5 Warning Signs You're Falling For Someone Who Lacks Empathy

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Woman with dark hair rests head on shoulder of a man who looks away

There's a new breakthrough in technology that may prove thrilling for people who are lonely and wishing to be cared for.

Recently, "the world’s most advanced robot," named Ameca, was unveiled. This new evolution of robot provides empathy, both in words and by furrowing her brow and other micro facial expressions that allow all the nuts, bolts, and circuits to appear suitably concerned about your well-being.

Isn’t this what women have asked our husbands and boyfriends to do for millennia?

Your new BFF Ameca will seem to care about you and your needs and is programmed to reply accordingly. Finally, women will have the next step in partner engineering.

Learning to provide empathy requires training and a lot of practice. The reality is that while Ameca the robot is programmed to use empathetic words and expressions, most men and women are not.

RELATED: People With These 5 Personality Traits Have No Idea What Empathy Means

Women and men have different needs for empathy

When I teach empathy and write kind and caring scripts for clients, the right-brained clients are excited to learn how to generate the results of more connection, cooperation, peace, and ease. However, the left-brained clients, who are mostly men, express confusion that these words are so effective since they are in the early stages of learning to feel regret and sadness when their partner's needs aren’t met because too often they were programmed in their families to just ignore it.    

I recently spoke to a young woman and to her fiancé who used violent expressions during our coaching session. She is one of the millions of young women and not-so-young women who get sucked into relationships with men who lack the ability to understand another person’s feelings and needs and also are unable to speak about them and totally unaware of the importance of creating cooperation.

She has had no training in the warning signs and considered that her partner’s communication was normal and acceptable, while I with all my training as a peacemaker heard his words in a different light. Is it acceptable for a man to require a woman to be “submissive” and let her husband “run their family?" 

To this man, anything else would be a deal breaker though to most women this version of a marriage would be as abusive and cruel as a life in a cage. That is the price of a partnership with someone who is untrained in empathy and although it is a radical example it clarifies for you the urgency of kindness as one of the attributes of your chosen partner.

The secret to building a life with real empathy from your partner is to understand key identifiers in a person who is unable to provide empathy. 

RELATED: How To Be Empathetic & Powerful At The Very Same Time

Here are five warning signs that your partner lacks empathy

1. He's heartless

He believes it's OK to break your heart because he doesn't have one himself and he doesn’t understand emotional pain.

2. He's arrogant

He believes that his behaviors are always acceptable because he's the boss and he makes the rules.

3. He's full of toxic masculinity

He believes that if he cheats it's acceptable because he's "a man" and if you cheat, his go-to is "slut shaming" or verbal or physical violence.

4. He's overly judgmental

You feel like a slave in this relationship because you are a slave — he’s a judging machine ready to mete out punishment.

5. He has ulterior motives

If he gives you a gift, it's not from a generous heart. He gives you what he thinks you need, and what you want.

RELATED: The 3 Different Types Of Empathy — And How To Express Each One

How to avoid getting together with someone who lacks empathy

Create your own checklist of the attributes you seek in a partner. Stay in the observer state on your first 10 dates, making sure that you identify any discomfort you feel in your body when your need for kindness, compassion, or generosity wasn’t met. It’s very easy to forget this in the heat of the moment and in the sexual momentum that is building but you must notice it before it’s too late.  

If you are a deeply loving and compassionate person yourself, you will be tempted to forgive and forget in the early days of dating, don't! This is your only chance to protect yourself from the pain and cruelty that occurs in a relationship with someone incapable of empathy

Listen to your friends and family’s opinions and take the time to ask them what they have observed. When my dear friend said, “If we had been friends then I never would have let you marry him!” I knew that this was true.

RELATED: The Downside Of Empathy — 3 Ways People Who 'Care Too Much' Actually Hurt Themselves

Susan Allan is a certified mediator and coach and the founder of the Marriage Forum Inc and creator of The 6 Part Conversation© and The 7 Stages of Marriage and Divorce training to help people understand their own needs and their partners.