The word “empath” might conjure up images of super-powered characters from science fiction—people who can read minds or sense emotions. However, in the real world, empaths are those who are so sensitive to the feelings of others that it can be downright overwhelming. This takes such individuals a level past merely experiencing empathy, which allows one to assess and relate to the feelings of others without the same degree of emotional merging.
Dating or marrying an empath opens you up to a world of passionate love and profound understanding, but it can also be difficult—especially at first. Here are nine constructive ways to improve your relationship with the empath in your life.
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1. Respect their need for time alone
It’s exhausting to pick up on the moods and feelings of other people most of the time, so try not to be upset or offended if your partner sometimes needs time away from everyone—including you. They will emerge feeling reenergized and clearer minded, so you’ll benefit from these solitary periods as well.
2. Trust their intuition
Although your partner may not always be able to explain their hunches and gut feelings, empaths are more reliable than the average person when it comes to intuition—don’t insult them by mocking their convictions or stifling their tendency to express their instincts. If you can overcome your skepticism, you’ll actually get a lot out of your partner’s handy talent for making accurate guesses (especially when the subject of those intuitions is another family member’s needs or feelings).
3. Be sincere
It’s wise to be sincere and reliable in any relationship, but this can be especially important when you’re living with an empath. If you’re dishonest or habitually deny your real feelings, this will make your empathic partner feel like they’re losing the plot. They’ll have a strong sense that something isn’t right, and will struggle with guilt and confusion associated with the fact their sense is out of step with what you’re verbalizing. Being straightforward will get you the best results, and is far kinder.
4. Don’t try to change them “for their own good”
You might think it’s in your partner’s best interests if you try to get them to stop being so sensitive and attempt to assist in regulating their moods. If your partner has actually asked for help with these things, it’s great if you’re able to provide support and constructive feedback. However, if your partner doesn’t want to change or is working on these issues in the confidential environment of the therapy room, your attempts to help may be perceived as controlling, hurtful, and stifling.
Sometimes, your partner may be very upset or angry about something that has happened to someone else. While you’re probably able to relate to this if it concerns a loved one, you may feel a bit incredulous or even annoyed if your partner is getting teary over a commercial or feeling furious about something they’ve heard about a friend’s boss’s mother. Listen, pay attention to their explanation, and let them get some of that excess emotion out so they can feel more balanced once again.
6. Be aware that they might get overstimulated
Some empaths get overstimulated by loud noises, large crowds or brightly lit places (think malls, big parties, and concerts). All of that sensory input can be too much to handle when a person is already picking up subtle emotional cues that fill them with echoes of those particular feelings. Be sensitive to this possibility, and if your partner does experience this problem then focus on suggesting quieter, more intimate dates.
7. Do creative things together
Not all empaths are the same, of course, but many are highly creative individuals who will just light up if you offer them the chance to take part in imaginative projects with you. Whether you do something outright artistic, redecorate your home together, or decide to join a class to learn a new skill, focusing on creation and creativity can be a great way to bond with your empathic partner.
8. Help them laugh
Empaths can have a tendency to take things a bit too seriously at times, so gently encourage them to come out of their world of intense emotional reflection and coax them into playfulness and laughter. They’re typically a lot of fun when they get going, but they may need you to start the process with a goofy joke or an invitation to reflect on a funny story.
9. Appreciate them
Finally, if you’re struggling to cope with some of the more intense or tiring parts of being around someone who absorbs so many emotions from their surroundings, try to remind yourself of all the things you get from the empath that you wouldn’t get from someone else. This is a person who is open-hearted, commits fully, really connects with your feelings, and would likely make huge sacrifices for you. Appreciate them, and voice that appreciation—it will bring you closer.
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