Origin of love languages
The concept of five love languages originated from the book The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Dr. Gary Chapman, written in 1992. Chapman is a doctor of philosophy and master of religious education, and his concept of the five love languages is an excellent starting point for strengthening your relationships and learning how to relate better to your partners.
According to Chapman, the five languages are:
Words of affirmation. Praise, positive words, affirmation of the relationship, admiration, and more.
Acts of service. Taking initiative, doing chores around the house, helping your partner when they’re in need, paying bills on time, etc.
Receiving gifts. In addition to simply receiving a gift, something thoughtful more than valuable is generally more appreciated. Those whose love language is receiving gifts often put great stock in holidays and celebrations as well.
Quality time. Uninterrupted, intentional time together, as opposed to just spending time together. People who value quality time are often more affected by plan cancellations.
Physical touch. Not necessarily sexual in nature, physical touch can consist of cuddling, warm embraces, back rubs, public displays of affection, and more.
What’s your love language? Go to 5lovelanguages.com/profile to find out!
The inverse of love language
Depending on your love language, there are probably going to be certain acts or words that negatively affect you more than others.
Words of affirmation: If your love language is words of affirmation, then hearing your partner criticize you, or hearing that they don’t appreciate you can be hurtful. Even hearing “I love you,” but not in the way you want to hear it, can have a negative impact.
Acts of service: Going hand in hand with words of affirmation, not hearing appreciation for things that are done around the house or support you’ve given to your partner can definitely be hurtful.
Receiving gifts: It boils down to how thoughtful someone is being. If your love language is receiving gifts and your partner gives you something generic, like a Visa gift card, then that can be hurtful because you might feel like they didn’t put the time or effort into choosing something they thought you would like. Additionally, if you give a gift and your partner isn’t enthusiastic about receiving it, then that can cause negative feelings as well.
Quality time: If your love language is quality time, it makes sense that spending lots of time apart would be hurtful, but if you’re spending time with your partner and both of you just end up on your phones or talking about work, then there’s no positive quality time happening either. Doing regular check-ins or scheduling a RADAR session can help mitigate that. Additionally, cancelling plans or consistently showing up late to dates can have the same hurtful effect.
Physical touch: In addition to just not being able to touch your partner, having them turn down sex can also play a part in being hurtful if your love language is physical touch. That’s not to say that people shouldn’t turn down sex if they don’t want it, but generally speaking, if your love language is physical touch, it’s not necessarily going to be about the sex itself, but the meaning behind it, which is often “I want to feel close to you and feel cared for.” Similarly to receiving gifts, if your partner reacts coldly when you initiate touch, or maybe is physically affectionate in private but not in front of others, that can create negative feelings as well.
When talking about love languages with your partners, it’s important to expand on what your love languages are and delve into the nuances, since they may mean slightly different things for different people.
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Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory podcast, we're talking about the five love languages. We reference these a lot on the show, but it's been quite some time since we actually discussed them in depth. We figured we would give you all and ourselves a refresher course. What are the five love languages and how do they show up in your day to day interactions with your partners?
What if you and your partner's love languages just don't mesh? Are there ways of showing your partner you care even if you're not great at a particular love language? We talk about all this and more today. Emily, take it away.
Emily: Love language is this concept, this thing, but it's doctor, his name is Gary Chapman, Dr. Gary Chapman to you.
Jase: Dr. Gary Chapman.
Dedeker: Emily, you need to get it correct. In the We've referred to him as God Dr. Gary Chapman because he is--
Emily: You're right, God doctor. How did that happened?
Dedeker: He's a very Christian man.
Jase: Well, because his PhD is in like theology.
Emily: He loves theology?
Dedeker: Yes. He's a doctor of theology.
Jase: Religious studies or some other.
Emily: He's a God Dr. God, Dr. Gary Chapman theologian, Master, theology master? Yes. He first explored this concept of the five love languages in his book, The Five Love Languages. The secret to love that lasts. This was written in '92, and it did just celebrate its 25 year anniversary, I guess in 2017, which is cool. He's taken this one concept and he's expanded it into things for and books, I guess, for single people, for teenagers, for parents with children, for people with spouses in the military, and then the five love languages for men and the five love languages for women, so he can made it all.
Jase: Yes, he's really-- There is one idea and just really run with.
Emily: Run with it. Yes, he really did. I guess he was going at his practice for a long time with people, he had a practice I guess for-- I don't know if he was a counselor? I guess he was a counselor.
Dedeker: He definitely was not. He's got--
Dedeker: This is what the Wikipedia says, he is a master of Religious Education and a Doctor of Philosophy.
Emily: He may have been a counselor for young people.
Dedeker: Could have been Christian counselor.
Emily: Yes, there you go.
Jase: A God counselor.
Dedeker: He's a counselor for Gods. He's the counselor to the gods.
Jase: Wow. What a title? That's what God doctor means. It's doctor to the gods.
Emily: There you go. That's really intense. Yes, but he said I realized that what makes one person feel loved isn't necessarily the same for everyone, so he developed the five love languages to help couples understand the ways in which each expresses and wishes to receive love.
Dedeker: I just want listeners to know, this intro makes us sound like we are totally taking the piss out of God Dr. Gary Chapman.
Jase: Which we are a little bit.
Dedeker: Only a tiny bit. Clearly, he's turned this into an empire for himself. Just kind of like really beating this horse as it were of churning out all these books and I don't want anyone to think that the five love languages are the be-all and end-all, we're not holding this up as a monolith of like, "This is how everyone functions and not everyone works and this is what you got to figure out and is the key to how you're going to have a successful relationship."
I think he's probably tried to market that, we don't buy that necessarily, but we do think it is a really, really helpful tool and a really good starting place for figuring out the best ways to communicate love and affection between you and your partner or partners.
Jase: Yes, totally. If you think about it, God doctor is going along, doctor and God's and stuff and he comes up with this love languages thing and at some point figures out of there's these five and that seems to work and then he writes this book and it blows up and then it--
Emily: It sells a ton of copies on Amazon.
