How to love an empath: 17 tips to help your relationship thrive

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Woman with a personality that is too real

Dating an empath? Wondering how the hell you’re going to love them when they’re so freaking complicated?

Well, you’re in the right place.

Here at Hack Spirit, we’ve been studying the empath personality for years and we’ve come to learn what an empath needs in a relationship to be happy (and also doesn’t need).

An empath might be more complicated than the average Joe, but if you can make the relationship work, it will be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding relationships you’ll have in your lifetime.

First, what is an empath?

An empath is a highly sensitive individual who can easily sense what other people are feeling and thinking.

They are human sponges who can pick up on others’ emotions, energies, and even physical sensations.

Does your partner feel deeply tuned into the feelings of the people around them?

Do large crowds make them uncomfortable?

Do you tend to describe your partner as a highly sensitive person?

If so, then your partner is probably an empath.

According to Judith Orloff M.D. in Psychology Today, the “trademark of an empath is feeling and absorbing other people’s emotions and, or, physical symptoms because of their high sensitivities”.

An empath has a strong intuition and struggles to “intellectualize their feelings”.

Kim Egel, a San Diego based therapist summarizes an empath as:

“Empaths have a higher sensitivity to outside stimuli such as sounds, big personalities, and hectic environments. They bring a lot of heart and care to the world and feel things very deeply.”

So if you’re in a relationship with an empath, it’s important to learn how to deal with them.

Below we’re going to go over 17 essential tips to help you develop a strong and trusting relationship with your partner.

How to love an empath: 17 no bullsh*t tips

1. If you’re having problems with your relationship, talk to them

While your partner might be skilled at reading people, it doesn’t mean they are a mind reader.

And even if you are really close with each other, they’re not going to understand everything you’re thinking and feeling.

However, what an empath will understand is that something is wrong if you’re being deceptive.

This is why it’s critical to be open and honest with an empath.

If you’re feeling angry or upset, then let them know.

This is not just for issues you have with the relationship, either. Be honest with any other worries you have in life.

An empath will know something is up if you have work, friendship, or health issues. If you’re not open with them about what’s going on in your life, then they might not trust you.

The best bit?

Empaths are excellent listeners and incredibly caring, so not only can you feel safe opening up to them, but they’ll try to help you with your problems, too.

After all, an empath cares with all of their heart for the person they love.

Also, empaths tend to overly worry about certain issues, so by opening up with them, you’ll help them to worry and think less about the relationship because they’ll know what the real issue is.

2. Always tell the truth

If you start talking sh*t to an empath, they’re going to sniff it from a mile off.

Empaths are basically walking and talking lie detectors.

They can read facial cues like a magician, so there’s not a chance you’ll get away with it.

And empaths are sensitive. Dishonesty cuts them deep. They hate deception.

Even if you’re lying to them to spare them hurt feelings, they still won’t like you being dishonest with them.

It’s better to be honest and trust that they’ll be able to handle whatever sh*t you throw at them.

The good news is that they’ll not only appreciate the fact that you’re honest with them, but over time they’ll learn to unconditionally trust you as well.

And trust is the cornerstone of every healthy relationship, especially a relationship with an empath.

3. Listen to them

Yes, it’s no secret that empaths are fantastic listeners.

But they do also have strong opinions about certain issues. After all, empaths tend to think a lot.

It can really help an empath to clear their head and offload their thoughts on you.

So make sure to fully listen to what they have to say. Don’t interrupt. Don’t think of your response while they’re talking. Just listen.

If you try to assume you know what they’re going to say, they’ll see what you’re trying to do from a mile off, and they won’t like it at all.

Show your empath partner some respect, and listen to every word they want to say.

4. Understand that they may not always be able to express what they’re feeling

Empaths experience intense emotions, and because they absorb the energy of the room around them, sometimes those emotions may not be their own.

Sometimes they may not even be able to pinpoint where an emotion has come from.

So if they find that they’re in a negative mood, and they can’t tell you why they’re in a negative mood, don’t get dirty on them for it.

Of course, you can ask if they’re okay or if they need help, but if they’re not communicative about what the issue is, then don’t worry about it.

