the 5 love languages
disclaimer: this is for anyone, monogamous or non monogamous, hetero/homo/asexual...alike, no matter their gender identity, no matter their cultural identity/background.
it also applies to more than just romantic love!
I like to think I can be a pretty good listener -it wasn't easy to get there since I always have something to say and i struggle with human social constructs-, or so I ve been told! I'm still a sassy opinionated witch though, don't get me wrong!
I like helping my friends! Getting them some clarity and helping them become the happiest they can be! I do not claim to have "la science infuse" aka "ultimate knowledge of all", but I know I can bring forth some food for thought and maybe push them just enough to meditate or initiate introspection/reflection.
Talking to my friends and observing people around me, I have noticed that partners can sometimes feel misunderstood, unappreciated! Even when they do their best to care for their partner! Sometimes, it starts with the most noble intentions: an attempt to care for your partner, but, still ends up in frustration, maybe even arguments and confusion.
I don't remember how I ran into the concept of love languages, but i remember when I did, I thought it seemed to be something like the horoscope...I probably had nothing else to do at that point, so I read on it, probably took a stupid facebook test even... !However the heck I got into it... I realized pretty fast, it was more than pseudoscientific BS, this sh*t actually seemed to be based on psychology! data collection and studies even!
....So I thought "let's dig!" And, oh boy, is there a lot of places to read, watch, listen to people talk about it!
illustrations: Milk & Mocha Bear Official Klova Studios 🇮🇩
You might wonder, and since it's MY blog, let me be honest here: yeah, my love life is a bit of a telenovela (with a french accent)... And giftedness with diagnosed anxiety (+ depression) etc,...you can imagine, doesn't help! My social skills are far from extraordinarily fruitful and my self confidence (even when I was a model) has never been that great.
After being bullied, abused, neglected, broken hearted, disappointed, making mistakes and without inviting you to a pity party (just giving background): Yeah, sue me if I try and get as much info on how the human works and how to have healthy, fulfilling relationships and help others do the same! So, I guess I know a thing or two on the love languages...
For many, just knowing their partner’s “Love Language” could avoid them disappointment, heartbreaking realizations, guilt and hardship in general.
If you are looking for the genesis, “The 5 Love Languages”, Dr. Gary Chapman. Pretty much THE top book on the matter still. New york times best seller, 4.6/5 on google reviews... and all that jazz.
Yes, I know, it might be weird to reference a pastor and marriage counselor knowing that I am a divorced satanist who doesn't believe monogamy works for everyone... Regardless, the book is still a good tool.
It exposes how important it is to know YOUR OWN language and the love language of your partner. And of course COMMUNICATION. It's only when you have found what your partner s language is can you then “speak their language”and vice versa. I mean imagine you want to speak to someone who doesn't speak a word of English and it is the only language you speak. You are probably going to learn at least a few words of their language to be able to communicate properly, and you 'll be happy if they do the same!In a partnership, we need to teach and learn one another, no one is a mind reader and it's never good to put up that isn't quite right, not quite satisfying aka frustrating!
So what's a language?
according to Collins Dictionary:
A system of communication which consists of a set of sounds and written symbols which are used by the people of a particular country or region for talking or writing.
You can use language to refer to various means of communication involving recognizable symbols, nonverbal sounds, or actions.
To be properly loved you must identify your love language(s), and given you probably can speak you lover's tongue, talk about it!there's no such thing as a mindreader!If you want your partner to show you love the way you want to be loved, you need to identify what you want, what you appreciate, what your love language is, then you ll be able to have them learn to speak it.
No one wants (brace yourself for the french idiom)"un dialogue de sourd" or in english "a conversation between deaf people"....
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts (there are several), you gotta read the full title... he is a pastor and his deeply held beliefs might come up in his work as a marriage counselor. states that "most in our society have not yet the learned the difference between in love and real love" Chapman begins by outlining these two loves, as they apply to a marriage ('cause ya know, that's his job):
Romantic love, which is akin to obsession, is an irrational, temporary, powerful, quasi-biological state that lasts roughly two years, full of madness and elation and a (possibly superficial) complete absorption of the self into another.
This contrasts to emotional love, which is complicated, disciplined, rational, intentional, and ultimately enduring.
I described in a previous post (here), that my vision of love is much more complicated than that. Limiting it to "there's only two kind of *blank* in the world" doesn't even work for people taking pineapple on pizza! There is a lot of grey area in love and is not only dramatic and hasty but also ridiculously reductive.
