Shared Experiences: Your Guide To The New Love Language

In recent years, there's been a lot of talk surrounding love languages. You might have seen people including on their dating app profile that their love language is quality time and been a little confused, or you may have heard a friend say that their love language is words of affirmation and wondered what they were talking about. First coined by Dr. Gary Chapman, Ph.D., the concept of love languages may sound confusing, but it's actually pretty straightforward: Not everyone loves the same way. 5 Love Languages explains that your love language is the way that you naturally show and accept love.


The five well-known love languages are acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch. All of these are pretty self-explanatory, but you still might not know exactly where you fit. In particular, a few of those who have previously felt that their love language was quality time are just realizing that there's another term to describe their love habits much more effectively: shared experiences.

What is the shared experience love language?

Shared experiences is a new addition to the love language universe. According to PureWow, people who have this love language prioritize creating special memories with the person they're in a relationship with. They actively seek out adventures and memorable experiences that they want to share with their partner, and doing so makes them feel loved.


"It's both the experience itself and the thoughtfulness you put into making that experience happen that makes them feel loved," celebrity dating coach and eHarmony relationships expert Laurel House told the website.

This new love language was born out of an apparent gap in the traditional model. The 2023 eHarmony Dating Trends Report showed that nearly half of the people surveyed didn't feel that the five common love languages fully covered the way that they communicate love. As a result, two new groups, or love languages, emerged. 38% of respondents revealed that shared experiences are their preferred way of bonding with their partner, while 31% said their love language is emotional security.


How is it different from the quality time love language?

Shared experiences sounds very similar to the more traditional love language of quality time, which involves a person spending (you guessed it) quality time with their partner. But these two languages differ slightly. Those whose love language is quality time tend to crave their partner's total attention. It's not so much the activities they do together or the way they spend that time that matters. Rather, what's important is that they're spending meaningful time together. That could simply involve having a deep and meaningful conversation on the couch in your living room.


With shared experiences, on the other hand, what you do with that time together is important. It's the act of planning out fun and meaningful experiences, as well as carrying them out together, that allows a person to feel loved.

Granted, it can be difficult to figure out which of these categories you fall into. Do you just want to spend time with your partner, and you couldn't really care less about what you're doing as long as they're focused on you? Then you probably lean more towards quality time. But if your idea of heaven is having your partner by your side as you have adventures or partake in activities, like traveling or learning new skills, then shared experiences may sum up your loving style.


Considerations for your relationship

It's worth spending a little time to find which group you and your partner belong to, because knowing your love languages can significantly improve your relationship. Love languages are simply the ways in which we feel the most valued and loved, so having this communication open between partners paves the way for the healthiest, strongest, and longest-lasting relationship, per Relationship Counseling Center of Austin.


According to Psychology Today, some research has shown that partners who have the same love languages tend to have better relationships. However, that doesn't mean you can't make things work if yours are different. Love languages are about understanding how you operate and what you need, so empathy goes a long way when you tend to have different styles of loving and being loved.

If your love language is shared experiences, take the time to explain to your partner how much the act of having these adventures together means to you. When you plan activities together, let them know that their enthusiasm makes you feel loved and valued. On the other hand, if your partner is the one whose love language is shared experiences, try to empathize with the value they place on those experiences. It might just be another road trip to you, but it's really important to your partner. Give your all to the experience just as you'd want them to partake in the things that make you feel loved.


Ideas for intentional shared experiences

Whether you or your partner feel a connection with shared experiences (or maybe you both do!), it's a good idea to have a few ideas up your sleeve that you can reach for when you need them.

Travel is one of the best outlets for people with this love language, but it's not crucial that you spend a lot of money. Although the experience itself matters more than the quality time you spend doing nothing with your partner, what is really important is that you are sharing the experience. You'll make memories at a five-star resort being treated like rock stars, but you'll also make memories on a camping trip.


Sharing experiences that are more thrilling can be a powerful way to grow closer to your partner and make unforgettable memories, so don't discount ideas like skydiving, zip lining, or scuba diving. However, don't fall into the trap of searching for adrenaline only. The bigger picture is that you're doing these things together and strengthening your bond by sharing the experiences.

It's not imperative that you share activities that are exhilarating or are adventures in the traditional sense. Anything that will allow you to plan and experience together can help you feel loved.