I remember reading a relationship self-help website that said a common problem in many relationships is that each person assumes the other one’s brain works more-or-less the same way – that they need the same things in order to feel loved. But often, the two people in a relationship need different things, and this leads to a clash.
i.e., Maybe Jess gives Sam tons of compliments because Jess loves to hear sweet words and assumes everyone else does, too. Meanwhile, Sam makes an effort to clean up around the house and do other little things to make Jess’ life easier, because that’s how Sam believes love is expressed. And both people feel neglected because neither is getting the kind of love they crave. “You take me for granted! You never clean the house!” “What do you mean I take you for granted?!? I tell you mushy things every single day!” etc.
Sometime after reading that, I stumbled over the concept of the Five Love Languages. My top two – by a wide margin – are Touch and Acts of Service. Those are the things I need from someone in order to feel loved. And I’d been assuming that I must “speak” those languages to others, too, in accordance with that other thing I read.
Clearly, someone should’ve hit me with a clue-by-four. I’ve known for years that I don’t really have the patience or energy for Acts of Service. I’ve also known for years that my domination style is very much in the “what a good boy you are. What a precious little puppy” vein. And I mentioned just recently that I don’t think I could stop telling The Pedant how pretty he is if my life depended on it.
The Love Languages I understand may be Touch and Acts of Service, but the Love Languages I speak are Touch and Words of Affirmation. I’m all about the snuggling and compliments, baby!
I’d like to know which “languages” The Pedant most wants to hear. It certainly seems as though he doesn’t give a shit about compliments, which is a shame since I’m so effusive with them. I may try to ask him about his Love Languages the next time I see him – he so perfectly gives me the things I need that I’d like to return the favour – but I feel like the phrase “Love Languages” is so sappy it’ll instantly turn him off, so I’ll probably have to paraphrase.
It’s obvious that Words of Affirmation aren’t his thing, and I don’t see him giving much of a shit about receiving gifts. My guess is he’s a Touch and Quality Time kind of guy. I must investigate.
On a related note: before I’d ever heard of the Five Love Languages I kind of assumed that quality time was a prerequisite for any good relationship – not something a person could just take or leave. But once I really got to thinking about it, I realized that I don’t especially need a lot of focused one-on-one special time in a relationship. Minx and I used to spend tons of time side-by-side on the couch basically ignoring each other, each of us on the internet and absorbed in our own separate world. It wasn’t Quality Time, by any means. But at semi-regular intervals he would absent-mindedly reach over and pet the back of my head (which is Touch and an Act of Service, since he was petting me solely because he knew I liked it) and that’s what made me feel loved. Even though the head-petting was such an unconscious habit for Minx that he once did it without thinking when I was in the middle of dyeing my hair, and stained his palm hot pink.
My primary Love Languages also explain why I’m not cut out for a long distance relationship (I’d never get as much touching as I need, and acts of service would be nearly impossible, too) and may explain why I am cut out for a poly relationship (I don’t need someone to be around all the time or super-focused on me, as long as they’re snuggling me and doing little nice things for me fairly regularly).
Which Love Languages do you speak? Which ones do you most need to hear?