No relationship is free of difficulties; what will make the difference is the ability to face these conflicts and overcome them. When a lack of empathy in a couple becomes a problem, it is difficult to bring the problems to a successful conclusion.

In this article we will see how the lack of empathy significantly affects couples , and we will review some effective ways to prevent and overcome this situation when it has already become a difficulty for the relationship.

Lack of empathy in the couple: how does it affect us?

The lack of empathy in the couple is a situation that intensely affects the coexistence of the couple, taking into account that empathy refers to the capacity that people have to put themselves in the place of the other and feel their suffering in a real way. That is, if you are empathetic you can feel other people’s pain as your own, and feel sorry for them.

In love relationships this factor is indispensable for the couple to overcome the adversities of living together.

When there is a lack of significant empathy within the love bond , then the relationship becomes dysfunctional, resulting in a negative outcome for both members.

On the one hand, the person who does not receive empathy sees him/herself in a situation of vulnerability, given that he/she is alone regardless of whether the other person is with him/her in terms of relationship (technically), there is no real accompaniment on an emotional or affective level.

On the other hand, the partner who does not provide empathy puts himself in a situation of inflicting emotional pain, even if he does nothing to offend or intentionally mistreat the other, it is precisely this lack of emotionality that results in damage.

In relationships, the members must be emotionally linked so that the sadness of the other becomes the sadness of both, and starting from that emotional connection the best solutions can be reached together .

But when this empathic link does not exist on the part of one, or even of both parts, then the relation wears out. When there is no empathy some relationships are able to last for some time, but they usually end on bad terms.

How can we overcome this situation in the couple?

Now we will see a list of tips to overcome the lack of empathy in the couple, or failing that, to rethink things better with respect to your relationship.

1. Value your partner’s opinions

The bond of empathy begins to be cultivated from mutual respect , a first step can be to take more into account the opinions of our partner. Not only listening to them in order to answer them, but also actively listening to what they have to say.

2. Avoid value judgments

A fairly common mistake in relationships is value judgments made on the whim of one of the members , without having any support to do so. This kind of unjustified opinions only succeed in pushing the other person further away and generating distrust in the relationship; they should be avoided.

3. Cultivate patience

One virtue that should prevail in relationships, especially in difficult times, is patience. This capacity to resist the impulses to act or say things at a certain moment leads us towards an empathic behaviour towards the other since facilitates communication ; we must encourage patience.

4. Promotes understanding

We must understand that we will not always be right , and that sometimes it is good to give our arm when we have been wrong. It is important to achieve understanding in relationships, to be able to see things as they are really happening, and not as we would like them to be.

5. Practice kindness

A couple’s relationship should be based on mutual respect and kindness in the members of the emotional bond. Regardless of the jokes that may exist in the context of the relationship, affectionate treatment must always prevail in the dynamics of the couple. This point is indispensable to achieve empathy.

6. Watch how you express yourself

It is not the same to participate in things in a kind and calm way, as to do it through shouting and insults. This aspect is also part of the kindness in the couple, but based on assertive speech. It is not enough just to say things, but you also have to know how to say them .

7. Make peace a goal

Regardless of the conflict that arises, try to visualize a possible outcome where both end up in healthy peace, both at the level of the relationship and at the individual level. If you make peace a goal in your relationship, you will eventually succeed in solving problems in an adequate and constructive way .

8. Betting on honesty

Sometimes the lack of empathy can be caused by the absence of affection towards the other person, sometimes there are cases where couples maintain a relationship based solely on the habit of being together.

This is not recommended for either partner, the ideal is to be honest with oneself and be aware of how we feel about the other person . Sometimes it is better to step aside for the emotional well-being of both.

Bibliographic references:

  • Fehr, B., Russell, J. (1991). The Concept of Love Viewed From a Prototype Perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
  • Shaver, P. R., Wu, S., & Schwartz, J. C. (1992). Cross-cultural similarities and differences in emotion and its representation: A prototype approach.