When Love Languages Don't Align

connection love langagues valentines day
A silhouette of a couple in front of a purply-blue sky with city lights below. One person has long hair in a bun and the other has short hair.

Question: Is it possible to effectively connect, give love and receive love with a partner that speaks a different “language”?

My Response: Absolutely.

We don’t need to have a perfect match in our love languages, just like we won’t in other ways of looking at who we are – like our values, our attachment styles, or personality.

I think what is important here is that we tap into our abilities to communicate our needs.

If your partner is continuously doing the dishes, and this isn’t what you need them to do, talk about this with them.

Open a conversation about how you like to give love and how you like to receive love.

What TENDS to happen is that we GIVE love in the way that we like to RECEIVE love.

EX. My partner is an acts of service guy, and even when I put the toothpaste on his toothbrush, he feels seen and appreciated. But when he’s doing the dishes, he isn’t showing me love in the way that I need it.

I like the analogy of buckets or cups. When we aren’t feeling connected with our partner, or when we need something, we can say to our partner, “hey love, my bucket is running low. Could we schedule some quality time together?”

Notice how this is different than saying something like, “you never make time for me.” Which is one of the most common mistakes we make in our relationships when it comes to sharing our needs. 



Sometimes our partners are not able to meet our needs, either due to their lack of emotional expressiveness, their temperament, or previous difficult experiences.

If you have tried to have a conversation about this without success, it might be time to explore where else we can get your needs met. 

UNHELPFUL BELIEF: Our partners can meet every single one of our needs. 

MORE ADAPTIVE BELIEF: I can build a support network around me and seek my needs from many people in a healthy way. If you’re looking for quality time and connection, be sure to lean on other social supports.

I had one client struggle to get her needs for physical touch with her partner. Not because her partner didn’t want to – but because of his own trauma history. This person decided to get monthly massages to help fill up that cup for her.


What do you think? Should one person be able to give you everything that you need? 


Dr. Tracy