As an empath, you feel everything. It can be incredibly overwhelming sometimes. Not only am I carrying the weight of my emotions, which can be exhausting on its own, but if I’m not careful, I can easily stack on the emotions, and energy, of those around me. I find that it can be extremely difficult to maintain friendships because I have to be particular about who I spend my time with and when. High-energy friends, and those who need a lot of emotional maintenance, requires me to ensure I take more time to recharge after hanging out with them.
I was raised by a narcissist and have dated a few and I’ve read so many articles, during and after leaving those situations, on the damaging effects these relationships can have for empaths. I always fantasized about meeting someone that felt like I did; about how wonderful it must be to have someone understand my emotions and connect with me on that level. How phenomenal it would be to not feel like my empathy is being used against me. Finding another empath sounded like a dream scenario.
The pros of dating another empath
I’m not going to sit here and deny that I’m in the best relationship I’ve ever been in. There are so many upsides to dating an empath. When days are good, they’re great. When one of us is feeling down or stressed, we’re able to be understanding of each other, and help one another through it. “Arguments” are usually handled not by combating each other, but instead, working together against the problem.
We are constantly pushing each other to socialize, work on career advancement and practice self care. When my partner comes home from a night out with his best friend, or I excitedly show him what I did after two hours of learning code, we feed off of that positive energy. Success and happiness doesn’t create jealousy between us, it only pushes us further. It’s an upward spiral of bettering ourselves and it’s one of the most blissful feelings.
One of the things that I find absolutely adorable is that sympathy PMS will hit my partner hard. Yes, it’s a real thing. During ‘Shark Week’, everything makes me emotional. This weekend we were watching Overwatch animated shorts on YouTube, and I felt the tears stream down my cheeks as Tracer knelt down and told the two young boys that “the world needs more heroes”. My hormones were all over the place and honestly, I felt so silly. That was until I looked over to see my partner’s eyes full of tears too, feeling just as empathetic as I did.
The cons of dating another empath
There are downsides to this type of relationship though, especially when its been ingrained in us since birth to feel as though we’re responsible for other our partner’s emotions. When one of us spirals, it’s easy for both of us to spiral hard. If boundaries aren’t discussed, it doesn’t take much to get pulled down. We’ve been together for over a year and we still have a difficult time drawing the line between doing whatever we can to help, and making sure that our own mental health is in check.
In times when my partner starts to slip, I feel it. I try to give him the support he has asked for during previous discussions. However, if the spiral continues longer than a few days, I have a difficult time letting go of the idea that I need to do something. My control issues begin to surface and I start doing everything in my power to fix things, even if they can’t be fixed. Even if there’s nothing to fix. I start to feel useless and like I’m not doing enough. I fixate on finding a solution until I stop thinking about myself. We then continue feeding off of each other’s emotions and energy, causing us to both spiral further.
How to make it work
What’s the solution here? Honestly, I know what it is but snapping ourselves out of that mentality isn’t easy. Communication, boundaries and trust. We both need to work on keeping the communication clear, by not holding back due to fear of overloading the other person. Boundaries need to be continuously discussed so that we know when to take time to recharge when we are feeling overloaded. Finally, trusting each other to voice when we are at our limit so that we can find other avenues of support when our partner doesn’t have the emotional capacity to help us.
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