This is episode 3, where we discuss love languages as created and developed in 1992 by Gary Chapman in his book “The Five Love Languages”, in which he outlines five ways that romantic partners experience and express love.
5 Love Languages main site:
5 Love Languages Quiz site:
A good article to help get you started:
Intro: Welcome to tricky fish, a conversation between a millennial daughter and her Gen X dad. Here’s your host, Rhiannon and Ian.
Rhiannon: So, whenever I meet someone new at work, or like anybody that I decide I want to have in my life as like a friend in any capacity.
Rhiannon: One of the very first conversations I have with them is about how words of affirmation are one of my primary giving love languages, because I’ll use work as an easy example. At work, I will actively hand out compliments left and right. Like if I see someone do something good. Like they’re doing their job well, I tell them all the time, because words of affirmation are a way that I give love to people. And I feel like everyone needs more compliments. However, I recognize that not everyone has been in an environment in their life where they get that.
Rhiannon: So if you are not used to being bombarded with positive things; Paul, for example. We reached a compromise eventually, where when I’m feeling particularly lovey, I will ask if he has the spoons to receive my love. And that way he can tell me like, Yes, he’s in a headspace for it or no. If yes, then I limit myself to three things at that moment. Because with him, he grew up in a very, not loving environment.
Rhiannon: We’ll suffice that to say, and he gets so overwhelmed that he gets like imposter syndrome, where he just starts getting anxiety, thinking that he’s not good enough for me or that I’m going to leave him or all these negative things. And I recognize that words of affirmation are not everyone else’s love language. But because it is one of mine, I am inclined to just give out positive feedback.
Rhiannon: So at work, I tell my new partners like, “hey, if this makes you uncomfortable, please let me know and I’ll tone it down.” Otherwise, I hand it out. And usually more often than not, people are so accustomed to rudeness and a lack of empathy and kindness that it makes them uncomfortable at first because they’re like, “why am I suddenly getting this feedback? Why is this suddenly, What did I do to deserve this kind of thing?” and then eventually, they start to internalize it. And I’ve seen an entire vibe change with everyone in my store, just from the year that I’ve worked here, from when I started to now, like the energy has gotten a lot better, because people actually believe in their capabilities. And we’re a much better functioning team.
Ian: I think that’s motivational. I mean, if you’re working in an environment where you feel appreciated, and your efforts are acknowledged, I feel like that makes a person want to work harder for that employer.
Rhiannon: Well, yes, but I mean, this is a conversation I have with literally anyone, I just used work as an easy example-
Rhiannon: – cause it’s like a neutral environment. The reason that I bring those up is because you can feel like you are loving someone with all of your heart, and with everything that you have, and they might not feel it, because you might not have the same love languages. But people don’t talk about them or don’t really do research into them to really understand what that is, and not a lot of people know that you can have different love languages for how you give and for how you receive.
Rhiannon: And so a lot of the times when I talk to my friends, or like when I see things online about relationship issues, a lot of it is like “I don’t understand what I can do to make him understand that I love her/him/whatever”. And more often than not, it’s just not being aware of each other’s love languages. And so of course, you’re not going to be feeling the love and you’re going to be feeling like you’re giving all this energy for nothing. And then both people being frustrated. And then the relationship crumbles,
Ian: When I knew that this episode was going to be about love languages, up to that point, I had heard about them in a general sense; didn’t really pay much attention to them. I kind of felt like we are always trying to find the magic formula for whatever. So the magic formula that will help us lose and keep weight off, the magic formula that will help us to build muscle mass so we look like superheroes or whatever.
Rhiannon: The shortcuts!
Ian: The shortcuts, right. And I felt like this is just kind of another long line of shortcuts. Because as old as I am, I remember like, kind of some of the different things that would go on. During one timeframe, the big thing was, “men are from Mars, women are from Venus.” And the whole concept-
Ian: Yeah, that’s what it was called. And the whole concept, childhood, right?
Rhiannon: Yeah, I remember a childhood rhyme too.
Ian: I won’t ask what it is because we’ll keep this clean; but tell me after. so. So with men are from Mars, women are from Venus. The whole kind of thing behind that was men spoke a different language than women spoke, and you just had to learn the other person’s language. And if Martians could learn Venusian language and vice versa, then you’d be able to communicate.
Rhiannon: I mean, that theory still kind of applies to what I’m saying though, like learning each other’s languages.
Ian: Right, and I’ll get there, I’ll get there. In that, I want to come at This with at least some degree of knowledge. So when I went and looked it up, the one of the things that I found out about this that totally blew me away was that love languages, which I had only heard about recently, like within the last year, so I still kind of didn’t really know what it was. I thought it was a relatively recent thing. But it turns out that it was first written in 1992.
Rhiannon: Yeah, it’s older than me. The concept has existed longer than I have. laughs
Ian: Yeah. And but it was saying that it was written by a Dr. Chapman, Gary Chapman, who just started noticing a pattern between the couples that he was doing counseling sessions with. And based on this, he determined that they weren’t speaking the partner’s love language. And because of that, it was leading to resentment and feeling misunderstood, and stuff like that. You see, so that’s when I’m saying like, “Okay, so what’s the difference between this and say, ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus?”
