8 Subtle Ways to Tell If You're Dating an Empath

An empath is someone who’s sensitive to the world around them; they’re not oddities or novelties. Kahshanna Evans gives tips on dating these sacred spirits.

The first rule of thumb if you want to date an empath is to understand where empathic gifts meet your true feelings about how this can impact you on a day-to-day basis and affect your relationship. If you want to nurture a healthy relationship that has the capacity to grow with an empathic partner, it is important to use the term “empath” loosely. There’s a delicate line between naming a gift in order to have a sacred, constructive dialogue about it and giving the phrase so much adhesive it feels sticky and uncomfortable, like a negative label.

So, what is an empath?

An empath is intuitively, sensorially, and experientially connected to the world around them. Before you get too comfortable with simplified definitions, though, consider that exploring and understanding how thought leaders define empathic gifts is best from sources you trust. That is as important as understanding the more personalized definition your partner may have.

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While the term “sensitive” can sadly double as a demeaning social jab, empaths do have a heightened sensitivity to the world and its inhabitants. Empaths have an awareness of the energetic world that not everyone chooses to see and experience. While many empaths have an unconscious connection to the waking dream state of consciousness, an empath is conscious of it and may even utilize it for holistic healing practices.

If you are embarking in a meaningful exchange with an empath, there are a few conversational topics to keep in mind. These may foster a centered, thoughtful, and memorable courtship that is equally important for both parties.

1. The “you already knew that” comment is an ice-breaker that makes us cringe. (No, we didn’t.)

If you met someone that is special it’s best not to have too many witticisms or well-intended sarcastic remarks about intuitive gifts. Although we often joke when we, ourselves, may feel uncomfortable, it takes courage for intuitives to be who they are without feeling laughed at or picked apart.

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If you’re uncomfortable, that’s OK. A lot of people are. At some point, some personal inventory may help decipher if the conversation you are having is merely to fuel the quip or if you, yourself, have some mystical experiences that are yet unexplained. Many things can drive attraction and curiosity, but pursuing with care can be as great of a conversational piece as too many fizzled punchlines. 

If someone piqued your interest but the ice-breaker was accompanied by a baritone trombone that everyone seemed to hear but you, switch gears to a conversation about other things you may have in common.

Upon entering a room, building, or environment, an empath may know and experience a lot, but, no, they don’t know everything. Most empaths don’t want to.

It takes a lot of energy to be a knower and is a huge responsibility. When they finally get a chance to let their psychic hair down, they’d likely rather connect with people who are fun to be around and know when to curb the you-already-knew-that jokes. While you have managed to dodge your own discomfort at someone else’s expense, that empath can likely connect with the root cause of your discomfort—and have enough holistic integrity and self confidence to witness poor humor as an attempt to avoid discomfort, without outwardly reacting to it.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask, “what does this mean for us?”

Having healthy concern about dating an empath can bring up a few questions that are worthy of exploration. It’s also an indicator you are mature enough to encounter love with someone who has different ways of connecting to universal energy than you do.

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It takes courage to identify fears and beliefs about dating anyone, much less an empath. Your experience matters and so does your voice. The reason you may feel drawn to this relationship is it has potential to grow into something wonderful, but you can’t likely get there without having conversations about doubts, fears, and worries.

If you prefer not knowing and would rather let life reveal itself in every moment, it’s important to recognize it’s okay to say what you want—explore it, let it evolve, and see where it takes you. No matter what lovers think they want, people who are made for each other have an incredible habit of being kind and flexible to hone true connection. Don’t be afraid to say, “I am discovering I feel like this” or “I didn’t know I would feel like this, this is new for me.” There’s something to be said for conscious candor, it bridges meaningful connection.

3. Respect what being empathic means for them.

It’s great you’ve studied up on how others define empathic gifts, but in a conscious relationship with an empath, it is important to support how they define themselves and their experience.

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For some, it meant hiding who they were to be accepted by judgmental family members or religious community members; for others, it may have been frustrating to be seen as oogely-boogely and avoided because their gifts were seen as creepy or uncool. Some live it and talk it every day—that’s where they are, that feeds them. Others rather their gifts go undetected, preferring not to talk about it much.

As you develop and explore a meaningful connection, how you both approach and engage the dialogue about empathic gifts may change, but each partner’s need to be seen and appreciated for who they are will likely not change.

4. It’s nothing to diagnose, it’s a gift.

Back slowly away from the special gloves, being gifted or empathic isn’t an illness to diagnose. It’s a natural expression in an increasing number of Earth’s cohabitants. Although it’s OK to say, “don’t tell me, I don’t want to know,” many empaths are gifted and integral holistic healers who utilize the energy to understand others; they are knowers whose gifts have likely gotten them through tough or unsafe circumstances in life.

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Keep in mind that once anyone has tasted the benefits and beauty of their unique aptitude by touching the lives of others, they won’t likely want to be “cured” or have their hands washed of it. Empaths are no different.

5. Yes, they pick up your energy and experiences. What about your privacy?

An empath experiences your feelings and emotions, whether you have expressed them or not. Yes, they can pick up on your energy, intentions, and your experience because you share a space together.

It’s not uncommon for empaths to say what they see or offer messages (with or without permission) as an expression of affection and to bridge care and love, but it may require a quality dialogue about balance that feels good to both partners.

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 A good heart-to-heart can bring to light what feels like a good fit as opposed to too much information. So long as you are conscious and respect healthy boundaries about constant unsolicited readings or messages, you’re both on the right track for a lifestyle that nurtures romance and connection if you keep the lines of communication open.

6. How do I support an empath? Community support. Support is a key ingredient.

Respect their world—especially if they are sensitive about it—and understand their gifts don’t need accuracy monitoring and continual debate. For any couple it’s important to feel held and understood beyond the relationship. This is especially important for empaths who have had to suppress their gifts in order to be socially accepted to sustain a supportive holistic or intuitive community, both online and offline.

Many intuitives elect to attend retreats, see inspirational speakers or spiritual mentors or elders who promote awareness about gifts they also have. Healthy environments to continue education is important for empaths to experience. Meeting other intuitive professionals and practitioners who have tapped global purpose or have succeeded in bridging humanity to healing gifts can propel or accelerate growth and balance.

If you need to take the information-and-facts approach to better understand your new love interest, consider a mix of academia that takes the topic seriously or information created on the topic by people who actually are empaths as opposed to reading fluff or giving too much importance to skewered talk show or mass media logic.

7. Let love rule.

Ultimately, the most important rule when you meet an empath is to let love rule. Joy and laughter are precious commodities and quality conversation is key. If you want to lay groundwork for a quality relationship, be a rock with a sound and loving heart when your partner can’t be.

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You don’t need to know everything right away when you meet someone with gifts. There is no need to test it or measure intuition or to play into right/wrong dynamics and over-intellectualize it because expressions of humanity are not new, they’re just evolving.

We are in a world dominated by media messaging that tempts us to take a walk on the wild side and seduces us with music about magic that has captured the yearning of entire generations, not to mention films we watch over and over to re-experience life’s unexplained mysteries that leave us feeling lifted.

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Maybe it’s just as epic with a love interest who happens to bear a heightened capacity to connect to the energy world.

by: Kahshanna Evans 

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