Understanding the So-Called Sixth Love Language, "Feeling Known"
Over the past few years, the https://www.askmen.com/dating/dating_advice/what-love-languages-are-why-they-re-important-how-to-know-yours.html">five love languages (physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and gifting) have become mainstream knowledge.
But while an understanding of the role these love languages can play in our relationships has helped many people’s relationships, they’re not natural laws — they’re descriptions of reality.
And, as it turns out, some people believe there’s a sixth, as-yet-undiscovered love language that should also be getting our attention. It’s one that’s become much-discussed on TikTok recently, and it’s called “feeling known.”
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This love language is different from the others because it’s not something you can start doing immediately upon meeting someone — it requires an intimate presence, deep understanding, and reflection of your partner’s attributes to them.
For example, maybe you had a conversation with your partner about the special way your grandmother made grilled cheese sandwiches for you when you were sad. The next time your partner noticed you were sad, they curled up with you on the couch to watch your comfort show after making grilled cheese sandwiches just the way your grandma did.
One of the reasons people from around the world resonate with this idea is because statistics show people are feeling lonely and misunderstood more and more. This can make it harder to connect on dates or https://www.askmen.com/dating/relationship_advice/how-to-build-intimacy-in-a-relationship.html">deepen the intimacy with an existing partner. Learning to speak and receive this love language, on the other hand, can help to close those gaps.
What Is “Feeling Known”?
As licensed psychotherapist http://lovingmeafterwe.com/join" target="_blank">Ginger Dean puts it, “Feeling known, the sixth love language, is all about fully appreciating and accepting your partner for who they are. This shows that the other person truly ‘gets’ you, including your dreams, quirks, and everything in between.”
Expanding on this, licensed therapist http://daughtersnpd.com" target="_blank">Heather Gray says, “In conversations about love and healthy relationships, we’re seeing references to being ‘seen’ or being ‘known.’ When we see someone, we understand them. We know what makes them tick and why they tick that particular way.”
By understanding your partner in this meaningful way, you’re more easily able to identify and meet their needs while also communicating your own, increasing the feelings of safety and security in your relationship.
That’s because when it comes to feeling safe in your relationship, feeling understood and known is critical. If you or your partner don’t feel understood, it becomes tough to communicate (this is when it can start to feel like you’re walking on eggshells with the other person).
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But when you feel known, that often comes with feelings of being accepted and being safe to communicate because your words are understood on a deeper level. Feeling known creates a feeling of safety within a relationship that the other love languages don’t offer.
http://www.sheridanruth.com" target="_blank">Sheridan Ruth, an integrative somatic trauma therapist, explains it like this: “The first thing to know is that the nervous system is subtly looking for cues of safety thousands of times a second. Depending on how safe it perceives you to be, it will give you sensations, emotions, and thoughts that either motivate you to connect with others or protect yourself from others. When someone helps you ‘feel known,’ it gives your nervous system one of the deepest senses of safety it can possibly imagine, and opens you up for connection.”
How to See or Know Someone Else Romantically
Knowing someone comes with time. You know all of those active listening courses forced upon you at work or school? Those will actually serve you here.
Whether you’re a big-picture person or someone who pays attention to details, listening to the other person and https://www.askmen.com/dating/dating_advice/one-simple-dating-hack-that-ll-make-you-way-sexier.html">asking questions that dive deeper into the way your partner thinks and emotes are vital for truly understanding them. This means learning not to craft assumptions or jump to conclusions (especially those sneaky ones that look innocent enough on the surface).
For example, if a partner tells you a former partner https://www.askmen.com/dating/cheating.html">cheated on them, it’s fair to ask them how they worked through it and how it affected them. Listening to their answers and asking further questions helps you discover how your partner processes their emotions and faces challenges. This will give you incredible information about who they are and how you can show up for them.
In contrast, if a partner tells you they’ve been cheated on and you say, “Is that why you’re insecure about your body?” that’s a leap or assumption that can make your partner feel distant (especially if they don’t feel insecure about their body). Incorrect assumptions create distance in a relationship, because they tell the other person you don’t know who they are.
Dean suggests you “take the time to truly listen, ask about their points of view and experiences, and keep in mind the little facts that are important to them in order to demonstrate this love language.”
“It's about demonstrating that you care about who they are, which helps them feel seen,” she says. “This is because it fosters a caring and comfortable environment where both parties can be their true selves and acceptance makes them feel validated, which is crucial. It demonstrates that you love and cherish the other person for who they are at their core, this can help forge https://www.askmen.com/entertainment/better_look_3800/3804_male-friendship.html">stronger friendships and connections when getting to know someone.”
In essence, the concept of feeling known is how we naturally express love to one another when we’re tuned into both ourselves and the other person. The more present you are within yourself, the easier it is to be present with your partner.
The Sixth Love Language in Action: Dating vs. Relationships
It may be a little easier to see how the sixth love language is expressed and received within https://www.askmen.com/dating/dating_advice/how-to-maintain-a-long-term-relationship.html">an established relationship, but how does that compare with dating? While, yes, it takes time to get to know someone, you can make the effort from the beginning — even in your “hello” message on your favorite dating app.
One of the biggest things you can do to express this love language while dating is to ask questions and pay attention to the small things.
Gray suggests that you “notice what they like, how they like their coffee, what their preferences are, and offer those without being asked. Remember what’s on their mind and follow up. Ask them how things turned out.”
For example, if the person you’re dating says they have an interview or doctor’s appointment coming up in the next couple of days, you can set a quick reminder to ask them how it went (automated lists and reminders are helpful in expressing this love language because keeping everything in your head is a losing game).
When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, Gray says, “this looks like not being complacent and not forgetting. Staying in tune with your partner’s preferences, even when it’s inconvenient.”
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However, you’re not expected to be a mind reader (nor are you expected to carry all of this information in your head). It’s important to remember that your brain has a limited capacity and needs some help.
Making lists, setting reminders, plugging important dates into your calendar, and other forms of tracking your partner’s preferences and quirks are key in taking the load off of your brain while still being able to express this love language.
By making the other person’s sense of feeling known a priority, you’re staying in tune with them and developing a deep sense of trust.
“This means your relationships, even through hardships and ups and downs, will be wired for connection and teamwork,” says Rush. “You can use it at any stage in your relationship (and I highly recommend you do!).”
“Knowing and seeing is at the heart of all love languages,” Gray adds. “It might not need to be listed as one of its own, but prioritizing it can only help grow and strengthen relationships.”
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