Jase: Right. It's interesting that he is kind of this one-trick pony where it's like, he hasn't come out with anything else really. It's just like-
Dedeker: He wrote the apology language as well.
Jase: All right. You're right. That, but--
Dedeker: He is a language pony.
Emily: He also did the apology language?
Dedeker: Yes, The Apology Language. He's a language pony.
Jase: He's a language pony, yes, but what I'm trying to get out though, is I think the reason why he's been able to make a whole career out of this one idea really, is that it is a good one, that it does work for a lot of people and I think it strikes a nice balance of being useful and practical in a lot of different situations, but also being simple enough, that it's not just intense thing that you have to go to like, week-long intensive to learn how to do, like some other techniques out there that people teach, it's like this huge intensive. This is like, "No, it's actually a relatively simple concept to grasp." I think that's actually what makes it useful.
Emily: Yes, we're kind of put it in my mind again, was I was hanging out with a good friend of all three of us, and they said that they used to be with a person who didn't have the same love languages they did and that was really difficult, and now they are with someone who does have the same love language and it's like, they just jive and mesh really well together and it's very easy.
I was like, "Uh-huh, I don't know. That's a really interesting concept." They're just like right out of the gate, you know how you want love to be expressed and then all of a sudden your partner just does it. That's impressive to me. I don't know, maybe things would be super easy in that way, but I think it's not a bad thing to have different love languages. It's fun to be able to learn how to be good at each of them.
Jase: Yes, like becoming a love polyglot.
Dedeker: I love that. I love that. A love polyglot.
Emily: There you go.
Dedeker: I'm back in.
Emily: What's a polyglot?
Jase: It means someone who speaks multiple languages.
Dedeker: I think it's more than three or more than five, I forget which.
Emily: It means that you are polygot?
Dedeker: Technically to be kind of a polyglot.
Emily: You're not just bilingual or trilingual.
Emily: That may be out of three it's polyglot?
Dedeker: Possibly. What's--
Emily: It sounds like a Pokemon.
Jase: It does.
Jase: It does sound like a pokemon.
Dedeker: What does the internet say?
Jase: It just says knowing or using several languages. I think some people like to do polyglot gatekeeping.
Dedeker: I was literally just going to say that.
Jase: It comes from the Jew root words "poly" meaning many.
Dedeker: People are literally asking how many languages do you have to learn.
Emily: What does it say?
Jase: It does not say anything useful.
Emily: All right. Well, there you go.
Jase: It's just people on the internet giving their opinions about things.
Emily: That means nothing.
Jase: Yes. How useful has that ever been?
Dedeker: It sounds signifying nothing. Let's get back to talking about love languages.
Emily: Thank you, Macbeth. That I did now.
Dedeker: All right. Let's do a crash course overview of the five love languages. The first one is words of affirmation. That's hearing things like praise, positive words, affirmation of the relationship, admiration for your partner or for yourself if you're hearing that from your partner. Genuine pride for something that your partner has accomplished, encouragement, compliments, list goes on and on and on.
Jase: Saying things.
Dedeker: Saying good things.
Jase: Saying nice things.
Emily: Just saying things.
Dedeker: Saying some nice things. Let's say genuine nice things. I'm going to clarify that.
Emily: No, I like that. Yes.
Dedeker: The next one is acts of service. That's described as lightning your partner's burdens through thoughtful actions. Did you write this Em, or is this official copy?
Emily: No, it's not official copy. I think it was a mishmash of a couple different things.
Dedeker: Okay. This includes things like taking initiative, doing chores around the house, paying bills on time, helping your partner when they're in need. Handling to-do lists items and doing things when they say that they're going to do them, or going out of your way to take something off of your partner's plate when they're particularly stressed out or doing some--
Emily: Lightening their burden.
Dedeker: Yes. lightening their burden. Exactly.
Dedeker: Lightening their load.
Jase: Yes. All right. The next one is receiving gifts. I feel like this one's pretty straightforward here, but it's part of it. In addition to just receiving a gift, it tends to be related to the gift being thoughtful, more than the gift being valuable, like in a monetary sense, or even useful. It's more like-- Even if it's a little thing, it's showing that your partner was thinking about you and they're not with you and spent the time to get this thing.
Particularly, things like handmade items, handwritten notes, things like that can count. Notes are interesting because they're words of affirmation--
Dedeker: Jase is going to make this point about it being this more bang for your buck, two birds with one stone and Emily's just like, "They're archaic."
Emily: No, I'm saying that from the stand point of how often do you get a handwritten letter nowadays, as opposed to an email. That's what I mean by archaic. It's just this old thing that people don't really do that much anymore and it's meaningful because of that. My friend, Jacquelyn, every single year for my birthday, she draws a little Nintendo character or this year she drew my cat Henry eating a fish.
It was really cute and it's very thoughtful, and then she has the most gorgeous handwriting I've ever seen, and I always appreciate that a lot. It's that thoughtfulness that goes into making it, it is really cool.
Jase: Yes, totally. Gifts, particularly if they're thoughtful. It also mentioned here that these people tend to put extra care into things like holidays, or birthday presents, or anything centered around gift giving or particularly important, generally.
Emily: It also said events, when I was looking it up, that it was event planning because things like birthdays and things like holidays that maybe are surrounded by gifts, that those tend to be important as well, which I found interesting, I didn't realize that before.
Dedeker: I'm just connecting so many thoughts about my partner, Alex.
Emily: He and I are the same, we're both gift givers.
Dedeker: Yes, I think so. I don't think gifts is the top of his list, but it's at least number two.
Emily: It's my number two.
Dedeker: That makes sense with also the events thing as well. I'm figuring things out in real time here.
Jase: This is perfect, you get to see it happen. The fourth one is quality time. Specifically, we talk about this one a lot on the show, the difference between just spending time together versus spending quality time, and that means that it's uninterrupted, intentional time together. It could be through activities, or going on trips together, or just time with each other where you're not on your phones or doing other things, giving each other your undivided attention.