Rhiannon: I think that’s essentially just a more mythical way of saying it. But in reality, I don’t think it boils down to a male versus female perspective, it’s more of a: You have to do the work to understand what your needs are. And then you also have to do the work to communicate those needs to your partner. And then your partner also has to be in a space where they’ve done the work to understand what their needs are, and then have figured them out enough to communicate that to you. So it just requires a lot of work on both parts that not a lot of people are willing to do. Not necessarily,not a lot of people are willing to do. It’s just that sometimes it’s intimidating to take a task like that on, especially because a lot of people like look at things that they’ve done in their past, they’re like, “well, I felt guilty about this”, or “this relationship didn’t work out because of whatever reason”. When realistically, if we took the time to understand what we needed enough to then communicate that to another partner, and then find a partner that actually met those needs, while they were also giving you that same information so you could evaluate if you were able to meet those. Because realistically, like right now, for example, I just started talking to a new gentleman. And yesterday, I asked him what his primary love languages were. Because for me, they are- my receiving is physical touch, acts of service and words of affirmation. So doing things for me like taking the trash out, or driving or like… something like that,
Rhiannon: -makes me feel loved. Because you’re doing something to make my life easier, like you’re thinking of me and like making my life a little bit easier and doing something for me.
Rhiannnonn: Words of affirmation: I love being told what you love about me, or that I’m cute, whatever, it feels nice, lay it on me. Right?
Rhiannon: But if you’re somebody who has a hard time articulating how you feel, words of affirmation are not going to be easy for you. So then at that point, you have to ask 1. Am I willing to push myself out of my comfort zone to learn how to do words of affirmation for this person? Do I feel like that would be beneficial? Do I think it’s worth it? Do I feel like I’m capable? Because if you’re having this honest conversation, then you can better decide if you should even pursue a partner. The biggest challenge that Paul and I have is that he is on the spectrum, so he doesn’t do physical touch. Physical touch with my primary love language. So that was a struggle for us. Because when I first met him, he would flinch if I touched him because of his upbringing. So for someone who exists touching other creatures, which is why I have cats that just lay on me all the time.
Ian: I feel like you need to learn boundaries. laughs
Rhiannon: -you know. So we’ve had to learn where his limit is. So that I know like, ‘this is where he’s comfortable, this is how much he can tolerate cuddling, and I appreciate it while I can get it’ kind of thing. And that was a conversation we eventually had. But when we first got together, there were conversations where I was like, “Don’t you love me, you never cuddle me and you never touch me or play with my hair”. And I felt neglected. Because the one thing that I needed, he wasn’t able to give me and we weren’t able to articulate it properly.
Ian: So two things. I’ll ask both questions, and then you can answer it.
Ian: So the first thing is, knowing your love languages do you need to have a partner that has the same love languages? And then the second thing is, it seems like you guys don’t have the same love languages. So how did you navigate that to A) learn it and B) come to some kind of way where you’re meeting each other’s needs?
Rhiannon: Well, I honestly- the answer to both those questions is kind of polyamory for us. We weren’t always polyamorous though. That’s a more recent thing. We’ve been together, this October will be seven years, so I’ve only been seeing other people for like the last two? But at first it was a lot of conversations of like “I don’t understand why this- why I can’t get cuddles. I don’t understand why this is happening”. And he’s like “I’m cuddling you!?” because the thing about your personal needs and limits versus what you want to do for your partner is that, Paul loves me so much that he’s not going to tell me that he’s overstimulated. Or that he can’t stand being touched anymore, that he needs space or that he needs quiet because he loves me so much that he will cuddle me as long as I will ask him to. But because I love him, and I want to respect his boundaries, I’ve done a lot of actively trying to communicate with him and be like, “how do you feel right now? Is this okay? How are you feeling at this moment? Do you mind if I do this?” And I try to be proactive about how much I’m touching him. Just so that like, I’m getting the loves also, his meter has gotten much, much, much, much bigger since our beginning of our relationship. And we’d cuddle all the time now. So that has gotten better from flinching to now.
Rhiannon: But even then, he still has medical problems that kind of just make him feel like garbage all the time. And nobody wants to cuddle or do anything when they feel bad. They just want to sleep in like cocoon, you know, so
Rhiannon: at that point, I had to have a discussion of either we have to break up, or I have to have other partners as well. And it was a very stupid and Rocky and chaotic path to polyamory. But we
Ian: that’s actually not uncommon.
Rhiannon: sigh I- I’m so disappointed in the way that I handled things. But he’s an incredible man. And we decided to work it out and start over and moved up here to our new mystery location.
Rhiannon: And we just had this commitment of like-
Ian: That’s where we live at the mystery locations.
Rhiannon: Yeah, a mystery gang has some kind of copyright on the other part of it.
Ian: laughs The Hideout.
Rhiannon: Yeah, but anyway. But it just became a conversation of like, we can’t not talk about this stuff. Now. Like we have to address these issues. If we’re going to keep going, we can’t keep tiptoeing around these issues,
Rhiannon: -and what our needs and desires are. And I think that’s one thing I love about the fact that he’s on the spectrum. He’s so direct with me that he’s just like, “Can you just tell me, like what you need? What what are we doing, like, just- just lay it out for me”
Ian: Let me tell you, as a guy, that would be so much easier.
Rhiannon: I love that. I absolutely love that I wish everyone could communicate as directly with me as Paul does. And essentially, we just kind of found out where our limits are. We tried to be proactive about those. But that’s when we decided to do polyamory. And I have had successful other relationships that were able to kind of fill in the blanks where he wasn’t. And it also though, the thing I love about polyamory is that it takes off the pressure because the fact that one need isn’t being met, isn’t cancelled out. All the good things that are still being met isn’t cancelled out by the one that isn’t, is what I meant to say.
Rhiannon: So I can still enjoy the good things, “I can have my cake and eat it too” kind of thing, right? You know, I’m selfish like that.
Ian: So I understand the concept of polyamory, polyamororous myself. But people listening to this, there’s gonna be people that aren’t. And so they’re going to be monogamous. For whatever reason, they don’t want to risk, that’s just them.
Rhiannon: Which is totally valid.
Rhiannon: No judgement.
Ian: Right, absolutely valid. We’re not judging anybody. We think that all relationship styles are valid as long as it’s between consenting adults and everybody’s living their best life. But that said, like, how would love languages help somebody in that situation when they’re in a monogamous (relationship)?
