As a ‘Relate Certified Counsellor’ Mark can help you with:
At first this might sound strange but one of the reasons our relationship can break down is because our partner doesn’t actually know how or what makes us feel loved, and likewise, we don’t fully understand what makes them feel loved.
Although we may or may not have thought about it consciously, we probably know what we like our partner to do for us to make us feel loved or special, but it’s quite possible because we’ve never told them that they don’t have much of a clue. Sadly, rather than telling them we wait and expect them to guess. This is not a great technique! Waiting for someone to guess is like playing a game which the other person has no idea is going on, so it may take a very long time or worst case scenario, it may simply never happen at all. If we do eventually give in and tell them, we may need to be quite explicit until they really get the idea.
Another major mistake is that we then assume our partner will want to receive love from us in the same way that we do from them; sadly this probably isn’t the case and so the confusion continues and deepens as our attempts to show our love go undetected and we don’t gain the responses we were hoping for.
In his book The Five Love languages Dr Gary Chapman shows the main ways in which we all like to receive love from our partner. Over time we may well enjoy all of them at some point but we will probably have one or two which are really important to us as well as another minor one.
Having had our suspicions but perhaps never quite being able to put our finger on it, understanding that we like to be loved in different ways will come as a welcome relief for some and a complete revelation to others. On closer inspection we may also discover that what we thought was our most important love requirement turns out not to be the case. Look forward to finding out more!