Do you know what your love language is? I don't mean where you spent your sexy semester abroad, I mean the way that you show and recognize love and affection. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman, there are actually five love languages. Those five “languages” are: Words Of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts Of Service, and Physical Touch.
"One way to become a better partner is to learn your partner's love language," founder and CEO of matchmaking service Dating Boutique Amanda Rose tells Bustle. "It's important to learn how our partner responds to love and how they feel loved." But the problem is, sometimes you don't discover these things about each other until there's a conflict. You can get way ahead of the game by knowing your own — and what it means. It allows you to better understand yourself and stop any confusion before it happens.
One of the most tricky love languages is Quality Time, because it's just that — time. If your love language is Words of Affirmation or Affection, once your partner understands that, then it may not be too hard for them to give it to you. But if you what you need is time, and a lot of it, then that's a lot harder. Time is finite. It can be difficult to find and difficult to give up — but that doesn't mean in a relationship that you're not entitled to it. You just need to know how to present it and manage it.
How To Explain It
Firstly, don't panic if your partner doesn't work in the same way or have the same love language as you. That's totally cool. “I believe the relationship theory of love languages are very relevant to finding your perfect match, but not in the way that most people assume,” senior matchmaker and dating coach Lori Salkin tells Bustle. “People do not need to speak the same love language to succeed as a couple, rather they need to understand the love language their significant other speaks. That is not easy; it not only requires understanding the person and how they are different you, but that what is important to them is different from what is important to you and being able to separate your wants and needs from theirs to give them what they want and trust in return that they will give you what you want while neither of you is acting for yourself, but only for the other. If it happens to be you speak the same love language, that is significantly easier!”
The first thing you need to do is to tell your partner that you need this from them— especially if you're not getting it. If your partner is already spending loads of time with you, easy. Like Salkin says, it's easier when you have the same love language. You can just tell them how much you value and you need that. But if they aren't giving it to you, it's another story.
The problem with needing time is you don't want to look possessive. So you need to explain that you want them to have an amazing, fulfilling life outside of you, but to feel valued and secure in your relationship you need to quality time together.
How To Get It
Focus on the quality rather than the time. As in, it can be amazing and bonding and lovely to stay home together watching Netflix — some of the time. But if it's just sweatpants all day every day, you're eventually going to feel like you're not making enough of an effort with each other. Especially if your partner doesn't have as much time as you, you have to make it count. "Date regularly," Cecil Carter, CEO of dating app Lov, tells Bustle. "We tend to get so familiar in our relationships," he says, but "courtship should never end."
So, make date nights, try something new together, and have a couple of activities that are just yours.
How To Compromise
Like I said, the real problem comes when your partner doesn't give you as much of their time as you need— or isn't willing to give it. But it doesn't mean that the relationship can't work. It definitely can, but to make it happen you may need to accept that some people need more of their own space and that it's not a reflection on your relationship. There are probably things that your partner needs or expects out of a relationship that you don't always understand, so try to remember that when they can't understand where you're coming from.
Also, try to appreciate all the ways that they show you they care and are invested in the relationship that aren't necessarily spending every minute together — maybe they send you cute messages throughout the day, maybe they're great at surprising you or coming up with romantic date nights. Sometimes, they're showing it somehow, it may not just be the same way you are. With communication and a little patience you should be able to find some common ground where you're both feeling satisfied.
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