Rhiannon: Honestly, I think the rule still applies. I think that you should still have that conversation with yourself first. So I’ll just use a super easy example. Let’s say that my primary love language is physical touch, but somebody else’s primary love language is gift giving. That would not work for me. Because the fact that we were so financially insecure, growing up,
Rhiannon: Anyone buying things for me instantly makes me anxious. Like, I feel incredibly guilty, the more expensive it is, the worst I feel. It just does not do anything good for me. Now, if it were like you made something for me handmade, then gift giving then Hell yeah! But if it’s monetary, you spent $5,000 on something for me, I would feel terrible. Because money means so much more to me than this one item like-
Rhiannon: I could buy a car for $5,000. And you just bought me this one thing.
Rhiannon: I would, I would feel terrible. So at that point, if I meet somebody, and like we’re clicking really well. And I asked them this question, and they tell me it’s gift giving, then at that point, I know that we’re not compatible. No matter how much I really enjoy our connection or conversation; romantically, long term, it would not work. I would consistently feel like garbage. And then I – with I also being also financially insecure right now, so I cannot match gift giving. And I feel like- a part, I always try to be a partner that at least matches the energy that I’m getting.
Rhiannon: And if someone’s going to repeatedly shower me and gifts, I’m going to feel obligated to give them back. It’s going to stress me out. It’s going to cost money I don’t have, it’s gonna put strain on the relationship that it just doesn’t need to be there.
Ian: Right. And I just realized that we have not even talked about the five different-
Ian: -ones, we just been kind of all over the place.
Rhiannon: We’ve been talking about why it’s important, and like in what context. These are still important things to get to, these are basics.
Ian: Okay, but I just want the listener to know that, we do know. We’re just kind of going over the basics, we will hone in to those here in just a moment. So in your example, for monogamy; so basically, what you’re doing is up front, determining that you’re not going to be compatible by that person. So by that token, it sounds like what you’re saying is, you’re actually potentially just completely not even getting to the point of having your heart broken.
Rhiannon: Exactly. Because here’s the thing, I want to tweak a little bit of the summary there. So with this conversation that we’re having, I personally would make the decision that somebody with gift giving as a primary love language wouldn’t work for me, because I don’t think I could maintain that. As a partner, I don’t find myself capable of fulfilling that love language. And so I’m just gonna say like, right out of the gate, “I don’t even want to get your hopes up. Because I don’t think I’m capable of doing that, not because I don’t want to, not because I don’t care or would hypothetically have those feelings. But because knowing myself, knowing how I process love, knowing how I show love, I personally couldn’t meet that need for you. And I don’t even want to waste your time.” And then at that point, you don’t even have to necessarily stop talking to them, you are allowed to have friends of any gender,
Rhiannon: You’re allowed to seek close relationships with people that you don’t sleep with, or don’t pursue romantically or like long term, nothing sexual has to be involved at all. And in that case, my friend Leo, for example. One of his primary love languages, gift giving, but we’re not romantically inclined at all. And so when he gives me gifts or like things he finds it hot topic or like something at the mall, or like not like no romantic pressure of any kind. It was simply just he was out and about and saw something. And he thought of me and he’s a sweetheart, and he gets it for me. And I return the favor. If I find something that’s cute, that makes me think of him, I give it for him too. But there’s literally no romantic pressure behind it at all. It’s just friends, being friends, you can still have that closeness and that intimacy without having the fact that your romantic partner wouldn’t be able to meet that need. And that’s where you have to be like, “Am I willing to put that effort in?” And if so then hell yeah, give it a try. If you think that you could do that. Hell yeah. But if you realistically No, I could not. Then save yourself the trouble,save yourself the friendship. Because like, I have several exes that I loved our friendship before we started sleeping together. That made everything so complicated; trying to build a life together, knowing that we weren’t good together, ruined it.
Ian: You were never able to get past that?
Rhiannon: I’m open to friendship for all of my ex’s, but I respect that they might not be so I don’t reach out or like bother them or anything.
Ian: I gotcha.
Rhiannon: But it’s also like, I could have been- they could be somebody that’s in my life now as like an actual friend, a support network, somebody that I just have, versus being Somebody That I Used to be with.
Ian: Sometimes you gotta take that risk, though.
Ian: Because what if it did turn into be like so much more?
Ian: I do like what you were saying, though. I like the fact that in your scenario, you told them like it was likely not gonna work out. But you gave them a reason for that.
Rhiannon: Exactly. It’s not the bullshit, “It’s not you, it’s me”. It’s honestly saying based on the information that you and I have provided each other, I just don’t think this would be a good thing to pursue that direction. I think it could go bad. But if you’re willing to take the risk, if you think the good things outweigh that, that little misfiring there, hell yeah. Still give it a try if the good outweighs the bad, absolutely, but if that need is big enough that having it not met would be detrimental to the relationship, why even do it?
Ian: And I like that approach because you’re actually going in armed with knowledge, you’re able to make a choice and you’re able to have a more fully realized consent by knowing that that’s the thing. So if I know the woman is not into- she’s just not in the gift giving, because receiving gifts is one of the love languages, but giving gifts isn’t-
Rhiannon: No, it’s one of the same; gifts is like one category,
Ian: Oh, okay.
Rhiannon: Both giving and receiving.
Rhiannon: So actually, this will be a good spot to go over what all of them are because I keep dropping a bunch of them and just randomly, so for the people who may not know the book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate-
Ian: Real quick before you go, I just want to make sure people know even though we’re talking about this, this does not imply that we fully support or endorse this.
Rhiannon: Well no, but let me get to what I was saying.
