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Understanding Love Languages: A Guide for Lesbian Women

There is something distinctly hurtful about feeling unloved by your partner. Even though you share a life together, perhaps a home, even a child… when they cancel date night and you’ve been craving their company… it just stings, right?

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But the thing is, they don’t necessarily see date night as the only way to express their love. It’s possible that they cancelled date night because they see prioritising work events as a way to provide stability for your family, which is their version of expressing love.

For queer folks, it can be a challenge to articulate these feelings because we refuse to fall into the typical gender roles or lack examples of healthy relationships in our community. But one thing’s for sure; nothing pleases us lesbians more than an in-depth psychological analysis of our relationships.

So if you’re keen to open up a conversation with your partner about how you can deepen your emotional connection, let us give you the lowdown on love languages.

What is Love Language Theory?

Gary Chapman’s theory of love languages identifies five distinct ways that people express and perceive love: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. According to Chapman, each person has a core love language that speaks more deeply to them than the others.

Importance of Understanding Love Languages

If you could be given a loose instruction manual on how to make your partner feel valued, wouldn’t you want to at least have a flick through? We would. So as you explore your partner’s (and you’re own) love language, you’ll be equipped to show affection in ways that resonate most with them, which can prevent feelings of neglect and misunderstanding.

Fair warning though: they are not a one-size-fits-all solution, particularly in queer relationships. Critics argue that Chapman’s theory may generalise human behaviour without accounting for cultural, societal, and individual differences, suggesting a potentially ‘transactional’ view of relationships.

So with that small caveat in mind, think of love languages as a framework rather than rigid instructions, and allow for the fluidity of a more nuanced approach.

Identifying Your Love Language

Each of the five love languages represents a different way of expressing and receiving love. In no particular order, here they are:

Words of affirmation

Expressing affection through spoken words, praise, or appreciation. Compliments, please!

  • A good morning text message.
  • Genuine compliment about something you love about them.
  • Sticky notes with affirming words on the bathroom mirror or in unexpected places.

Acts of service 

Actions that ease your partner’s burdens, showing that you care through being helpful.

  • Without being asked, take on one of the chores they normally do.
  • Surprise them by completing a task on their to-do list.
  • Bring them a snack you know they love.

Receiving gifts

Some folks feel especially loved when they receive visual symbols of love, regardless of the price tag.

  • Make them a custom playlist 
  • Compile a photo album as a surprise gift.
  • Plan a date night they’ve mentioned wanting.

Quality time

This is all about giving your undivided attention to your partner.

  • Dedicate a specific time for uninterrupted one-on-one time.
  • Do an activity you both enjoy (scrolling phones in bed doesn’t count)
  • Plan a road trip together.

Physical touch

This can encompass a wide range of physical contact from holding hands to cuddling, all of which can create a sense of emotional security. 

  • Initiate hugs, kisses, or gentle touches throughout the day.
  • Hold hands while out in public.
  • Book a couples massage

Discovering Your Love Language

Think about the moments when you’ve felt most appreciated by a partner. Were they telling you how great you are, spending uninterrupted time with you, giving thoughtful gifts, helping you with tasks, or showing affection through touch? These moments can give you clues about your primary love language.

Also consider what you request most often from your partner or what you tend to complain about. If you’re always looking for hugs or wanting to hold hands, you might lean towards physical touch. If you feel hurt when your partner forgets a special day, receiving gifts could be your chosen language.

love languages flowers


Expressing Love Languages in Lesbian Relationships

In lesbian relationships, expressing and understanding love languages can be slightly different due to the nuances of the queer experience.

Words of affirmation might include affirming your partner’s identity and pronouns. Acts of service could mean supporting someone when they feel invalidated by a family member. Receiving gifts might involve sex toys that celebrate your partner’s pleasure or a Valentine’s card that defies traditional relationship norms.

Quality time could mean attending a Pride event together or simply enjoying activities that make you both feel comfortable and accepted. Physical touch, often laden with the weight of public scrutiny, can be a powerful expression of queer love in safe spaces.

Understanding your love languages – especially in the context of societal pressures queer folks face – can create a strong foundation of support and intimacy in a world that doesn’t want us to express love at all. 

Navigating Different Love Languages

It’s not uncommon for partners to have mismatched love languages, but don’t worry! It’s not a problem once you recognise the difference. Talk about what makes you feel loved and listen to your partner’s needs too. Then, take turns practising each other’s love languages. It’s about giving love how your partner wants to receive it, not just how you prefer to show it.

When you initiate this talk, choose a comfortable setting and time when you’re both relaxed and undistracted. Use “I” statements to express your feelings without making your partner feel defensive. For example, “I feel really special when you make me coffee in the morning,”  and encourage your partner to share their own experiences.

Through this mutual understanding, you’re able to preemptively address potential conflict. For instance, if you know your partner thrives on words of affirmation, you can make a conscious effort to compliment and appreciate them on the regular. 

Above all, try to be patient. No one becomes fluent in their partner’s love language overnight, so be kind and show appreciation for the effort, not just the outcome. Keep the dialogue open and if you feel like something isn’t working, discuss potential solutions together!

What is your love language?

Love,

Team Nonchalant x

Last Updated on 27th January 2024 by Nonchalant Magazine

Fiona Fletcher Reid
Fiona Fletcher Reid

Fiona is a two-time author and freelance writer with words published in the Metro, Grazia, Readers Digest and Happiful Magazine. She runs online writing groups, loves tarot, live music and poetry.

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