Just make sure you’re always there for them when they need it. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

5. Allow them to express themselves without judgment

As we’ve mentioned above, empaths feel a lot of different feelings, and it’s important for them to express themselves to clear these feelings from their head.

And seeing as you’re their partner, they desperately need to show their emotions to you without fear of being judged or ridiculed.

Otherwise, they’ll close up shop and your relationship will never flourish.

Now I’m not saying that this won’t be challenging. After all, a lot of those emotions will be negative emotions that put a damper on the mood of the room.

You’ll want to tell your partner to let it go and focus on something else, but sometimes it isn’t that simple.

The best thing you can do is be there for them and listen to them.

Let them know that while you may never fully understand what they’re feeling, you’ll always be there to comfort them when they need it.

6. While there will be challenging moments, realize that an empath carries an enormous upside

Sometimes they’re going to be in a negative mood. That’s natural when you’re an empath

Other times they’ll have a ridiculous amount of energy that’s difficult to control.

But like anything in this world, every bad comes with a good.

And one positive about loving an empath is that they’ll understand you better than anyone in the world.

They’ll know what makes you tick, what gets you up in the morning, and what your purpose in life is.

This makes for an incredible spiritual connection when you understand everything about your lover.

You’ll be able to open up to them in ways that you never knew were possible.

And because of this deep spiritual connection, you’ll both support each other at every turn.

And they’ll be there for you whenever sh*t goes south.

7. Don’t try to change who they are

An empath is up and down all the time. This is because they have high sensitivity.

So when they’re feeling down, it can be tempting for you to push them to resist their natural state.

You might tell them that they’d be better off if they ignore their feelings.

The problem with this approach?

Strong emotions and high sensitivities are a core part of who they are.

If someone asked you to change something that is a core part of your identity, how would you feel?

I’d imagine you’d feel quite offended.

An empath has been dealing with their high sensitives and abilities for a very long time, and if they want to shield themselves from something, they’ll generally do it on their own accord.

In the end, it’s important to realize that it’s not your place to tell them what’s best for them.

Instead, understand who they are, and instead of trying to change them, you need to accept and embrace their empathic abilities.

8. They will give you a lot of love

As we’ve mentioned above, an empath is highly sensitive which means that their love for you is turned up to an incredibly high level.

That’s great for you in many ways, but sometimes you’ll find that it may be a little intense for you.

But it’s genuine. They really do have a burning desire for you.

Now if you’re the type of person who struggles to embrace your own emotions, then you may find their expression of love for you as quite confronting.

But don’t get scared. Communicate how you’re feeling with them and they’ll be grateful for your honesty.

Over time you’ll be able to work out the best ways to express your love for each other.

Just realize that their love for you is coming from an authentic place.

After all, an empath struggles to fake their way through anything.

9. Be prepared to give them space

If you’re a clingy type of operator, then it’s important to realize that at times they’re going to need their own space.

When you’re in such a close and loving relationship, this is easier said than done.

But it’s very important for an empath.

In fact, if your partner is an empath AND an introvert (which is common) then the way they’ll recharge their sensitivities is by being alone.

So, what does this mean for you?

If they let you know that they want to spend the evening alone, then it’s best to grant them their wish.

It’s crucial for them to regain their energy and spark for life.

Or if at times they behave a little distant or withdrawn, don’t try and pressure them to open up.

Give them space and eventually they’ll come around.

10. Don’t force them to go out with your friends

While empaths love being social with the right people, they also need to retreat to be by themselves at times.

So if they’re feeling a bit down, don’t pressure them to go out and mix with your friends. Mixing with others can really take its toll on an empath.

They struggle to switch off their high sensitivities, and when they’re around new people they’re not comfortable with, it can make things quite challenging for them.

I’m not saying that an empath will always be like this. Not at all. In fact, sometimes your partner will be in an incredible mood and they’ll be the life of the party.

But it’s not all the time. This is why you should ask them if they want to hang out with your friends or family rather than assuming they always will.

11. Respect their need for privacy

As we’ve mentioned, an empath experiences intense emotions, and because of the nature of these emotions, they may not always feel comfortable talking about them.

