21 Real Problems Empaths Have In Romantic Relationships (2024)

As an empath, you’re highly sensitive to other people’s energies, you’re constantly aware of their mood shifts, and you can get easily overwhelmed by others’ emotions. 

While your empathic abilities make you who you are – a good friend and an even better listener – you may encounter some significant challenges when it comes to being in a romantic relationship.

Today, I’m going to talk about empaths and relationships, so if you’re an empath yourself or you’re in a relationship with someone who is, stay tuned for some helpful information.

Let’s dive in.

21 Real Problems Empaths Face in Relationships

1. Empaths tend to have a lack of clear boundaries

Empaths tend to feel other people’s emotions like they were their own. This becomes a challenge when they don’t set clear boundaries so they end up getting too emotionally drained by their partner’s energy.

If you’re an empath in a relationship, you need to learn to make a difference between your partner’s emotions and your own emotions. Otherwise, it’s going to be hard for you to maintain a healthy relationship.

2. They need their own space and alone time

Since empaths tend to go through a range of different emotions on a regular basis, they need extra time to rewind and re-energize.

That’s why they need to be in a relationship with a partner who understands their need for space and doesn’t take it as a sign of distant behavior.

If they’re with someone who doesn’t give them their own space, they struggle to stay in a long-term relationship.

3. They may fear intimacy and vulnerability

When you’re an empath, being close with another person may seem overwhelming. That’s why you often avoid intimacy altogether. 

This is where having strong boundaries can help. The sooner you realize that you can be close to someone without getting hurt, the more chances you have of maintaining a fulfilling relationship.

Related: Reasons The Gift Of Empathy Is A Blessing And Not A Curse

4. They’re people pleasers

Another problem that empaths have in life is they’re people pleasers. While caring too much for everyone’s emotions is a good thing, it can sometimes become an obstacle to a healthy relationship. 

You can’t always please people but you can do what makes you and others around you happy. Remember that your feelings matter as much as your partner’s. 

5. Empaths tend to pick up on other people’s feelings

When you’re in a relationship, it’s normal to absorb your partner’s positive emotions, but the negative ones as well. 

However, the situation is a little bit different when you’re an empath; you often don’t see a clear line between your own needs and your partner’s needs. But both of you need to be happy, don’t forget that.  

6. Most empaths struggle to accept help

As an empath, you’re used to being a helping hand and a friend in need. That’s amazing, and kudos to you! 

But you’re human too. You need comfort as much as the next person. So learn to accept help from your partner when you need it because relationships are about mutual content.

Related: How To Spot An Empath

7. They feel responsible for their partner’s emotions

Empaths And Relationships
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As an empath, you can truly feel your partner’s emotions which can often make you feel responsible for them. But you are not responsible for other people’s feelings. 

What you can do is listen to them, offer friendly advice, and be there for them. You cannot fix their pain or make it go away. Taking responsibility for your partner’s negative emotions can be unhealthy for both of you.

8. They put their partner’s needs over their own needs

It takes two people to make a relationship work. If you constantly put your partner’s needs over your own, you will end up completely exhausted and emotionally drained. 

That’s not the point of a relationship. Sometimes you need to put yourself first before working on your relationship.

Related: 71+ Empath Quotes To Empower Your Sensitive Side

9. They tend to control other people’s emotions

As an empath, you’re often tempted to help others in need and that’s one of the most special things about you. 

But sometimes when you get involved in a whirlwind of emotions and you absorb all that energy, you may feel the need to make it all go away. You may feel like you should be the one to fix things. 

That’s why you need to learn the difference between your own feelings and your partner’s because not everything is up to you.

10. Relationship with an empath can often be an emotional rollercoaster

Whether your friend is going through a tough breakup or you had lunch with someone who was anxious, you will come home with all that weight of the world on your shoulders and feel completely drained. And then the next morning, you will be like new again.

If you’ve been an empath your whole life, by now you’re probably used to going through these ups and downs. But most people aren’t so your partner may be confused especially if you’re still early on in your relationship.

Related: Clear Signs You Are A Heyoka Empath – Powerful & Rare

11. Tough situations really get to them

Empaths tend to take small stuff to heart a lot more often than others, so an occasional comment or a sarcastic joke from your partner may get you down way more than it should. 

You may blow something out of proportion or react more intensively than other people. This can become a challenge in a relationship. 

12. They need more alone time

As an empath, having quality alone time is a must. You need time to process all those intense emotions and prepare yourself for another day. 

But if you’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t understand your needs, that may become a problem.

13. Empathic people are not huge fans of large gatherings

Empaths are sensitive souls. Most of them tend to avoid large gatherings and crowded rooms. 

They don’t thrive in those settings because small talk can be extremely exhausting for them.

But if they find themselves in a relationship with an outgoing partner that likes to spend time with people, this can become a challenge.

Related: 21 Reasons Why Intuitive Empaths Have A Gift

14. They struggle to find a supportive partner

Many empaths fear they won’t find a supporting and loving partner that will understand their unique challenges and needs.

