Long distance relationships during isolation can be difficult. If isolation has separated you from a partner, relatives or friends, staying connected can be a struggle. It can be helpful to look at expressing your love using the 5 love languages. Gary Chapman developed the Five Love Languages. They are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, Quality time and Physical Touch.
No doubt we all love knowing that someone loves us. But the Five Love Languages point out that we like to experience another’s love in different ways. We can discover our love language and the love language of our partners, friends and even children. When we do, we can speak their love language to them. It is a powerful way to connect.
We usually speak the love language that we major in. So if your love language might be gifts, you might put a lot of effort into planning and buying a gift for you loved one. But if their love language is acts of service they may not appreciate is as much as if you mowed their lawn!
Being apart from our loved ones during this time of isolation is of course going to affect our relationships. Expressing love to others in their love language in person is a lot easier than when we are in isolation, but here are a few ideas to help keep you connected:
Words of Affirmation:
Those with this love language appreciate verbal or written expressions of affection. Saying “Thanks for cooking dinner tonight” or “You look nice today”, can be very meaningful. People also appreciate receiving love notes and cards. Conversely, insults can be particularly upsetting to those with the love language of Words of affirmation.
When in long distance relationships, check in with your loved ones by phone, zoom, text or email, or better yet, send a hand written letter! They love poems and song lyrics!And remember when you are chatting to them, try to limit the amount of doom and gloom you talk about. Keep the conversation positive because they are sensitive to negative words. Also, express how you feel about them “I miss you. I appreciate you. I am proud of you.”
Acts of service
This love language is all about doing something for others. It can be doing the shopping, washing the car or getting the mail. For people whose love language is acts of service, a lack of support can make the feel very unloved.
When separated form a loved one with this love language, it’s a good idea to ask people what you can do for them. If you live near someone but can’t catch up in person because of the social distancing policies, you can still do things for them. You could do the shopping for them and drop it off, pick up medication, mow their lawn or take rubbish to dump.You can still help out a lot even if you are separated geographically. For example you could help them set up the technology so they can stay connected. Or if they are a student, offer to proof read their assignments.
If your love language is gifts, it’s tangible items that make you feel appreciated and loved. They don’t have to be expensive, in fact it’s very much the thought that counts. A person whose love language is Receiving Gifts may feel less loved if their partner doesn’t remember a special occasion.
Thankfully, online shopping is still available during isolation and this can include delivery of gifts. You can send just about anything now, so think what they would like, flowers, wine, new outfit, food hamper even saw a picnic you can have delivered! Try to remember special occasions for these people, birthdays and anniversaries while in isolation and send something, even if it’s small. It really is the thought that counts.
We express Quality Time by spending time together, especially sharing activities and giving our partner our undivided attention. For someone who has this love language, they can feel unloved if no one shows interest in them and what they are up to.
While in isolation to show love to someone who values quality time, plan to have regular video calls with each other. Making sure you give them your full attention for that time and not allowing other things (like your phone!) to distract you is also helpful.Ask how they are feeling about things and actively listen to how they are going. You can also play games together, scrabble etc, have wine and cheese afternoons together.
Holding hands, massage, a back scratch, a hug or a kiss express the love language of physical touch. When people with physical love language don’t get that physical affection, they can feel isolated in a relationship.
This love language is the most difficult to express in isolation and long distance relationships.
If your love language is physical touch and you are isolated with other people, it’s fine to ask for a hug. And if you’re isolating with someone whose love language is physical touch a pat on the back or hug can go a long way (maybe ask!) . Even talking about physical touch can help, such as “I can’t wait to give you a big hug when this is all over!” If you are on your own, try giving yourself a hand massage with essential oils and a warm bath. Have a comfy bed to snuggle and even cuddle a pillow, and if have pets take time to play and cuddle them.
Don’t get caught up in whether you are doing the ‘right’ love language for someone; in the end, even though we may have a favourite, everyone appreciates all the love languages. Look at it as a bit of fun to get to know each other better. The most important thing is that you are connecting with those even though we are now in long distance relationships with them. Remember we are all in this together and this will all be over one day! Take the Quiz here to find your Love Language!
For tips on how to love those you are isolated with read my new blog here.