Related to this is that people who value quality time, things like cancelling on plans or postponing things will be especially meaningful in a negative way, those can be especially hurtful.
Emily: We'll talk about those negatives, too, later on but yes, that's something to be aware of. Physical touch is the last one and people who have this as their love language, they tend to really love things like warm embraces, gentle touches from their partner, cuddling, holding hands, public displays of affection, they're really big on things like back rubs and these touches, they don't necessarily need to be sexual in nature, although, they can be, but reassurance of love through physical actions and touch.
Jase: Yes, and what's interesting about this one, we'll get to this a little bit later, but we all took the quiz online to see what our love languages were and if they've changed since last time we did it. The ones about physical touch were interesting because they tended to focus a lot on, I would say maybe half of the questions about physical touch, involved it being in public, involved holding hands in public, or hugging in public, or some sort of PDA. It was interesting taking that test while we were in Japan, where--
Emily: You're not allowed to.
Jase: No, you're allowed to.
Dedeker: Not allowed sounds extreme, but--
Jase: Just culturally, people don't do PDA. It's rare to even see people holding hands, they do it, but it's rare. It's not like in the States where everyone is all over each other all the time. It was interesting taking that test being like, "Huh", when I was here just imagining walking down the street just holding hands with Dedeker, there was a little bit of, "Ooh, I don't know, maybe it would be better if we did something else."
There is a cultural factor to it that is worth taking into account if you're from a culture that's not the same as Dr. "God" Gary Chapman.
Emily: Dr. "God".
Dedeker: Speaking of that test, that's probably the best and easiest and fastest way to figure out what your love language is. I will say, what I do appreciate about "God" Dr. Gary Chapman is that while he has been quite prolific in putting out a lot of this material, at least at the core of it, he's not trying to hide behind a paywall or anything.
Jase: That's true.
Dedeker: He puts the quiz out there that anyone can take, there's a lot of information about all the different love languages out there that's available for free, even official information. You don't have to buy the book, you don't have to take the course, you don't have to pay for the extended 30 page profile or anything like that, so I do appreciate that.
If you go to 5, that's the number five, 5lovelanguages.com/profile, then you will get to the quiz. If you just Google five love languages, it will definitely be the first thing that comes up.
Emily: You'll get to the quiz.
Dedeker: Yes. You have to fill out a little bit, you have to give them your email address. They will force you to pick, "Are you in a relationship? Are you single" or "Are you a child?"
Emily: It's, "Is this for you with a child?" about your children, which I found interesting, because he does things for parents showing their love language to their kids.
Dedeker: That makes sense. There's a teen's one, too. We all took the "couples" quiz because it's the one that's designed for if you're currently in a relationship, but you don't have to do it with a particular partner, you can do it by yourself. If you do the singles one, too, that's probably okay, I'm sure the wording of the questions is just a little bit different.
Jase: I think it mostly just changes the wording of the question. From what I remember from looking at both before is that the singles one either tends to put things more in a hypothetical, like, "I would like it if I had a partner who did this".
Dedeker: If you weren't miserably single and had finally found a partner that God-- sorry, now I'm getting more mean.
Jase: No, it not. Now you're being a jerk, it's not like that.
Emily: He's not that kind of God doctor.
Dedeker: Are you sure he's not a jerk for Jesus?
Jase: He could be. I will say though--
Emily: Is that a thing?
Dedeker: Oh yes.
Jase: From the site though, generally speaking, it does adhere to a gender binary, generally. It tends to say he/she, however--
Emily: Yes, slash I prefer not to say when it gave you the opening.
Jase: Yes, there's not a other option, it's just prefer not to say, but regardless of what you choose, it doesn't automatically make all the questions be heteronormative.
Emily: That's true.
Jase: That's a tiny bit of credit I'll throw "God" Dr. Gary Chapman's way. What I was trying to say, the singles one also focuses on the way that your friends and family show affection for you versus the relationship one, if I remember correctly, if you say you're in a relationship it's focused just on a partner.
Dedeker: I want to take that one now because I'm interested in that more holistic look at what your love language would be outside of just your romantic partners because that could be some really interesting information.
Emily: Yes, for sure. One little caveat which I found interesting in my research is that there are different facets of a particular love language, which makes sense, but something like touch, for example. I read a little thing on his website where two people were talking about, "I love touch to convey security and reassurance and comfort, but my husband wants touch to convey sexual intimacy and attraction and interest", and so those touches feel different ways and are different to each other. It's just these little nuances which are fascinating that people need to be aware of just because once you know that, it can do things like bring you closer.
Dedeker: I took an issue with that example because I would probably argue, they're actually seeking the same thing, it's just that we've been socialized differently, depending on our gender, for sexual touch. Different things to each of us, I just want to put in that disclaimer.
Jase: No, I agree. It's interesting because I'm trying to think about the way you would express touch affection to each other would be different depending what you felt the purpose of it was.
Emily: Yes, I think it could be, like a pat, a reassuring pat or a gentle caress versus a kiss on the neck or something along those lines. Those are two different things.
Jase: Definitely, and I know I've experienced times where, we'll get to this later, but in the past my results have come up fairly high on physical touch when I've done these quizzes, but I've definitely found times for me where-
Emily: Not anymore.
Jase: -where if someone is touching me in a more sensual way when I'm not in that headspace, that doesn't feel good. It's like, "Stop, stop it", so I think it is worth keeping that in mind. I was thinking similar things with words of affirmation. Does that for you mean, "I love you so much", or is it more like, "I'm really proud of this thing you did," I think that can also, there's like a nuance to all of them.
Dedeker: Same with the quality time that again, that it's quite arranged. For me quality time is we take a trip together, and for your partner may be no quality time is like when we're able to be in the living room together. Maybe not talking and like reading separate books, but still just together. Even if we're not doing anything, and sometimes that can be compatible, and sometimes it can cause some friction, I think.
Emily: Those are like layers upon layers of this whole thing, for sure.
Jase: Just as a quick little thing, they have some statistics about how the average population breaks down when they take this quiz.
