Why do empaths struggle with romantic relationships? (A complete guide)

In this article, we will answer the question ‘Why empaths struggle with romantic relationships? ’. We will do that by first defining an empath and how they are in romantic relationships. This will follow up with a discussion of challenges empaths face in relationships. Finally, we will discuss tips for empaths to have a healthy relationship. 

Why do empaths struggle with romantic relationships?

An empath struggles in their relationship because they are real in what they do.  Most of the time they feel things too much and need space from their partners. They may move too fast with their feelings, have mood swings, fear intimacy, and detect when things go wrong. Similarly, at times they focus too much on their partner, their feelings and try to change them. They may even put their needs at the back and be reluctant in breaking up even if it’s the right thing to do. This can affect their relationship negatively and make it a struggle. 


An empath refers to an individual who is sensitive and able to feel the emotional pain of other people.  People consider them to be a subset of Highly sensitive people (HSP). They have a good awareness of another person’s thoughts and feelings. They can put themselves in another person’s shoes and understand their perspective and worldview. It’s like empaths can hear the words and listen to the body language of other people including their tone of voice, posture, facial expressions, and even their silence. Such people are driven to help and heal others.  Usually,  they hold the other person’s feelings and help them process it together.

Romantic Relationships

Being an empath can be exhausting and these people struggle in intimate relationships. They are driven to connect with their partners but they need space as well since being together all the time can be exhausting for them. Such people need to find a balance to have a healthy relationship. These people particularly are able to guess the feelings of other people and choose their partner accordingly. So, this intuition helps them find a good partner but it takes some time to do so.

Challenges in Romantic Relationships

The following are a few challenges empaths face in their relationships:

Detection of things when they go wrong

An empath generally understands the feelings of another person and treats their emotions as if they were their own. They have a unique talent for detecting when something is wrong even before their partner knows it themself. However, an empath struggles in romantic relationships. It is hard for them to get past hidden feelings, pain, and struggles of different situations that arise in their romantic relationship. They spend a lot of time discussing the feelings of their partner.  This can create various types of struggles for them in romantic relationships.  

Moving Fast in Relationships

 An empath will be able to detect their own feelings quite quickly. They will also express these feelings and emotions in a direct and clear manner. This can often scare their partner’s as other people do not move as quickly as empaths do in a relationship. Furthermore, empaths know their feelings and they are secure in themselves.  Once that happens, no one can change their mind and eventually this leads to the end of their romantic relationships even before the start.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Mood Swings of an Empath

 An empath and their romantic relationship is made difficult due to their mood swings.  Many times, the emotions and feelings such as happiness,sadness, anger, etc are intensified for an empath. These feelings can even get out of control and start manifesting through their mind and body. This is because they absorb a lot of energy from their partner. In result, these feelings are eventually directed back to their partner and can make the relationship strained. 

Inconsistency in Relationships

Empaths can detect inconsistency in a relationship.  This means that they are able to pick up when someone says and means something else.  They are able to see the contradiction between a person’s statements and their actions. Consequently, They confront and call out other people’s lies in the relationship. This can make things hard for both people as it disrupts the loyalty and honesty between them.

Detection of Relationship Plateau

 An empath will be able to detect the plateau of their relationship. This means that in the beginning and middle of a relationship they can detect when things are coming to a settled point oo.  Upon noticing this,  an empath would panic and try to get the intensity back.  Their partners would not be able to detect this and think it’s strange for them to feel this way. However, In the end, it depends on an empath to accept things for the way there to prevent causing any trouble in their relationship.

Reluctance to break up

 Empaths dislike breaking up or calling of romantic relationships even when it is the right thing to do. They continue to see the potential in their partners and push through the frustration they feel due to the hardships in their marriage or Union.  The struggle becomes real when their partners are not in touch with their feelings. So an empath would be trying to hold the relationship together whereas, their partner will not understand their efforts. 

The need for Personal Space

An empath would prefer having their own space. This does not mean that they do not love their partner or spending time being intimate.  They only need time to re-energize.  If they do not get this time, they become more emotional,  stressed, and may indirectly lead to conflicts. 

An Empath’s word is not taken seriously

Empaths often mean what they say, unlike most people. However, their ideas may be taken as far fetched and their partner may not believe them. In short, they are not taken seriously.

Fear of intimacy

Empaths may avoid certain relationships because they fear intimacy and being emotionally overwhelmed. This is because they like their space be it emotional or physical. They recover best by having space to recharge from social, physical, and emotional overstimulation. However, they need to understand the need for space does not mean they have to be limited and not look for relationships. Rather, being in a relationship and having space, both are possible with the right kind of communication and boundary setting with their partner.

