One of the best things I think a couple can do is understand that they're different people... they're going to think differently, have different views on things, have different feelings, and they're going to love and need to be loved in different ways.
What one person might need from their partner could actually be a turn off to the other person.
Expecting someone to think like you and need the same things as you when they don't can cause a lot of issues in a relationship.
"Expectations are premeditated resentments."
This was super evident for myself after I read The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. It's a super quick and easy read and it's soooo good! It's very eye opening and instead of just giving you a theory, it actually discuses real world people and problems to help it all make sense and relatable to your own situation.
If you've never read the book, you can take the Love Languages quiz on their website here. Basically, there are 5 different Love Languages.... Act of Service, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Quality Time and Touch. You'll most likely be strong in a couple and weak in a couple, meaning, some will be the ways you feel loved, and some will not have the same effect.
For me, my primary Love Languages are Words of Affirmation, Touch and Quality Time. I'm almost evenly rated in all 3. This means that the way to show me you love me is by giving me words of affirmation, touch and quality time. I've very low in both Gifts and Acts of Service.
If I were dating someone whose primary Love Language was Acts of Service (which I've dated in the past), they're going to try to do things for me to show me they love me. This could be making the bed, cleaning up the house, taking care of little chores. The more love they want to show, the more they'll do. Unfortunately, since this isn't my love language, these acts won't have the desired affect on me. I may be left feeling unloved and they may be left feeling under appreciated and frustrated.
Since I'm Words of Affirmation, Touch and Quality Time, these little chores don't show me you love me, I need your time attention. My Love Languages may make me seem needy to someone who doesn't share the same needs as me, which is why it's so important to not only understand YOUR Love Languages, but also the Love Languages of the person you're with.
Before I read the Five Love Languages, I dated a guy whose primary language was Acts of Service. Instead of his actions showing me how much he cared, it actually had the opposite effect and I was wondering why he felt the need to clean or organize my apartment or do things that I could easily do myself. I'd get almost offended when he'd make my bed. I was feeling emotionally neglected because I wanted Quality Time with him, when he thought us sitting in front of the tv together, not talking, was spending time together.
We were speaking different languages.
Going into my next relationship, I wanted to attempt to keep these misunderstandings to a minimum, and really just not try to be a mind reader. I had just come off an amazing women's retreat to Cancun where a lot of the talk was about being very clear in what you need from others and what your expectations are.
There is nothing wrong with telling your partner, "This is exactly what I need from you." and hoping they will give you the same in return.
So this is what I created.... a super simplified worksheet to breakdown exactly what I need, and don't need, in my relationships and especially when I'm upset. For this to work, you obviously need a super one minded partner who is willing to give this a shot. You can both print out the blank copy below, fill them out, then share them with each other.
Just be prepared.... it may be super eye opening! It can also make you feel pretty vulnerable by sharing what you need to feel. For me, it was hard to admit that yes, I actually do want to feel wanted, needed and desired. Who wouldn't want that!? I feel like I was so stuck in that "independent woman, I don't need anyone, I can do it on my own" mindset for so long that I got away from my actual wants and needs. Lately I've really pulled back from that. Yes, I can still be a strong independent woman while also allowing myself to be feminine and vulnerable with a man. That doesn't make me any less strong. That doesn't make me any less of a power woman. That makes me human.
This has helped my current relationship a lot. When I'm upset about something, I basically need my Love Languages on steroids... I need to be smothered. My boyfriend on the other hand needs space to clear his thoughts. At first I was taking his space as pulling back and not showing me love. It's helped me a lot to understand that it's not personal, it's just the way we both function differently.
Here's what MY Love Needs worksheet looks like filled out, just to give you an idea of what I'm talking about....
Like everything else with personal development and change.... you can't fill this out and expect everything to all of a sudden be perfect. It takes time, understanding, and repetition. Print this worksheet, fill it out, give it to your partner, and revisit theirs often.
Give it time to work, remember, you're basically learning a new language!
If this has at all helped you, please share it with others and comment below! I'd love to hear from you.
Peace, Love, Glitter & F Bombs,
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Your girlfriends' guide to dating, sex and relationships in your 30's and 40's