They are the three little words at the heart of every serious relationship. And for years, there has been a perception that women, rather than men, are almost always the first to confess ‘I love you’.
But it turns out that it’s men who not only fall in love earlier but are also more likely to declare they are smitten sooner than their female lover.
Previous studies have found that not only are women more expressive about how they feel but that they are expected, by both sexes, 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 U.S., is that women are actually more circumspect than men when it comes to romance.
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.
The results, 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.
The results fly in the face of common belief that women fall in love more easily than their male counterparts. ‘Perhaps women are perceived as less rational about love because they have a greater capacity for processing emotional experiences.’
More predictably, this new research showed that men wanted sex for the first time after a few weeks, while most women preferred to wait a few months.
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