Sometimes opening up about intense emotions can actually make them worse.

This is particularly the case when it comes to anxiety.

So it’s important that you respect the boundaries of what your partner is willing to talk about it.

12. Be careful with what you watch on Netflix together

Empaths are a sensitive bunch, which means that a TV show you might find harmless may actually affect an empath deeply.

If it is a violent TV show, then they may unwittingly absorb the emotions and drama of the show.

In the end, think about the type of TV show you’re going to consume together and make sure that it doesn’t expose them to potentially difficult emotions.

A horror movie is a perfect example. A movie like that can affect them for days.

The best strategy is to decide together what you’re going to watch. Look at what the movie or TV show is about, and then you’ll have a good idea of what you’re in for.

13. Embrace their pets

Empaths tend to get along wonderfully with cats and dogs, so it’s likely that if your partner is a bonafide empath that they have a pet or two.

The best advice?

Don’t treat the pet badly. You’ll lose trust and respect from your partner.

You can be sure that an empath has an excellent relationship with their pet so it’s in your best interest to embrace the pet and have fun with it.

And sometimes you need to be okay with the fact that they’d rather cuddle their pet when they’re curled up on the sofa.

As much as you might want to be affectionate with your partner, every now and then you’ll have to accept playing second fiddle to their pet.

Don’t worry, though. It’s not like they’re going run off and marry their pet and live happily ever after!

14. Don’t take advantage of the fact that they give too much

If this empath is madly in love with you, then you can guarantee that they are going to give all of themselves to you.

Their heart, their energy, and everything in between.

They’ll be passionate, and intense with their desire for you.

But most importantly, they’ll do everything they can to make you happy.

After all, they’re basically going to feel whatever you’re feeling.

In fact, it’s common for an empath to make sure their partner is happy before themselves when they’re in a relationship.

This is great news for you. They’ll be highly attentive and caring to your needs.

But this also means that you shouldn’t take advantage of them.

If you notice that they’re starting to burn out, then you need to let them know that you’re okay.

You don’t always have to accept help or care from them.

After all, you’re in a relationship and you need to consider their needs as well.

15. Never underestimate an empath’s resolve

Because empaths are an emotional species, it’s common to write them off because people think they haven’t “got their shit together”.

Or they need more protection compared to others.

But these are both mistakes.

Empaths are usually higher functioning than most and they’re very capable of standing up for themselves.

This is especially the case when they’re standing up for something they’re passionate about.

Nothing is more powerful than an empath who is focusing on positive change.

So if you’re in a relationship with an empath, never underestimate their power.

16. Make sure they take good care of themselves

Believe it or not, empaths are even extra sensitive to what they do to their bodies.

With food, they’re attuned to how the things they eat make them feel. If they eat unhealthy junk, an empath would feel sick and miserable.

Or if they don’t get enough sleep, they feel like they’re drawing energy from an empty battery.

The inherent sensitivity empaths experience requires them to take good care of themselves.

They have to stay hydrated, eat nourishing foods in appropriate amounts, exercise regularly, and rest when they need to.

Empaths should also keep in mind that they can’t take care of others if they’re not taking care of themselves.

The ability to empathize is much stronger when you’re not feeling totally depleted.

So do your best to encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle. It’ll help you out more than you think.

17. Take them on a trip to somewhere with a lot of nature

Empaths have a stronger bond with the earth compared to most people.

The natural, healing energy you get from nearby bodies of water or a fresh, green meadow can help you shed other people’s energies.

Take advantage of this connection to the earth by practicing grounding.

Grounding is when you take all the negative feelings you have and send them back to the earth to be absorbed.

Simultaneously, you can bring up positive energies from nature and use it to center yourself.

Grounding can be done by immersing your senses in the natural world.

Feel your bare feet in the grass, dirt, or another natural surface. Touch plants, pet animals, and soak yourself in a bath at the end of the day.

Grounding practices can greatly help an empath bring them back to the present.

So if you’re going to take them on a trip, pick somewhere that has a lot of nature. It’ll help them recharge.


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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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