Here are 10 reasons most people can’t handle an empath

empaths and relationships

The empath: the person who understands your pain, your joy and everything in between.

Their big heart gives too much, even though they receive too little.

They’ll love you unconditionally and protect your emotions at all costs.

Sounds like the perfect person, right? So, why are so many empaths single?

Simple. Most people simply can’t handle an empath’s complexity, depth and powerful capacity for love.

If you didn’t know, an empath is someone who is highly sensitive to the energy/moods/emotions of people and situations to the point where they can take on those emotions as their own.

And even though their superpowers come with a range of strengths, most people, especially insecure ones, simply can’t handle them. Here’s why:

1) Empaths Ask Too Many Questions

People, in general, don’t like to contemplate the hard questions in life and it can lead to a relationship breakdown before it even gets started.

If an empathic person is looking for someone to share their hopes and dreams with, they might be disappointed to find that most people are creatures of habit and automation.

2) Empaths are Honest

They can’t hold anything back, even when they know it will cost them a relationship.

People who are strongly rooted in their beliefs are clear about what they want in life, which can cause problems for a person who just wants to settle down with the status quo.

3) Empaths Know What They Want

Are you still wondering what you want to be when you grow up? Empaths aren’t.

They have a clear vision of where they are going and how they are going to get there and often times, when people get in their way, it can lead to a road of singledom.

Getting where they want to go is important and a priority for an empath.

4) Empaths Want Empathic Partners

Good luck with that. They want meaningful relationships that have many levels of complexity. It’s hard for the average person to buy into that and adopt it as their mantra.

If a person is looking for a one night stand, empathic people should not be their target.

5) Intimacy is a Given

Empaths are not afraid to let you see her in a vulnerable state. This is hard for most people to deal with sometimes and it can cause them to spend more time alone than they might have anticipated; but when they find the person who gets them, it will click instantly.

6) Empaths See Through the Crap

People who suffer from self-esteem issues and confidence issues don’t hold their own well with empathic women.

Because they are so in touch with their own feelings and state of being in the world, they can pick out the people who are imposters and struggling to find their way.

Empaths like to build themselves up with people who are like-minded, not take on a project.

7) Empaths Like Consistency

Don’t try to pick up an empathic person if you aren’t going to call them the next day. Empaths like routine and consistent behavior to develop deep and meaningful relationships. They hate people who bail and don’t follow through on their promises.

8) Empaths are Intense

There’s no way around it: empaths have a lot of intensity. And they aren’t making any apologies about it; you either get on board with what they’ve got going on, or you move on. It’s plain and simple for an empath.

9) Empaths Go All In

When you find yourself being loved by an empath, you better return the feelings mutually.

They don’t know how to turn it off and on. They set their sights on what they want and need and hold on tight once it becomes theirs.

This can scare a lot of people away before a relationship even gets going.

10) Empaths are Independent

You should know that an empathic woman won’t wait around for a person to get their business together so they can be together.

Empaths don’t need a person to solidify their place in the world and while that might mean they’re single for much longer than they had hoped, they are okay with their choices and stand by them so they can have the love they’ve always wanted.

4 Ways Empaths Can Be in Successful Serious Relationships

However, being an empath doesn’t mean you are doomed to walk the world alone. Sure, you may need to find someone who understands that you need more time alone than with someone special.

While it might mean sitting down with your special someone and explaining to them the in’s and out’s of being an empath, it could prove a worthwhile venture if you want to be in a relationship.

According to Dr. Michael R. Smith, author of the Complete Empath Toolkit, empaths are people who feel so deeply that others often can’t handle being around them.

This is why it’s so important for empaths to find their inner power by building a deep connection within.

The brutal reality is that empaths feel emotions in a different way than the rest of us. This means it’s very difficult to be in a relationship with an empath.

Not everyone has access to Dr. Michael R. Smith’s Complete Empath Toolkit to build their personal power.

Therefore, we’ll now share guidance on being in a meaningful relationship as an empath.

1) Find Someone Who is the Exact Opposite of You and Likes That

Humans continue to make major mistakes when it comes to choosing their life partners. Many people try to find someone who is just like them, but if empaths date other empaths, you end up with a relationship that consists of two people who never see each other because they need so much time to process their thoughts and feelings that they can’t ever come together to be a good couple.

For empaths, the answer to a successful relationship is found in the opposite ideals. Dating someone who is high energy and doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about their feelings might be just the balance you need to find a successful relationship and make it work.

2) Take the Time You Need

Empaths are really tuned into their own needs and they know what they have to do to enjoy their days on earth. A lot of people, especially people who are not tuned into their emotions and thoughts, have no idea how to spend their time, especially when they are feeling overwhelmed.

