12 undeniable signs you’re dating a highly sensitive person

Life is messy. It’s filled with highs and lows, moments of clarity and unexpected plot twists, relationships that lift you up and those that… well, challenge you.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve found yourself in one of those challenging ones.

I’m not talking about the typical spats couples have. I’m talking about dating a sensitive person who experiences emotions on a level so profound, it can leave you wondering how that’s even possible.

The truth is, understanding a sensitive person is like learning a new language; it’s tricky, and you’ll likely make some mistakes.

But as with any language, you need to make an active effort to understand.

Before you hit the panic button, here’s something I can assure you:

Dating someone sensitive can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

Don’t “deal” with their sensitivity. Appreciate it. You’re one of the lucky ones.

1) They Feel a Deep Empathy For Others and Their Self

Highly sensitive people (HSPs) are like porous sponges – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Their empathy is a gift. It makes them compassionate and understanding, two non-negotiable traits that I’m sure you’d want in a relationship.

They can easily pick up on your mood, no matter how much you try to mask it with a smile or a brave face.

As we’ll explore throughout this article, partners like this soak up all the emotions and energy that float in their immediate environment.

This heightened awareness allows them to tap into the emotional states of the people around them.

They’re profoundly affected by how others feel.

2) They’re Easily Overwhelmed by Intense Emotional Situations

Imagine a sponge again. Just as it gets heavy and oversaturated when it absorbs too much water, HSPs can easily become overwhelmed during intense emotional situations (e.g., emotionally charged arguments, high-stakes competitions, distressing events in the news).

They don’t just feel emotions; they analyze, dissect, and dwell on them.

It’s like they’re always on this emotional rollercoaster – except it’s not a fun ride – that they went on against their will.

So as much as you can, please give them space to process whatever they’re going through. They need it.

3) They Need Alone Time

Speaking of having some space, sensitive people may require more frequent and lengthy periods of solitude, albeit they still enjoy socializing and connecting with others.

Their “me” time is a necessity. It’s their safe space where they can retreat from the sensory overload of the world.

My boyfriend is an HSP that needs his alone time more than anyone I’ve known.

During the early days of our relationship, I misconstrued his desire for “me time” as him being distant or uninterested.

However, after understanding how deeply he feels about things, I realized that it was his way of recharging.

Once he feels grounded, he’s able to be the best version of himself, as well as be the best life partner.

4) They React Strongly to Criticism

Criticism, even if it’s constructive, can be a bitter pill to swallow for anyone. But for highly sensitive people, it’s particularly hard-hitting.

It could often lead them to feel inadequate or misunderstood. They might even interpret it as a personal attack or a significant failing on their part.

Please keep in mind that this isn’t because they’re deliberately oversensitive – it’s just how their mind works.

If you find that your partner reacts strongly to feedback, I suggest that you be mindful of how you present your concerns or criticisms. Frame it in a positive way. Show how you can work on it together.

For example, instead of saying, “You never listen to me,” say, “I feel more appreciated when my thoughts are heard.

Or, rather than “You’re too emotional,” say, “I admire how deeply you feel things, it’s just sometimes hard for me to understand.”

5) They Absorb and Mirror the Emotions of Others

Just to emphasize, HSPs emotional empathy can be both a blessing and a curse. Imagine being in a room full of people.

While most people would feel the general mood, highly sensitive people can feel everyone’s emotions – be it sadness, joy, or frustration, among others.

They’re carrying all this emotional baggage that can, for sure, be quite heavy.

As a partner, you need to remind yourself that they’ll absorb your emotions. Try to maintain a positive, calm environment. Be there for them.

You don’t necessarily need to hide your emotions. Rather, let them know it’s okay to take a step back and that they don’t have to force themselves to thrive in certain situations.

6) They Often Need External Validation and Reassurance

Have you ever met someone who cares too much about what other people think? Like they can’t make a move without a nod of approval?

That’s a highly sensitive person for you. They’ve got this internal radar that’s constantly scanning for cues of acceptance or rejection.

Again, it’s not because they’re needy or insecure; it’s because they feel everything so deeply.

As their partner, know that a little reassurance goes a long way. Be genuine (highly sensitive people can smell fake praise). Be patient, especially when you don’t understand. They’re not trying to be difficult. They’re doing their best.

7) They Might Have an Avoidant Attachment Style

People with an avoidant attachment style often create emotional distance when things get too intense or close for comfort.

Why? It’s a self-preservation thing. Remember: They’re processing a whole lot more emotional data than the average Joe.

My sister is actually a highly sensitive person. She used to find it difficult to maintain close relationships.

She was afraid of getting hurt, so she pushed people away and would lock herself up in her bedroom.

Yet, she’s one of the most empathetic people I know, always the first to reach out when someone is distressed. I’m just glad that she’s found someone that knows how to take care of her heart.

8) They Have Difficulty Letting Go of Negative Thoughts and Emotions

For them, a negative thought isn’t just a passing convenience – it’s a visitor that overstays its welcome, sometimes even setting up permanent residence in their minds.

HSPs ruminate and replay negative experiences and dissect every detail, trapping them in a cycle of negative thinking.

Try to teach them healthier coping strategies. First, let them express their thoughts without fear of being labeled a “downer.”

Secondly, redirect their energy through various outlets like meditation, simple breathing exercises, exercise, and journaling, among others.

And lastly, when they relapse, remind them that everything will be okay.

9) They Pay Attention to Small Gestures

A slight change in your tone, a fleeting expression on your face, or an offhand comment can speak volumes to them. They pay attention to the small things because, to them, these are the big things.

Use this trait to your relationship’s advantage. For instance, as a sensitive individual myself, I can pick up when my partner is having a bad day.

I’d make them their cup of favorite hot chocolate because I know it means the world to them that there’s someone who cares about what they feel.

10) They’re Highly Creative

Notice that the world’s greatest artists, writers, and musicians were deep thinkers, experiencing emotions so intensely that they’re able to channel these into their work.

That said, highly sensitive people possess this innate creative streak. They see beauty in details, finding inspiration in the small things.

This propensity for creativity, however, isn’t limited to traditional art forms. They’re able to connect unrelated dots and thus make them innovative problem-solvers.

For instance, in creative projects, they might draw inspiration from various unrelated sources and come up with an idea that stands out.

11) They Can Pick Up on Subtle Cues

As mentioned, HSPs are excellent readers of people and situations.

They’re perceptive; they notice small changes and subtle cues that most people would overlook.

Given their ability to read between the lines, they not only understand what people are going through but are also able to provide comfort and understanding in difficult situations.

This acute awareness can be exhausting for them. My boyfriend, the HSP I mentioned earlier, once broke down after a particularly noisy and crowded party.

I then learned how to manage his social engagements better, planning for quieter settings or ensuring he has an escape plan when he’s experiencing sensory overload.

I also make sure that our home has a peaceful and calm environment.

12) They Struggle With Change

Change is hard for most people, but for HSPs, it can be downright daunting.

It entails a whole new set of stimuli to process.

They take comfort in predictability and routines.

While this doesn’t mean they’re inflexible or stubborn, you’ll need to go the extra mile to understand that they need more time to adjust to new situations.

As their partner, be patient when introducing changes, whether they’re big (like moving to a new city) or small (like going to a new restaurant).

Give them a heads-up. Reassure them that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed – that you’ll be right beside them, holding their hand every step of the way.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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