It's important to remember that Love is very much so subjective although most people have a common "universal" understanding of what is, vaguely, the concept love. I don't personally believe there's ONLY one kind of love, or true love vs the illusion of love. I don't deny that some people love for ever but I think love evolves, changes and even fades away and ends sometimes, and it's just part of its nature!
Besides "romantic love vs emotional love", the book also brings up the idea of love tank, a concept child therapist Ross Campbell actually came up with, and it's over used in the book!
What's a love tank?
A couple’s Love Tank is filled by the frequency of emotional connections and is drained by the ways a couple disconnects.
What fills or empties your Tank depends on your love language Examples of what empties your Love Tank can be things like work stress, an unresponsive partner, conflict that doesn’t get resolved, broken trust, a lack of affection, and other forms of disconnection that drain your energy.
Some incidents will drain your Love Tank faster than others.
According to the book "Romantic love" evaporates and "emotional love" has to be nurtured. Your love tank needs to be filled in your love language. Like a car, there's a preferred, most efficient carburant, even if others work, on the long run it might deteriorate your engine! It is possible to recover and nurture emotional love if partners works on it. It exceptionally challenging if they don't speaking the same language, but possible!
Observation and conversation help a whole lot! The very first thing you should do is learn about your partner's preference, their preferred language(s), by observing them. You think you are doing everything a partner can hope for....have you considered the uniqueness of your person? What in particular does your significant other appreciates best!?
Try to not dwell in your own frustration, if they are not speaking your language yet, chances are you are both "doing it wrong" even if you are trying. Communication is going to be essential, and patience, a looooots of patience for yourself and for your partner.
Love languages apply to monogamous and non monogamous alike but, each person is unique and each relationship is just as unique. Non monogamous partners might not expect the same love language from every partner. Love languages are not limited by your sexual orientation, your gender identity or the color of your skin, but, like any language it is usually strongly influenced if not determined by your cultural background, at least in the way you show or expect love, respect or deal with emotions.
Another thing, you might want to receive one of those languages but not really want to give with this love language, and that's fine too. Some people love to give gifts but would rather you show your love by being there for them than by just gifting them something.
The 5 Love Languages
Words of Affirmation
This language involves compliments and saying with words that you care and love the other person. You don't have to say "the big 3" (I LOVE YOU), it doesn't need to be "you look so good today". Telling your partner you are proud of them, talking to others about how awesome your partner is (and them hearing about it) or how helpful they have been with this or that.... that also is words of affirmation. If you give them verbal reason and explanation behind those praise or compliments, express gratitude for them being in your life that is, even better!
Warning: if your person speaks this language, or rather wants to receive this language, they will very effected and wounded by criticism and insults. They will be destroyed by you telling them "I wish I never met you"," you are the worst thing that ever happen to me" etc...if you get into an argument, seriously, think about this!
This love language is basically: getting someone’s undivided attention. Yes, that's right this is for the "needy ones", although you can be needy in every love language. This is the one that most view as "bratty"! Distractions are no-nos...people who want to hear this language hate phones at the table, get really annoyed when your boss or your mom are calling when on a date... Listen to your partner if they need quality time, hear them out, it might go a much longer way than you think. Go to the beach, enjoy nature, go hike, put a picnic together! Put away the smartphone, computer, and turn off the TV (unless quality time is cuddling is Netflix and chilling)! To feel loved, they simply want YOU and your full attention. It is really difficult for someone wanting to be loved that way to deal with if a partner who is a caretaker for kids or elderly, or has a high responsibility position at work, if that person is "on call" (military, doctors, nurses...etc), even animals get in the way sometimes. You need to realize, however frustrating it is, that it doesn't mean they don't want to give you the attention you crave.
To be clear, it’s not so much the gift that matters as the meaning and effort behind the gift. Something as silly as your favorite pastry from across town could work. A new mango yogurt you 've never tried while he was at the grocery store, or even just a flower he found around the corner and is your favorite color. The person who wants this language spoken feels valued, recognized, loved and cared for when their partner makes efforts to give gifts on a regular basis. They don’t have to be expensive and the money is not even a priority most times! You must think that those people want to be sugar babies....nope! The sugar baby/ sugar daddy thing usually implies some Dom/sub dynamic and can also purely be greed and opportunism. Not it! Dates, like anniversaries and birthdays are super important! Usually at that point it becomes associated with quality time needs.
Big big deal breaker: forgetting a special date!ouch...you don't want to forget those, once again no need for diamonds but bake them a cake, write them a card and leave their favorite chocolate bar with it... something thoughtful!
Acts of Service
Helping your partner out with day to day things! No one is asking you to join the military or rescue them from a fire.... although admirable! I'm talking something like housework, errands, tidying up, or making dinner can go a long long way. Love at first sight: your partner got a flat tire, you saw them on the side of the road and helped out. For the person speaking this language, helping out with the day to day responsibilities can really lead them to feel loved, as well as relieving them from stress.
One thing though: followed through with what you committed to or else your partner will feel they don’t count and aren’t very cared for.
Warning: someone who doesn't speak that language might be very embarrassed if you do their dishes, cook for them at their place or do anything for them. They might think you are judging them incapable of doing it themselves or that you think they are shamefully dirty...if it is your love language, you can always ask if it's ok that you do it and say you actually like doing it and don't mind at all.
Obviously this involves holding hands, snuggling on the couch, and giving hugs ... it s not always about sex, although it can play a huuuge role in this area! Louder for the back of the class: It doesn’t necessarily mean sexual touch. Guess what, a wink is actually physical touch to me.... especially with the exaggerated silly smile. Oh and another weirdness here: it doesn't need to be soft touch, caresses and kisses....some people like torture: tickles, biting (which weirdly enough is sign that they want so much more of you) etc. Some people like spankings and feeling your breath on their neck while you tie them up. Oh yeah, breath in the neck or just feeling the warmth of your partner in bed without even touching is physical touch. But, anyways, without going too far usually, it’s affection they seek to feel loved.
If your partner demands affection, physical demonstration of affection, refusing them might lead to a lot of emotional damage. Of course compromise should be made if you aren't a PDA person or you don't want the kids or grandma to see (yet?)... there's no need to almost eat their tongue while french kissing in the middle of the mall for everyone bro see if you are not the exhib kind...
now, what do you think?
Are you speaking your partner's language? Can you even?
I have seen and experienced how valuable it is for partners to learn each other's love language and putting it into use. I encourage you and your partner to read on “The 5 Love Languages” and discuss it. Discover your own love language(s) and know your partner’s love language(s). Acknowledging your preferences/ needs and making a conscious efforts to speak your partner’s languages, you can avoid potential arguments and misunderstanding. I can almost guarantee intimacy and connection between you two ( and even better your polycule) will at least increase if not skyrocket... if you realize you guys are compatible. Make it fun, you can learn about one another without it being a Spanish inquisition or a psychoanalysis. Try to meet each other's needs and make each other (that means yourself) feel better in this relationship.
One very important thing: people are not always compatible. Do not force yourself to become someone you are not, if it is waaaay too much of an effort to please you significant other in speaking their language.
If it's really not you, and you tried and it isn't working...you love birds will need to talk maybe take a breather, a break... Also, some people find what they are missing in their romantic relationship elsewhere: your best friend might be the one giving you the praise you need and your romantic partner (s) physical touch. It is a lot of pressure for one person to be someone's EVERYTHING
Why I wrote this post: so why do I want to talk about this...I recently posted a comic of the 5 love languages illustrated in a Satanic non-monogamy group and a member of that group obviously didn't get the intent...and said "f*ck the rules"....a bunch of times!
Dresden, admin of the group and amazing satanist blogger (link here) then replied:
" “f*ck the rules” - this isn’t rules. This is about learning that different people feel love differently, and that you can be a better partner by learning how best to communicate love to your partner/s, rather than assuming they feel love the same way you do.
For example, I’ve had partners who don’t care for physical touch as much as I do, so it doesn’t come naturally to them and I’ve felt unloved because I wasn’t getting enough. By understanding that our love languages are different, they have been able to try to give me more of what I need, and I have been able to understand that when they spend time, do a service, or give a gift, that’s them showing love and I can find my comfort in those things instead of waiting and hoping for touch."
I have been interviewed on the topic when I lived in San Diego (unfortunately I can't find the video just yet), and I remember the interviewer was very impressed and happy that I actually knew about the whole 5 love languages deal, took my full break to explain to them how I felt about this and what were my thoughts on this concept....yeah lady, i drink, coffee mostly and I know things, or at least enough to be opinionated and able to back it up... 'cause i'm that kind of annoying b*tch!
Because I care, and you should too, if not for your partner then for yourself!