What if you’re in Love with an Empath?

On a recent Clarity Call, this question came up. Thinking about it after the call, I realised I have a lot more to say on this, so here goes.

Situational sketch: you’re in love with an empath, but nothing is actually happening. You’ve known this man (or woman) for months now, you see each other regularly for non-romantic reasons (work, dropping the kids off at school, charity work, you name it) and even though you’ve made it pretty clear that you really like him, he acts confused, blows hot and cold and all of that is slowly driving you insane.

Highly Sensitive Person looking at person who wears a t-shirt saying: sorry, I'm an empathThe question I got on this was: “yeah but, he says he’s an empath, and I’m having all these unusual experiences around him, and maybe he’s just confused but wants to have a relationship, should I talk to him about all this?”

To which my response was: “Who knows if he even is an empath? Just because he says so, doesn’t mean much.”

And then I pondered that later and thought, ah, but it does mean a lot! Just not what you think.


So here’s what it means if your love interest claims to be an empath, you’ve known each other for many months and he is blowing hot and cold and you don’t know up from down anymore.


Possibility 1: He is actually an empath.


(Don’t cheer just yet). If he actually is an empath, then he can feel how excited you are to see him. Now, if he in an untrained and very overburdened empath then he may not be able to distinguish between what you feel and what he feels. So this leads to 2 sub-possibilites.


Possibility 1A. He is an empath. He knows the difference between what you feel and what he feels.


Hence, he can feel and also knows that you are very into him. In other words, he has all the info he needs to move forward. If he likes you, he doesn’t have to wonder and doubt whether you like him back, he knows you like him. So if he is not asking you out or building any kind of romantic relationship with you, but he does keep flirting and enjoys seeing you then he is really fucked up.

The decent thing to do – on his end – would be to make it really clear that he is NOT INTERESTED. If he doesn’t and he keeps things on a low simmer, then he’s getting something out of all that attention.

Now, maybe that doesn’t sound so bad. He has an ego that likes stroking, so what? But since he is an empath, he has an inside look into your feelings. If he is just keeping you around to feed his own ego, then he is demonstrating that he doesn’t mind hurting and manipulating you just to make him feel important.

In other words, run like hell! There is no reason to desire a man (or woman) like this. With great power comes great responsibility. He has the power, but he doesn’t take the responsibility. This can only get worse over time. Kiss your lucky stars for not actually being involved with this guy.


Possibility 1B: He is an empath. He can feel your feelings but he doesn’t know what is what.


So when you spend time with him he’s just floating around in this soup of emotions and information and he doesn’t know what belongs to whom. In other words, the moment you feel a pang of hunger, he may start eating. And when you get all excited about going someplace (someplace he hates) he may feel the excitement and think “awesome, this feels great, let’s go!”. Then you go and he has a terrible time and can’t understand why. Or, he feels great because he’s tapping into your feelings but then once you’ve left, he gets all confused because now his own feelings come more to the fore and he wonders if he really had a good time at all.

In other words, an untrained empath is a potential relationship nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about people who are empaths and don’t realise they are. They can even make “too good to be true” partners (until they crash with exhaustion).

But since he told you he is an empath, he knows. So if he knows, why doesn’t he get the training he needs to figure out what is him and what is not him? Why does he go around telling people he’s an empath (bragging about it perhaps) when it’s more like a handicap than anything else?

If this is the situation, also run! He knows he has a problem, but he’s not doing anything about it. That’s a recipe for another really bad relationship (“I know I have a problem honey, but that’s just who I am, no need to do anything about it”).


Possibility 2: He is not actually an empath.


After reading what I wrote above, you may be hoping this is the category your guy falls into (but again, don’t cheer just yet).

First off, I know the whole topic of empaths is confusing. You can legitimately wonder if perhaps you are an empath. You can spend time looking into it. However, it’s something else to go around decisively declaring that you are an empath for sure (you better be darn sure – and remember, I already dealt with those possibilities above. This is the scenario where someone thinks they are, but aren’t).

In other words, if someone says to you that they think they might be an empath, and they are looking into it, that’s totally different from declaring that they are an empath for sure.

When someone says they are an empath for sure, and they aren’t? Oh boy. This is what it means:

  • They don’t take responsibility for their feelings. They are actually projecting. So when they feel bad, they’ll say “it’s because I am an empath, I must be picking up on someone else who is feeling bad!” In other words, they have given themselves the never-ending cop out of ever dealing with their own feelings.
  • It takes a certain kind of personality (read: narcissistic) to be this convinced of their own delusions without doing serious research. Do I need to say more?

Either way, you don’t want to date a guy who blames everything he feels on other people. Do I need to be clearer still? Sure: You don’t want to date a guy who will blame you every time he feels bad, or who will tell you: “I can feel that you are upset about this. Stop being upset about it!” (When in fact, he is the one who is feeling upset and you are just fine).

Being with a fake empath like this will cause a never ending stream of communication issues. You’ll discover over time that your “empath” partner doesn’t know themselves, like, at all. They will also claim to know everything about everyone else and be completely wrong about that most of the time.


They are living a fantasy version of themselves and any feeling they have that they don’t like, they attribute to someone else:

  • “Oh, there is so much negativity here, it must be coming from that girl across the room, let’s shoo her away to clear the space”

Or is he’s a fake empath healer:

  • “I can see you are really sad. You know what you should do, you should have a really long good cry. It’s not good to repress your feelings. You can also talk to me about it, I’m a really good listener blablabla

If you date this guy, then when he’s grumpy, he’ll tell you that you are grumpy. That would be crazymaking wouldn’t it? And because he’s so convinced, he won’t believe you when you say you’re not grumpy and perhaps he is. He’ll just accuse you of projecting your feelings onto him because he is the psychic mastermind. Except, he’s not!

Run like hell!

So, to make a long article short. When you’re in this situation:

“I’ve know him for months. He’s blowing hot and cold. I’m in love with him. He says he’s an empath, and I’m having all these unusual experiences around him, and maybe he’s just confused but wants to have a relationship, should I talk to him about it?”

Run like hell. The rollercoaster you’re on is not a healthy relationship prequel.

All his possible “I’m an empath” roads lead to Run.


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