Dr Judith Orloff's Blog

10 Secrets of Loving an Empath

Judith Orloff - Friday, May 26, 2017

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff's "The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People,” a guidebook for empaths and all caring people who want to keep their hearts open in an often-insensitive world.

Empaths often have special challenges in intimate relationships because of their intense sensitivities. Intimacy stretches our hearts so that we can become more loving, open people who will honestly express our needs. To flourish in intimate relationships, we must learn to authentically communicate and set clear boundaries for us to feel at ease and not get overloaded.

The right love relationship empowers empaths. Being valued and adored makes us more grounded. When empaths have an emotionally available partner who honors their sensitivities, they feel secure and supported.us.

Empaths have issues to resolve in relationships no matter how good the match. If you’re embarking on or have been in a long-term relationship, here are some points to discuss with your partner about how to love an empath. The following are common challenges and adjustments necessary to create successful relationships.

10 Strategies to Love an Empath from The Empath’s Survival Guide

1. Value regular alone time to decompress and meditate
For an empath, having alone time in a relationship is about self-preservation. It’s not just a luxury. Balance alone time with people time. Regularly take what I call “a golden hour” to decompress. Also get in the habit of having many mini breaks throughout the day. Tell your partner how vital this is for you because empaths need to think and process alone to regroup. This time-out gives you space to internally work through issues about the relationship too, so you have more clarity later with your partner. When you lovingly explain this to your partner, he or she is less likely to feel rejected or take it personally. Make the issue about you and your own sensitivities.

2. Discuss how much time you spend socializing
Non-empaths often like to mingle, but empaths (especially the introverted type) have a much more limited capacity and truly enjoy being alone in situations where others would prefer being social. Try to compromise with a non-empath mate in these circumstances.

3. Negotiate and make adjustments in physical space
Breathing room is essential. Decide what kind of space you need and establish some ground rules with your partner. Ask yourself, what arrangement work best? Is it having a private area to retreat to: separate bathrooms (a must for me!), separate wings or apartments or houses?

4. Focus on a single emotional issue and don’t repeat yourself!
Empaths can have many emotional issues going on simultaneously which can be overwhelming for them and their partners. The best way to communicate to your mate is by sharing one issue at a time without repeating it, unless being asked for clarification. Also, empaths need space to decompress after a conflict. Plan to take a reset time alone to process the issues and center yourself.

5. Don’t take things personally, even when they are personal
This is an important but demanding principle of the spiritual path yet it’s basic to good communication and relationship harmony. Try to be less reactive to comments and more centered so you aren’t triggered as often or as intensely.

6. Use The Sandwich Technique: Make requests not demands
Sandwich something that you’d like your partner to change or an area of conflict between two positive statements. Here’s how it works. First you could say, “I love you so much and appreciate your support!” Then put in your request: “I need your help with something. I would like to meditate for a half hour each night. It would be great if you could give me that private time. It will help me be even more present with you later.” Then hug your partner and thank him or her for taking care of you in this way. Remember to use this technique when you’re raising difficult issues.

7. Observe the “No Yelling Rule”
Empaths become overwhelmed around yelling and loud voices. Our partners need to accept this about us. For the sake of self-preservation, I’m strict about this rule in my house.

8. Don’t be a People Pleaser or try to fix your partner
Empaths become tired when they try to fix others’ problems or keep trying to please them at the expense of their own needs. So practice loving detachment and set boundaries.

9. Modulate the sounds around you
Empaths are usually quiet people. Our loved ones must accept this about us and be sensitive about the kind of sounds they bring into the home. Ask your mate to understand your need to have peace and quiet.

10. Play
Empaths tend to be on the serious side, but we also love to play. Be playful with your partner and let him or her bring out your inner child.

Good relationships are possible for empaths and can enhance their sense of security, love, and grounding. Marriage or any kind of sacred union needs to be a competition of generosity. Each person is in service to the other, aiming to deepen their devotion, kindness, passion, and love every day. Relationship is a spiritual experience, where you can learn from each other, share your hearts, and take good care of each other. Consideration and tolerance is essential. Empaths will thrive in partnerships where these qualities are a priority and authentic communication is the goal.



Judith Orloff, MD is author of The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. She is a New York Times best-selling author of Emotional Freedom, The Power of Surrender, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive Healing. Connect with Judith on  Facebook and  Twitter. To learn more about empaths and her free empath support newsletter as well as Dr. Orloff's books and workshop schedule, visit her website.

Shadow commented on 28-May-2017 07:52 AM
I'm an empath and INFJ and identify with all of these....

The Not Yelling and Not Taking Criticism Personally are my biggest hurdles. But I shall preserve, progress not perfection
Anonymous commented on 08-Jun-2017 03:02 PM
I am an empath and Infj as well. I have alot of people who are trying to hurt me with verbal abuse and more , plus gas lighting . I don't know what to do . They really think that I don't know what's up but I know very well what they are doing. I don't know how to shield myself from the vampires and they know it and take full advantage . Any suggestions?? Please 😞😭😥
Anonymous commented on 15-Jul-2017 04:01 PM
Hi, just saw your post this morning. (July, 15, 2017) I am an INFP empath, 46 years old. I was raised by a narcissistic father, so I have been through hell and back in learning how to deal with toxic people in particular. You can imagine what a wonderful plaything I was to him. I did not recover on my own, and in fact spent a week in a psychiatric ward because I had spent the week before uncontrollably crying non-stop and my Dr. didn't know what to do with me. When I say non-stop, that is exactly what I mean. I would try to sleep as much as possible because while I was asleep, and for a few minutes after waking, I wasn't crying. That was several years ago and with the help of some very good professionals and and a loyal partner, I am doing very well. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is two-pronged: be straight up honest with people who are tormenting you. Like little kid honest. Like, "I see what you did there and you need to stop." In addition to this approach, or if you feel you can't speak up safely part two can be your secret weapon. Use logic! When you find yourself inexhaustibly emotionally muddled, try to turn it down a bit and focus on nuts and bolts. If someone's words and actions don't match, you don't have to try to figure out the special reasons why. Acknowledge to yourself that this person's intentions are bad and avoid them at all costs.

These techniques also help to avoid day to day emotion-sponge overload, like walking through a grocery store and suddenly feeling other people's negative emotions.
christine commented on 05-Sep-2017 12:08 PM
I had problems in relationships all my life and now knowing I am a full blown empath can put my jig saw puzzle together. It has helped me for any future relationships that be friends or partners.

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