Grief Recovery Specialist, Writer + Blogger

How Loving An Empath Is Different Than Loving Someone Less Sensitive

blog about how to love an empath by erin moore, centered one, couple in nature
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Welcome to this blog about loving an empath! Kudos to you for looking into it. You are demonstrating a level of kindness and maturity, and – you guessed it, sensitivity. Which is exactly what empaths need for a healthy, happy relationship. You yourself may very well be an empath too. 

So, how is being in a relationship with an empath (romantic or otherwise) different than with someone less sensitive? Let’s explore.

What Is An Empath?

You probably already know what an empath is intimately. If you’re not familiar with the term, however, empath refers to an estimated 1 to 20 percent of the population. “Highly sensitive person” (or HSP) is a similar category, and thought to be slightly more prevalent. Introvert, giver, natural helper, and kind soul are related, overlapping descriptions. 

Empaths have extra attuned intuition, emotions, energy fields, and physical bodies. They become drained or overwhelmed easily and can sometimes sense the emotions of others as well as unseen energies. For detailed guidance on protecting sensitive empath energy, read this blog here.

How Is Loving An Empath Different?

Following along from the unique characteristics of empaths is how they affect relationships.

Here are 8 ways being in a relationship with an empath is different than with someone less sensitive. These tips apply to all kinds of relationships too, but are most salient and helpful for sensitive people and for romantic connections.

Empaths in relationships need honesty

Empaths and highly sensitive people are sometimes referred to as human lie detectors! That’s because they can often sense if someone is being truthful or not. Having highly attuned intuition means more ability to suss these things out. Ergo, lying or hiding things affects them more deeply. They will likely feel hurt or confused by the disconnect between words and energy. It may also influence their level of trust or interest in continuing a relationship.

It’s normal to not share everything 24/7, and that’s healthy. However, loving an empath well includes taking care to be forthright about the things that matter. Share your feelings with tact and compassion, and everyone – empath or not – will benefit.

Empaths in relationships may fear intimacy

There’s a dichotomy for empaths that applies to many non-empaths too. It is this: craving connection yet fearing intimacy. Because empaths feel EVERYTHING, they may fear getting enmeshed with others. It’s more likely that they will experience their partner’s (or family member/friend’s) feelings, needs, moods, losses, joys, in addition to their own. That’s a lot. 

Be gentle with your empath loved one. Try to find the balance between give and take. Empaths naturally give so much. Generosity helps a relationship with an empath flourish.

Empaths in relationships need more space

Continuing on from the above point, empaths need space. Again, they are sponges. Breaks or alone time, both physically and emotionally, really help. Their sensitive system needs some time to recalibrate and release what they took on from others.

This is especially true after arguments or intense circumstances, like loud environments or crowded places. Give them a minute, and they will come back refreshed and available.

Empaths in relationships need acceptance

Don’t try to change an empath. This point is always true in relationships. People can feel when you don’t accept them for who they are. On one hand, people don’t really change. And if they do, it has to be their idea – something they want and are ready for. And on the other hand, sensing that someone wants you to change is not motivating. It’s the opposite. The question you should be asking instead is, why are you in this relationship if who they are doesn’t work for you?

Empaths have likely been told their whole life (or at least once) that they are too sensitive. It’s not something they can change. It is part of who they are, and gives them beautiful reservoirs of compassion. If you don’t like it, it may not be the right relationship. Other personality traits or quirks fall into the same bucket. Bring up anything that bothers you, but accept them for who they inherently are.

Empaths in relationships get triggered easily

Being sensitive means more disturbances, unfortunately. Again, feeling deeply like this is a gift too. In dynamics with other people, empaths pick up on more than usual. They can even sometimes sense emotions in another person that said other has not yet recognized (and may never). 

More triggers or emotions connect back to the above points about empaths often needing a bit more space. Be kind and supportive if they are upset, and let them have quiet time when needed. Sometimes talking is helpful, other times they prefer to be alone to process.

Empaths in relationships need kindness

Empaths’ kind hearts benefit from extra tender loving care. They feel a lot on a daily basis. Everyone gets short tempered or says not nice things at times. But try to respect their extra sensitivity whenever possible.

Careful and prudent communication, and no insults, goes a long way. 

Empaths in relationships need you to love their pets

Sensitive empaths tend to adore animals more than the average Joe. Their fur babies (or human babies!) are family members, and often the most valued ones of all. Take an interest in their pets, and be kind. If their dog or cat doesn’t like you, it may not bode well for you in the relationship. A hard truth! Lol.

Animals offer unconditional love and acceptance, without the expectations and complexity that characterize human relationships. For this reason, many empaths have pets and are animal lovers or activists. 

Empaths in relationships need laughter

All of this sensitivity and emotional depth can get pretty serious, pretty quick! That’s why humor and laughs are essential. They balance out the intensity that can come when relating with an empath.

Suggest a comedy show or funny movie, and crack some jokes if that’s your thing. Your empath will be forever grateful.

Love A Sensitive Empath And Reap Special Rewards

If you’re lucky enough to know or be in a relationship with an empath or sensitive person, the rewards are many. The love and loyalty you receive are boundless. The depth of connection, safety, and being seen can be profoundly healing.

Along with this comes the requirement – or invitation – to take extra special care of your empath. Quicker triggers, more capacity to be hurt, and greater likelihood to withdraw come with the territory as well. Be sure to vocalize your appreciation, and hopefully they fully appreciate you in return. You deserve that too!


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Photo by Timo Stern on Unsplash

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