I am totally convinced that the 5 love languages are essential to qualifying a relationship. In fact, I think it’s the #1 key to a successful relationship. Forget all this stuff about honesty and respect. Although those are important, too. I’ll explain.
I wrote back in July how your love style can help or hinder you on dates. This was before I knew anything about the Chapman book. At that point I noticed how small conflicts in the way I communicated with my girlfriends could turn into huge issues down the road. But I didn’t have the vocabulary or the principles nailed down to really understand it. Then, Honey turned me onto Chapman in her post here, and I blogged about love styles (ie Love Languages) further when I wrote about insights from dating three chicks at once. Then I read the book. Now, I have a context and a way to quantify communication with my partner.
I took the love languages stuff further. I’ve been dating this new girl, Sarah, and on our third meetup I brought up the 5 Love Languages and how I figured we could determine if we’re compatible pretty much right away. I suspected we were pretty compatible (after all, it was the third date), but the conversation served several purposes. First, it confirmed what I suspected about our communication. Second, she was totally into the material, which was good, because we could both operate out of the same context. So now we understood, in a perfectly reasonable way, our strengths and weaknesses. We matched up very well in 4 out of 5 styles, and that last one, quality time, raised a flag for both of us. So definitely we were going to have to work on that, and maybe we’d have problems down the road. But maybe not.
Here was the conflict. I asked her to rank herself 1-10 on give & receive for all 5 love languages: Words of affirmation, touch, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. We matched up in everything but QT. She gave herself a 10/10 in quality time, that is a 10 in needing quality time and a 10 in her ability to give it. She even said that if 11 were a choice, she would have picked it for needing. I ranked myself as a 7 in need and 6 in giving for the same quality…although it’s probably closer to 5 if we’re not gonna bullshit around. As you can see, with her 10 (or 11) in need and my 6 (or 5) in giving, that is a potential problem area. The quality time conflict, btw, is something that has bitten me in the ass before.
Quick question for Honey: Was this a problem for us? I seem to recall we spent a lot of good quality time together. But it’s been a long time and I’m not sure.
Let me back up and explain. Here is the deal with me and Quality Time. I’m one of those brain focused types, where my mind is constantly whirling and spinning and going in circles. It is analyzing and processing and outputting ideas and crunching up the tasks I give it and the experiences of my life. My brain gets really tired each day, way before my body or my emotional center runs out of energy. WAY before. I have a finite amount of this mind energy, and that energy runs out after 3-4 hours. After that, I’m basically a zombie mentally. Once I’m in this low energy state, I have to recharge, and I do that by napping, reading, watching TV, or otherwise fucking around in private. After that I get pumped up again (mentally) and I can go for another chunk of time with high mental output.This makes me highly effective in bursts, but it means I need an atypical amount of downtime. What sucks is I’m rarely in sync with my girlfriends.
Here’s a real real example of what I’m talking about: I worked 10 hours today. Came home, totally exhausted. Couldn’t even muster the energy to respond to emails. Napped for three hours. Woke up, felt awesome, did freelance work and blogged until two in the morning. My girlfriend wasn’t here, but if she was, I wouldn’t have been able to take that huge nap and I would have been a zombie the whole night.
Incidentally, I think this is partially a Gemini trait and partially a trait of people who just happen to draw energy from their heads. I’m half baked on this theory, but I think people draw energy from one of three primary sources: head, physical, and heart. They all overlap somewhat, but there is a definite primary source. My last girlfriend, she was 100% heart centered. Honey, I think, is mostly head centered. Which is why we got along so well.
I am digressing. The effect this has is that I run out of mental energy for my girlfriends. Conversation becomes a HUGE chore and I’m not a lot of fun to be around while in this state. So I have this fear of being boring around my partners, true. But also when I’m around other people, I can’t recharge. I can’t get out of the low energy state. Because being around a girlfriend requires energy. And the low energy state is very unpleasant to be in. The consequence is I take the private time and lose the quality time with my girlfriends. And they get super pissed.
So I explained all of this to Sarah and she took it really well. She actually said she suspected that about me already, which is amazing because it was only our third date. Or maybe not because she’s intuitive.
I also said that I’m conscious of this issue and I’m actively looking for ways to spread the energy out and keep some in reserve for the times when I’m with my girl. And I am very willing to listen to solutions if anyone has ideas on how to deal with this. I have been thinking about meditation. She also said she can be needy sometimes, and it’s something she’s working on.
So that’s when I knew she was a keeper, because we can talk, and we can compromise. And she’s hot.
Talk about the 5 love languages right away and figure out if you’re compatible. If you’re not doing it, you’re dumb. I don’t see how anyone gets through a relationship without this stuff.
If you’re not dumb, you might also like these great posts: