She was wrapped in a blanket, tucked happily into a little ball as only a girl can do, when she looked up from the living room couch.
Hey baby? she asked.
It was a beautiful spring evening.
Our little white dog – Jackson, or Jaxy, or Jaxy Bean depending on what kind of mood I was in, – was bopping around, doing what little white dogs do when they’re happy. Both of them seemed ridiculously cute to me.
And I was impossibly content and happy. All was good in my world. We were in year four together of my forever.
I pretended not to hear, me being too busy doing the dinner dishes.
In reality, I was just stalling until I could discern the tone of this particular baby. You know how it is.
Feeling pretty sure I was in the clear of any major wrong doing, I looked over my shoulder. I smiled.
You’re an empath, baby. An empath!
Never heard the term before. Sounded different, sounded like it could possibly be a good thing. Sounded like it might be a good enough thing to get naked over.
And she seemed pretty excited about it, so I said,
And just like that, I was an empath. And just like that, everything I had ever done, or would do, would be defined by those five little words and by the girl I loved more than life itself.
What’s it like living life as an empath? If you are one, or in love with one, or kinda-sorta-maybe in love with one but you’re not sure, you may relate to all, or some of this. It’s my take on what life looks like from the other side of our curtain. What you won’t always find from a Google search.
Call it a beginners guide to better understanding your empath guy.
For starters, we’re pretty rare. Estimates vary, but the consensus is that only five percent of us out there could be classified as empaths. Means if you’re, say, at a party and there are one hundred guys in the room, only five of us might be empaths.
Means you may never meet one. Ever.
So if you fall in love with one, and vice versa, it stand to reason that it’s gonna be a different ride. Way different.
Empaths are incredibly attuned to the energy around us, sometimes overwhelmingly so. Whatever holds and binds us together, whatever that thing that connects all of us is – is visible to us. It’s tangible, it’s real, not some abstract stoner concept of yeah, man, like we’re all soooo connected together; ain’t it beautiful, man.
Not like that at all.
To understand us is to make peace with the fact that we’re not like the other guys you have known. Not better. Not worse. Just decidedly different.
This is particularly true of those we’re in love with. Love feels different for us, from what we hear and see among others. It seems more complicated, yet more meaningful; somehow tangible. Yet somehow harder.
It’s engulfing. I don’t just love you. I wrap myself around you – all of you, and I make a silent vow to myself that no harm shall come to you. If I say I love you, I do. An empath wouldn’t/couldn’t say it otherwise. If I say I will love you forever, I will. It’s not a line, just a fact.
I sense you. My genes, my DNA, bonds with yours, creating a powerful connection unlike anything you may have had. I can literally feel you, the energy you create, the energy you put out into the world and the energy you put out toward me.
And sometimes I can do this from hundreds, or thousands, of miles away.
Our lives – our very self – is defined by an overwhelming cacophony of energies and auras – your energies, his energies, their energies; hell, even the dog’s energies. We discern the energy and aura of literally everyone we come in contact with. Everyone we see. All the time.
It’s a lot of noise and it brings some good mojo and some bad.
Here’s what you’ll find:
In bed we’re rock stars, and before the humble police come out and pounce, hear me out for a sec.
We know no other way. We can and do focus all of your subconscious, kinetic, energetic, horned-out lust back at you, through you, into to you; taking you to places you never knew about. We’d truly rather give than receive. Think you know your spot? Chances are I’ll know it better. Not in the mood? Don’t worry, we already knew so won’t press.
Not satisfied? Never gonna happen because we’re not capable of letting it happen. It would create too much disharmony for us. So, let’s say we finish, ahem, early. It doesn’t mean the end. Nothing of the sort. Just means I’m a human guy and well you’re fucking hot and, I did try (think baseball! think baseball!…damn!), but we’re not done babe, not by a long shot.
After the fourth orgasm, you will plead with me to stop, or at least let you catch your breath. Sex is a pure expression of joy. It’s meaningful to us, not casual. It counts. Mostly, it’s pure positive energy and that sings to our souls.