Emily: This is from God doctor's website, so they distill the information from the website and then gave out these percentages, which was fun.
Jase: Right. What's interesting is that they're a lot closer to 20% each than I expected them to be. I thought there was going to be way more heavily weighted toward one or the other, so actually, that's probably one of the reasons why this thing has stuck around is the fact that people do tend to come out somewhat evenly on this, which I think is interesting.
Dedeker: There's like enough variety.
Jase: Yes, but the but the most common one at 23% is words of affirmation, and then quality time and acts of service are both straight up 20%, one-fifth of the time, and then physical touches 19, and receiving gifts is 18, but they're all very close.
Emily: They're all very close.
Dedeker: So bear in mind that, maybe you go, you take the quiz. You and your partner, take the quiz, or maybe you and multiple partners take the quiz and get this information. Unfortunately, it's not always quite as easy as just knowing the results of the quiz. It's a good place to start. It can definitely clarify a lot of things for you, but there can be a disconnect, I think in a variety of situation.
Sometimes if you and your partner have very different love languages, there can be a disconnect there. Even if you have the same love language there can still be a disconnect there.
Jase: You know, like we were talking about.
Dedeker: Yes. I think I've seen people realizing also that sometimes the love language they receive from their partner that feels meaningful is different from how they tend to express love to somebody, so where sometimes they feel like my "giving" love language is different from my "receiving" love language. I think with a lot of people, it tends to be the same.
The same kind of act is meaningful, both giving and receiving, but for some people it is slightly different. The challenge lies in the fact that someone can potentially do something that will devastate their partner or unintentionally hurt their partner because they didn't have a firm grasp on their love language. Sometimes if your partner isn't aware of what your love language is, that sometimes it can feel like they did intentionally hurt you or they're keeping love from you in some way, so we do want to dive in and talk about, like, what are the common ways that a person could feel hurt or feel like their partner is withdrawing or withholding love based on the different love languages?
Emily: Now we're just kind of going to go through each of them and sort of talk about the inverse, like how a person might feel hurt if their love language is, for example, words of affirmation or acts of service or whatever. If you are a person who loves words of affirmation, a way that you might feel hurt from your partner is if you do something like, or if you hear that your partner is upset with you, that you hear like criticism, for example, from your partner, or if you don't hear that they appreciate you, or if you hear something even like I love you, but not in the way that you want or not why or something along those lines, or if you don't hear that your partner's proud of you for something that you accomplish, for example. Things like that.
Jase: Yes, I feel like this one.
Emily: That it gets pretty nuanced.
Jase: Yes. For me, word of affirmation is very high. I'm kind of thinking about this one being like, yes, it's kind of like that. If maybe if I've done something for you, or if I've shown you something that I've done, and the reaction is like, "Oh, well, it could have been better" or like, "this things wrong with it," or just like, "oh, okay, can you do this other thing?" Like that. Without that like, "That's great." Or, "Thank you, I really appreciate it," without that, I think maybe that's extra hurtful for someone where words of affirmation is high on their love language.
Dedeker: It's all right, I'm trying to get better.
We already covered this in the criticism episode. I'm working on it, I'm aware.
Emily: Awkward. The next one would be acts of service. An example of this, which goes along with words of affirmation is if you don't hear appreciation for things that are done around the house, or if you perform a task or a chore, and you don't hear appreciation for that, or even if your partner doesn't help out with a task or a chore or something like that. That can be really hurtful to your partner as well.
Jase: Yes. This one's hard for me too and this is hard for you too, right Dedeker?
Dedeker: It is top of the list.
Emily: Acts of service is big for me too.
Jase: I found this one like, in addition to maybe the sort of the not helping with a task or chore or something like that. One that I found come up for me is if I feel like there's an easy thing that my partner could do, I don't know what it is, if they're doing, if they're going and getting something and they grab, like they're going to get a green tea and they grab one day for me or like grabbing a napkin when we go to a restaurant or something and grabbing one for both of us, instead of just one, that not doing stuff like that. That seems like at least to me it feels like this should obviously be done. That can be hurtful if that thing's not done.
Emily: That makes complete sense.
Dedeker: I feel like for me, the acts of service thing-- we're going to talk about more of our personal stuff and baggage, in the bonus, but I know for me, this one is kind of tricky for me because for me, I feel very loved if a partner plans a date essentially. That feels like I've never been able to tell. Is that more of an act of service or is that more of a quality time thing?
Emily: A little of both.
Dedeker: I feel like it's more heavily weighted toward the act of service. I think it's like a service of thinking about it ahead of time, making some decisions ahead of time. That's how it comes out for me.
Jase: Maybe that's actually-- like we're talking about the different nuances within the languages. That's something where Dedeker and I might both have acts of service high up on our lists, yet they show up differently.
Dedeker: Yours is about napkins and mine is about dates.
Jase: Right, that mine might be more about-
Dedeker: Not to be reductive.
Jase: -little thoughtful things and hers is more about taking the time to do a slightly larger task, potentially. That's a good point of the way we do.
Emily: Didn't Jase forget something one point and Dedeker or at some point and Dedeker was like, ah.
Jase: All the time.
Emily: I feel like she asks you for something recently like in the last month, to get at the store or whatever, then you didn't-
Dedeker: We talked about this on an episode. I don't know how that falls, but that's my I think like some family trauma and baggage of forgetting things really gets to me, it really-- forgetting things is this huge betrayal which is ridiculous, that's purely just me and my own stuff going on. It's not objectively that forgetting things as a huge betrayal, but I don't know what that falls under. I guess it depends on what it is that's been forgotten.
Emily: Now I know, but I hear you like the acts of service may be in that is just if your partner forgets an important date. I don't know maybe that could be a gift thing, but not necessarily. If you talk to them about something that you want to do together or and then they forget about it or they schedule something else around it and you're like, "Wait, what the hell? Were you not listening? Did you just forget? What is this?"
Dedeker: That you forgot to tell me that you love me. Combination of words of affirmation.