If you want to have a successful relationship, you need to commit to not compromising on your “me time” because you need that time to process your day, thoughts, and feelings. The person you choose to be with needs to understand these needs as well and should encourage you to take that time as you need it.

3) Journal and Don’t Judge

It’s sometimes hard for empaths to believe that other people do not feel as deeply as they feel. It’s not that other people can’t feel like that, but many people don’t want to feel so intensely on a regular basis.

Instead of passing judgement on people who can’t or don’t want to feel the way you do, take to your journal to work through your thoughts about this and reserve your judgement.

After all, you wouldn’t want someone passing judgement on you because of how deeply you feel, right? So don’t pass the buck in the other direction. It’s important that you set the standard for reciprocal respect when it comes to being an empath.

You might find that you have created the perfect environment for a new relationship when you have your feelings and thoughts in order.

4) Find Someone Who is Highly Sensitive

There is a real difference between being an empath and being highly sensitive. This idea of high sensitivity is newer than empath ideals, but the two are a good compliment to one another because someone who is highly sensitive might not have the wherewithal or the desire to manage their emotions and feelings because they become so overwhelmed by them.

If you find yourself in the presence of such a person, your empathic ways will do them a world of good. You might find that you create a sense of independence and co-dependence that can only exist when one person gets something from another person in such a way that they can’t get that same thing from someone else.

While empathic ways are not as uncommon as they used to be, finding the right combination of empathic and high sensitive ways can take time. It might be worth exploring a relationship with someone like this because you can offer one another a balance that is hard to achieve otherwise or with other people like you.

Whether you’ve known for years you were an empath or you just found out, it’s important that you figure out how to navigate relationships as an empath so that you don’t end up with someone just like you – that’s not the ideal situation for an empath. You want to strive for a unique balance and a sense of giving and taking that provides you with a fulfilling relationship now and into the future.

Notable replies

  1. Avatar for ken ken says:

    Hi Lachlan, this is one of the best articles I have read about empaths. Being an empath myself and having an adhd type brain and maybe being a little too smart for my own good I of course have some additional nuance to further develop your ideas. I do tend to want to see the complexity so it may seem a little picky but bear with me. What you say is a great generalization of empathic behavior. The problem with describing empaths is that there is a whole range of empathic abilities and a wide range of people’s awareness and use of the sensitivity.
    I believe that the sensitivity is there in most people and not some unique body function that only empaths have. The sensitivity I talk about is the ability to sense actual physical senses and process them in a particular part of the brain. Some percentage of highly sensitive are considered empaths.
    I believe an individuals self awareness and a lot of other factors make generalizations hard to have a lot of faith in on an individual basis but are a good starting point.
    The difficulty is that for practical purposes we don’t have a way to measure empathic sensitivity like an electronics technician can measure and adjust the sensitivity of a radio. What we observe is the final output of sensitivity being processed by an individual and displayed in a way that can be learned, disguised, or hidden as the individual copes with the sometimes obvious difficult behaviors. What most people think of as empathy is really the final output while the strict definition of empathy is the inputs an individual receives. You could have someone with low average empathy that because of other factors such as socialization appear far more empathetic than someone that gets so much sensitivity they overload and appear narcissistic.
    I think my main point is that when someone says things like empaths cannot stand liars which many articles state they miss the point. It is probably mostly true that empaths can detect lies more easily but being humans makes it less clear where that leads. it certainly could lead some to become more cynical while others keep it in context and generally tolerate liars better because we know everyone lies. I could certainly see your comments that empaths may be more honest and assume that being individuals some would adapt better to understanding that honesty is not always the best policy.
    There are most probably people that can appear to be empaths through learned behavior and use it to take advantage of other people. There is quite a bit of false information out there about how you should avoid empaths by people that really dislike that it is common for empaths to spot a lie very easily.
    I hope this adds to the discussion and I appreciate your efforts to start the post. Ken

  2. As many have said before -this article is so on point. For the last 7 years I thought I was dealing with bad anxiety. But after reading this article, I am totally dismissing that diagnosis. Most of my episodes were from over thinking and overthinking about people and their ways and behaviors. Thinking about many of the examples and descriptions in this article. So I believe It isn’t anxiety, but who I am and my mindset and outlook on the world around me - I am an Empathic Person, not sure if that’s good or bad. Lol. However, I truly Believe many many people are full of crap and you need to weave and dodge through many of them because of their crap. People smile and act like they are interested or friendly and they have ulterior motives or they are just once again full of crap and meaningless. It takes time to find genuine real people nowadays. Thank you for this article.

