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Relationship Tips for Highly Sensitive People (Hsp’s)

relationship tips for highly sensitive people

Being a highly sensitive person can be challenging, especially when they are in a relationship. As they are more emotionally reactive and tend to take things personally. Here are the tips for highly sensitive people on how they can thrive in their relationships.

In my books, “The Empath’s Survival Guide” and “Emotional Freedom” I describe emotional empaths as a species unto themselves. Whereas others may thrive on the togetherness of being a couple, for empaths like me, too much togetherness can be difficult, may cause us to bolt.

Why? We tend to intuit and absorb our partner’s energy, and become overloaded, anxious, or exhausted when we don’t have time to decompress in our own space. We’re super-responders; our sensory experience of relationship is the equivalent of feeling objects with 50 fingers instead of five.

How Being A Highly Sensitive Person Affects Your Love Life

Relationship Tips for Highly Sensitive People
Relationship Tips for Highly Sensitive People

Energetically sensitive people unknowingly avoid romantic partnerships because deep down they’re afraid of getting engulfed. Or else, they feel engulfed when coupled, a nerve-wracking, constrictive way to live. If this isn’t understood, empaths can stay perpetually lonely. We want companionship, but, paradoxically, it doesn’t feel safe.

One empath patient told me, “It helps explain why at 32 I’ve only had two serious relationships, each lasting less than a year.” Once we empaths learn to set boundaries and negotiate our energetic preferences, intimacy becomes possible.

Define Your Personal Space Needs

For emotional empaths to be at ease in a relationship, the traditional paradigm for coupling must be redefined. Most of all, this means asserting your personal space needs — the physical and time limits you set with someone so you don’t feel they’re on top of you.

Empaths can’t fully experience emotional freedom with another until they do this. Your space needs can vary with your situation, upbringing, and culture. My ideal distance to keep in public is at least an arm’s length. In doctors’ waiting rooms I’ll pile my purse and folders on the seats beside me to keep others away.

With friends, it’s about half that. With a mate it’s variable. Sometimes it’s rapture being wrapped in his arms; later I may need to be in a room of my own, shut away. One boyfriend who truly grasped the concept got me a “Keep Out” sign for my study door! For me, this was a sign of true love.

Related: Why Love Is Terrifying For Empaths

All of us have an invisible energetic border that sets a comfort level. Identifying and communicating yours will prevent you from being bled dry by others. Then intimacy can flourish, even if you’ve felt suffocated before.

Prospective mates or family members may seem like emotional vampires when you don’t know how to broach the issue of personal space. You may need to educate others — make clear that this isn’t about not loving them — but get the discussion going. Once you can, you’re able to build progressive relationships.

If you’re an empath or if the ordinary expectations of coupledom don’t jibe with you practice the following tips.

5 Relationship Tips For Highly Sensitive People

Tip 1. What To Say To A Potential Mate

As you’re getting to know someone, share that you’re a sensitive person, that you periodically need quiet time. The right partner will be understanding; the wrong person will put you down for being “overly sensitive,” and won’t respect your need.

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Dr. Judith Orloff

Judith Orloff, MD is the New York Times best-selling author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People. Her new book Thriving as an Empath offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people along with its companion The Empath’s Empowerment Journal. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating highly sensitive, empathic people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA and has a popular TEDX talk. Her other books are Thriving as an Empath: 365 Days of Self-Care for Sensitive People, The Empowered Empath’s Journal, Emotional Freedom and Guide to Intuitive Healing. Explore more information about her Empath Support Online course and speaking schedule on www.drjudithorloff.com. View Author posts