Ian: Okay. I’m just-
Rhiannon: This is where the term “Love Languages” comes from. Before that, the verbiage for this conversation did not exist. So think about all the relationship dynamics that we’ve seen before that the marriages were crumbling for whatever reason, but they stayed together because you know, divorce is taboo, whatever. Think about how those dynamics could have changed if the verbiage for this conversation had existed, first off. Second, it was published in 1992 by a guy named Gary Chapman, I myself had never read it. But I have done extensive research on the internet and read a bunch of other things. And I’m pretty well acquainted and very passionate about it, obviously, because I talk about it with literally everyone but the five love languages that he coins are acts of service, gift giving (but I would call it just gifts in general), physical touch, quality, time and words of affirmation. The thing about this idea is that it gets the conversation started, which I love, but people also don’t understand how personalized these can be. So I’ll use words of affirmation for an example. There’s the very obvious compliments, “I think you’re great” or “you’re very beautiful”, or whatever. Like there’s the very obvious-
Rhiannon: -whatever. But to me, poetry, a story that makes you think of me, somebody like when people send me songs, especially if there’s lyrics to it, I’m like, ‘do these lyrics mean anything?’ And most of the time, like, people know that because this is my one of my love languages. If someone sends me a song with lyrics, I’m like listening to it to decipher whatever message they’re trying to send me. Like, those all count as words of affirmation to me.
Rhiannon: Because it’s still using words to convey the emotional idea of how they feel about me or what have you. So like, it doesn’t necessarily have to just be limited; Paul isn’t super words of affirmation-y until like, he’s very much worked on it, and is very much better about it now. But at one point, the way that he would show that to me as he would recite Edgar Allen poetry, Edgar Allan Poe poetry to me from memory.
Ian: I’m here for it.
Rhiannon: He would just looking at me and just start saying poems. And I would take that any day over just being told that I’m beautiful, you know?
Ian: That’s very romantic too.
Rhiannon: So if you’re, if your partner is coming to you and being like, “babe, words of affirmation are my jam”, and you don’t feel comfortable being like, ‘you are beautiful, you’re amazing’, If you have a hard time articulating it yourself, you don’t necessarily have to. You can straight up, find those words somebody else has written and just commit to it and say it to her, so that she understands your feeling behind it. I’m totally making these gendered and I’m so sorry- to your partner! you know, but like words of affirmation, you can be creative! Every love language is like that, it’s customizable to the person. It doesn’t have to be this like black and white textbook definition.
Ian: I feel like I’m gonna go memorize The Raven. And then when I’m dating a girl, I’m just gonna look at her across the table and just be like, “once upon a midnight dreary, while I ponder weak and weary, awe yeah.”
Rhiannon: So, do you want to know about mine and Paul’s first date actually?
Ian: Yeah, sure.
Rhiannon: So like, we’ll fast forward, we had just been like, we had met in person a couple times, but mostly talking on like Facebook Messenger or whatever. And then decided to have this date where he packed a couple different cheeses and some red wine because I was discovering if I liked wine or not, at this point in my life, and like a basket for us take a picnic together. It was October, we went on a picnic in Washington, that was a risk; but it was okay. But we sat down and like at this point, we’d already talked about our favorite authors. I like Shakespeare, and we both like Poe, and he brought a book of the Poe’s works. And I was like, “so read something to me”. And then he just looked at me, and he recited A Dream Within A Dream; didn’t even open the book or anything. He just looked at me, made eye contact the whole time, which if anyone knows anybody on the spectrum, you know how difficult that is. And he recited A Dream Within A Dream.
Ian: And you just melted?
Rhiannon: I did. We’ve been together ever since.
Rhiannon: And when I proposed to him, I recited it back to him.
Ian: That’s awesome.
Rhiannon: Yeah. So I mean, that’s, that’s what I’m saying though. Like, just because words of affirmation sounds just like compliments or whatever, that doesn’t necessarily have to be what it is. And like one of my friends, Risa, she makes playlists; whole Spotify playlists. So like song titles that line up to be what she’s saying or like the lyrics or like the vibe of the song. You can be really creative.
Ian: Wow, that’s like old school mixtapes.
Rhiannon: I know, but it’s on Spotify! How awesome is that?!
Ian: Nice. So, we covered the words of affirmation, which just means that they enjoy. Kind words and encouragement, uplifting quotes, love notes, cute text messages, Edgar Allan Poe poems. And we talked about gifts, receiving gifts or gift giving. But we also have quality time, physical touch and acts of service. I think you touched on physical touch with the cuddling.
Rhiannon: Yeah, but physical touch is more than that. So to people that physical touch isn’t a primary love language, cuddling is what they think of. To people who count it, simple things like: just rubbing my shoulder as you walk by or playing with my hair as you walk by, or like rubbing my ear or scratching my back when we’re watching TV together, or sitting with your hand on my leg in the car, or holding my hand when we’re walking in the grocery store, just being in contact in some form or another.
Rhiannon: Or like when you’re sitting at a restaurant, just having your legs touching; just being in close contact with somebody counts to people that want physical touch. So it doesn’t have to be constant, undivided attention like intense cuddling, it could literally just be existing next to each other like reading or scrolling on your phone. I can’t even tell you how many times Paul and I have been like just laying on our bed cuddling, Scar’s been at the desk on her computer. And she just turns and she’s like, “I love that we’re all just chillin in the room on our different devices right now existing together. This is cool.” To her, that’s her quality time when we’re all just vibing. And then Paul and I, technically our legs are touching while we’re laying next to each other on the bed or whatever but we’re not actively engaged. And we’re all doing our own thing and still being able to get our like, our love needs met.
Ian: Nice. So you did kind of cover the quality time there. Quality times more than just like maybe sitting in the same room though, right?
Rhiannon: Yes. So that’s where intentional quality time comes into it. And that was another problem for Paul and I too. Because with him being on the spectrum, he really likes his space and just likes to be able to exist. And I totally get that, I’m right there with him. But the fact that we live together, he thinks that counts as quality time because we’re together all the time.
