Everyone knows IQ and IQ. RQ, our relational intelligence, rings the bell often. However, it is key for those looking for a lasting relationship, says professional matchmaker Annemieke Dubois in her latest book. RQ for singles†
At her dating agency, Jade & Jules loves marriage broker Animek Dubois (46 years old) is professionally involved in the anatomy of love. What makes two people fall in love with each other? What does it take to keep them together? at RQ for individualsIt is her latest book, bringing together 25 years of relationship insight. The world is becoming increasingly volatile and so are our relationships. We are in danger of forgetting how lasting love works.
What do you understand by the term relational intelligence?
Anime Dubois: It involves a combination of different skills: meditating, regulating emotions, communicating about them, and building confidence. Unlike IQ and EQ, you can build RQ with two. You can communicate openly and honestly about your insecurities. If your partner is flirting with someone else, or if they fail to modify the behavior or have a decent conversation about it, you are still nowhere to be seen. Relational intelligence is about knowing what you’re looking for in a relationship, being able to point it out and daring to choose to let something go, if necessary.
It’s crazy how schools focus so much on learning languages and math, but how we completely ignore human relationships. Relationships and feelings are still taboo at school. There we teach our children to believe in fairy tales: a relationship that doesn’t last forever has failed by definition. This is of course nonsense. It’s time to learn to talk openly about such things and how to regulate those feelings. Education must play a role in this.
“Many people expect love to fall from the sky because of the machine.”
There weren’t many ways to get off the streets before. However, the number of singles is increasing year by year. By 2060, about half of all Belgian households will consist of one person. what is going on?
Online dating has made our relationships more superficial. Based on three words and a picture, we decide if the person is worth the effort. Either we avoid depth, or we are too lazy to look for it. However, many of our ex-partners had no chance of using this dating app. We are not very smart in this area.
“I think it’s also about the identity economy we live in and the expectations we have on our partners. We want an intellectual flick, chemistry in bed, and a spiritual connection. This is very demanding, and it fits in with the way we look to maximize happiness in each area. If we learn to approach it more often. Humble, we’ll feel less anxious.
Do you also see this in your practice?
In my practice, I see three trends in the way a partner is sought. There are people who don’t give much thought to what exactly they expect from a relationship – and therefore don’t care what they give themselves. When I talk to them, I notice that little thought has preceded this. They expect love to fall out of the blue. The second group is completely against this. These are the people who arrive with a list of requirements from here to Tokyo. Either way, the chance of frustration is the same. Knowing what you want and at the same time keeping your eyes open, that’s the art. The last group, people who are confident in life, who know what they want and what to offer, can do very well. They also end up in a permanent relationship more quickly.
“Fear is the biggest spoiler in relationships.”
You mention in your book that about half of those over the age of 35 have attachment problems. How did this happen?
Attachment problems can arise in childhood, through upbringing, or from previous broken relationships. Rejection, cheating, or other issues can cause you to become insecurely attached later in life and protect your heart. In my practice I see many concerns. Fear of separation, fear of commitment, fear of choice, fear of failure, and so on. Social media feeds those fears. We are one click away from other temptations. An error occurred faster than you think. Fear is the biggest relationship saboteur, especially if you fail to communicate those fears.
Impostor syndrome is a well-known concept in the workplace, but you see it showing up more and more often in relationships. What does it mean?
Anyone starting a relationship after their 30s may already have some relational baggage. Several exes have already been reviewed with both partners. Thanks to social media, these old lovers are very easy to track down. The danger is that you start comparing. Is he or she more successful, interesting, handsome, or creative than me? Before you know it, you start feeding off your feelings of insecurity and questioning yourself. What does he or she actually see? Does he or she want to see me for a while? At such moments, it is important to realize that everyone has a past. And that your partner is with you today because your relationship has a future. Try to shift the focus to the positive things, and build from there. That is, of course, easier said than done. Feelings are not rational.
“People in or out of relationships should show more empathy for each other.”
In a healthy relationship, there is a nice balance between independence and surrender, she writes. But this surrender also means dependence. And let this be something that we collectively seem to resist as a society.
Dependence has already become an expletive. However, it is an illusion that it can be avoided in a relationship. In love, there is an eternal tension between freedom and connection, both of which are essential to the success of a relationship. Certainly after a few years there is a middle ground between the two. I think it’s important as a couple to continue to explore these two values, whether or not within the couple’s territory. Too secure relationships risk falling into a rut. In extremely free relationships, passion can lead to destruction. Ideally you will find common ground in this together.
Your book cover says it’s for singles, but you explicitly assert that choosing not to be in a traditional relationship is also legitimate. Should we as a society look differently at this growing group of people without a permanent partner?
I think it’s very important for people in relationships or unrelated people to show greater empathy for each other. As a single, you go through very different processes than you go through as a married couple. Recently, I had a woman on the phone at my clinic who indicated that she had rarely been invited to dinner since her divorce. As a celibate, you can suddenly become a threat, or people think that one extra person at the table just isn’t that interesting. And as a celibate, you can sometimes make judgments about couples’ lives, especially if they aren’t very social. I think we still have a way to go in this area.
Annemique Dubois, “RQ for Individuals”, from Borgerhoff & Lambrights€22.99