The 7th Love Language

A while ago, I wrote a post about the 5 love languages. At the end of that post, I jokingly mentioned that the 6th love language (one that is not officially recognized by the creator of the love languages, Dr. Gary Chapman) is chocolate.

Through a number of discussions and experiences the last few years, I think I’ve discovered a 7th love language.

First, a little bit of personal history: I seem to date a lot of women whose primary love language is quality time. Maybe that’s just my experience, or maybe a disproportionate number of women identify quality time as their #1 love language.

However, whenever I hear or recognize that a woman’s love language is quality time, I get a little worried, because time is the toughest gift for me to give. I’m highly protective of my time, and I don’t need a lot of time with other people to be happy. In fact, I need quite a bit of time without other people to be happy.

And yet…in its essence, quality time is something I truly enjoy. Dr. Chapman defines quality time as “giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television. I mean sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other and talking, and giving each other your undivided attention.”

Based on that definition, I’m in. I love connecting with other people in that way. I don’t like small talk, and simply spending tons of time with someone else for the sake of counting those hours does nothing for me, but spending truly quality time with someone I care about means a lot to me.

This is where the 7th love language comes in. Again, this is just a theory: I believe that the 7th love language is quantity time. And I think that a lot of people (specifically, women I’ve dated) who identify quality time as their love language actually mean quantity time.

Whereas quality time entails giving someone your undivided attention, quantity time is simply occupying the same space with someone for large amounts of time. Here are two examples of quantity time from my distant dating history:

  • I dated a girl long-distance for a while, and it was really important to her for us to talk on the phone for at least an hour a night. It didn’t matter if we had anything important to talk about or share–the time mattered much more than the quality or connection. I would have preferred to chat just a few times a week and really connect during those times, or only call when she or I had something we really wanted to share.
  • I dated a woman for a few months who perceived that we were drifting away if we didn’t spend a full evening together at least once every couple of days. During those evenings, she was perfectly content just watching TV together. What mattered to her was that I was making the choice to be with her for those chunks of time instead of doing something else, even though we weren’t really connecting.

For a long time I’ve looked down on quantity time because it was so often under the guise of quality time. But here’s the thing about love languages: You have to suspend judgment and instead try to understand where the other person is coming from. Just because their love language is different than yours doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.

That said, I don’t think those two love languages should be confused any more. Quality time and quantity time are completely different, and I think they should be identified as such. So from now on, the unofficial love languages in my mind will be:

  1. Gifts
  2. Quality time
  3. Physical touch
  4. Words of affirmation
  5. Acts of service
  6. Chocolate
  7. Quantity time

Which is your #1, and which is your #7?

You can also find my 15 workplace love languages here.