Ian: Uh, hint people: that doesn’t count. No.
Rhiannon: Yeah. So for me quality time is: we’re intentionally watching this movie together because we’re trying to do an activity together to spend quality time.
Ian: So is that just for turning the TV on and counting it? Or does that mean that you’re actively trying to figure out what you want to watch together?
Rhiannon: It depends on what it means for you. For Paul and I specifically it’s things like, I recently went and saw the new Demon Slayer movie with some friends from work, and I am into anime now. But once I went and did that, he was like, “okay, so I found this, this and this. Let’s watch it together.” So then we decided to sit down and watch the show together. Because I watched the movie, now I wanted the context for everything. And we like intentionally sat down and watched it together. And we would pause it if one of us left the room kind of thing versus us just existing in the same room.
Ian: Yeah, gotcha.
Rhiannon: So right now COVID makes it so that that’s the dynamic we have to be in. But like going to the movies is a good example of quality time. Going out to dinner together, going on a walk, which is free. Because once I realized I was mentioning things like cost money, but like literally just having intentional focused time together is what quality time means for somebody who has that love language.
Ian: So basically, you’re existing in the same-
Ian: Not just the same physical space, but the same mental and emotional space.
Rhiannon: Yeah. So like, imagine you’re on a road trip.
Rhiannon: That would be quality time. Because you’re sitting in that environment. It’s the two of you, three, four, whatever. It’s this group, having each other’s undivided attention and being like in that moment together.
Ian: Okay, gotcha.
Rhiannon: So like, that’s like a metaphorical situation. I’m not saying that’s the only way to get quality time. But the point is, like, in this metaphor, if you were all in the car, and everyone was on their own device, not talking to each other, no interaction of any kind, that’s not quality time. That’s just carpooling.
Ian: It’s referring-
Rhiannon: It’s intentional.
Ian: Yes, that’s what’s gonna go for. Yeah. Okay. And then finally, the last one is acts of service.
Rhiannon: So acts of service is actually one for me. Because I feel part of it comes from the people pleasing as like a trauma response, where I also grew up with the idea that I was only lovable as long as I was being useful. So to me, I ask people, ‘is there anything I can do to help you? Is there anything I can do to make you feel more loved? Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?’ I’m always asking if there’s anything I can do, because acts of service for me are how I feel loved. But also, I’m always doing so much for other people that when someone takes the time to do something for me, I really appreciate that they did that.
Rhiannon: You know what I mean?
Ian: Right, right.
Rhiannon: I’m trying to think of an easy example. Actually, this morning, Paul knew that I had to go to work and then I had to go to an appointment thing, and then I had to come home and then Scar and I were going to go to the mall and then come back home. So he knew that I was going to need the bag and the fully charged bike and like everything set up so when I woke up this morning, everything was fully installed and charged, ready to go. The helmets were ready, that backpack was ready. My cup was clean and in a spot like everything was set up. To me. That was an act of service because that was so many little tasks that I would have had to do this morning-
Rhiannon: ‘Cause I was not going to do it, in like a responsible timeframe. So like, it would have been so many tasks that I had to do. And also, I still forgot to take a mask to work this morning, though, even though. Even the fact that he did all those acts of service, I still forgot something. But he was so thoughtful, and I love and appreciate it and I feel so loved and so taken care of, because he thought about all of that for me and did it without me having to ask.
Ian: And so he-
Rhiannon: It’s intentional.
Ian: He did all that. But he did not have a mask for you.
Rhiannon: No, the masks are hanging right by the door that’s on me. They’re like right by the door.
Ian: All right. No, but there’s a reason for this. I’m not pointing it out. Like ‘he didn’t get you a mask’. That’s not, that sucks. So when you see all that even though there’s not a mask there, yes there’s a mask by the door. You’re choosing to focus on all the other stuff that he did do, and not that little thing that he didn’t do.
Rhiannon: Oh, yeah. I mean, I didn’t even think about it that way. laughs Yeah, but I mean, I suppose if I had a more negative mindset, then that’s probably what my mind- like what my mind could have. Not me specifically, because I don’t think I’ve ever been that. Maybe I have I don’t know, I’ve been toxic before. And I’m aware of it. I’m sorry, guys. But anyway, I yeah, I was just really grateful for everything that he did, because I got up expecting to have to get all this stuff ready and I took my time meditating this morning, and I was a little bit late. And that’s why I forgot that mask because I was in a rush already trying to get the stuff.
Rhiannon: And then realize that everything was already taken care of, I started in a moment of panic. And then I got to have this moment of like, “ exhaleit’s okay, he thought about me, and he got me and he took care of me”. And then I had everything else for the rest of my day, I was set. And luckily, work has masks that we can use, like the throwaway one single use ones. So I had a mask throughout the day, and everything was fine.
Ian: Because I know not speaking about love languages, specifically, just relationships in general. Because I have been in relationships where I was the guy that was like Paul. I got up, I got the coffee ready, I got the whatever ready. And there’d be that one thing I didn’t remember. And then she would just be all about how I didn’t remember that one thing, and not even acknowledge all the other that happened. So enough times of trying to do that, and then messing something up, and just that’s all that they focus, I kind of just shut down was like, Okay, I’m not gonna do that anymore. Because I don’t feel-
Rhiannon: That’s a pretty common response. And Paul told me that he’s had that same response with past partners as well, that had that same reaction. And I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, and say that it’s possible that you guys had different love languages. But being so petty to be so angry about one thing, despite all the other things that were done, makes me think that there was more of a traumatic mindset, and they weren’t coming from a place of love.
Ian: And that’s entirely possible. But I mean, like, in this case, if you’re- if one of your things was acts of service-
Rhiannon: If you came to me, and you were like, “so they they flip out about the one thing I forget and don’t even care about the rest I would do”, I would tell you to leave them.
