My partner and I are having some issues because he says I’m not making him “feel” loved, appreciated, and respected. When I show him evidence of things I’ve done to express my love for him, he says he can’t receive those things because they are not part of his “love language.”
We are in a long-distance relationship, so the ways in which I can express love are limited when we’re not together. Mostly the ways I express love have to do with words of affirmation–sending nice texts in the morning and throughout the day letting him know that I love him or am thinking about him–or making plans for our future to look forward to. However, his “love languages” are physical touch and quality time. Physical touch is obviously impossible when we’re apart, and his standards for what constitutes “quality time” are vague. He wants me to be fully present, which makes sense, but he also expects full engagement in topics that I don’t always have much to say about. I asked him to give me a clear list of standards for what “quality time” means to him, and I’ve been trying to follow it but then he says it feels forced, or he comes up with other reasons for why I’m doing it wrong. I asked if he even still wants to be in a relationship with me given how unhappy he seems, and said he does and that he loves me, but that he just doesn’t feel the love is reciprocated because I’m not “speaking his language.”
My question is this: is the whole concept of “love languages” BS? What is the difference in a relationship between making requests and setting unreasonable expectations for your partner to make you feel a certain way? And how can I navigate this with my partner, knowing that I can’t actually change his thoughts or feelings? Is this a sign that we may be incompatible?
Thank you for your help!