The truth is that once you find someone who accepts you for who you are, that’s when you’ll be able to commit to a healthy relationship. 

15. They can be too honest sometimes

Empaths can rarely hold anything back which can become a challenge in a relationship.

If you’re with someone who doesn’t do well with criticism or can’t deal with openness, you will find it hard to be yourself around them and eventually won’t fully open up to them. 

16. Empaths can get overwhelmed more easily

Because you feel everything so intensively, you can feel overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted sometimes. This can be hard on a relationship because not everyone can handle that amount of emotions sometimes. 

Try to communicate with your partner about your own wants and needs so that you can come out of these unique challenges stronger.

17. They have rapid mood swings

As an empath, life will sometimes hit you harder than others. You will feel negative emotions of your loved ones and positive emotions of people you meet at an office event. 

With all these different emotions, it’s understandable to feel down one minute and full of life the next minute.

With another person in the picture, these rapid mood swings can become too much for you and often cause tension in a relationship.

Related: 25 Empaths Protection Tools – How To Deal With Being An Empath

18. Many empaths are reluctant to break up

Empaths are, above all, believers. They believe in the good in people. They want to see past the surface and understand everyone’s perspective. 

That’s why they often can’t accept the truth for what it is. They will remain in a relationship even if it’s not good for them because they are reluctant to break up.

19. They try to fix their partner

With this reluctance to break up comes another empathic trait and that is the need to fix other people. But as you probably already know, nobody wants to be “fixed”, let alone a romantic partner. 

Intimate relationships are all about acceptance and commitment, so if your partner feels like you want to change something about them, that could be a cause of tension.

Related: 32 Emotional Triggers For Empaths & How To Cope

20. Little things bother them more than they should

Problems Empaths Have In Relationships
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An empath will sometimes overreact to little things in a relationship. If you’ve ever felt like you can’t simply let go of certain arguments or comments, you probably understand what I’m talking about.

It’s more challenging for you to pick your battles in a relationship because you can’t detach from your own feelings. 

21. They are often too emotionally drained to be there for their partner

Another reason why empaths can’t maintain a healthy relationship is that they sometimes don’t have enough energy to support their partner’s needs.

With all those emotions piling up inside of you, it becomes hard to be there for the people you love the most. 

I suggest you read this article to learn more about the unique traits of an empathic person: Empathetic Mindset – 11 Important Traits

Triggers for Empaths

When you get intensely emotional over a seemingly small situation, it means you’ve probably been triggered. Emotional triggers can be all around us, but it’s up to us to learn to recognize them and deal with them.

Empaths may be triggered by a lot of different things. It mostly depends on their previous experiences, traumatic events, and life events. 

As an empath, you can develop a trigger after going through a traumatic event in your life or witnessing sensitive events.

While some empaths can manage their emotions, others simply can’t. Some of the most common triggers for empaths include:

  • Other people’s pain
  • Other people’s demands
  • Intimacy overload
  • Gaslighting and emotional invalidation
  • Not being understood
  • Not being accepted

There are many more triggers for empaths, but these are the most common ones I see in my clients.

If you need any help identifying and managing your triggers, I suggest you talk to a professional that will help you with your mental health and well-being.

Related: Reasons Why Intuitive Empaths Have A Gift

Female Empaths and Relationships

Female empaths are truly one of a kind. They give so much love to their friends, family members, and intimate partners. When they’re in a relationship with someone, they care about them deeply and profoundly. 

They’re also very supportive, understanding, and loving. If you know a female empath or you’re one yourself, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

But even though being in a relationship with a female empath is a wonderful thing, it also comes with some unique challenges. For that reason, female empaths often struggle to have meaningful relationships. 

Just like all empaths, female empaths are also very upfront with their feelings. They know what they want and are not scared to say it out loud. That can be hard on some people who are not ready for commitment.

Female empaths also tend to take things personally which can be difficult in a relationship.

They’re highly sensitive and love to spend time alone when they need time to process their overwhelming thoughts and complex emotions.

Related: Super Empath Vs Narcissist & What We Can Learn From Both

Signs of a Male Empath

Upset Empath Having Relationship Problems
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Just like all empaths, male empaths are highly sensitive to the world around them. They may not be easy to spot, but the moment you start a relationship with a male empath, you will know it, trust me. 

They absorb other people’s emotions and are sensitive to other people’s energies. If you’re going through a rough patch in your life, a male empath will sense it. 

They love spending time on their own because it helps them distance themselves from uncomfortable emotions or other’s people’s struggles.

If you need a good listener, male empaths are your go-to people. They have a deep sense of knowing and understanding other people so if you need a helping hand, you can count on them.

Some male empaths struggle to have a successful relationship because of their distant behavior, emotional overload, or the intensity of their emotions.

Related: 12 Types Of Empaths And How To Identify Yours

Empath in Relationship With Narcissist

Opposites do attract sometimes, and that’s the case with empaths and narcissists. They tend to be drawn to each other; one is a giver, and the other one is a receiver. 

