- Empaths have been referred to as “emotional sponges” who are essentially the opposite of a narcissist.
- Empaths typically aren’t fans of small talk or sarcasm.
- Empaths tend to value alone time and may not be a fan of having a very busy social life.
Getting to know someone by going on dates can sometimes feel like a difficult experience. And, if your partner is an empath, which has commonly been dubbed the opposite of a narcissist, it may be just a bit more difficult than you expected.
Judith Orloff, psychiatrist and author of “The Empath’s Survival Guide,” previously told INSIDER that an empath is an “emotional sponge,” it is someone who absorbs the stress and emotions of others.
Empathy is a good thing to have in a partner, but it can sometimes be difficult to understand an empath partner with too much of it. Dating an empath isn’t impossible and it can be rewarding, but there’s still a lot to learn and debunk about empath partners.
So whether you are currently dating an empath, have dated one previously and didn’t understand them, or want to be prepared just in case you date one in the future, here are some things you should keep in mind.
Empaths are typically not fans of small talk
If you have trouble holding meaningful and in-depth conversations then you may want to reconsider dating someone who identifies as an empath. According to relationship expert Gia Lili, empaths generally do not really deal well with small talk and prefer those who don’t either.
“Many of my empath clients have said they find small talk on a regular basis to be very superficial and boring,” Lili said. “This is because empaths, especially women, have such an acute sense of ‘feeling’ and emotion. That ability is also the reason why empaths dive into a topic in such depth and if you can do the same and hold their attention when you speak their various levels of relating, then your relationship stands a very good chance of progressing to the next stage.”
Empaths have a tendency to want to rescue you and it could make you feel like a victim
Being with an empathetic person may find you always receiving help from them – even if you think you’re not in need of it. This is because they see as someone who needs rescuing and in the long run, you might start to see yourself as that, too.
“Rescuing can be a big part of an empath’s life,” Cat Valentine, a transformation and relationship coach, told INSIDER. “It’s not a resourceful way to live because every time someone goes into to rescue mode, they create a victim. The result of that is the victim either chooses to stay in victim mode and be continually rescued or they get resentful that the empath thinks they know better and is telling them what to do.”
They may feel as if they need to rescue you because of the things that they are lacking
Although always feeling as if you’re being rescued may have you question yourself and the type of personality you’re putting off to your lover, Valentine told INSIDER that the empath in your life might actually do this because of the things that they have missed out on in their own lives.
“A lot of the rescuing behaviour comes down to a sense that they are unlovable and need to rescue people in order to find love and friendship,” she.said. “That can change, however. An empath is a generous, loving soul and if they can find a way to empower people rather than rescue them, it’s a win all around.”
Empaths need enough time alone as they can be easily overstimulated
According to relationship therapist Amy McManus, one of the key things that you should know about empaths is their need to spend adequate time alone. And no, this does not always mean that they are tired of spending time with you.
“Empaths are so aware of all the energy and emotions that are in their immediate environment, that they are easily overstimulated,” McManus told INSIDER. “Make sure they have adequate time alone, enough personal physical space, and a quiet environment. Ask them what seems right for them – don’t assume that what you would find adequate will be sufficient for them. Their needs will undoubtedly be higher in this regard.”
You should keep in mind that their social life may not be on the same level as yours
If you are a person who loves to hang out and prefers to spend more time outside of the home than in, you should try to be accepting of the idea that most empaths are quite the opposite. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s impossible to find balance between you two.
“You’ll definitely want to keep the lines of communication open about your social schedule,” she told INSIDER. “What may seem really wonderful to you, might be overwhelming to them. It might make sense for you to attend some social events solo, while they stay home and recharge.”
She added that this is a discussion that should be frequently revisited. “When they don’t want to attend an event that you find pleasurable, do your best not to take it personally,” she added. “It really has nothing to do with you, but rather their need to modulate the amount of stimulation in their lives to prevent emotional flooding.”
They typically prefer conversations that are clear and concise
When it comes to discussing certain topics with an empath, you’ll want to ensure that you are being as clear as possible and doing your best to avoid sending mixed messages.
“When talking to an empath, be mindful when discussing topics that might be difficult,” said McManus. “It is critical to stick to one thing at a time. Keep your voice calm and low. Give your partner time to process before answering. Maybe even give them your take on a subject, and ask them to think about it and respond later.”
She encourages taking on a gentle conversational approach that could be beneficial to you both.
It’s helpful to create a playful environment as empaths sometimes take things very seriously
Although it may seem as if empaths are all serious feelings and no play, McManus told INSIDER that it’s totally OK to create a playful environment with them. And by developing this, she said that it can actually help build your relationship.
“Empaths can sometimes take things very seriously,” she said. “You can add balance to the mix by staying open and joyful and using humour – not sarcasm. This displays an overall attitude of lightness and laughter.”
Be sure to be authentic and honest
It is always encouraged for you to remain yourself at all times regardless of who you choose to date. And therapist and relationship coach Adamaris Mendoza-Carlylie, LPC, MA noted that you want to especially choose to do this if you are dating an empath.
“Authenticity is very important to an empath,” Mendoza-Carlyle told INSIDER. “They really appreciate honesty in a partner. You don’t need to sugarcoat what you feel. Don’t take the risk of telling half-truths because and empath feels betrayed when they are lied to.”
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