Jase: Something that's just occurring to me right now is that I can actually see an argument that like, the thing behind all of these is the idea that you're thinking about me and putting effort behind thinking about me. These are just different ways to show that whether it's like, I'm thinking about you, so I'm going to tell you that with words how would I appreciate or if it's like Dedeker was saying like taking the time to plan a date, or for me like taking the time to just do some little everyday thing to be thoughtful.
To show that you thought of me when you went to go get that napkin. Same with like gifts or quality time or physical touch. It's like just maybe they're all just different ways of showing the fact that you're on someone else's mind. Maybe I just boiled it all down. I found the universal language the Esperanto of the love languages.
Dedeker: I'll allow it.
Emily: There you go.
Jase: Okay, let's go on to the next one. Shall we?
Emily: Go on. Yes.
Jase: This receiving gifts. I mean clearly, well, lack of gifts or I think maybe more often we'd see this as like not enough thought put into gifts. Maybe someone who's receiving gifts is an important love language for them. A random gift card might be the worst thing you could do. Unless maybe if it's a gift card to a specific place that shows you put thought into knowing like, "Oh, you like this place," or "You've been wanting to go here". Maybe the like Visa check card, gift card. That's like the most generic of gift cards.
Emily: That's the worst.
Jase: Then there's very little thought going into it. I could see that.
Emily: Yes. Also, yes, one of the things that they talked about is that if you give a gift and then your partner isn't enthusiastic about receiving that gift, then that could be hurtful as well.
Jase: I've experienced that, for sure.
Jase: Yes. Well, actually it's funny.
Dedeker: Did you look at me when you said that because it was me?
Jase: No, it wasn't. No, it wasn't. For me, actually growing up this was an issue with my stepdad.
Dedeker: Oh, really.
Jase: No matter what the gift was, no matter if he liked it or not, his response is always, "Oh, thanks. It's great". It looked like no-
Dedeker: No emotion?
Jase: No enthusiasm, no emotion, whatever. Maybe a month later you'd see that he's using the thing all the time and really appreciates it, or maybe that he doesn't. You just don't know. His response is always, "Oh, great. Thanks".
Dedeker: That's hard.
Jase: It was hard. It was one of those things though that once I figured it out that that's just how, that's just what's going to happen. Even when I had that reaction of like, "Shit. He hates it" to then go, "Actually, you know what, I don't know", so I'm going to let that go because I've learned that about him.
Jase: That was a challenge. I definitely found that with other people too if I give a gift and they're like, "Oh, cool, thanks" and not like, "Oh, I like this about it," or kind of being specific just like, "Oh, I appreciate this thoughtful part of it", or something. I'm a little bit like, "Oh, God. I hate it".
Emily: I'm not going to lie. I gave my partner an Apple watch for his birthday because I thought that he would use it and wanted it, and it's literally sitting on his bedside table.
Jase: Oh, no.
Dedeker: Oh, Emily.
Emily: Which is really sad because I have one and it's super old. I've given one to my mom like the brand new one and to my partner the brand new one. I have the old shitty one. I'm like, "Ugh".
Jase: Emily, just do a little swap.
Dedeker: Just a secret swap love.
Jase: He won't even notice.
Emily: I know. His is bigger and cooler than mine. He did wear it for a little while. He's like, "I'll use it when I get back into working out and stuff". Now, he's not using it at work. That's very sad.
Jase: I'm sorry, Emily.
Emily: He uses it only when we go on hikes.
Dedeker: Well, gifts are your thing.
Emily: I know. Trust me.
Jase: Yes, gifts are your thing, for sure, jeez.
Emily: Every time I see it, I'm like "Ugh," sad.
Dedeker: I can attest though to all our listeners, I've never received a bad gift from Emily.
Jase: Yes, she's like the best gift giver ever. Yes, for sure.
Dedeker: Sign up to be Emily's friend.
Emily: Well, it's funny, Dedeker, because Alex consults me for some of your gifts sometimes.
Dedeker: Yes, I know.
Emily: I think we consult each other. I think he has good opinions too because that's also his thing.
Dedeker: Yes, that's what all you all are into.
Jase: Yes, you're right. I should just come to Emily more often or Alex.
Dedeker: You can open up a gift consulting business, Emily, really. It's your niche.
Emily: Yes, you just have to listen to things that people say that they want. If people are like, "Isn't this cool. Look at this," I'm like "Perfect," "Easy," "Fine".
Dedeker: I do take notes on my phone throughout the year for Christmas, specifically -
Emily: Oh, really?
Dedeker: -or birthday. I do have.
Jase: I need to do that.
Dedeker: Every single year, I have a note in my Google Keep that is my running list of just like everything that I did and ever mentioned that has stuck in my mind. Then sometimes it's the end of the year, I'm like, "Oh, that. I don't know about that, " or "Oh, that will still be cool," or whatever.
Jase: Yes, that's a problem I have as well. I hear people say things. I'm like, "Yes, I got to remember that", and then I immediately forget it.
Dedeker: Well, Jase.
Emily: Write it down.
Dedeker: Go talk about .
Jase: Yes, I can write it down.
Emily: Start writing down.
Dedeker: Although I did read of David Sedaris essay once, where he talked about how he used to do that. Then, he would literally do ridiculous things where he gave his boyfriend, Hugh, a box fan in December and he'll be like-
Jase: I see.
Dedeker: "Why give me a box fan?" He'll be like, "Well, in August whenever you were dying of the heat, you kept talking about how cool this particular box fan is. I got it for you". I try to avoid that situation too.
Emily: Wow, that's hysterical. I love it. Oh, my God. All right. Shall we move on to quality time?
Jase: Yes, okay, quality time I think this one is clearly like if we're spending a lot of time apart, that's going to be particularly hurtful to a person who has quality time, or distraction. We have time we're spending together. We end up on our phones or we end up-
Dedeker: -talking about work. That's the one we have to work on all the time.
Jase: -talking about-- That's the one that comes up for us, yes. We end up talking about work or we end up just doing chores or we end up just planning our next day or planning what we have to do with the kids and not actually devoting time to each other.
