How to Communicate With Your Partner With Different Love Languages

When my partner and I first got together, we really struggled to communicate. While we definitely were ‘into’ one another, and wanted to spend all of our time with each other, there were some aspects of our relationship that we couldn’t get through. I felt that he didn’t actually want to be with me because he didn’t want to show physical affection in public. He thought that I was annoyed with him at random because I didn’t ask for help, or accept his help. In the beginning months of our relationship, we experienced several heightened discussions on if the other actually wanted to be with one of us. It took several of these conversations (and guidance from my own parents) to realize that we were just communicating in a way that wasn’t the most compatible with one another. The way that I show love is through physical affection and words of affirmation. My partner’s love languages on the other hand are acts of service and gifts. While none of these love languages are better than the other, without communication and understanding one another it can be difficult to effectively communicate your feelings with your partner.

Before we go into how to communicate with differing love languages, we should probably talk about the different love languages and what they mean.


Physical Touch

If this is your love language, there might be nothing better than a hug when you’re feeling down. While you might not be into PDA, you may feel unloved without physical human connection.


Words of Affirmation

In this language, words mean everything. They don’t have to be long or complicated, they just have to be meaningful.


Acts of Service

This language manifests itself by doing things you know your partner would appreciate. That can be cooking dinner, fixing that creaky chair or helping with a paper. Actions speak louder than words!


Receiving Gifts

Often times this love language can be misconstrued as being materialistic, but it actually has more to do with the thought and feelings that go into picking a gift.


Quality Time

No work. No phone calls. No social media. Just you two. When this is a love language in your relationship, it is important to dedicate time to your partner, or advocate to your partner that you need one on one time to just be together.


So, let’s say that you and your partner have different ways of expressing affection. How do you communicate? How do you make sure that you are loving each other in a way that makes sense? In short, be understanding and talk about it. But let’s break it down.


1. Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About What You Need

I think one thing I struggled with in the beginning of my relationship with my partner, was that I was afraid to advocate for myself. I was too worried about holding up an expectation to be a “chill girlfriend” that I was keeping silent on what I needed in the relationship to know that my partner loved me. Staying in a state of confusion of whether or not my relationship was good caused me to be anxious and suffer in silence. And this wasn’t my partner’s fault! He didn’t know that I needed to be loved in a particular way! It took a few conversations for me to be able to express myself, but since I did, my partner has been able to effectively communicate affection to me.

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2. When Your Partner Talks To You, Listen

This seems obvious, but I have seen so many people simply ignore the needs of their partners. Not only is this just a jerky move as a person, but it can permanently harm how people connect with others in relationships for the rest of their lives. So many of my friends feel like their emotions or needs aren’t valid, simply because a person they thought cared about them consistently belittled their thoughts and treated them as unworthy of recognition. It meant so much to me when my partner listened to my needs. And not just listened in the moment, but implemented it in our interactions with one another. Which bring us to our next point.

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3. Be Cognizant of Your Actions.

For me, I need words of affirmation. I need physical touch. If I don’t get those things daily, I begin to worry that maybe my relationship is dwindling. When my partner and I first began our discussion on how to better love one another, we discussed exactly what we needed to be affirmed and how to communicate. I needed him to affirm me, and sometimes squeeze my hand on occasion. He needed me to set time aside where I wasn’t working or getting distracted with other people’s problems. Sometimes this can be hard, as it can be actions we aren’t used to doing all the time. I find it really hard some days to not let work consume all of my thoughts. My partner can sometimes get confused as to why I get anxious when he doesn’t speak for a while. But we have been able to grow so much together. By simply being present and cognizant of what the other needs, we have been able to become stronger in our relationship.


Learning how to communicate can be a process. There is definitely a learning curve, and we can go backwards as well as forward. But the rewards are so worth it. All it takes is a little work.

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