Falling In Empathy: Empathetic Dating

After doing some self-reflection over the last year, I was forced to come to a realization about myself. Instead of falling in Love, I’ve been falling in Empathy. I attract the wrong kind of man. I am introverted empath, and INFJ personality type. I also struggle with social anxiety so these characteristics work against me when it comes to dating. I notice that when I dated I attracted many narcissistic personality types. I do this through the barriers I set in place to limit myself from multiple options in men, and only choosing the first ones attracted to me to make dating easier for me. I am going to explain how this dynamic happens. I have been told many times that I “look mean” or unapproachable. I realize I do this purposely in order to avoid awkward conversations. This is a defense mechanism I’ve developed from trust issues, thinking this would somehow block out those parasites looking to suck the energy out of me. In fact its been proven to me that I’m doing the opposite, because I allow myself only open to those brave enough to approach me. Which in fact are most likely manipulators. The men who indeed have good intentions with me were too timid to approach me, just as I am too timid to approach them. Not to say they were weak, but to say that I made myself uninviting, so they didn’t approach me out of fear of rejection. This was told to me several times by men who reached out to me years later to tell me they wanted to date me, but I “scared them off”. This of course came after they have already moved on with someone else, so this left me wondering, “Did I miss out?”

This realization also came to me once I’ve examined the similarities in the men I was once in a relationship with. Many have had abandonment issues which left them unable to not open themselves up emotionally. This is difficult for me as an empath, because I am always feeling the energy around me. If they are not able to exert positive energy, then what energy is it I’m taking in from them? More than likely any negative energy they project. I am also able to feel their pain, so I became an “emotional sponge” in an attempt to “heal” them. Thus I end up leaving the relationship broken, while leaving him somewhat healed to move forward into a good relationship with another woman. This is a sacrifice I’ve made several times. Many of the men I’ve met were abusive physically and emotionally or possessed controlling qualities. These are men that were one of those brave ones that spotted me in crowd and approached me. Even with my mean face and all, they were able to see that behind that mean mug was an empathetic heart. And I let them in with a smile. In those moments they made me feel comfortable in a room full of people I could not find myself to interact with, but they were really just wolves in sheep’s clothing. I’ve realized I enable this in many ways. Walking faster to avoid someone I catch staring at me out the corner of my eye. Looking down to avoid eye contact, etc. I send signals that I don’t want to be bothered, so they don’t. However, there is another man seeing this, but he recognizes that I’m an easy target, and he is the one that has enough courage to slap a temporary smile on his face to approach me. I realized after a while my social awkwardness leaves my choices limited to the men with enough courage to approach me after sending “leave me alone” signals for so long. I realized that in order to broaden my choices, I have to come more out of my shell, and learn to initiate dialogue to date more proactively.

Moving forward, I’ve realized that my social dysfunction has often resulted in my own demise. This cycle will be repeated until I come to a place where I am comfortable to wear my smile without fear, and pull down my barriers a bit more. I need to approach dating without fear of the unknown, and allow myself to bit more approachable. What will I use to protect me in case I find myself in a situation similar to one I’ve been in before? Two things I’ve learned to develop: being able to detach when I need and enforce strong boundaries. Instead of being so guarded, I realize I only need to set clear standards and build a fence of boundaries around me to protect myself from being taken advantage of. Recently my “detachment game” has been point. At one point I couldn’t even break up with someone. Even when I was being mistreated. Usually, we were either drifted apart due to relocation or I waited for them to walk away. Nowadays that’s not the issue. Also I’ve learned that being an empath can be used to my advantage as well. I can sense negative energy through familiarization. Through the lessons I have learned through experience, I have more insight, clarity, and wisdom now when it comes to dating. Realizing the similarities in someone that reminds me of a negative experience, I can use that opportunity to either address my concerns or disconnect. Instead of being an empath weakened by the harsh treatment from narcissistic personality types, I can become an empowered empath that can use my emotional intelligence to an advantage to win the dating game. I have to be brave enough to free myself from the limitations I placed on myself, and trust myself enough to be able to protect my heart if I need to. I need to be able to open myself enough so I can give myself more options to choose from.

Another issue an empath may have is restricting themselves to online dating to avoid socially awkward situations. This also puts limitations on our options due to fact it’s easier for predators to disguise themselves online. Choosing to leave behind online dating forces myself to attract a partner offline and make myself more available. This will fore me to find the courage to start interacting with people face to face, and not hide behind a computer. I will also use the Law of Attraction to attract the partner I desire. I will write down the characteristics that I desire for a partner and meditate on that daily when I am ready to date. Similar to how I set my goals for myself. I’ve learned that through implementing the Law of Attraction, if I want the relationship that I seek in my life, I need to be able to attract it constantly. I need to attract it daily, and any moment where an opportunity presents itself. This will also help me with setting concrete standards and hold potential partners to that standard, or keep it moving. Eventually I’ll get this dating thing right, and find the partner I desire.

So these are my thoughts on this subject and thought I should share in case someone maybe going through something similar. I hope this helps someone, and any thoughts you may have are welcome.

Feature Art Photo: Unknown Artist

© Tanisha R. Coleman and Visions Of A Black Herstorian, LLC 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tanisha R. Coleman and Visions Of A Black Herstorian, LLC with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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