Ian: Okay, sure. But what I’m saying is that, like, if you are… I’m trying to figure out how to articulate this; if one of your love languages is the acts of service,
Rhiannon: Giving or receiving?
Ian: I’m guessing maybe receiving.
Rhiannon: Okay, so like in the question, you’re asking me, it’s in the perspective of ‘people doing things for you makes you feel loved’, or that you’d like or that ‘you do things for people that you love, because you love them’?
Ian: I’m not really sure. In this case, Paul had done all that stuff for you.
Ian: Okay. didn’t have the face mask with it. Okay, again, not finding fault with that myself personally, either. But there are people that would look at that and be like, “Oh, you didn’t include a mask, I didn’t have a mask”, and they’d be focused on that. So if somebody’s being that negative about it, seeing the one thing that didn’t get done versus the 10 things that did get done? Is that a situation where their love language is acts of service? Or is that something where maybe that’s a situation that is not their love language?
Rhiannon: That’s what I was actually just trying to articulate to actually, it’s possible that it could be that the love languages don’t line up, that as possible. But that’s why I was saying with the reaction, I don’t think that it’s coming from a place of love. Because if acts of service is your love language at all, and someone does something for you, even if it’s half assed; I’ll get to work and my co-worker will be like, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t get this task, whatever, whatever. But I did get this done”. I’m so grateful for the things that didn’t get done, because that makes my life easier already, then as opposed to if none of them of were done.
Ian: Ah, okay, I gotcha.
Rhiannon: You know what I mean? As acts of service being a way that I feel taken care of, anything even half assed stuff, if you are wholeheartedly trying, that’s what counts. Okay, so if somebody is going above and beyond to do 10, out of 11 things for you, you would still be super grateful. And then on top of being grateful for the 10 things, you’d be like, ‘wow, I don’t think You remember one home dope for me!’
Ian: I get it. Okay. All right. All right.
Rhiannon: You know?
Ian: Yeah, that makes sense.
Rhiannon: So it’s just like, imagine a to do list for the day and you have like 50 things and you’re like, overwhelmed as hell looking at all 50 things and someone comes in is like, ‘you know what, I got the bottom half’. How much more relieved? Are you gonna feel?
Rhiannon: That’s what acts of service feels like as a love language.
Ian: Alright, well, I did notice that on the official website for this, which is like fivelovelanguages. com there was a link there for a quiz. And they have a few different quizzes.
Rhiannon: Yeah, do you wanna do it?
Ian: Yeah, since I’ve never done it, it’d be interesting. Just kind of go through and just see what it says for me.
Rhiannon: Okay, let me get it pulled up. By the way, we’re not sponsored.
Ian: Yeah, we’re not sponsored.
Rhiannon: Okay, so do you want to do a singles quiz? It says begin couples, children’s, teen or singles?
Ian: I think we should do single.
Ian: Because I think if we did couples, it would be asking us and it’s like, that’d be a little weird-
Rhiannon: That would definitely be weird.
Ian: -for a parent/children trying to figure it out.
Rhiannon: Okay, so I have for gender I have male, female or prefer not to say.
Ian; We’ll go with male.
Rhiannon: Okay. Age, I know that answer so we’ll leave it alone. You live in the US. Have you read the book?
Rhiannon: Okay. So the first one is, it’s more meaningful to me when someone I love sends a loving note text email for no special reason or a hug someone I love.
Ian: Okay, so my choices are either hug someone I love. Or if someone randomly sends me a nice text message. I’d say probably the text message.
Rhiannon: Yeah, I was gonna say you text me every morning. So I would say that.
Ian: I do.
Rhiannon: I love that. So like no judgment.
Ian: That was something that we figured out. That was kind of, in a way a love language kind of thing, even though we weren’t.
Rhiannon: Yeah, words or affirmation.
Ian: I was being more standoffish and I thought I was doing the right thing. And you really wanted me to be more involved and more communicative. So yeah,
Rhiannon: But look, I recognized the need that I had enough to be able to verbalize it and communicate it to you. And then you took that information and decided whether or not you were capable of fulfilling that need, decided that you at least wanted to try and you did great.
Rhiannon: And continue to do great.
Ian: All right. All right. Okay.
Rhiannon: Just exactly what I was already talking about. We are already doing it. So next one is: it’s more meaningful to me when I can spend alone time with someone I love, just us or someone I love, just something practical to help me out.
Ian: I would definitely have to go with someone doing something practical to help me out.
Rhiannon: I feel it. Okay. It’s more meaningful to me when someone I love gives me a little gift as a token of our love of concern for each other or I get to spend uninterrupted leisure time with those I love.
Ian: Oh, I’d probably… I probably go with being able to spend the leisure time. Just simply because gifts for me; if somebody gives me a gift, like that’s great. I appreciate the token, but pretty much almost anything that somebody could give me as a gift I could probably just purchase myself.
Rhiannon: Yeah, I think at a certain point in adulthood, we’ve reached that point.
Rhiannon: Like why do you buy things for other people?
Ian: Well, and for most of my life, when somebody has given me something, they’ve either usually asked for it back later
Rhiannon: Or they used it against you?
Ian: Or they used it against you, exactly.
Ian: So I’m like, Okay, if I just don’t get gifts…
Rhiannon: That’s the other thing that makes me so insecure about gift receiving. It’s exactly that.
Ian: Largely it, and for me, the other thing is the thing. If you give me a $5,000 gift, I feel like I have to return that favor.
Ian: And that’s just too much.
Rhiannon: Gift giving just isn’t for you, or gift receiving just isn’t for you either. I totally get it. But like if it was a handmade thing, it would be different, right?
Ian: Oh, yeah.
Rhiannon” Because of the intention.
Ian: Intention does play a large part in that. Yeah.