However, there are some potential dangers of this relationship that could leave an empath feeling completely drained and worn out. 

These opposites attract each other for all the wrong reasons. While an empath is full of compassion, understanding, and giving, a narcissistic person is full of contempt.

An empath understands that nobody’s perfect, which makes them prone to a narcissist’s manipulations. 

A narcissist thrives in chaos. They create drama and are very manipulative. 

When they’re in a relationship with an empath, they tend to exploit their forgiving nature until they wear them out entirely.

Everyone is responsible for their own personal growth so if you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, you can only focus on your own boundaries and limits. 

If you have clear boundaries and learn to stand up for yourself, it’ll be easier for you to avoid being in a “parasite” relationship between an empath and a narcissist. 

Empath Ending a Relationship

As I mentioned before, one of the problems that empaths have in long-term relationships is that they can’t let go that easily.

They always believe in the good in people so they tend to stay in unhealthy relationships for that reason.

But trying to “fix” someone – especially when they don’t want to be fixed – is almost impossible. It can turn into an even worse situation where both of you could get hurt.

There’s a reason we say that trust is a crucial component of a healthy relationship. When there’s no trust, the relationship starts to weaken. 

An empath decides to end a relationship when they feel unloved. When their relationship becomes too much to handle and when all trust is broken, they decide to withdraw and give up.

As an empath, you may feel tempted to stay with your partner even when you feel the relationship is not good for you. But that’s how you will expose yourself to potentially even more pain in the future. 

Remember that self-protection is vital so learn to strengthen yourself and enforce your boundaries. 

Related: 8 Levels Of Listening – Complete Guide

FAQ: Empaths and Intimate Relationships

Do Empaths Have Trouble With Relationships?

Because of their unique abilities, empaths can have trouble with relationships. They can pick up on other people’s energies so being close to someone is not always easy on them. 

Closeness and intimacy come with a lot of responsibility when you’re an empath. You tend to feel responsible for your partner’s mood. 

You feel sad when they feel sad. You feel things on a deeper level.

Also, empaths want to spend time by themselves when they get overwhelmed. Unfortunately, this comes off as distant and negative to some people which makes a relationship with an empath a lot challenging.

If you don’t learn how to set clear personal limits, it will be harder for you to have a successful relationship with someone. 

Can an Empath Have a Normal Relationship?

If you’re an empath, you’re probably wondering is it even possible for you to have a successful relationship at all?

Yes, of course, it’s possible. As I explained in this article, it’s all about boundaries, communication, and support.

A relationship with an empath may be challenging at times, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to maintain. Work on your boundaries, don’t let other people’s feelings crush you, and aim to spend time with yourself. 

With the right person, your empathy will thrive. Your empathetic abilities will be seen for what they are – a true blessing.

What Do Empaths Need in a Relationship?

While it’s true that empaths love to give, they also crave a balance of giving and receiving. Helping others makes empaths happy and fulfilled. That’s why people in need are drawn to them.

Empaths also need acceptance and deep compassion. They need to be loved and accepted for who they are. They need to feel safe.

They don’t like being told they’re too sensitive or moody. Instead, they want to be with a partner who appreciates their gift and lets them embrace it.

Another important thing that empaths need in a relationship is to spend time alone. They thrive in peace and quiet.

And with all those emotions that they pick up on during the day, it’s quite understandable they need a low stimulation environment from time to time.

Empaths need their own space to practice mindfulness and recharge their energy batteries. That’s the only way they can work on their empathic abilities.

What Happens When an Empath Falls in Love?

Empaths Need Acceptance In Relationships
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Love is intense for empaths, to say the least. 

When an empath falls in love, they simply can’t hide it. 

They’re very open with their emotions and they can’t wait to show the world what they’re going through. If an empath falls in love with you, you will definitely know it, trust me. 

They feel everything more intensely than most people. That’s why they look for passionate and meaningful relationships.

Although they love spending time on their own, when they’re in love, they can’t get enough of the other person.

An empath wants to be accepted and loved, so it’s important for them to be with a partner that embraces their empathy and considers it a true gift.

Why Empaths Stay Single

If you’re an empath, you may have a harder time maintaining a relationship. As I talked about in this article, it’s only because your empathic abilities make you feel more deeply and intensely. 

Empaths stay single because they don’t want to be hurt. You don’t want to open yourself up for more pain than necessary.

But your unique abilities shouldn’t stop you from living your life to the fullest. Quite the contrary. You should embrace who you are and accept your gift of empathy. 

Creating and maintaining strong personal boundaries is vital for everyone, especially empaths who want to fully enjoy life. 

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading my article and I hope this article helped you understand what type of problems empaths can have in romantic relationships.

If you’re an empath yourself, you’ve probably experienced some of these unique challenges with your partner.

I know it’s not easy having to handle all those emotions on your own, let alone having to be there for your partner on top of that. 

But if you find a supportive partner, you will be able to communicate your struggles and they’ll be there for you and your emotions.

If I can help you in any way, feel free to ask. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below, and I hope I hear from you soon!

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.