top of page

Building Empathy & Understanding: Thirteen Tips for Active Listening in Romantic Relationship

Effective communication is the foundation of any successful relationship. However, simply exchanging words is not enough to connect on a deeper level. Empathy and understanding are crucial for building trust and intimacy in a romantic relationship. In this article, we will explore the importance of active listening skills in romantic relationships and provide 13 tips on how to build empathy and understanding in communication.

Why is Active Listening Important in Romantic Relationships?

Active listening is a fundamental aspect of effective communication. It involves fully engaging in a conversation, understanding the speaker's perspective, and responding to show that you have heard and understood what they have said. In a romantic relationship, active listening can help you build empathy and understanding, which are essential for maintaining a healthy and happy partnership.

Here are thirteen tips for building empathy and understanding in communication:

  1. Listen with an Open Mind: When your partner is speaking, try to listen without preconceived notions or judgments. This will allow you to understand their perspective and feelings truly.

  2. Use Eye Contact: Make eye contact with your partner when they are speaking to show that you are fully present in the conversation.

  3. Avoid Distractions: When you are listening to your partner, make sure to eliminate any distractions, such as phones or TV, to show them that you value their time and opinions.

  4. Ask Open-Ended Questions: Ask questions that encourage your partner to share more about their thoughts and feelings.

  5. Summarize Their Thoughts: Paraphrase your partner's thoughts and feelings to show you understand what they are saying.

  6. Practice Empathy: Try to put yourself in your partner's shoes and imagine how they are feeling. This will help you to connect with them on a deeper level.

  7. Avoid Interrupting: Interrupting your partner can make them feel dismissed or unimportant. Allow them to finish their thoughts before responding.

  8. Validate Their Feelings: Acknowledge your partner's feelings and let them know you understand their feelings.

  9. Use Nonverbal Cues: Use nonverbal cues such as nodding, smiling, or leaning in to show your partner you are engaged in the conversation.

  10. Be Patient: Building empathy and understanding takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and your partner as you work to improve your communication skills.

  11. Show Respect: Show your partner respect by avoiding derogatory language or a dismissive tone of voice.

  12. Practice Self-Awareness: Be aware of your own emotions and how they affect your communication. This will help you to respond in a way that is appropriate and helpful.

  13. Practice Cultural Awareness: Respect and appreciate the different cultural perspectives that may be present in your relationship.

Examples of Active Listening in Couples' Communication

Let's take a look at some scenarios where active listening was either successfully applied, not applied with success, or could have been used more effectively by fictional couples.

Example 1: Successful application of active listening. Meet Jane and Michael. They've been dating for a year now and have busy schedules. One day, Jane tells Michael that she's feeling overwhelmed and stressed out because of her workload. Michael actively listens to her by putting his phone down, making eye contact, and nodding his head to show he's engaged in the conversation. He repeats what she says to ensure he understands correctly and asks follow-up questions to show he cares about her wellbeing. Michael suggests that they make plans to spend the weekend together doing something relaxing to help her distress. Jane feels heard and supported, and their relationship grows stronger as a result.

Example 2: Unsuccessful application of active listening. Now, meet Mark and Sarah. They've been married for five years, and they've been arguing a lot lately. One evening, Sarah tells Mark that she's upset because he's been working late, and she feels neglected. Mark doesn't actively listen to Sarah and instead becomes defensive. He interrupts her, talks over her, and dismisses her feelings. He tells her that she's overreacting and that his job is important. Sarah feels unheard and unimportant, which leads to further conflict in their relationship.

Example 3: Application of active listening that could have been more effective. Finally, let's meet Tom and Emily. They're engaged and planning their wedding. Emily tells Tom she's feeling stressed out and overwhelmed with all the planning, and she's unsure she can handle it all. Tom listens actively by putting his phone down, making eye contact, and nodding his head. He repeats what she says to ensure he understands correctly and asks follow-up questions to show he cares. Tom suggests that they hire a wedding planner to help alleviate some of the stress. While this is a helpful suggestion, Emily was hoping for more emotional support and validation from Tom, and she feels a bit disappointed that he didn't offer that. In this case, Tom could have used active listening more effectively by showing empathy and understanding for Emily's feelings and providing emotional support and practical solutions.


Empathy and understanding are vital skills for building and maintaining healthy romantic relationships. By practicing active listening skills, you can connect with your partner on a deeper level, avoid misunderstandings, and create a more positive and respectful environment. These thirteen tips will help you to build empathy and understanding in communication, making you a more effective communicator and partner. Remember to be patient, respectful, and open-minded as you work to improve your communication skills. Doing so can create a stronger and more meaningful connection with your significant other.


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating

Get CL. Reddon's latest articles, broadcasts, and vlogs in one place.

bottom of page