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The science behind why men tend to say ‘I love you’ first

4 January 2018

WORDS BY Fashion Quarterly New Zealand

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Three words. Eight letters.

It’s the statement that hangs over most couples at the start of a new relationship: when’s the right time to say ‘I love you?’ Are they going to say it first and ruin it, or do you say it and then send them running for the hills?

But eventually, for most couples, someone has got to bite the bullet and utter those three little words.

According to Jenna Birch in Psychology Today, women are much more guarded when saying I love you for the first time because they have more to lose.

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If it’s not said back it’s humiliating and painful, but we also know to be skeptical when it comes to men, as we are the ones who’ll have to deal with any accidental pregnancies.

No surprises there maybe, but what is a turn up for the books is the 2011 study driven by Marissa Harrison from Pennsylvania State University, that found men were the ones who reported feeling the most loved up first, and expressing it.

“Women are predisposed to postpone the emotion… It’s an inherent protective mechanism, giving them time to accurately assess a partner’s mate value,” said Harrison.

But another study from 2011, this time from Joshua Ackerman at the University of Michigan, found that men who said ‘I love you’ first did so to gain their partner’s trust, so they’d then be physically intimate.

Photos: Getty Images

This article originally appeared on nowtolove.co.nz 


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