One of the things I always want to know when I’m dating someone is what they consider to be their love language. That way, I know exactly how to communicate how I feel to them. At the same time, I want them to know what my love language is (giving and receiving gifts, for anyone taking notes). I've always found this information to be a really useful tool in relationships, especially when my partner needs extra support. It’s like a roadmap of how to make them feel validated and cared for. But here's the question: Are love languages real? Are they really as helpful as I think they are? Do people really fall into the categories of words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, receiving gifts, and physical touch? Or are they just some sort of pop psychology?
To answer that question, I needed the insight of actual experts, so I reached out to Anita Chlipala, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple's Guide to Lasting Love, and sex therapist Dr. Stefani Threadgill. Both agree that love languages are, in fact, real, and that understanding each other's love languages can really help strengthen a relationship. Here's what else the experts had to say.