are interacting. This will make it much easier to empathize as you will be giving your partner your full attention.

Empathy is such an essential part of your relationship and can take it to the next level of love and understanding. No one will get it right immediately, but by trying and practicing you will be showing that you care enough to make an effort and that will begin to enrich your relationships.


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How empathy could help your relationship