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How to know if you’re dating an empath

The opposite of a narcissist is an ’empath’ — and it could be a bad thing if you date one

In relationships, there are certain qualities we all look for in a significant other. Our love stories and desires may be different, but for many people, empathy ranks high on the list of desirable traits in a partner.

But what happens when someone feels empathy to the extreme? They could be an empath. According to Judith Orloff, psychiatrist and author of “The Empath’s Survival Guide,” an empath is an “emotional sponge.”

“[They are] somebody who absorbs the stress and also the positive emotions into their own bodies from other people,” Orloff told Business Insider.

To put it simply, empaths are the opposite of narcissists. They’re not just highly-sensitive, they’re on a more extreme end of the emotional spectrum.

It might sound rare or unlikely, but as Hello Giggles pointed out, “it’s pretty likely that you know someone who fits the description” of an empath, which means that it’s worth understanding how to tell as well as the good and the bad of dating an empath.

There are tests and quizzes you can take to determine if you or someone you know fits the description of an empath, but there are also telltale signs, each of which have their own implications.

They feel what you feel but to a whole new level.

Essentially, this is the defining trait of an empath.

“Empaths are highly attuned to other people’s moods, good and bad,” according to HuffPost. “They feel everything, sometimes to an extreme.”

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This can even mean physical symptoms, with empaths developing sympathy pains out of unity.

“They sometimes take on their loved ones’ pain in their bodies, so they actually feel it,” Orloff said.

An empath will be there to listen and share your joy or pain in whatever you’re going through, sometimes even more than you do. This can be great and feel like having an ally on your side, but it can also be a bit overwhelming when you need a level-headed, logical response or a simple, impartial listening ear to a problem.

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