Remainly - Online Couples Therapy

How to better understand your partner’s emotions

A romantic relationship is often based on an emotional connection with a partner, but as a relationship develops, parts of this connection can become lost.

As life takes over, it can seem tricky to put in the work needed to maintain a strong bond between you. One of the biggest issues that arise is the lack of understanding of a partner’s emotions.

This can be two-fold – you may have difficulty understanding your partner’s needs, while your partner could feel that you do not understand their needs. Each situation raises issues and can cause a strain on a relationship.

However, it does not have to be hard work to make your relationship more successful. Learning how to better understand your partner’s emotions is often a great first step towards good communication and a healthier relationship.

To help you, we have shared a few ways in which you can begin to understand how your partner is feeling.

Older couple laughing together

Listening is key

Often, all people need is for someone to listen.

Be fully present when your partner is expressing their thoughts and just allow them to talk.

Show emotional support

Usually, when people try to express their feelings, they just want someone to listen rather than to try and fix the situation. Being there for your partner shows them you are supporting them.

Instead of offering advice, practice giving emotional support as they speak, like nods, touches of support or affirmative noises.

Think about how you respond

Understand exactly what your partner is saying before you jump in with a response. If you are spending time formulating a response to what your partner is saying as they talk, then you’re not truly listening to everything they are saying.

Wait for them to finish talking and expressing themselves fully before you start thinking of your response. By butting in to a moment when your partner is expressing their feelings with your opinions, you could put them off fully opening up and sharing everything.

Instead of commenting in a critical manner, try to frame your response in a way that encourages your partner to talk more. For example, asking an open-ended question like ‘what do you think about that?’.

Consider body language

Our body language and expressions often give away a lot more about how we feel than we realise.

Body language can give you a good indication of your partner’s current mood, so adapt the way you speak and the support you give in response to this.

It is also important to consider your own body language when having a conversation with a partner. For example, if you are turned or facing away, then you are not presenting yourself as being open to discussion.

Whereas, if you mirror your partner, keeping your arms uncrossed, with a relaxed posture and maintaining eye contact, you show your partner that you are open to talking.

An older couple is talking seriously to each other

Don’t get defensive

A common problem in relationships is that people often go on the defensive as an immediate response to a partner expressing an opinion, or feeling, they do not agree with.

By getting defensive, you are telling your partner that you think you are right and they are wrong. This can make your partner reluctant to share things with you or truly express their feelings.

It is important to remember that you do not have to agree on everything in a relationship. Often, a disagreement is simply a misunderstanding, and by allowing your partner to speak without becoming overly defensive can be what is needed.

Understand your own emotions

Sometimes barriers in our relationships come from within. You probably have a whole host of thoughts, feelings and emotions running through your own head, which can cloud your perception of what your partner is feeling.

People often project their own feelings onto a partner, and assume that they feel a similar way, or cannot even consider that a partner could have a different emotional response to a situation.

By connecting to your own feelings and understanding the emotional needs you have, you will likely begin to see why you respond to things in certain ways and can identify how your partner reacts differently.

Express your own emotions

By expressing our own feelings, it can encourage a partner to share how they feel too. By openly discussing and communicating your emotions together, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of each other’s feelings.

Two women sitting in a cafe and talking

Stop assuming and communicate

Sometimes, the simplest thing to do is ask your partner how they are feeling. Some people think that they should immediately be able to understand their partner’s emotions, but this can lead to assumptions that are untrue.

Instead, talking openly and honestly to your partner can be the best way to approach it. They will appreciate the interest you are showing in them, and good communication can only strengthen your relationship.

How can Remainly help?

We know that communication isn’t easy, especially when it comes to expressing your emotions to a partner.

If communication and understanding each other’s emotions is something you have difficulties within your relationship, then it could be time to explore marriage guidance counselling.

Counselling does not have to be left for a last-resort, it can be a very useful tool for couples looking to keep their relationship on the right track, without resorting to bad communication traps like arguing and defensiveness.

If you would like guidance on how to improve the communication in your relationship to better understand your partner’s emotions, then Remainly is here to help.

Led by certified psychologist and experienced couples therapist Andreas Løes Narum, Remainly helps to teach couples simple techniques to form a better understanding of their partner through the use of online videos.

More articles

All prices are per couple and include a 7-day free trial