10 Problems Empaths Typically Have in a Relationship

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If you’re an empath, then you know how it feels to be highly sensitive and so attuned to the emotions and feelings of others that you feel their emotions as if they were your own.

This can be a great thing – the natural gifts of an empath can make them an incredible friend and partner.

But it also means empaths often face challenges when navigating a relationship.

In this blog post, we will discuss 10 problems empaths typically face when it comes to their relationships.

10 Problems Empaths Have in Relationships (And How to Deal With Them)

Empaths are caring individuals who empathize with others and their feelings. They are often described as being “highly sensitive.”

The empath personality type is rare – only 1-5% of the population has empath qualities. If you belong to this small group, then chances are you have experienced some of these challenges in your relationships:

1) You May Feel Drained After Spending Time With a Loved One

As an empath, you may feel drained after spending time with a loved one, which can lead to feelings of resentment.

Empaths absorb the emotions and energy from those around them, so it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself before engaging in other activities.

How to stop feeling drained after spending time with a loved one:

To prevent feeling too much or too little emotion when interacting with others, set clear boundaries as you enter into relationships by letting people know what is okay and not okay behavior on their part.

This includes making self-care a priority whether that means getting enough sleep or giving yourself some space away from people who are draining your energy.

2) Your Partner May Feel They Need Space From You

Empaths can often be seen as needy or clingy by their partner, which may lead to hurt, frustration, and misunderstanding.

It’s important for empaths to understand that they need space from time to time in order to recharge themselves emotionally and energetically. A relationship with an empath is not one-sided!

The empathy cycle:

Empaths go through a continuous loop of absorbing emotions from others while at the same time needing more solitude than usual.

Empaths are intuitive people who feel things deeply; this means both good and bad. However, empaths have the ability to see beyond what most people do on any given day, so it’s worth giving them some slack when needed.

3) You Become Overwhelmed By Emotions That Aren’t Yours

Because empaths are so attuned to how others are feeling, it’s common to become overwhelmed by emotions that aren’t your own.

This can lead to empaths feeling drained, exhausted, or troubled by the situation they are observing.

How to stop yourself from becoming overwhelmed:

Stay away from people who have a lot of negativity and drama in their lives. Relationships with these types of people will only bring you down in life.

Try to avoid spending too much time with people who over-share. When empaths spend time with someone who has no boundaries for how much they share this deep energy is passed on to them so it’s important for empaths to recognize when they need space.

4) You Find it Difficult to Control Your Own Emotions and Reactions

Empaths may find it hard to control their emotions and reactions to others. This is because, like all humans, empaths feel their own emotions.

But unlike most people, they also feel the emotion of others. This can often be confusing and unsettling, causing empaths to feel muddled and unsure of which emotions are their own and which emotions are other peoples’.

This can lead to empaths feeling overwhelmed or drained, and prone to emotional outbursts.

How to protect yourself from emotional outbursts:

Set boundaries with people you spend time with on a daily basis, this includes family, friends, and coworkers. When you create clear boundaries you will feel less stressed about having too many opinions and feelings in one space.

Make sure that there are enough safe places for you throughout your day so that if something happens where emotion becomes overwhelming, you have somewhere to go to escape. This could be as simple as going to sit in your car during your lunch break, instead of hanging out in the break room.

5) You Have Trouble Understanding Your Partner’s Needs

Whether it’s due to an emotional overload, extreme sensitivity, or a swirling of emotions inside your head that are difficult to sort through, empaths may have trouble understanding their partner’s needs.

And as someone who feels so much empathy towards others, the thought of their partner feeling misunderstood and disconnected can be very hurtful to an empath.

How to protect yourself from disconnection with your partner:

Make sure you are on the same page in your relationship and conversations. When you and your partner communicate you should be coming at the conversation with a similar mindset.

6) Feeling Like They Have No Time for Themselves

Empaths often get lost inside their own heads, analyzing everything and everyone around them until they have no room left for themselves.

This can lead to empaths feeling drained, exhausted, or troubled.

