Scientists say love languages are dead. There's something better instead.

"So... What's your love language?"

A lot of us spent 2019-2021 hunkered down in our homes with our loved ones and began to analyse the nitty-gritty details of our relationships as a lockdown hobby. For some, this led to a breakup and for others, it led to stronger connections.

Our obsession with our relationships brought up different psychology studies from the woodwork as they began trending in most households.

Watch: Horoscopes & breakups. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia.

The most common of them all? The five types of love languages.

Love languages were first introduced in 1992 in a book called The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lastsby Baptist pastor Gary Chapman.

Now, over 20 years later, love languages are still trending and the way we're learning about them has evolved as well. Through a (suspicious-looking) website, you can now take a 30-question quiz to find out whether your main form of love language is physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, gift giving (same) or quality time.

Soon, I knew my love language, as well as my parents, friends and co-workers.

I could also easily work out all my ex-boyfriend's love languages as well (none of them were quality time FYI).


The 5 love languages quiz allowed us to categorise everyone we have a relationship with so we knew how they show love as well as how they prefer to receive love.

I personally loved telling people that my love language was gift-giving (even though I didn't see an increase in gifts coming my way.)

My results from the five love languages quiz. Image: Supplied.

Now, as we've all memorised the five languages and have examined each one, we're being told that they aren't compatible with the modernity of relationships.


According to a new study "Evaluating Love Languages From a Relationship Science Perspective", the five love languages are limited in the ability to fully understand all the different ways people express, reciprocate and feel love.

The study also said that having one primary love language can't apply to different contexts as people are constantly exploring and adjusting their values depending on the situation they're in.

So now what?

The appeal of there being five love languages was so great because it was easy to understand, and it also introduced some interesting and deep conversations about how we love.

Telling us that they're now redundant can feel like a bit of a stab (in the heart).

The study says that love languages aren't wrong, but they're too simplistic to be applied to relationships.

Therapist and educator Amy Smith wrote for Psychology Today explaining how we can evolve further from the five languages. She suggests to her clients that they put into practice the idea of "love mapping".

The Gottman Institute introduced love maps as the part of your brain where you store all the important information about your partner and their life.

To build a love map, it's suggested to start by trying to answer a list of questions about your partner to see how much you know about them and how much more you can learn.

The article suggests these questions:

Name your partner’s two closest friends.

What was your partner wearing when you first met?


Name one of your partner's hobbies.

What stresses your partner right now?

Describe in detail what your partner did today or yesterday.

What is your partner's fondest unrealised dream?

What is one of your partner's greatest fears or disaster scenarios?

What is my favourite way to spend an evening?

What is one of your partner's favourite ways to be soothed?

Name a person your partner dislikes.

What is your partner's ideal job?

What medical problems does your partner worry about?

By learning the answers to these questions, you begin building a love map of your partner in your head and vice versa. 

Love mapping strengthens relationships and provides a deeper insight into not only your partner's life but yours as well. 

It's important to keep your love map about each other updated as you continue to ask questions and explore a deeper connection. Unlike the five love languages, love mapping takes work and will require more effort to be put in to maintain the strength of your relationships.

Love maps are also a more practical study that allows your relationships to evolve as you nurture them into a more fulfilling partnership.

If you want more culture opinions by Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

Feature Image: Canva

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