Most of us are familiar with the concept of our love languages (AKA are you known to be a words of affirmation girlie, or is quality time the quickest way to your heart?), but what if your — and your partner’s — love languages aren’t set in stone?
According to data shared with us from eharmony’s new report on 2023 dating trends in Canada, the way that we express and receive love may in fact be changing — so taking some time to get in touch with your love language right now could be the key to deeper connections in 2023.
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What are the five love languages?
First things first, a quick refresher: what exactly is a “love language,” and why does it matter?
The concept of love languages comes from the 1992 book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. According to Chapman, the five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts.
Basically, Chapman suggests that people like to receive love in different ways, so if we learn how to share love in the way that our partner prefers, we can build a stronger relationship.
Since Chapman’s book is 30 years old, chances are that you decided what your love language was a long time ago and assume that it still holds true. But, as eharmony’s 2023 dating trends study reveals, that may not be the case.
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Shifts in how we give and receive love right now
According to eharmony, over the past year, 17 per cent of Canadian respondents have shifted in the way that they express their love in a romantic relationship. Similarly, 18 per cent of Canadian respondents said they have changed how they prefer to receive love.
These shifts in preferences are even stronger when it comes to younger people. Specifically, 38 per cent of Gen Z and 26 per cent of millennials reported changing how they express love, and nearly half, 48 per cent, of Gen Z and 25 per cent of millennials said how they want to receive love has changed.
The most common ways that we want to receive love? According to eharmony, 52 per cent of people who have been in a relationship said that they feel most loved when their partner makes them feel emotionally seen. The second most popular way to feel loved was to share new experiences (36 per cent), followed by having a partner give them the space to be alone (27 per cent).
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Are the 5 love languages in need of an update for 2023?
So, the way that we give and receive love is changing — should the way we look at our love languages change too? Are the classic five love languages of the ‘90s in need of an update?
Interestingly, eharmony’s data found that 54 per cent of respondents aren’t sure if the original five love languages can encompass the way they express and prefer to receive love.
So, what are some new popular “love languages” that might be for you?
According to eharmony, emotional security (basically, feeling emotionally seen and taken care of by your romantic partner) resonated best with 38 per cent of respondents as a new love language. This was followed by personal space at 32 per cent. Shared experiences (for example, going on adventures and expanding yourself with your partner) was the preferred new love language for 30 per cent of respondents.
Related: Looking at pictures of your spouse can re-light the love spark: study.
What’s driving these shifts in love languages as we head into 2023?
“What we know to be the five designated love languages feel outdated,” Laurel House, one of eharmony’s relationship experts, explained. “We became more in touch with our true core needs and what truly makes us feel. We evolved during COVID — because when certain basics are taken away, we are given the opportunity to truly understand how much we in fact need them.”
As we round out the year and move into 2023, there are a few reasons why people may value things like shared experiences and emotional comfort higher now than they do traditional love languages like words of affirmation or receiving gifts.
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“Shared Experiences became instantly impossible because of lockdown, quarantine and infection fear. More than the inability to have physical touch and in-person conversation, it was a lack of experiences, of having shared joy, of connected memories,” House said. “Shared experiences create rooted connections. Whether it’s an adventure, scary, funny, spiritual, relaxing or even traumatizing experience, within the emotions shared during the experience, individuals create emotional bonds to one another, enriching the experience itself, as well as the relationship with the other.”
“In addition to a desire for Shared Experiences, individuals want to feel emotionally seen and cared for,” House added. “We have done so much emotional growing and expanding, and we want to be with someone who makes us feel safe, secure and acknowledged in this new more authentic and vulnerable space. It has been shown that vulnerability creates emotional intimacy and connection. We have less interest in putting on a show and being groomed to presentation perfection, and more interest in showing up as our authentic and real selves.”
So, it looks like it may be time for some personal introspection and deep conversations with your partner. Has your love language changed? Has your partner’s? Now’s the perfect time to find out.
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