This isn’t the love languages, but I recently started reading How We Love and have found it enormously helpful thus far. It has helped me figure out my patterns of relating to people (formed in childhood) and how they have caused havoc in some of my friendships/relationships, some more than others.
To anyone who has dated me, it is likely no surprise that the vacillator type fits me mostly, though I am kind of embarrassed to admit that. It is characterized by unrealistic expectations, wanting consistent strong connections, and then feeling angry and disappointed when the connection isn’t strong/ideals aren’t met. This stems from having inconsistent parents or unavailable parents and never feeling secure/stable in the attachment. I noticed myself in many examples of vacillators in the book. I’ve often felt “starved for connection” and then feel rejected/abandoned when that doesn’t happen. Though, I’m not really sure I have unrealistic expectations for relationships for the most part. I don’t expect there to be intense moments all the time, but I do want to feel deeply known because I didn’t ever have that before. So I’m not sure. I did order the workbook, so hopefully that’ll further illuminate my missteps when I try to connect with people in friendships and otherwise.
I did notice that I have some tendencies of the other love styles as well, but my main one is definitely vacillator in a lot of my connections with others. I do think the most valuable thing you can give someone is your time, so when people are wishy washy with plans or don’t make me a priority, I assume I’m not one and tend to write them off. I don’t like making plans last minute or having plans change. If someone was going to spend time with me but then wants to invite other people and that wasn’t the original plan, I often feel weird about it and feel like saying well, then go hang out with that person and we’ll reschedule (depending who the addition actually is, if it’s a good mutual friend I might not mind). Another good example is that with my busy schedule, I often have very little free time, so on the days that I can spend with people if plans change, or people want time to themselves instead, I feel rejected and subsequently want to just be alone. It’s not that I think alone time is bad, I’m an introvert, believe me, I need and understand alone time, my point is that I value my free time and when it feels like others who I think should want to make spending as much time with me as possible a priority, don’t, then I get angry and feel rejected. This isn’t always realistic, but I think sometimes it is.
This coincides with how I felt as a child, having to wait for comfort or attention and then when I finally got it, I was too angry to receive it. So one of my major triggers is when I text someone to confirm plans and they either don’t respond for a day or don’t confirm, I’ll make the decision, generally, and that is to cancel and then ghost them. If I’m not a priority, I don’t need to talk to you. I pride myself on getting back to people in a timely manner to let them know I’m interested in their friendship and I respect their time… I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect that of people too. If I can do it while I’m getting a PhD… they can do it too. Bottom line is, if people want to spend time with you, they will. They will make the time to grab lunch with you and ask to make plans. I was abandoned in ways (emotionally) as a child, so I think that’s wrapped up in this too. I expect people to leave, as they often do, and do not trust people’s interest in me (romantic or otherwise). I tend to think people around me, “friends,” actually don’t like me and use me for their own gain… which has actually happened a couple of times. So, I’m suspicious of people in general, easily disappointed, and I suppose quick to feel abandoned/rejected… often feel like I’m waiting on other people so I try to preempt that by canceling when possible.
Anyway, I’m excited to get the work book in the mail, hopefully soon, so I can figure out more of my triggers and work on myself so I hopefully relate to people better. You can take the quiz yourself to find out what style you are and some helpful goals you may want to work on… who knows? Maybe you’re a fellow vacillator.