We all want to be loved in different ways and we also express that love differently depending on who we are. This is what makes relationships fascinating and complex—you have to find someone who’s willing and able to speak your love language and will let you learn their own. You can understand a person better and connect with them more easily when you do this, and it will help to guide you in your interactions with them.
The five love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts and quality time. Here’s what you should know about them.
- You can have more than one love language. It’s possible to have multiple love languages even though they might not hold the same power. Having more than one doesn’t mean that you’re a difficult person to love, only that your partner will have more options when it comes to caring about you. For me, the most important way my partner could show me affection is through touching me, whether it’s just hugging, holding hands, light kisses, or cuddling. I love to be touched. However, I also appreciate it when the person I’m with makes out time to spend with me even if all we’re going to do is hang out on the couch and be silent together.
- Your partner will probably have a different one from yours. This is where things get messy and complicated. The fact that you and your partner have a lot in common doesn’t guarantee that you will share the same love language. Your lover may prefer compliments and being told how much they mean to you while your way of receiving love is through gifts. If you’re open to learning and discovering the best way to make your partner happy, then you should have little trouble making adjustments. Remember love is a journey, not a destination.
- They help you express your needs. Being aware of the ways you want to be loved will help you communicate those desires your partner more easily. If you know your love languages, you will be able to realize when they ‘re not getting met. Talking about what you need can be less accusatory than telling your partner what they’re doing wrong. “I like it when you do this” will likely receive positive feedback than “You never do this.” It’s OK to want what you want—you don’t have to apologize for the way you need to be loved.
- Love languages can serve as a metric for your relationships. My boyfriend and I do this fun thing where we answer quizzes and write notes about our relationship to see how we can be better partners for each other. It has helped me learn a lot about him and vice versa and our love is stronger for it. Talking about your love languages can help you and your partner determine the areas that need working on in your relationship without making either of you feel inadequate or cornered.
- They help you figure out your worth. You deserve to feel loved, respected, supported, and cherished by the person you’re dating, so knowing your love language can help you determine when you’re getting less than you bargained for. When you’re aware of what you want from a partner, love languages can remind you of your ideals and help you ensure that you are being treated right.
- They can change over time. Even though you’re capable of loving someone for a long period of time, you end up showing your affection in different ways over time. The same thing applies to the ways that you accept love. Love languages are not final; they change according to circumstances, needs, and age. There’s nothing to worry about if you notice changes in yourself or your partner. Talk about them and readjust accordingly.
- It’s easy to use them as weapons. The same way physical touch, words of affirmation, gift-giving, spending quality time, and acts of service can be used to love you, they can also be used to hurt you. Your partner can decide to neglect you physically to punish or force you into doing something they want because they know how much physical intimacy means to you. It’s cruel and hurtful when it happens and will likely end up destroying the relationship, so you need to watch out for these red flags.
- You can’t bribe your way to love. It feels wonderful to receive gifts from someone you love that also care about you. However, you can see right through appearances when gifts are used as a cover for bad behavior or something else. Buying your partner a gift instead of apologizing when you’ve done something wrong is not always going to work out well for you. Do better.
- Mastering them will help your love last. There’s a reason these love languages have become so popular—it’s because they play such huge roles in understanding your partner and making relationships work. Learn what works for you first, then find out what languages your partner speaks and receives best in. Great relationships do not happen overnight, they take time, understanding, thoughtfulness, and a willingness to do better.