Emily: Or it's something that's come up with several clients of mine is like our only quality time turns into processing time. Our only quality time turn sometimes like either where it's logistical processing like you were saying of like figuring out the chores or what's happening with the kids tomorrow or what's happening at work or stuff like that or it's like, "Okay, here's finally our time where we can sit down and talk about the way that we piss each other off last week". No actual positive, quality time ends up in the schedule which honestly, I think, is important for everyone across the board regardless of whether or not quality time is your love language.
Jase: Well, I mean just plug it again. That's why we recommend something like radar, to have a regular check in, so you don't have to make every time you're together be about that. You have a time for that.
Dedeker: Yes. Then, also we're talking about earlier the things like someone canceling a date or like not defending your time together can be really hurtful if your love language is quality time.
Jase: Yes, now that makes so much sense.
Dedeker: That can be not even things like straight up canceling a date or canceling quality time together. It could be things like consistently showing up late to your quality time or consistently needing to leave early from your quality time.
Emily: When you have multiple partners, I think this is a really big one.
Dedeker: Yes, definitely, or feeling your quality time together is always rush. They're always just squeezed in little chunks or whatever. That can be really challenging for someone who's love language is quality time.
Jase: Actually, something that a former partner of mine expressed to me was that she felt hurt if her perception was that our quality time together only came around when my other partners are not available.
Dedeker: Yes, that's a big one too that I think comes up.
Emily: Yes, I'm .
Jase: Making it clear that the quality time is an important thing rather than just like, "I have this extra time".
Dedeker: Rather than just a leftover time.
Emily: I'm fine. I'll see you maybe--
Dedeker: Yes, right.
Emily: Now, I know like I think this is also when one of my partners has less quality time. The fact that I go to Shanghai for two months, that's really challenging for him because of that. Also, once upon a time when we started dating, I had three restaurant jobs. I was always working all the time. Anyways, but then also on weekends when we would have days off.
We tried to adjust and I tried to tailor my schedule a little bit more, so that we have at least one full day together, where it's uninterruptive, I'm not doing multiamory work and I'm not doing restaurant job or singing or whatever.
Dedeker: There's a rough time for everyone in your life, I think Emily.
Emily: I know. It was really rough for me too. I didn't even know what I was thinking. It was insane. I was just very bad at saying, "No". I said "Yes" to all these jobs, yes.
Jase: Yes. Yes, I think this one is interesting too because I know in terms of lining up your schedules with each other, that's something like Dedeker and I tried to do during the times when we're living together particularly. It's like saying, "Maybe this time in the day is when we're going to stop working" or trying to line up when our days off are, so that we have more time.
Yet, we also have found that we don't want to just assume that then any spare time I have -- we talked about this in many episodes, but just that any spare time I have means that's our quality time together. Instead, it's two things. One, it's making sure we plan some intentional quality time like have a date night at least once a week. On top of that, it's like if we do have time where we're both not doing anything, that we can have a conversation about it.
We usually say what party do we want to have. Really, what we needed is, what do we want to do? The options are things like, do we want to just like separately do things near each other, right,, or not even near each other, maybe on separate floors, right? I've been really wanting to play some games by myself. I'd love some time for that or I really like to just read for a while, or it's maybe like, do you want to do something together, maybe we could go for a walk, maybe we could go out to a store, go to eat or something. Just to have that conversation about like, "Let's make an intention for what we want to do." It's not one person going, "I thought we're going to hang out together. I assumed we would hang out together." The other person going, "I assumed I got time to do my own thing."
Emily: That's huge. Yes, definitely.
Jase: Okay, last one. Physical touch. If I don't touch you, you're going to be sad. I think this one can also maybe be turning down sex or being physically distant, I don't know. What do you think about that?
Dedeker: Well, again, I'm going to give the caveat on the turning down sex or turning down sex frequently. I think that sex and when we come to our partners for sex, it is rarely about just the sex. It's rarely just about like, "I want to have my genitals in proximity to yours." It's rarely just about that. It is about something specific, it's about, "I want to feel close to you," or, "I want to feel desired by you," or, "I want to get off while you're around."
There's all these different flavors of why we seek sex from our partner if you're someone who's allosexual. I would just want to clarify that it's not just about turning down sex because I want people to feel free to turn down sex in their relationships, not turn that into like, "That's a hurtful or coercive thing." It's about if you're seeking sex as a means of getting close or feeling loved or feeling attractive or feeling wanted and that's constantly turned down, that then that might be a little bit of issue. Does that make sense?
Jase: Yes, I think-
Jase: - being able to communicate about it.
Dedeker: Yes. I think there's some people where it's like if their partner turns down sex, it's like, "Okay, whatever, that's fine. I'm fine getting touch in other ways or getting comfort in other ways or I feel secure, feeling like I know that you still want me and I'm still attractive and desired. It's okay if you turn down sex." For other people, it's like that's a little bit more attached to sex. I think it's more about the meaning behind the sex rather than just the sexual act itself.
Emily: I think on the other end also, if you are a touch person and someone whose love language is physical touch and then you give that to your partner and your partner doesn't necessarily react in the way that you want towards it, if they are cold about it, that can be really hard for a person with touch.
Jase: It's like the receiving gifts thing. If they don't see you enthusiastic about your gift, I could see that with touch.
Emily: It's like, "What?"
Dedeker: Right. It seems like again, like we said that they reiterate when you're taking the quiz that there is something about also receiving or giving touch in front of other people. I don't necessarily mean in like a kinky way, but just a kind of an everyday way of knowing, "Hey, my partner feels comfortable putting their arm around me when we're together or holding my hand when we're with our family," or, "If we're around other partners, my partner is still okay to give me a little shoulder touch or a pat or hold my hand or kiss or whatever.
I've definitely worked with a lot of people where they're like, "Yes, my partner is very affectionate and it's great but then as soon as we're in front of another partner, they just completely go cold and there's like no touch whatsoever, or even worse, they only touch their other partner and then I get left out in the cold." Again, it can be very hurtful to anyone in that situation but especially if your love language is physical touch, even more so.
