April 17, 2024

What Are They And How Do They Affect Relationships?

My boyfriend and I are practically identical when it comes to our interests, our tastes, our sense of humour and our desires for the future, but we’ve always known that we’re chalk and cheese when it comes to our emotional behaviour.

I will overthink and overanalyse anything and everything, while he’s frustratingly laid back. I’ll arrive at a train station with at least an hour to spare, while he’ll leap between the doors at the last second and hope that he can buy a ticket on board. I’ll dwell on something I said weeks ago, while he probably barely even heard it at the time.

It’s unsurprising and only natural, therefore, that our wants and needs from our relationship are different. But while that was always obvious, I never understood it to the extent that the way I like to be loved isn’t necessarily the same way he likes to be, and therefore the love I want to receive isn’t necessarily the best kind of love to give, and vice versa.

Learning and understanding this has not only strengthened our relationship in the good times, but it’s also made making up after the fights a whole lot simpler as we know exactly what will mean the most to one another. I like “sorry”s and cuddles, while he prefers a more practical offer (usually that I’ll make dinner/take the bins out) or something more tangible.

«For example,» Roxie explains, «if you know that your partner’s love language is quality time and yours is words of affirmation, then you might ensure you carve out time each day to give them undivided attention, and you might ask in return that they make an extra effort to verbally express their love/appreciation. »

So what are the five different love languages, and how can you be sure to cater for someone whose love languages differ to your own?


A person whose love language is words of affirmation places value on written or spoken expressions of love and appreciation.

  • Likes: love letters, hearing «I love you», receiving compliments, frequent texting


People with physical touch as their love language feel most loved when they receive physical signs of affection. Touch can act as an affirming and powerful emotional connector for people with this love language.

  • Likes: hugging, holding hands, sitting closely, kissing


A person whose primary love language is acts of service values ‘helpfulness’ and gestures of love. No good deed goes unnoticed to someone with this love language, however big or small.

  • Likes: offering to help them with household chores, cooking them a meal, filling up their car with petrol


People whose love language is quality time place importance on spending time with someone who is fully present with them.

  • Likes: eye contact, meaningful conversations, undivided attention


For those whose love language is receiving gifts, they see gifts as significant symbols of love. It is not about the monetary value but the symbolic gesture and effort behind them. They feel particularly loved when the gift demonstrates how well the receiver knows them.

  • Likes: celebrating special occasions, tokens of gratitude, thoughtful gifts

Essentially we’re all different, and we all have very different needs and desires from one another in our wide variety of relationships.

‘Treat others how you want to be treated’ is a great way to check yourself if you’re ever being unkind or thoughtless, but when it comes to relationships — romantic or otherwise — it can often be more fruitful to consider treating them the way that they want to be treated.

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