Empathy in a relationship is important! Know how to be more empathetic

Lack of empathy in a relationship can affect it in the long run. Know the importance of empathy in a relationship and how to develop it.
View All Images A woman showing empathy to her partner
Empathy is an important ingredient in a healthy relationship. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 6 Jan 2024, 23:21 pm IST
  • 123
Medically Reviewed by

Empathy allows a person to not only understand, but also relate to other people. Those with empathy are able to put themselves in someone else’s position and feel what they are feeling. It helps to deepen emotional connection with the person. This is one of the reasons why empathy is important in a relationship. Read on to know more about the reasons why empathy in a relationship must not be ignored and how to develop it.

What is empathy?

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It involves putting oneself in someone else’s shoes, recognising their emotions, and responding with compassion.

couple's hands
Empathy enhances communication in a relationship. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What is the importance of empathy in a relationship?

A 2005 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found empathy to be positively associated with well-being. It is important not just for your well-being, but also your relationships. Psychiatrist Dr Rahul Rai Kakkar explains some of the key reasons why empathy is an essential ingredient to enhance the flavour of every relationship.

1. Enhances communication

Empathy fosters open and honest communication. It helps to create a safe space for sharing emotions and thoughts without fear of judgment.

2. Builds trust

When partners feel understood and supported, trust in the relationship strengthens. It forms a solid foundation for long-term commitment.

3. Promotes emotional intimacy

Empathy can help to deepen emotional connection. This can allow partners to connect on a profound level and share vulnerabilities.

4. Resolves conflicts

Understanding each other’s perspectives enables constructive conflict resolution. This in turn prevents resentment and fosters compromise, says the expert.

5. Boosts emotional support

Empathetic partners provide comfort and validation during challenging times. This helps to create a sense of security in the relationship.

6. Encourages growth

Empathy supports personal and mutual growth. It is done by acknowledging and supporting each other’s aspirations and challenges.

7. Strengthens connection

Empathy is all about tuning into each other’s emotions. This way, partners can develop a stronger sense of closeness and unity in the relationship.

Select Topics of your interest and let us customize your feed.


8. Fosters mutual respect

Empathy cultivates respect by acknowledging the uniqueness of each person’s experience. It helps to value their feelings.

9. Cultivates teamwork

Empathetic partners collaborate effectively. They recognise each other’s strengths and weaknesses that help to achieve shared goals, says the expert.

10. Improves relationship satisfaction

The cumulative effect of empathy contributes to a more fulfilling relationship experience. It helps to improve overall relationship satisfaction.

couple fighting
If your partner consistently fails to understand your feelings, it may indicate a lack of empathy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the signs of lack of empathy in a relationship?

Wondering if empathy is lacking in your relationship? Here are some signs to know if it’s not there:

• If your partner consistently fails to actively listen and understand your feelings, it may indicate a lack of empathy.
• A dismissive or judgmental response to your emotions suggests a lack of consideration for your perspective.
• Feeling emotionally distant or disconnected from your partner may indicate a lack of empathy in the relationship.
• If your partner finds it challenging to open up about their emotions or vulnerabilities, it may signal a lack of empathy.
• If your partner is indifferent or unsupportive during difficult times, it may reflect a lack of empathy.

How to develop empathy?

You or your partner can be more empathetic by doing the following:

1. Practice active listening

Give your full attention and paraphrase what you have heard. Then ask clarifying questions to better understand the other person’s perspective, suggests Dr Rahul Rai Kakkar.

2. Cultivate curiosity

Learn about others’ experiences and perspectives with a genuine interest in understanding their emotions and motivations. You must be genuinely curious about them.

3. Read books and watch films

Engage with diverse stories to broaden your understanding of different cultures, backgrounds and emotions. You can do that by reading a book or watching films from different countries.

4. Understand your own emotions

Understanding your own emotions enhances your ability to relate to others’ feelings. So, reflect on your own emotions first.

5. Practice perspective-taking

Imagine yourself in someone else’s situation, suggests the expert. This will help to develop a deeper understanding of their feelings and experiences.

6. Volunteer in community activities

Involvement in community service can expose you to diverse perspectives. So, engaging in community activities can foster empathy.

Empathy is a key ingredient in a relationship, so make sure to understand your partner well.

  • 123
About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

Next Story