Emily: Totally. Yes, absolutely.
Jase: I feel like communicating about levels of PDA that you're comfortable with is important for this one too. It's also if you know that your partner, just for whatever reason, culturally or just personality-wise isn't comfortable with PDA, that can go a long ways in helping improve this communication, both so you know what to expect from them but also, so you don't then try to do that and get that cold reaction which can feel hurtful, just by actually having that conversation. I think that's actually something about the love languages in general that as we've been talking through them, there's always this like, "Is this an act of service or is this a gift? Is this physical touch or is this actually quality time?"
There is always those questions. I think what's useful about this, what's especially useful is just that it gets you to talk about it at all and think about it at all.
Emily: That's true.
Dedeker: We already shared some examples as we were going through that. Do you all have any other particular personal examples you want to share about a time when maybe you accidentally heard a partner because you didn't know what their love languages, or where you got her because a partner didn't communicate with you in the love language that was best for you?
Emily: I think I'm fairly big on acts of service as well and in those little day-to-day things. Like I know when I was at Gen Con with my partner, I tried to have things for the both of us but also, so that he would be comfortable. Things like ibuprofen, things like hand sanitizer, like I've done a lot of cons and I'm really adept at doing, knowing what one might need for that. I would bring a bunch of stuff in that way. Also things around the house, sometimes if I don't get it praised for that, then I might feel like, "Okay, come on. I just did all of this stuff and tried to make your life in the house nicer and stuff easier and if I'm not hearing something about it, then I felt challenged in the past."
We've had good conversations about that.
Dedeker: I think I've learned-- We'll talk about this maybe a little bit later but I do feel like being with multiple partners, with people who have different love languages in the way they express it, I think helps to cultivate that in me a little bit. We've talked about- you know already my partner, Alex is like really big on giving gifts and I'm pretty low on the receiving gifts spectrum but since I've been with him, I think it's changed that for me so that now, it's like when I do receive a gift from him, it feels much more meaningful-
Jase: Because you know that's where it comes from.
Dedeker: - because I know that's where it comes from. I don't know, is that just weirdly situational in the way that it's changed or whatever? I don't know.
Emily: I think that's the point of knowing all these is that once you receive that kind of love from someone, you know, "Hey, this means that they really care about me and this is their way of showing it." At least from that standpoint of being able to feel a lot of appreciation for something, I think that's easier once you do have a good grasp of what your partner or partners' love languages are.
Jase: I think the thing that comes to mind with this is just also realizing that it can change and maybe even change drastically, either based on your life circumstances or it just happens to change for you. Maybe you learn some other ways to appreciate certain sorts of things or you have less of a need for certain types of things, whatever it is. I'd taken the test before, and then we've talked about love languages on episodes in the past. Sometimes, we'd be talking about it and I'd go, "I don't know, that feels significant to me but I know that was low on my results."
Then when I took the test preparing for this episode, my results were very different than they've been last time I took this which was probably a couple of years ago or something.
Emily: Do you have any idea why that might be?
Jase: Well, I have some theories and I want to talk about them in the bonus episode. I think this is the important takeaway is just that they can change and that this isn't just like, "I got this figured out. No problem."
Dedeker: Exactly. With so many things that we present on the show, there's no single easy solution that's going to have everything figured out. I think it's the same thing here. We do want to talk about, if two people's love languages are different, what can they do about it? Like we we're saying, it's important to be able to first just communicate about what your love language is, get clear on what your own love language is, and maybe even be specific with your partner. It's probably not going to cut it just to be like, "Well, I'm words of affirmation. Period." Be really-
Emily: That's cool.
Dedeker: - get into that nuance. I think that the most effective way to do this if you can is just specifically highlight things that your partner has done that felt very meaningful to you. It could be like the other day when I was having a hard time at work and you sent me that really long text message about how proud of me you were for the work that I was doing or how hard I work. That was really meaningful to me, or the other day when you gave me this specific compliment about my appearance or about whatever. That was really meaningful to me. Try to give very specific examples.
This is really good conversation to have in a radar or just having a separate conversation specifically about your different love languages.
Jase: Maybe even as an added bonus in communicating about those things that you especially appreciated, if you can use their love language to express that, I can see that being extra effective. Maybe just saying like if their love language is-- What would be a good example? Maybe say, if there's his physical touch and here's his words of affirmation, it could be like when you're saying, "Hey, I really appreciated the fact that you told me that you are proud of me and that you were impressed with what I'd been doing," pair that with a little bit of cuddling or holding their hand or a touch to go along with that to really make sure they get that this is meaningful and that they feel that love too.
Dedeker: How would you do that with gifts?
Jase: Gifts? I don't know. That's a tough one.
Emily: Give them Dr. God's.
Dedeker: I don't know, that might be a little weird.
Emily: He did- I know it's funny, but he did apparently have a special gift set and he was like, "This is specifically for all those people out there who love gifts. Here's a special gift set of my book." I'm like, "Okay, okay, doctor."
Dedeker: Milking their cash cow.
Jase: If you know that there's these gifts, part of the gift thing is not about it being expensive or whatever but it's that you were thinking about them when you weren't with them and that you gave a thoughtful gift. Maybe the next time you give them some little gift, along with that being like, "I was thinking about you and I was thinking about how happy it made me when you took the time to help out with the laundry during that day when I was really busy even though I said I was going to do it that day. I want to let you know." Pair with that, maybe, I don't know. Just throwing out ideas, just brainstorming here.
Emily: I like that. It's good.
Jase: "Okay. What else can we do?" "Maybe listen to this episode." "Hey, good job. We're doing that one already." Maybe listen to it together or separately and talk about it. It could be a good preparation for taking the quiz or just having that conversation. Maybe you don't even need to take the quiz because you hear this episode and you're like, "Oh my gosh, I'm so obviously this and this and this. These are my top three," or whatever it is. Just do that and have a conversation. Like I was saying, I think it's not so much about getting the answer but about a place to start a conversation, like some insights from which to have a conversation.
