If you’re an empath – a person with high empathy and emotional sensitivity – you are probably no stranger to relationship problems that come with your gift.
On the one hand, empaths are gifted with the ability to emotionally relate to the people around them, like the empathic bear in this lovely animated short (1):
However, being a gifted empath – or, a person that can feel and absorb the emotions of others – can also be difficult. After all, empaths can be easily overwhelmed by the emotions they can’t help but feel, to the point of being constantly “drained” (2, 6).
In other words, an empath may get along best with someone who can provide strong, positive emotional reciprocation – and the right emotional distance – when it comes to romance.
12 Reasons Why It Is Hard Find the Right Man When You’re an Empath
1 – You absorb your partner’s negativities
When you’re an empath, you are highly sensitive to the feelings of people around you. You may therefore soak up your partner’s negative feelings as easily as their positive feelings – and you may not always be ready to cheer them up.
2 – You attract “bad” partners
Unfortunately, the world is full of people with attention-seeking, energy-sucking personalities – and they like to leach off of highly caring people. If you’re an empath, you’ve probably been through a relationship (or two) with people who liked to guilt-trip you, demand your constant attention, or make you feel unworthy of love from anyone else.
3 – You are the giver in your relationship
Empaths are excellent listeners and mood-readers who will go the distance to lessen the suffering of others. More often than not, your partner may not be able to reciprocate the amazing care and attention you provide them.
4 – You lose yourself easily
Empaths are naturally skilled in putting themselves in other people’s shoes. Sometimes, you may become so immersed in the feelings and thoughts of others that you forget yourself – and neglect to prioritize your own needs, wants, and feelings. You may also forgive your partner too easily (5)!
5 – You love too hard
Empaths are emotionally charged people – and for them, when it (emotionally) rains, it pours. More often than not, you may find yourself falling harder and deeper in love than your partner does for you.
6 – You judge your partners and yourself too harshly
Empaths have considerable experience dealing with the emotions and lives of others – and thus, have strong opinions about what to do in any given situation. Indeed, you may feel easily stressed out or frustrated when you – or your partner – fail to match up to your expectations (7).
7 – You have positive illusions about your partner
Being sensitive to both positive and negative moods, empaths naturally seek positive environments and strive to be positive thinkers (4). As a result, you might wind up harboring positive illusions about your partner (3) – and fail to notice some of their most critical flaws.
8 – You need emotional distance
Being an empath, you may want to distance yourself from your partner every once in a while, just so you can “recharge” from being around them all the time. Unfortunately, your partner may interpret this need for physical and emotional distance as a sign that you are falling out of love.
9 – You enjoy the peace and quiet
Even the most extroverted empaths need to take refuge from the crowd every once in a while. Indeed, an empath may need moments of silence or solitude throughout the day, or at least once every couple days. As a result, people who are constantly high-key, needy, or impatient with moments of quiet may not be ideal for you.
10 – You tend to take things personally
Empaths tend to react sensitively and emotionally to criticism, not because they dislike constructive feedback, but because they cannot always separate their emotional responses from their rational ones. In other words, you may wind up feeling very hurt or stressed when you and your partner get in a fight, even when the fight is small and impersonal.
11 – You crave emotional satisfaction
Empaths can easily feel unloved, rejected, or overwhelmed by partners who put in less into the relationship than they do. You may find it difficult to find someone who can understand and satisfy your need for emotional reciprocation and attention.
12 – You are misunderstood
For all the amazing emotional support they provide, empaths may also be perceived as “nosy” or “pushover” introverts who need to “toughen up” (2). Your partner might come to reject you out of this misconception – and you, in turn, might become withdrawn and guarded about who you are in an effort to be accepted by your partner.
High empathy may be an incredible gift, but it certainly has its challenges. Luckily, you should be able to keep your gift from getting in the way of meaningful relationships by mastering management techniques, like keeping a journal of what happened each day (i.e. the facts, not emotions), practicing yoga, and setting personal boundaries early in a relationship (2).
So if you’re an empath, keep on doing what you do – and don’t give up on love! Simply be aware of your tendencies as an empath and try to find someone who will complement these traits.
- YouTube: The RSA. (2017). Brené Brown on Empathy. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw [Accessed 28 Nov. 2017].
- Orloff, J. (2017). 10 Traits Empathic People Share. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/emotional-freedom/201602/10-traits-empathic-people-share [Accessed 28 Nov. 2017].
- Dijkstra, P., Barelds, D., Groothof, H. and van Bruggen, M. (2014). Empathy in intimate relationships: The role of positive illusions. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 55(5), pp.477-482.
- Grühn, D., Rebucal, K., Diehl, M., Lumley, M., & Labouvie-Vief, G. (2008). Empathy Across the Adult Lifespan: Longitudinal and Experience-Sampling Findings. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 8(6), 753–765. http://doi.org/10.1037/a0014123
- Kimmes, J. and Durtschi, J. (2016). Forgiveness in Romantic Relationships: The Roles of Attachment, Empathy, and Attributions. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 42(4), pp.645-658.
- Rodrigues, S., Saslow, L., Garcia, N., John, O. and Keltner, D. (2009). Oxytocin receptor genetic variation relates to empathy and stress reactivity in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(50), pp.21437-21441.
- Jones, S., Bodie, G. and Hughes, S. (2016). The Impact of Mindfulness on Empathy, Active Listening, and Perceived Provisions of Emotional Support. Communication Research.
Image and video sources:
YouTube: The RSA. (2017). Brené Brown on Empathy. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw [Accessed 28 Nov. 2017].