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We all have interacted with some people that seem to have a lack of empathy, at some point of our lives. I know that those experiences can leave us feeling frustrated, unsettled, angry, disappointed, and even betrayed, mainly when we need support. It gets even harder and more painful if you are in a relationship with someone who is unable to put themselves in your shoes. Especially when we consider some of these people our friends, or maybe even worse, when those people are family members and we have to be in contact with them frequently.


You must be willing to step outside of your own needs and feelings in order to be present and engaged with someone else. Empathy calls for patience, active listening, intimacy, and selflessness. It requires a generous and giving spirit and a true desire to sit with someone in their most difficult moments or share in their most joyous accomplishments. Some people are naturally empathetic, but people who lack empathy can learn and reinforce the skills of empathy and compassion.

S that someone lacks empathy

It connects us to the human condition — the suffering, the joys, the sorrows, and the longings we all share. It draws us closer to the people around us and frees us to be vulnerable and authentic with them. We need to practice empathy in all of our personal and professional relationships, but the one relationship in which empathy is essential is your marriage or love relationship.

A successful marriage requires a deep and abiding communion and closeness between the two people. Love and intimacy thrive on the empathic connection within the relationship.

Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection — or compassionate action. For a relationship or marriage to thrive, both partners must embrace the value of empathy and practice it willingly.

Both partners should be motivated to learn and overcome any lack of empathy. If you are an empathetic and compassionate person, you might find yourself working double-time to be there for your partner whenever he or she needs you. But sadly your partner sucks up all of your emotional energy without offering any in return. You drop everything when your spouse needs you.

You listen with compassion and love. You reserve your judgments and opinions and allow your partner to fully express his or her feelings.

But your partner rarely reciprocates. In fact, he or she might view your emotions as trivial, overblown, or irritating.

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Perhaps your spouse or partner views your problems or worries as less important or painful than his or her own. Rather than seeking to better understand you, your partner uses the opportunity to vent and compare his or her own problems.

Sometimes an otherwise loving and well-meaning partner has a lack of empathy out of ignorance or awareness. Your partner may not be naturally empathetic, and may not understand what empathy is and why he or she should practice. Perhaps your partner never witnessed an empathic relationship between his or her parents and never learned the skills of empathy. A narcissist lacks empathy because they are too self-absorbed, controlling, manipulative, and insecure to offer you what you need in the relationship.

Why should they be as long as they are getting their needs met? He wants you to inhabit his shoes at all times. She wants you to meet all of her needs and be available for her without having to expend any emotional energy in return. A true narcissist uses you to boost his or her self-esteem and will rarely view you as an equal — much less a priority.

If this is your situation, trying to get your partner to show more empathy is an exercise in futility. If your partner does show a willingness to be more empathetic and caring, then you have more to work with and a real opportunity to strengthen your marriage.

It may take some time and patience before they will overcome their lack of empathy and Dating someone without empathy the skills of empathy so they become automatic. You may feel frustrated and irritated when he or she reverts back to less compassionate or selfish behaviors and words.

Continue to reinforce how much you need empathy from your spouse and how important it is to the health of your marriage that he or she keep working on it. Over time, your partner will experience the joy and contentment of drawing closer to you by being more selfless, compassionate, and fully present in your marriage. Would you be willing to send out some love to your friends and family on social media? Please share these ways to deal with a lack of empathy from your partner or spouse. Many great points in this article. My husband jumps from empathetic to total lack of empathy which makes it hard to know what I am getting 1 husband or 2 husband.

My trick is to figure out what triggers the 2 husband. I would like to share this article with my husband but I am afraid that he will take it as criticism and not what it is meant to be. Hi I really enjoyed this article. My spouse an I are dealing with infidelity on his part.

He was away for only a month before he started this ongoing affair with someone. I wrote this about my husband a few months after we got married, and before he started this new position:. Jay is a Narcissist and shows traits of all three types.

I fell in love with him because he showered me with love and admiration. I noticed his narcissistic ways early but I can deal with your typical narcissist. But what made me love him is because he would coward towards his adopted family. They would belittle him. He wanted to be associated with people he admire even though they put him down.

This is probably because of his toxic childhood. When he tries to belittle me to make himself feel good or punish me for not stroking his ego by withholding his love and affection.

Are you dating someone that lacks empathy?

This part of him could ruin our relationship. I tell him about talking to me crazy or trying to belittle me. I love this man even though he has issues, but I will only be with him if he loves and respects me. God take the wheel!!! I believe this article is a Godsend.

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Whenever I try to discuss this topic he then deflects and talks about something that I have done. He is very passive aggressive and I am besides myself. The only thing he seems to care about is that people like him.

We can have a conversation where he agrees with everything I say, but have the same conversation with other people around and he will then totally disagree with me, if someone else does.

We have been married over 30 years and I have never worked because he wanted to be able to travel. Now, I feel stuck. I am at my wits end! Hi Danielle. You are describing my exact life with my husband and the manipulation and passive aggressive behavior and the control he exerts over everything.

I thought I was alone. Im now 14 years and two tween children into this marriage. If u have any advice… Thank you Emily. When my father died, he never hugged me or said anything even remotely nice to me. Then I get the full treatment of being ignored. Which he has done, no matter what I said. This sounds like a young couple but no.

4 ways a lack of empathy will destroy your relationships

He slowly stopped having sex with me shortly after we married. Yes, I asked him about it and he just shakes his head and responds with nothing to talk about. I would like a divorce and never see him again. For those who read this, thank you for making it all the way to the crazy end and yes, after I wrote this, I started calling divorce lawyers.

I would have to say that I am screwed. My wife and I separated for 5 years durring her affair. She was arrested and kept for days. Lost job residence and lover.

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Several years ago I was in a relationship with someone who had absolutely no empathy.


The level of happiness, intimacy, and connection that you feel in your relationships will always be directly linked to the level of empathy that both you and your partner have.


Posted March 3, Reviewed by Gary Drevitch.