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Different ways to love

Published:Monday | January 11, 2016 | 1:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

"Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies." Aristotle could not be more accurate.

In a healthy relationship, love is the common denominator. However, there are differences in the way we show love and our need for approval. This has nothing to do with the person being controlling or cold; it is just how they are.

According to relationship specialist and sexologist Dr Sidney McGill, "We learn behaviours such as how to express love from our family of origin and from our communities in which we grew up. These memes are what make us uniquely Jamaican. But there are basic differences between how the sexes express love. Women tend to verbally and physically express their feelings more freely than men do." He continued, "Men should understand the intimacy needs of women and express love and affection accordingly. Showing love such as hugging, kissing, saying 'I love you' routinely, can be learnt over time," he notes.

He notes that you need to be patient with your partner and understand that there are different ways to love. Imposing your way or not giving them time to understand your need can easily push them away.

"This (imposing your love language) increases anxiety in the relationship if your partner is not catching on fast enough. Remember, love is patient and Rome wasn't built in a day," Dr McGill stresses.

He explained that individuals need to understand that your partner not showing you love the way you like, especially in the beginning of the relationship - when you are still getting to know each other's quirks does not mean they love you any less.

"People's comfort zone with regular expressions of intimacy varies, and expressions of love or the assumption that he or she knows that I love him or her without showing it are not indicators of how much your partner loves you," he told Flair.

He notes that what we should do is spend time getting to know our partner. Being friends is not the same as being lovers. Learn about them all over again as your partner. See how they are in a relationship and this will be better able to help you to feel more comfortable in your relationship.

As McGill stated, "Be less judgemental and recognising that there are many right ways to express feelings of affection. Learn different ways of expressing love."

He notes that what can also help before entering into a relationship is to get to know the person and their friends and, if possible, relatives.

"Get to know your partner's relatives and friends. Note how comfortable they are in expressing love and intimacy," said Dr McGill.

This will also help you to understand them as a partner.

jody-anne.lawrence@gleanerjm.com