Rhiannon: Okay, next one. It’s more meaningful to me when someone I love does something unexpected for me to help me with a project or I can share an innocent touch with someone I love.
Ian: Definitely the first one.
Rhiannon: The project?
Ian: Yeah, cause that ties in with doing something that would help me out.
Rhiannon: Yeah. Okay, so more meaningful when someone I love puts their arm around me in public or surprises me with a gift.
Ian: Definitely the first one that I’m in public.
Rhiannon: The arm in public?
Rhiannon: I love PDA. More meaningful when I’m around someone I love Even if we’re not really doing anything, or I can be comfortable holding hands high fiving or putting my arm around someone I love.
Ian: Definitely the first one.
Rhiannon: Okay, see?! Cats, coexisting! I tell you!
Rhiannon: It’s more meaningful to me when I receive a gift from someone I love or I hear from someone I love that they love me.
Ian: Can you repeat that?
Rhiannon: So either I get a gift or someone tells me they love me.
Ian: Tells me they love me. And I know that listeners will probably hear that thing about the cat. And kind of be like, “what? they weren’t talking about cats. “
Rhiannon: The cats episode!
Ian: There is a cats and dogs episode. That’s the episode before this. So feel free to go back and listen to that and then that comment will totally make sense.
Rhiannon: Okay, it’s more meaningful when I sit close to someone I love or I’m complimented by someone I love for no apparent reason.
Ian: I would go with that second one.
Rhiannon: Okay, when I get the chance to just hang out with Someone or unexpectedly get small gifts from someone.
Ian: The first one.
Rhiannon: I hear someone I love tell me I’m proud of you or someone I love helps me with a task.
Ian: Helps me with a task.
Rhiannon: I get to do things with this person or I hear supportive words from them.
Ian: What was the first one?
Rhiannon: You get to do things with them?
Ian: Yeah, go with that one.
Rhiannon: Someone I love does things for me instead of just talking about doing nice things. I feel connected to someone I love through a hug.
Ian: First one for sure.
Rhiannon: Okay, I hear praise from someone I love or someone I love gives me something that shows they were thinking about me. So praise or gifts,
Ian: Probably in that case, would probably be the gift.
Rhiannon: Okay, I’m able to just be around someone I love or I get a back rub from them.
Ian: I never get back rubs. I’ll go with the first one.
Rhiannon: I know. But would you like to get back rubs?
Ian: I would love to get a back rub!
Rhiannon: Okay. Well then why? Okay. Would that make you feel love to get back rub?
Ian: I think of some- sure. If somebody was, if I was with somebody and they decided to give me a back rub. Yes. I think I love that
Rhiannon: Like it more than just hanging out? You, like, if you could hypothetically choose between hanging out or back rub, you’d choose back rub right?
Ian: I would choose hanging out because that’s what happens all the time.
Rhiannon: Okay, but that’s past experience. You could have more if you were more aware of your love languages.
Ian: Okay, fair enough. So, yeah, I would love a back rub.
Rhiannon: Okay, well, then we’ll do back rubs.
Rhiannon: Someone I love reacts positively to something I’ve accomplished. Or they do something for me that I know they don’t particularly enjoy.
Ian: Hmm, that’s a good one. Because I like them both. I will…
Rhiannon: Remember, I’ve noticed that love languages hit the most with the best aimed intention. So think of the intention of both of these.
Ian: I would probably say the second one then.
Rhiannon: Why do you say that?
Ian: Because Okay, read me the second one.
Rhiannon: Someone I love does something for me that I know they don’t particularly enjoy.
Ian: Yeah. Because if somebody doesn’t particularly enjoy it, if it’s something that I can do for them, so they don’t have to do it, I’ll totally do it. But if you’re doing it even though you absolutely hate it, because you’re trying to do it to make my life easier. That means a lot.
Rhiannon: So, acts of service.
Rhiannon: See? I am able to be in close proximity, or I sent someone I love showing interest in the things I care about.
Ian: The second one.
Rhiannon: Someone I love works on special projects with me that I have to complete, or I get an exciting gift.
Ian: That’s the first one.
Rhiannon: Sorry, I read that weird.
Ian: Oh, you’re fine.
Rhiannon: I’m complimented by someone I love on my appearance or someone I love takes the time to listen to me and really understand my feelings.
Ian: It’s the second.
Rhiannon: Yeah, I can- I have a feeling words of affirmation are not a thing for you at all. laughs We’ll see!
Ian: Yeah, we’ll see.
Rhiannon: Yeah, but I have a feeling that I feel like you’re kind of in the realm of Paul where like, if you’re given too many it would make you anxious.
Ian: It would definitely make me suspicious.
Rhiannon: Yeah, that’s his thing, too, he’s like “why are you saying all these nice things?” I’m like, “Because I love you!” Sad emoji.
Ian: I’m gonna blame it on you. Cause I would only ever hear I was a good dad when you’d want something.
Ian: That’s not true but, laughs.
Rhiannon: Don’t play the hater. I was gonna say “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” and then I even fucked that up. Gahhhh. Okay, I can share a meaningful touch in public with someone I love or someone I love offers to run errands for me.
Ian: Probably the first one.
Rhiannon: Okay. Someone I love does something special for me to help me out or I get a gift that someone I love put thought into choosing.
Ian: What was the first one again?
Rhiannon: They do something special to help you out.
Ian: I don’t know. I’ll probably have to go with a second one. I mean, I’m not huge into gifts, but-
Rhiannon: But remember intentions.
Ian: Yeah, the intention in this is not the gift itself is that they thought it through they took the time to
Rhiannon: Yeah, like for example, gift giving is not one of my love languages, as we’ve talked about. But my… I call him my Dadson. Nathan, my brother in law.