Prioritizing partner’s needs

Since empaths are sensitive to the needs and emotions of other people, they may have a tendency to put people’s needs ahead of their own. Such prioritization especially with their partner in a romantic relationship can create an imbalance in their relationship. They may struggle with confrontation, asserting themself and suppress their own needs. So, in a way, they fall into the people-pleasing trap. Such self-sacrifice may eventually lead to unconscious feelings of resentment in them for their partner.  

Over investment in partner’s emotions

Empaths may take their bonding with their partner too far by carrying their emotions for them. This can especially drain them and leave no space for them to process their own emotions. To prevent that, they need to ask themself regularly about whose emotions they are carrying, in order to not fall into this trap.

Over Tuning into partner

Empaths can easily tune in with their surroundings and their partners. However, doing so can leave them drained and overwhelmed. They need to learn to keep it in balance.

Trying to change partner

Empaths can sometimes feel they are responsible for fixing their partner especially if there are unresolved emotional traumas of their partner. They carry this burden around and try to change, manage, or contain their emotions in hopes of trying to help them grow/change for the better. However, they need to understand they are not responsible and it is not their job to do all this. They can only learn to be there for them and empathize.

Tips for Relationships

Empaths may face challenges in romantic relationships due to their intuition and sensitivity to other people’s needs. Since they are loving and put others first before themself, this can affect their relationships negatively. They need to be able to learn to set boundaries, feel grounded, and secure. Following are a few tips they can utilize to have healthy  relationships:

●       Ask your partner for alone time to decompress and recharge after being emotionally overstimulated. Do it in a way that your partner understands and does not take it as a sign that you are trying to reject them or are pushing them away.

●       Limit your time spent on socialization. Decide with your partner mutually your limits and capacity for being around other people. Set aside a chunk dedicated to socialization that lies within your limits. When you feel that your limits are over, respectfully communicate and leave the space.

●       Establish ground rules for physical space and comfort with your partner. This can include space in the bedroom, bathroom sharing rules, and overall rules for living including organization and routine.

●       Cater to one emotional issue at a time to avoid you and your partner from being overwhelmed. Set aside a time of the week or month where you can thoroughly discuss one issue, process it, and resolve it peacefully and effectively. Allow this the time and space it deserves instead of rushing through a lot of issues at once.

●       Try not to take things personally or react to comments subjectively. Learn to be able to put your emotions aside in order to get less triggered by daily conversation with your partner.

●       Ask your partner to come halfway in terms of compromise and appreciate them for their efforts. Avoid being the one who always makes compromises.

●       Establish a rule for yelling and loud voices in your relationship. This is to prevent any overstimulation and being overwhelmed by the noise.

●       Avoid trying to fix your partner. Rather, accept them unconditionally with their flaws instead of trying to change them. Learn that it is not your job to resolve or carry their emotional burden for them.

●       Avoid being a people pleaser and set your boundaries.

●       Cherish your peace and quiet time and ask your partner to give you space to be silent when you don’t feel like talking.

●       Find a partner who is sensitive and understands you at your level.

●       Learn to be able to be on the receiving end once in a while and not feel like a burden on others.

●       Learn to be compassionate to yourself. Recognize and validate your own suffering just like you do with others.

FAQs: Why empaths struggle with romantic relationships?

Can empaths have relationships?

Yes. Empaths can have loving and healthy relationships provided that they are with the right partner who understands their sensitivity towards emotions. Empaths can make loving, compassionate, and supportive partners with the right person.

Are most Empaths single?

No empaths can have healthy relationships and have partners. However, since they are sensitive, selfless, compassionate, and forgiving of others, they can often get overwhelmed by relationships and fear them. So, they prefer to be single.

Why is it hard for empaths to find love?

It is hard for empaths to find love because they are always busy looking after someone else as it gives meaning to their life. A lot of people struggle to understand that and think they are emotional. This makes it difficult for empaths to find someone who understands and accepts them for who they are.

Can an empath have a normal relationship?

Yes. Empaths can have normal relationships. However, like all other relationships, they face their own set of challenges. The right kind of relationship can empower empaths and make them feel secure, loved, and grounded. Communication, setting boundaries, and tolerance is the key for empaths to have a loving and healthy relationship.

Why are romantic relationships so difficult?

Romantic relationships are difficult because they involve intimacy which can be difficult to maintain. Particularly, emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical intimacy can become too much and becomes difficult to handle


In this article, we answered the question why do empaths struggle with romantic relationships?’. We found that an empath struggles in their romantic relationship because they are real in what they do.  Most of the time they feel things too much and need space from their partners. They may move too fast with their feelings, have mood swings, fear intimacy, and detect when things go wrong. Similarly, at times they focus too much on their partner, their feelings and try to change them. They may even put their needs at the back and be reluctant in breaking up even if it’s the right thing to do. This can affect their relationship negatively and make it a struggle. 

 I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊



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