How to protect yourself from an emotional overload:

The most simple and effective way to protect yourself from emotional overload is to make sure you practice self-care every day.

Things like getting a massage or going to a yoga class are a good way to do this but don’t overthink things or feel like you have to spend a lot of money (or even leave your house) to practice self-care.

Getting enough sleep, taking a walk outside (sunshine will help with mood), and reading books that provide an escape from real life are all great ways for empaths to practice self-care and allow themselves the chance to recharge their mind and body.

Taking up hobbies where there isn’t too much talking or socializing involved is another good idea – this includes meditating, coloring pages, music, etc.

7) Fearing Intimacy

Empaths are highly attuned to the feelings and emotions of others and this can be an overwhelming sensation.

For this reason, many empaths fear being in a romantic relationship. Platonic relationships can be draining enough for empaths, so the idea of engaging in a romantic relationship (which can be an emotional rollercoaster even for a non-empath), can seem overwhelming and frightening.

How to overcome the fear of intimacy:

Remember that it’s ok (and necessary) to take time for yourself. As an empath, one of my non-negotiables is my solitary evening run. Every evening after dinner, I go for a slow 5km run on a trail near my house. It’s my chance to recharge and process my emotions. My husband knows how important this time is to me and he doesn’t question it.

A relationship doesn’t have to be all or nothing – in fact, if that’s what your romantic partner expects from you then they may not be the right person for you.

8) Not Recognizing When Enough is Enough

A common problem faced by empaths is not knowing when enough is enough – meaning that even if there are serious problems or a complete lack of compatibility within the relationship, empaths will often stay because they feel obligated to.

They care so deeply about their partner and have become so attached to them that it’s almost impossible to let go. This is because, for the entire relationship, they’ve been feeling their partners’ emotions like they were their own, and as such, leaving the relationship almost feels like abandoning themselves.

In addition, empaths know that by hurting their partner and ending a relationship, they’re also hurting themselves (because they feel the pain of others) and as such, they may keep on putting off the inevitable, even though they know deep down inside what they need to do.

How to recognize when enough is enough:

Consider why you are staying in the relationship. Is it because you know the issues you have can be overcome with some work, and you are truly in love with your partner? Or is it because you fear hurting them and taking on that pain? If the answer is the latter, know that it will be painful but it’s the right thing for both of you.

9) A Constant Need for Approval

Due to their highly sensitive nature, empaths have a constant need for approval and they want to know that their partner loves them or thinks highly of them.

When an empath feels like their partner doesn’t think highly of them, it can be very hard on the empath’s emotional state as well as their self-esteem, which is already likely low due to constantly tuning into other people’s feelings all day long.

How to overcome the constant need for approval:

Remember that your self-worth isn’t determined by what others think of you. It’s easy to blame others when we’re feeling down or have a lack of self-esteem. However, in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

10) A Lack of Boundaries

Finally, another problem empaths face in relationships is not having any boundaries set because empaths will never turn down anything proposed by their friends or partners (even if it means going against what they might normally do).

Empaths will do anything to please their partner and this can lead to feelings of rejection if their partner says no to something they suggest. They are so used to going along with everything the other party wants that they are shocked at the thought that their partner wouldn’t do the same.

How to overcome a lack of boundaries:

Understand that it’s ok to say no sometimes. It’s not your responsibility to make everyone else happy all of the time – you need to make yourself happy, too. If you don’t feel like going out to dinner on a Friday night because you’re exhausted, then tell your partner exactly that.


Empathy is a positive trait in any relationship. But, it can be difficult for empaths to maintain this trait at all times because they are so sensitive and feel everything more deeply than non-empaths do.

In order to ensure successful relationships with everyone around them, empaths should work on strengthening their boundaries by setting limits when necessary or avoiding situations that will overwhelm them – whether it’s spending less time with over-sharers or choosing to eat lunch alone rather than with colleagues.

And if you’re an empathic person looking for love? Practice empathy towards yourself so that you don’t push away your partner.

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