In my column last week, I shared my perspective as a man who is an empath. This week, I want to expand on that and share more specifically on the male empath’s romantic relationship with a woman.
Being in a relationship with a man who is an empath may sound ideal. He absorbs other people’s emotions and experiences them as if they were their own. He is highly sensitive to the emotional climates around him and often takes on the psychological baggage of other people. He will be attuned to how you feel, your needs and your whims. We know when something is bothering you just by the twist of your lip, the look in your eyes, and loving you as we do…we don’t want you to be unhappy. We are unhappy, when you are—and it’s not by choice; it’s our wiring.
In her post on PsychCentral.com, Carin Goldstein, a licensed marriage and family therapist said, “Empathy is truly the heart of the relationship. Without it, the relationship will struggle to survive.” That’s because empathy requires compassion. And, without compassion, couples can’t develop a bond.
Given these salient points, understand that an empathic man in a loving relationship with a woman is a gift to that woman. He is unflinchingly loyal and protective. Yes, he would be willing to take a bullet for you. He will do what you don’t feel like doing, run your bath, and rub your back. He will listen to you, I mean really listen if you talk to him honestly, and openly. He is the one that takes the vows and truly means, “for better and for worse’.”
Male Empaths are overwhelmed by intimate relationships. We tend to tune into our chosen mates, and when they are happy, all is right with the world. That’s when we see everything in 3D Technicolor and the purples are more purpley and the pinks—you get the gist. The male empath is at his positive goal, swinging best when he and his mate are in sync. That’s when we talk about the promise life holds and the plans we both want to make for our future together. It’s a positive vibration that’s strong and consistent. The lovemaking is off the charts because the connection and depth of feelings in such an intimate, soul-stirring way. Nothing beats two people in harmonious complete love, and if one of them happens to be a male empath, you’re in for an incredible journey where you don’t have to worry about outside interference or other people invading your relationship— or the Empath tiring of you. Essentially for the Empathic man, it is pure bliss.
A 2012 study (1) found that what women really want is a man who knows when they are upset. The study, published by the American Psychological Association, suggests women want men who are emotionally engaged in the relationship, even during difficult times. Shiri Cohen, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School and lead investigator on the study reported:
It could be that for women, seeing that their male partner is upset reflects some degree of the man’s investment and emotional engagement in the relationship, even during difficult times. This is consistent with what is known about the dissatisfaction women often experience when their male partner becomes emotionally withdrawn and disengaged in response to conflict,” said the study’s lead author, What happens when the relationship hits a speed bump. When the empathetic partner no longer feels the warmth of the person they love? There is no attachment, no hand holding, no touching, no soft kisses, no “I love you” just for the sake of saying it. It utterly devastates the empath. If the spiritual emotional connection is cut and it was not expected, or not seen….the empath’s world goes dark. Their heart doesn’t beat well, they can’t eat. It’s the emotional equivalent of pulling the plug on a patient who wasn’t ready to die. It’s removing the light from their life and placing them in a dark closet with the boogeyman, without them knowing how they got there…because they were too busy giving and believing (in you) to see it coming. The Empathic man dove right in and didn’t look back, now he is in danger of drowning, of dying in front of the very person whom they love so dearly that they are struggling to breathe, to participate to function and when they do…it’s only on autopilot.
Researchers believe the bottom line is that the more empathetic an individual can be to the other partner’s feelings, the happier the couple. Future research should encourage couples to better appreciate and communicate one another’s efforts to be empathetic. How does a couple handle the bed of emotions and feelings that influence the relationship with a male empath?
Initially, understand that male empaths have an internal war with themselves. The face of a man that society witnesses with its prejudicial stereotypes may be that of force to be reckoned with, and in many instances that may be true of the individual man: He may feel there is nothing that can harm him physically and his feelings are safe beneath his physical shell of muscle, sinew, and bone. But like Achilles of ancient Greek mythology, the only weakness is what is close to his heart. If that is you, and you are his everything—and he can no longer be safe in the place where you reside—the couple will be a plane spiraling downward. The Empath will withdraw to protect what he feels is left of his emotions, his heart. He will retreat into silence and his mind will reel with a myriad of “WTF” and “Why didn’t I see this?” and “How did I miss this?” The empath will absorb the blame because his love for his woman won’t even allow him to blame her, even if blame is warranted. A male empath, if not totally in tune with his superpower, will lay on the kryptonite just to save what he thought the two had together.
This may seem unhealthy, but he cannot help it. It’s in his instruction book deep within his god-given wiring to love deeply and feel deeply. While the Supreme One, in its infinite wisdom made us each different, the empath is endowed with emotions, which, when channeled properly, can lift, protect, and nurture those whom they love.
When the love a male empath has provided hits a brick wall, here is what you must understand about Empathic Men:
1. You must allow him (or help him) to take care of himself. He has exhausted himself in caring for others he cares for. Give him a kind word, be gentle (yes, men do like to be treated gently by the people they care for). Because while he is physically strong, he is fragile emotionally.
2. He may put up boundaries. Respect them. If male empath is in love with you and there is a problem in the relationship that creates a chasm, he may sit far away, or sometimes not even look at you. It’s not that he hates you. Being near you makes him want to reach out and touch you, seeing you makes his heart skip beats. Remember the man “loves you like cooked food” and you’re his kryptonite. Allow the distance until you are ready to return with a love that is solid.
3. If the situation is painful, beyond what he can bear, an empath will leave; he will seek a way out because he is in constant emotional hurt. He is feeling as if each fingernail has a huge wooden sliver jabbed between it and that pain is constant and they feel it in the depths of his heart. He can only take so much of a painful situation before he needs out because if he stays he will die, maybe not physically…but his heart, his center, his most valuable strength will be irreparably harmed. Many of us don’t come back from that damaged heart wasteland.
When you’re in a relationship with a male empath they will ultimately realize that he can’t save everything or everyone (eventually even we get there). Most importantly the deepest pain is that he can’t save you, or salvage what he thought you had together. Even if you are choosing to leave a male empath for reasons only known to you, that man will continue to love you perhaps as long as he breathes and with that when he hears songs that have meaning to both of you…he knows it. When he see’s a woman who even slightly resembles you…he will immediately feel that pain center. He will be crippled without you. So please, be careful loving the empathic man because there aren’t enough of us around, and we don’t want to lose the sensitive men in our ranks.
The Empath feels according to the words of Judith Kusel, “I have left the why’s, the how’s and the why not’s behind me. They have served me not. I have left the accusations, the finger pointing, the accusing, and whatever else behind me and I have thrown them into the violet fires of transmutation. I do not want this anymore. My soul is loving you through this all. My soul is loving you truly through this all. My soul knows only love, for it was conceived, and born from the purest love between the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine and the Sacred Fires of the Divine…as you were born onto them as their beloved son.” That, beloved reader, is how we feel.
(1) Eye of the beholder: The individual and dyadic contributions of empathic accuracy and perceived empathic effort to relationship satisfaction. Cohen, Shiri; Schulz, Marc S.; Weiss, Emily; Waldinger, Robert J. Journal of Family Psychology, Vol 26(2), Apr 2012, 236-245. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0027488
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