Tip 1. Evaluate a potential mate’s compatibility
As you’re getting to know someone, share that you’re sensitive, that you value having alone time. The right person will understand; the wrong person will put you down for being “overly sensitive.”
Tip 2. Vibrations Speak Louder Than Words
Notice how you relate to a potential mate’s energy. Ask yourself: Does the person’s words match their energy? Or is something off? If you have any doubts about his or her authenticity, go slow. To avoid getting involved with someone who won’t be good for you, keep tracking the person’s energy with your empathic abilities to find out who they really are.
Tip 3. Allow quiet time at home to decompress
Get in the habit of taking mini-breaks throughout the day. Tell your partner how important this is to you. Stretch. Breathe. Walk. Meditate. Listen to music. This time alone will replenish you.
Tip 4. Limit your time socializing with others
Tell your partner what your ideal time limit is to stay at parties or other social occasions before you burn out. If your comfort level is three hours max–even if you adore the people–make an agreement with your partner to take your own car if he or she prefers to stay longer.
Tip 5. Negotiate your square footage needs
Breathing room is a must. Experiment with creative living conditions. Ask yourself, “What space arrangement is optimal?” Having a private area to retreat to? Separate bathrooms? Separate houses? Agree not to crowd each other. When traveling together, you may prefer getting adjoining rooms with your own bathroom (this works wonders for me). If sharing a room is the only option, hanging a sheet as a room divider will help.
Tip 6. Get a sleep divorce
Traditionally, partners sleep in the same bed. However, some empaths never get used to this, no matter how caring a mate. Nothing personal: they just like sleeping in their own space. Discuss options with your mate. Give yourself permission to sleep separately. Separate beds. Separate rooms. Sleeping together a few nights a week. Because non-empaths can feel lonely sleeping alone, make compromises when possible.
In my medical practice, I’ve seen this creative approach to relationships save marriages and make ongoing intimacies safe for emotional empaths of all ages–even if they haven’t had a long-term partner before.
(Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff’s national bestseller The Power of Surrender: Let Go and Energize Your Relationships, Success, and Well-Being)