The Basics of Romantic Intelligence

Note: This is the first of a three-part series. Click here for part two

When we think of intelligence, we usually think of doing well in school, getting good grades and generally being the equivalent of a rocket scientist. That is called intellectual intelligence, and we refer to it as IQ. But there is also social intelligence (SQ), emotional intelligence (EQ), and romantic intelligence (RQ). All four co-mingle and work together within our lives.

Romantic intelligence is about being smart in love, and it is a far more accurate indicator of your overall level of happiness and well-being than your IQ. To be successful in love is to be successful in life. Most of us know people who have been very successful at work but whose lives we would not want ourselves.

Here are the basic requirements of romantic intelligence, taken from the book Romantic Intelligence by Mary and John Valentis (New Harbinger). To be smart in love you must be able to:

  • Have an awareness to recognize exactly what emotions you are experiencing in the moment.
  • Assess whether to act on your emotions or not. You must be able to think a problem through, rather than acting impulsively, and then regretting your actions.
  • To persist through adversity, never giving up on the dream, and motivating both yourself and others to bring out the best each of you have. To be an emotional leader in your relationship, taking responsibility for making your relationship deeper, more precious and meaningful.
  • Push through and regulate painfully paralyzing emotions that hold you back, by understanding and accepting these emotions as part of life’s painful experiences, but not letting them run your life.
  • Eliminate sarcasm, put-downs, needless conflicts, petty squabbles and nitpicking as a way of saving face. It is essential to work through an entire problem step-by-step, rather than momentarily feeling better about yourself by winning a battle at the expense of wrecking your relationship.
  • Know how and when to express anger assertively—not aggressively—and to also know when not to express anger at all. You must learn to build up your tolerance for frustration and sometimes delay gratification.
  • Become proficient at empathy/listening, which means you have the ability to put aside your own thoughts, feelings and needs for the moment; being an open channel and tuning into other people’s emotional states (as well as your own); being able to follow someone else’s emotional lead; being able to listen attentively to what your partner is saying rather than thinking about what you are going to say next, and being able to listen without interrupting your partner.
  • Sustain your emotional self-control over intense negative emotions so that they serve as a signal for solving difficult issues, rather than focusing the negativity on your partner, which will hurt, wound and ultimately destroy your relationship.
  • Be sensitive to your partner’s emotional states, which will allow you to solve problems between the two of you with greater compassion. Strive to understand more of what your partner wants and needs from you. Adopt an altruistic attitude and strive to be aware of what your partner is feeling about him/herself.

I will describe what you can do to develop your romantic intelligence in the next two columns.

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