MIT study shows men say 'I love you' first more than women

Roz Zurko's picture

Who says “I love you” first in a relationship, men or women?

A new study coming from MIT might surprise you. Most might think that it is the women who say “I love you” first, due to women being the more emotional ones of the two sex’s, but this is not the case.

It is the men who utter the words, “I love you” first in a relationship, according to this new study. Josh Ackerman, a psychologist who teaches at MIT set out to study how the words “I love you” are first declared in a relationship and he published his findings in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 64% of people believe that it is the women who come forth first with saying “I love you,” in a relationship, but his research shows differently.

"We are constantly bombarded by this idea that love is about women, in a sense," Ackerman says. "Women are the more emotional ones, and men hide their feelings. But that doesn't necessarily appear to be the case."

Ackerman’s team interviewed 205 straight men and women about their past and current relationships, they found that men were most likely to say, “I love you first.”

The research also investigated how people felt after hearing these declaration of love words at various points during their relationship, specifically after they first have sex with their partner. Women were happier when hearing “I love you” following sex with their partner, with the men being slightly happier hearing those words before having sex.
The researchers theorize that the men saw the declaration of love as a sign sex was forth coming and women seeing it as a sign of commitment.

Researchers did an additional study and split the subjects into two groups. One group who was looking to just “hook up” for sex and the other group looking for a relationship. In this case both men and women were happier to hear the words “I love you” after sex rather than before sex. Ackerman adds “It shows all men are not the same.”

It appears that believing women are the ones who traditionally push the relationship along to the next level with the romantic and committing words of “I love you,” is just not the case. Ackerman said that there are a lot of popular media that propagate this notion that women say “I love you” first, but as it turns out, the men tend to say it first. Men think about saying the words “I love you” on average about six weeks before women do.

Ackerman theorizes that “men want sexual access because this is a necessary step into spreading their genes, on the other hand women are the power holders in a sexual relationship and they need time to assess the quality of their prospective mate.”

Reference: Fox News Live, MIT Sloan School of Management

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