Loving an empath brings many rewards.
But it can also pose very particular challenges.
Empaths are unique in many ways to other people you might meet.
And dating one means understanding them and tailoring the way you approach the relationship.
If you are in the early throes of love, or you have been living with an empath for a while, here are some tips to help your relationship flourish.
1. Talk to them if you have issues.
Empaths can sense a lot of things, but they are not mind readers.
Whilst open communication is important in any relationship, it is doubly so when your partner is an empath.
After all, they’ll know something is up no matter how much you try to hide it from them.
So if you are feeling stressed or anxious or upset or angry, it’s vital that you talk to them.
This holds true for issues involving them and for other factors – both internal and external.
Work worries? Friendship woes? Health problems (physical or mental)? Just feeling a bit lost in life?
Empaths are great listeners and wonderfully caring partners, so you can feel safe in opening up to them.
Empaths are also prone to overthinking things. So by being open with them, you help them to think/worry less about you and your relationship.
2. Never lie to them.
Empaths are walking, talking lie detectors.
They can smell bullsh*t a mile off.
And lies cut really deep.
An empath hates deception of any kind, even if you are doing it to spare their feelings.
It’s far better to be honest with them and trust that they can handle whatever it is.
Lies of omission are also a no-no. They can spot when there are gaps in a story or when you’re hiding something.
You won’t often get a second chance if you lie to an empath, so don’t take that risk.
3. Listen to them.
As great at listening as empaths are, they do have their own voices too.
What’s more, they love to know that those voices are being heard.
They have a lot of things going on inside their heads and it can really help them to be able to offload some of those thoughts onto you.
When they are speaking, try not to interrupt, even to ask questions. Wait until they have finished their point before taking your turn.
If you try to speak over them, finish their points, or assume you know what they are thinking, they are likely to disengage with the conversation because they know you aren’t hearing what they are saying.
4. Understand that they may not always be able to explain their feelings.
Empaths feel a lot of emotions, many of which aren’t their own.
And some of the time, they won’t even know where a particular feeling has come from.
So if they seem sad or anxious or annoyed, don’t assume that they will be able to tell you why.
Sure, you can ask if they are okay or if they would like to talk about what they are feeling, but it’s not always possible to help.
5. Allow them to express their emotions.
Regardless of whether they are their own or something they have absorbed from elsewhere, most empaths wear their emotions on their sleeve.
If you love an empath, you have to let them show their emotions without fear of judgment or scorn.
That may be challenging at times when an empath carries the heavy burden of other people’s emotions.
It can be tempting to tell them to ‘let it go’ and focus on something else, but this is not something an empath can easily do.
The best you can do is to comfort them when the emotions are upsetting, or be understanding if the emotions cause outbursts.
Make sure you and your boundaries are being respected, of course, but learn to become comfortable with an emotional partner.
6. Believe in their abilities.
One of the most damaging things you can say to an empath is that you don’t believe in their abilities.
Perhaps you do find it somewhat far fetched, but know that this is purely down to your lack of understanding.
It can be hard for an empath to explain what it’s like to feel and embody the emotions of others, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
If you are dating an empath and you want things to go further, don’t even hint that you think they are making it all up.
That would be the end of things, you can count on that.
7. Don’t try to change them.
Sometimes you might think that the empath in your life would be better off if they just resisted their natural state.
You might encourage them to neutralize any feelings they absorb or block them altogether.
But this is no different to them asking you to change a core part of who you are.
It’s just not a nice thing to do and it certainly won’t help your relationship.
An empath might shield themselves from certain things, but this is totally up to them.
They might not want to. They might be perfectly content embracing their empathic abilities.
It’s not your place to tell them what’s best for them.
Other essential reading about empaths (article continues below):
- The Dark Side Of Empaths
- When Two Empaths Fall In Love
- 17 Survival Tips For Empaths And Highly Sensitive People
- The Alpha Empath: Where Strength And Sensitivity Meet
- 6 Relationship ‘Must Dos’ For Empaths And HSPs
- 4 Things Empathic People Are NOT
8. Understand that their love can be intense.
The dials on an empath’s feelings are turned all the way to ten.
They experience everything so vividly.
This means that their love for you can grow quickly and be expressed in ways that might feel a little intense at times.
But they aren’t faking it. They really do have a burning desire for you.
If you aren’t quite so emotionally expressive, this can be a little intimidating.
Don’t run from it. Always always always communicate how you are feeling.
Your empath partner may be able to tone down their behavior toward you if they know it makes you a little uncomfortable.
Or, they may just be more prepared for your reaction if you have told them beforehand that you find it hard to show your feelings quite so readily as they do.
9. Give them plenty of space (when they need it).
Empaths long for time by themselves. It’s how they decompress from life and disconnect from the feelings of others.
Be prepared to give your love some space so that they can do these things.
If they ask to be alone, understand where that request is coming from and don’t take it as a rejection of you.
Or if they seem a little withdrawn around you, ask if they would like to be alone.
If you live with an empath, this might mean retreating to another room.
If you don’t, it might even mean things like not texting them for the remainder of an evening.
Just respect their need to be by themselves.
10. Don’t force them to socialize with your circle.
Empaths can be incredibly social, but they can also retreat into themselves as we’ve just explained.
So don’t insist that they socialize with your friends or family more than they feel comfortable with.
Of course you want them to be a part of your wider life, but you have to understand and accept that this can be quite overwhelming for them.
Always ask if they would like to join you in meeting people rather than just assuming they will.
And be okay with them saying no if they are not feeling it at that precise moment in time.
11. Respect their boundaries.
You should, of course, respect boundaries in all relationships.
This is no different when loving an empath.
Those boundaries might look a little different to most, but it’s still vital that you accept them.
Perhaps this means limits on what they are comfortable talking about. Or perhaps they prefer to sleep in separate beds.
Or it might mean boundaries in terms of time and space as discussed above.
12. Consider carefully what media you consume with them.
There are some things that empaths are typically not keen on.
Violence is a big one. Hateful words are another. Negative world news is a third.
Basically, you have to consider the emotional tone of the media you watch or listen to when you are with them.
Anything that exposes them to potentially difficult emotions should be avoided.
They probably won’t want to watch a horror movie, for example.
Angry music/lyrics can be a problem for them.
Even documentaries about heavy subject matters, as interesting as they might be, will be a struggle.
13. Be willing to share them with their pets.
Empaths have a natural affinity with animals and most will have a pet or two.
Animals are simple. They offer unconditional love and will happily just sit and be with you.
So if you are in a romantic relationship with an empath, be prepared to sometimes play second fiddle to their animal companion.
This can be physical – they may just want to huddle up on the sofa with their cat or dog.
Or it might be in terms of the time and attention they give to their pet instead of you.
Sorry, but this is kind of non-negotiable.
14. Don’t take too much just because they are natural givers.
One of the common struggles of being an empath is that they give too much of themselves to please others.
They like to make other people happy.
This becomes an even stronger instinct when they are in a relationship.
And it may feel nice to have such an attentive and caring partner, but be careful you don’t take advantage of this giving nature.
It shouldn’t always be about what you want to do. Their wants and needs should be considered too.
Nor should you let them wait on your hand and foot. Take responsibility for some of the chores yourself.
Make sure the relationship doesn’t become entirely one-sided in terms of whose needs are met first.
15. Never underestimate them.
Empaths are often such kind and caring souls that people think they aren’t willing to stand up for themselves.
People also often think that empaths need protecting.
Both are a mistake.
Empaths are just as capable as anyone else and you should not think otherwise.
If you are in a relationship with an empath, it pays to never underestimate what they can do or how resolute they can be.