Men quickest to say 'I love you'
Published 28/10/2011 | 09:26
Men are three times more likely to be the first one to say "I love you" in a relationship, according to study that overturns the myth of reluctant male romantics.
Previous research indicated that women are more expressive about how they feel - and tend to be ones who fall in love first.
The reality, according to the latest findings by psychologist Marissa Harrison, from Pennsylvania State University in the US, is that women are actually more circumspect than men when it comes to romance.
The study, published in the Journal of Social Psychology, showed men were more likely to fall in love within a few weeks, while most women said it took several months.
Men were also more inclined to tell their partner they loved them much sooner in the relationship.
Professor Harrison interviewed 172 college students on whether they had ever been in love and, if so, whether it had taken days, weeks or months to realise they were infatuated with their partner.
They were then asked how far into a relationship they got before they openly declared their emotions.
In a report on the findings Professor Harrison said: 'Men reported falling in love sooner and three times as many men as women said 'I love you' first to their partners. '
This suggests that women tend to be more pragmatic about love than society tends to believe, perhaps not always rushing fool-heartedly into a relationship.
'Perhaps women are perceived as less rational about love because they have a greater capacity for processing emotional experiences.'
Rather more predictably, the research did show that men wanted sex for the first time after a few weeks, while most women preferred to wait a few months.
She added: 'It can be argued that men's falling in love and exclaiming this love first may be a by-product of them equating love with sexual desire.
'But research shows passionate love and sexual desire are distinctly different mechanisms.'
British experts said men have always differed greatly in their ability or willingness to show their emotions. But younger males today are far less likely than previous generations to get embarrassed about telling a loved one how they feel.
Social psychologist Dr Gary Wood said: 'All men are different and there is no such thing as a typical male.
'But British men have changed dramatically in the last 50 years and younger people are generally more inclined to express their feelings.'