Remember those early days of dating your man? Everything's so new, exciting, wonderful, ahhhh ... Before you know it, you're falling in love. OMG. Then you're in love. Pretty soon you're beating back every urge to just blurt it out ... those three little, but really heavy words. Maybe you actually did say them first. Or maybe you waited 'til he did. Either way, researchers are now declaring that men -- not stereotypically more verbal or emotional women -- are more often the first to say "I love you." Really?
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According to the study, two-thirds of couples report that male partners said "I love you" first. And in commenting on the study, Dr. Laura Berman says it has to do with most men acting like horny frat boys who dangle the expression as a carrot to get what they ultimately want: sex. Maybe that's true for some men, but I wouldn't be so sure that's why most men are saying "I love you" first. The real reason: Women are too scared to be the first!
Now, I don't say that to disparage my own gender. I say it out of love and empathy, because I, too, was too scared. Who I really blame? Rom-coms and The Rules ...
You know, Rules Girls are the ones who "play hard to get." Although The Rules was published in 1995, the book's tactics have been employed by confident women to snag eligible men for eons. On the other hand, slightly insecure women who wear their heart on their sleeves (something I very much identify with doing most of my life) are doomed to be deemed "too nice" and possibly jumping the gun when it comes to things like saying "I love you." You might argue Ms. Heart on Her Sleeve is just willing to take a risk, but the only thing she's risking is appearing desperately vulnerable ... and probably "scaring off" her guy. (And oh yes, don't get me wrong, that's a part of the problem too -- that men these days are so damn skittish and easily "scared off.")
Rules Girls know that waiting to let him say it first gives her the power. Because there's always the question early in the relationship of "What if he doesn't feel the same?" What if he just says, "Thanks" or "Okay"? We've all seen enough girl-loves-boy-boy-loves-other-girl flicks to know how that plot line plays out.
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Not sayin' I agree with this. I actually feel The Rules are somewhat ridiculous, but I also believe that there's some truth to what authors Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider preached. Even if you don't believe that holding back on those three words will definitively help you "capture the heart of Mr. Right," so many women have been brainwashed that we'd be morons not to just let him say it first. Same goes for why most women would prefer their guy to do the asking when it comes to getting engaged.
See, men aren't somehow better at expressing what's in their hearts or saying it disingenuously to score. It's just that we women have learned time and again from Hollywood and possibly even our own experiences that the way to win the guy is to keep your lips sealed -- at least until after he's said "I love you" first.
Why do you think men are supposedly saying "I love you" first? Who said it first in your relationship?Image via .daftlikelex/Flickr
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