  3. Avatar for poicha poicha says:

    Hi I was agreeing until I got to the bit where it said two empaths in a relationship wont work. This is dangerous misinformation. I am happily partnered with a fellow empath as are many people I know from empath support groups. This is one of the happiest most harmonious relationships you can be in as both are loving and giving. The only problems we have are external mostly in that we are both too giving to other parties. It has also been documented that empaths in a relationship with non empaths can suffer because the other person is not able to give in the way that they do which puts the empath at a disadvantage and it ignore the very dangerous empath/narcissist dynamic. Most empaths have been in a relationship with a narcissist at some point and this can make us very sick and even prove fatal as the narcissist continues to take and the empath is emotionally bled dry. Empath/empath is a beautiful combo. No one should ever forget that.

  4. Avatar for poicha poicha says:

    Ps this is the only relationship I have ever been in where my mental health has not been harmed by my partner not getting me. I have had lovely parnters and also some abusive ones but my empath man is the best ever

  5. Avatar for Rae Rae says:

    Wow! Thank you for perfectly articulating the characteristics and behaviors. This is spot on me 100%, and I feel so understood after reading this. Thank you for this! (@poicha, that was the only part of the article that bummed me out, because I’m a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and just imagining being with an empath sounds absolutely amazing. Reading your experience gives me hope!)

  6. Avatar for Ski Ski says:

    Hi Lachlan
    Very well written article.
    I recently discovered being a Empath.
    Actually kinda funny I kinda been working on defining myself lately and My definition matches Empath very well.

    I am not especially young so I have struggled with many symptoms of Empath for most of my life and honestly I did a reasonable good job ignoring them over time. However as I got older I have become numb and This feeling was crushing me. I could go on and on with problems I created with this behavior but that would not be productive.

    I since decided to be more patient with my emotions and clearly identify which ones are mine and pay particular attention to what I really feel and want. Which is tiring and frustrating at times but is quite exhilarating at times as well.

    I have since read many articles on the subject and theories on how to best live with this gift in relationships (sexual and friendly) and some of the ideas are ridiculous but yours seems quite down to earth.

    People don’t intend to be evil and some take advantage of the Empath type however people need people and I enjoy someone who asks for help and I understand why they are asking.
    I don’t ask for help often and may need to work on this but I would not feel as necessary if I were in relationships with people like me.

    Also I don’t believe I ever met anyone who doesn’t have good to add to a relationship. Just finding the right space and trying to explain how I feel keeps friends I like.

    Thanks again Steve

  7. I have known that I’ve been an empath for many years, but it doesn’t mean it’s at the forefront of my mind all the time which means that if I get someone (or usually people’s backs up) for just being me - I can often beat myself up about it not realizing that not everyone can handle someone who wears their emotions on their sleeves, his very honest, direct with questions and who picks up very quickly on discrepancies between what someone says vs what their body language is saying. I no longer a spring chicken and have been through many trials and tribulations in life and done a lot of personal growth work which has helped enormously, but I still have to be on my guard for those that really don’t like me and seem to be hell bent on being not very nice to me when all I’ve tried to do is be helpful, not ruffle any feathers and be courteous - I’m mostly not looking to collect best buddies anymore - just have a peaceful existence with others. So when I seem to attract a lot of animosity - I need to remember to stand back from the situation and realize empaths can be very challenging for many people and whilst well-meaning, just being who you are pisses people off. This is what led me to this great article - I did a search on why people can’t handle nice people. I was surprised at the amount of stuff on this subject that attacked the nice person making them out to be false etc - I thought - that’s interesting - what’s wrong with just being nice in today’s society where being nice is often a very uncommon trait - it almost seemed like those that can’t handle nice decide to attack niceness instead - but this is how I’ve felt most of my life - I just can’t be “me” with many people, so now I’ve learnt to only unleash my normal “me” on those I truly trust and who don’t see it as a threat - with others I reign in my “niceness” and just keep myself to myself and they seem to be OK with that - the church mouse type of personality. It’s a steep learning curve being an empath - but a journey I wouldn’t swap - I feel like in all it’s undulations extremely fully & have set my life up so I have my own farm with an aninal sanctuary - I live alone so I get plenty of time away from toxic humans, animals are great for empaths I believe - they are so easy to be around & so now I just have the odd visitor who are usually good friends and if I want to venture out into the big wide world - I can go out there when I’m feeling good and as soon as I start to feel shit from being out there too long - I make a hasty retreat back to my farm where I can recharge my batteries.

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Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder 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 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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