Have you ever found yourself wondering why you keep attracting the wrong people? Are you the type who struggles to stay single or does the thought of commitment make you want to crack open a window for some air? These traits actually stem from your relationship attachment style.

Our attachment styles go way back to our first long-term relationship – the emotional bond we develop (or are deprived of) with our parents and caregivers. We’ve all been raised differently, depending on the attachment styles of those who raised us and the way they addressed our emotional needs. These early experiences of emotional relationships influence the way we view love and relate to others. It forms the attachment styles we carry into adulthood and express in both romantic and platonic relationships.

According to research based on John Bowlby’s attachment theory, there are four general relationship attachment styles:

Confident in their relationship and their partner, someone with a secure attachment style is not afraid to reciprocate love. They are trusting, trustworthy, and are able to communicate their feelings as a response instead of a reaction.

Those with an anxious attachment style are codependent, requiring constant attention and reassurance from their partners. They fear being alone and struggle with setting or respecting boundaries.

Individuals with an avoidant attachment style are independent and self-reliant, downplaying the importance of relationships. They are emotionally-distant and tend to isolate themselves during conflict.

A combination of anxious and avoidant, someone with a fearful attachment style craves intimacy but fears rejection. In turn, they send mixed signals by pushing their partners away while still wanting a connection.

Don’t feel bad about having an insecure attachment style – if it was caused by trauma, please remember that it is not your fault. By understanding your attachment style, or your partner’s, you’ll be able to start healing by actively changing the way you approach love and relationships. It’s not going to be easy, but a healthy attachment style can help you build more positive relationships with yourself and others.

 

This is a language you should consider getting fluent in for a deeper connection with your partner, as you’ll understand how to converse with them in their own love language and vice versa.

In short, to learn love languages is to understand how to ​express love in the right language. Understanding how your partner and yourself communicate love is vital for you to blossom together in your relationship.

What are love languages?

The concept ‘love language’ is coined by relationship counsellor ​Gary Chapman​, author of ‘The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts’. After 35 years of marriage counselling, he concluded that there are five emotional love languages in which people understand and show love.

The five love languages depict how we feel loved and appreciated. Our personality type and our upbringing heavily impact our love languages, hence, we may feel loved differently than how our partners do. Everyone expresses love in all these 5 love languages, however, one or two may be more dominant than others.

As you work on decoding and understanding these different methods of expressing love, it will help take the frustrations and guesswork out of you and your partner’s needs and expectations for love.

Read on till the end to find out your own love language!

What are the different love languages?

  1. Words of Affirmation

This love language shows love using words that build up your partner. Your partner appreciates verbal comments and compliments more than any other actions.

  1. Acts of Service

The motto “Actions speak louder than words” encapsulates this love language. They feel appreciated and loved when their partner does things without being asked or by force of obligations.

  1. Receiving Gifts

This love language doesn’t necessarily mean that your partner is materialistic. It could mean that they feel love with a more tangible item. It’s less to do with the gift itself, but more to do with the sentimental value behind it.

  1. Physical Touch

A common misconception around this love language is that sex is the only way to connect; rather the act of ‘touching’ is what ‘Physical Touch’ is all about. Holding hands, hugs and kisses here and there would assure them of your love for them. They want to physically feel you close by.

  1. Quality Time

This love language prizes undivided attention above all else. Receiving undivided attention is this what ‘Quality Time’ values most. When you’re together, they want to be the centre of your attention.

How can you communicate them in your relationships and to yourself?

Words of Affirmation

In a Relationship:

  • Give genuine compliments
  • Use encouraging and uplifting words
  • Empathize when your partner’s hurt
  • Practice active listening
  • Send surprise texts, notes or cards
To Yourself:

  • Recite positive affirmations daily
  • Keep a gratitude jar
  • Write a love letter to yourself
  • Give yourself compliments
  • Listen to personal growth podcasts

Acts of Service

In a Relationship:

  • Make your partner’s favourite meal
  • Random acts of kindness
  • Help with your partner’s workload
  • Assist them with projects or chores
To Yourself:

  • Make your bed first thing after you wake up
  • Declutter and tidy up your place
  • Do one errand you’ve been avoiding
  • Keep a habit tracker using an app or in your journal
  • Learn to say ‘No’ to things that do not add value into your life

Receiving Gifts

In a Relationship:

  • Give thoughtful gifts, big or small
  • Make genuine gestures
  • Small tokens of appreciation
  • Celebrate special occasions together
  • Receive gifts enthusiastically
To Yourself:

  • Invest in your passion and hobbies
  • Treat yourself to small gifts after completing jobs or goals
  • Pick a flower bouquet for your table
  • Create personalized song playlists
  • Book a weekend getaway

Physical Touch

In a Relationship:

  • Normalize non-sexual touches with your partner
  • Prioritize intimacy
  • Sit close to each other
  • Take a walk and hold hands
  • Hug and kiss your partner often
To Yourself:

  • Work on your skincare routine
  • Sleep earlier for better rest
  • Pamper yourself with a haircut or doing your nails
  • Take a soothing bubble bath
  • Do a few stretches

Quality Time

In a Relationship:

  • Turn off phones / any distractions
  • Plan thoughtful dates
  • Have one-on-one conversations
  • Finish chores together
  • Set goals to achieve together
To Yourself:

  • Practice mindfulness and meditation
  • Go for a solo drive
  • Treat yourself to a nice dinner at your favourite restaurant
  • Listen to your favourite album on repeat

You can discover your own love language using this ​quiz​.

Every type of love language is important and conveys love in its own unique way. Learning the love language of your partner and your own self will greatly help build a stronger bond in your relationship.