Rhiannon: And I can explain the title another time, but his love language is gift giving. And so one year for Hailey’s birthday, we got glitter everywhere. And for some reason, while we were drunk, I called him Senior Disco Ball. So for Christmas, I ordered like a two inch disco ball and then like a sombrero that fit perfectly on top of it, and then glued them together and gave it to him. So like technically, he could have bought those things and put them together himself. Sure. But that was an inside joke come to life. It’s junk. He will never have anywhere to use it or do anything with it. But he has a Senior Disco Ball. Because of this one joke when we were drunk. That is a gift-
Ian: That was a good gift!
Rhiannon: -I can get behind gift giving in that capacity. But if you’re just buying stuff to give it to me, that’s when I’m like. “No, I cannot. I cannot.”
Ian: I feel that.
Rhiannon: Okay, next one. Someone I love does something special for me or put thought into the gift they were choosing. So like that’s what that was the point of the story. So like, would you prefer that they did something special for you to help you out or would you prefer like a thoughtful gift?
Ian: Probably the first one.
Rhiannon: Okay. Someone I love doesn’t check their phone while we’re talking with each other, or someone I love goes out of their way to do something that relieves pressure on me.
Ian: I kind of feel the first one.
Rhiannon: I already selected it.
Ian: No, that’s fine. Although with the caveat, I mean, like, let’s see, I’m dating a mother. She has kids. She’s got to check the phone if the kids text so it wouldn’t bother me over all that sort of thing. But yeah, I mean, if we were together, like, I would appreciate that you not be on your phone all the time.
Rhiannon: That’s a very understandable expectation, I have a personal policy to be with who I’m with. So like, if you notice, we’ve been hanging out today, and I haven’t been on my phone in between recording things. I’m still hanging out with you. I’m with you. So that’s what we’re doing. When I hang out with any of my partners, or any friends. I am on my phone long enough to like, let Paul know I made it there safe or like that I’m on my way home, things like that,
Rhiannon: Otherwise, I’m not on my phone. I’m with who I’m with. And I feel like that has made my connections with everyone better. Regardless of anyone’s Love Languages just kind of mentality, it makes the time that you do get together count.
Ian: When I’m dating. I do let whoever I’m seeing know that, you know, whenever I’m dating someone, I let them know, you know; when we’re together, I will try to stay off the phone as much as possible. But I’m also writing so sometimes I’ll get inspiration for a story. I know I’m not gonna remember that several hours later, when I might actually get a chance to type it in. So I let them know like, I might have to type this in. So if you see me doing it, I’m not on social media.
Ian: Go ahead.
Rhiannon: Okay, uhhh, you look forward to a holiday because you’ll probably get a gift from someone you love or you hear the words, I appreciate you from someone you love.
Ian: Definitely the second.
Rhiannon: Someone I love and haven’t seen in a while thinks enough of me to give me a little gift or someone I love takes care of something I’m responsible to do, but I feel too stressed to do at the time.
Ian: Definitely the second.
Rhiannon: Someone I love doesn’t interrupt me while I’m talking or gift giving is an important part of the relationship with someone I love.
Ian: First one, those were easy.
Rhiannon: Right? Helps me out when they know I’m already tired, or I get to go somewhere while spending time with them.
Ian: Probably the second one.
Rhiannonn: Someone I love touches my arm or shoulder to show their care or concern or they give me a little gift that they picked up in the course of their normal day.
Ian: First one.
Rhiannon: Says something encouraging to me or I get to spend time in a shared activity or hobby with them.
Ian: Second one.
Rhiannon: Surprises me with a small token of their appreciation or touching someone you love frequently to express friendship.
Ian: I’m not necessarily a touchy person all the time. So probably the other one. The non touchy one.
Rhiannon: The small token of appreciation?
Ian: Cause that could just be just saying, “Hey, I appreciate you.”
Rhiannon: Yeah, sure. So someone helps me out. Especially if I know they’re already busy or someone I love tell me that they appreciate me.
Ian: What was the first one?
Rhiannon: Helping you even if you know like they’re already busy.
Ian: That one.
Rhiannon: You get a hug from someone you haven’t seen in a while or someone you love tells you how much you mean to them.
Ian: Second one.
Rhiannon: All right, it’s calculating results.
Ian: Oh, here we go.
Rhiannon: Okay, are you ready?
Ian: It’s gonna come up and say like receiving gifts or something?
Rhiannon: Absolutely not. You selected like three. Okay, so- Oh, interesting. So you have quality time as your primary love language at 33%.
Rhiannon: acts of service as 30%. And then words of affirmation at 17.
Rhiannon: Yeah. And then 13% was physical touch and 7% was receiving. So do you want me to read you what it says?
Ian: Yeah, sure.
Rhiannon: In quality time, nothing says ‘I love you’ like full undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical. But really being there with the TV off fork and knife down and all chores and tasks on standby makes you feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Whether it’s spending uninterrupted time talking with someone else or doing activities together, you deepen your connection with others through sharing time.
Ian: Oh, okay. Sounds about right.
Rhiannon: And I think since we did an episode on love languages, in general, we should do a second one about the opposition. Like what to avoid if you know somebody with these love languages.
Ian: Absolutely. I agree with that. This is a good starter. Yeah, it was interesting learning that.
Rhiannon: Yeah. So do the mental work, figure it out. Talk to your partners, be honest with yourself and your partners.
Ian: For sure, but it’s not gonna be an easy thing, but-
Rhiannon: It’s worth it.
Ian: I feel like the things that are worth it aren’t going to be easy.
Rhiannon: Yeah, I have the saying, “nothing worth having comes easy”. And it’s not just mine. Like everybody says that, I know. But sure. Like I 100% believe that everything that I have in my life that was worth having was really difficult to get and also really sucks to lose.
Ian: True. All right, so with that, I am Ian.
Rhiannon: And I’m Rhiannon.
Ian: Alright, that’s it. Have a week.
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