We’re highly sensitive to emotional conflict and confrontation. You will win just about every fight with me because I’ll do and say just about anything to avoid it. I will even lie to do so. Similarly, I’ll avoid TV shows or movies with too much conflict or emotional pain in the characters. It produces a physical pain inside me and it is highly debilitating. Physical conflict is a different story. Fight for you? Oh yeah, I have no problem with that. Helps quell the noise. And when I quell the noise, I have harmony.
It’s weird, but we just know stuff; sometimes useful stuff, sometimes stupid stuff. Our intuition is completely off the charts and we base almost all of our decisions on this belief in our intuition. Logic and reason and facts are great, but secondary to us.
We are life’s watchers. As such, we mostly know what is coming next. Can’t describe exactly how, but we do. This is both good and bad. I will drive you crazy by saying I know to almost every point you make, but I can also solve any problem you have. We love to do this, to solve problems. We see the problem immediately in our minds as a giant jigsaw puzzle. It’s catnip to me and I have to start putting the pieces of the puzzle in place.
I love to be in life as much as the next guy, but I have to be both intellectually and emotionally stimulated or I will not just tune someone or something out, I will go to a different place entirely in my mind. Can’t help it. I check out.
We experience weird things. When I was young, whenever the phone would ring I knew who was on the other end. As I got older, I not only knew this, but I also knew that the phone was about to ring in the first place. Little parlor-trick things like that happen to me all the time.
Want to talk existential things and ideas? I’m your guy. New philosophies and universes; books you’re reading, something you heard that interest you? I’m all about hearing more. Mind, body, soul? I’m all about it.
We listen. It comes natural to us. The sound of your voice is music to me. I will worship your body and do everything I can to make sure it has as little clothes on as possible, but I will truly adore your mind. How you think, what interests you, what you find curious, or dumb – in me you will find a willing and active listener. I could not love you if you did not have an active mind.
I’m a jealous lover. Seriously bad. You flirting or hanging out with guys doesn’t compute to me. If I’m in love with you, I just don’t do that, so if you do, it hurts like hell. It’s very confusing, which empaths hate, and I’ll wind up going a little bat shit crazy about it. How bad am I? At some point I will get jealous of your past boyfriends, your sex life before me, before you knew I even existed and walked this planet. Yeah, I know. I’m working on it.
You can’t lie to me. Whether it’s about another guy, or something more mundane, it just doesn’t work. You could be the world’s greatest liar and I’ll still know. I may never let on that I do, but I will. And again, it will hurt.
I can be quiet. Real quiet and still. In fact, I need my quiet time just to survive. I’m not mad at you, or moody or brooding. But you will feel a certain “for the love of God leave me alone for a bit” vibe coming at you.
Some empaths have a connection with the creative arts, with animals, with music. For me it’s nature. I literally need to breath fresh air every day. I’m most peaceful near or around the ocean. Really, any kind of water will do it. But the ocean, the waves, the sounds, the smell – all combine to create the harmony inside that I seek.
We have to write our own songs. We’re not among life’s followers. If ninety-nine percent of everyone is doing one thing, that’s almost always a good enough reason for me to do the opposite. In this regard, peer pressure is just a concept to me. Something I’ve heard about and witnessed but can’t relate to. It doesn’t exist for me. We’re mistaken for life’s bad boys, its contrarians, without really knowing why. We just do our own thing.
All of the noise surrounding us demands an escape, an on/off switch. Makes sense, right? Many empaths turn to drugs, mostly subconsciously, to reduce the noise. For me it was booze.
Lots of booze. Lots and lots. Vodka and tonic equaled peace and quiet. This is pretty common in us. Another common trait is some kind of stomach or intestinal trouble. I developed an intestinal disease. Self medicated my way through it [empaths think they can figure anything out] and wound up both in the hospital and addicted to the vodka.
…And without the beautiful girl on the couch, who after almost five years together decided not to see how the tale would end with me, to see if I could claw back from the abyss. Packed up the little white dog and left.
She took it all.
All but my love for her, which she couldn’t take; for you see, I had already told her that I would love her forever, and I will.
Because I’m an empath, baby.