Emily: We came up with a little exercise which is fun because I actually-- Jase, I was like, "This seems like an exercise that you would do, like a journaling thing.
Jase: You were the one who came up with this though so that's great.
Emily: I know, and it's not like from anywhere. I just was like, "This seems like something we'd say to do so let's do it right, everyone." If you're having a difficult time with figuring out everyone's love language, your one partner or your multiple partners, try this exercise. For one week or longer, depending on how often you see them, have you and your partner write down specific instances where you feel like you were giving love to them and they didn't receive it in the way that you intended and vice versa.
Also, on the flip side, write down times where you felt love from your partner in the manner that it was intended and vice versa, your partner will do this as well. Then compare notes at the end of the week or at the end of the two weeks or the month or whatever. That way, you can see like, "Yes, I was trying to give you this here," or, "I thought that I was giving you some words of affirmation but I guess you didn't receive it in that way. That's interesting." Then you can compare from that standpoint. It can be a really good way in order to continue the conversation and talk about like, "Hey, how can I do this better?"
Jase: I could also see that conversation going, "When you gave me that gift, that was huge to me. I really appreciated that." You wrote it down as something that you felt wasn't received, like, "I'm sorry. No, that meant a lot to me." That right there could help but also could help than to go, "Okay, how can I communicate that better in the future that I do appreciate it?"
Emily: Better, yes. Totally.
Dedeker: Again, if you have more than one partner, you're probably going to be juggling many people's different love languages so keep that shit straight. Basically, the best thing I can say is if you got to take notes, take notes. Be specific. To me, that feels like a love language of like, if you're diligent enough to be like, "I'm going to write this down so I remember it," or, "I'm going to make sure that I remember." Like, "Okay, yes, you mentioned wanting specifically this kind of gift," or, "I can remember that you responded really positively when I complimented this," or whatever.
Just pay attention, basically. Pay attention. Be open to the fact that it may be different. Honestly, I think it's really helpful to do that kind of exercise with all of your partners. I think it's super helpful even to-- I didn't come up with an official exercise about this or anything so let's take this with a grain of salt, but I'm wondering, even if you sat down with a partner and both of you went through all of the love languages and just talking about like, "What are the things that feel effective to me in this particular arena or not?"
I'm willing to bet it's probably rare that there's one particle love language where you're like, "Man, nothing that you would do, wouldn't care, I don't care if you give me a small gift, big gift, I don't care." I'm just like, "It does nothing for me. Nothing, whatsoever." You can find, you can dig and find the nuance of what would actually help you feel loved and appreciated. I think that'd be really interesting exercise also.
Jase: Something that I was thinking about with this one in terms of-- I think this could be used in a lot of different ways, not just with love languages, but if there's something you really specifically want to remember in relation to a particular partner, say like you know that they have a love language that's not natural for you but you do want to remember to do that and to improve that, and that is to write that love language or some little note or thing that reminds you of it in their contact name in your phone.
For things like Facebook Messenger that you can't really do that because it's just using their name from there, I suppose if you communicate it to them that this is why you're doing it, you could, in your Messenger conversation can change people's nicknames to be different things, you could put it there, but just so that it's somewhere you're actually seeing it often. It's like while you're thinking about that person, you're texting them or you're getting a text from them, you see that little reminder. It can help to go, "Yes." You might not need to do that for very long, but just to have it pop up a number of times or maybe put it as the picture on the background of your phone or somewhere that you-
Emily: Acts of service or something.
Jase: - right. Some things that just comes to your mind more often. I think the core of all of this is showing that you're thinking about the person. If it's a way you're not used to thinking, just something to prompt it to spark that in your mind can be really helpful.
Dedeker: It's probably going to be better than keeping them in your phone as like Emily Tinder or Jase OKCupid. I know you all are out there that do that. You know who you are. Don't do that shit. Sorry, I can go in a whole rant about that.
Emily: Personalize it a little bit more.
Jase: Love languages are a great way to do it. When they're like, "Why am I Emily X or Emily gifts?" It's like, "Because I'm trying to learn more love languages and how to express to you," or whatever.
Dedeker: Okay. I'm hoping that the situation is that you all talked about this at a time.
Jase: Yes, it's true.
Dedeker: Okay, because I could see someone really turned off by that too. I just want to defend that person, that one person. Maybe I'm that person, I don't know.
Jase: Sure. Maybe you're that person, I don't know. I think you have to think about it.
Emily: How dare you write this down like that.
Dedeker: How dare you.
Jase: That's fine. I feel like that comes from you being a very memory-privileged person.
Dedeker: That's an interesting phrase.
Jase: As someone who struggles a lot more with memory. For me, it's like the fact that I wrote it down, it shows that I care rather than for you. I think the fact that you didn't need to means that you care. I don't know.
Dedeker: No, I get it but to be fair, I was just saying I was taking the effort to write things down. I'm like, "Okay, I can see the care into that, okay, sure."
Jase: Okay. All right. We'll discuss it more at our next playback.
Jase: Okay. The last one we have here is that even if your partner has a dominant love language and you know it and you're like, "I got it," don't forget about the other ones too. Many people, there's like two that are up at the top, close to each other but even if they're not, it's useful to show your love in a variety of ways. Maybe like one love language kind of gets oversaturated and that then it becomes like all of a sudden, a gift is really meaningful because you've been getting a lot of quality time and a lot of touch and now all of a sudden, another level language that can be extra meaningful.
Emily: Spice some stuff up.
Jase: Yes, totally. Then just having conversations about then how specifically within that love language, that's meaningful for people.
Emily: We're going to talk a little bit more about this and specifically, our love languages and our test results because I was kind of like, "Maybe I need to take my test again," because some of it, I really agreed with and some of it, I was like, "Yes, I know it, whatever. I don't know about this top one."" We'll talk about that a little bit more in-depth in the bonus for those of you who are patrons and those of you who want to become a patron, you can check that out as well.