The Real Reason Men Say 'I Love You' First


I love you 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?

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.

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

love, dating


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Beths... Bethsunshine

I said it first to my husband, 2 weeks after we met. I was scared to death to say it, so I wrote it on a piece of paper and handed it to him. He had thought that I was mad at him or getting ready to break up with him, because I was acting so weird. He was VERY relieved to find out what the reason was behind my weirdness, and told me he loved me too.

nonmember avatar Stephanie

My husband said it first - 2 weeks after dating on Our first Easter in 2008. I remember not saying it back right away but later asking him if he really meant it because I wasn't sure...and I didn't want to reciprocate the feeling if he was saying it just to say it.

jaxmadre jaxmadre

I'm still waiting to hear it. WTF does that mean?  We definitely aren't saying it to get in each other's pants! And we're both too stubborn to admit it out loud! Ha!! (Totally love him!!)  (I probably need a therapist!! hahaha) 

Knitt... KnittinMama

Lol my husband was supposed to be a one night stand 3 years ago! I think it was 2 or 3 weeks after the failed one night stand he said it. I was pretty sure he didnt say it to get sex since we had already jumped that hurdle.

nonmember avatar v

wow, this is all so ludicrous sounding. 2 weeks? u nuts deserve each other. i have never heard it, not even after multi-year relationships with men, and the 3 men i've said it to [after almost a year had passed each time] all broke up with me on the spot. i will never say it first again.

Stephanie Brookbank

HE said it first....3 months into our relationship. I didn't say it back for almost 2 weeks cos I was so afraid of him taking it back.

David Kleppe

i told him i was nervous to say something and he said would it be easier if i told u i do too. so i said it first but i got confirmation from him

jmomm... jmomma2009

Knittingmama, same here!  Hubby was just supposed to be a rebound one-nighter..  Ended up married within a year and a half!  Almost two years and two babies later, here we are!

nonmember avatar Kamina

I am a female who has this issue with a man I will only accept as a friend. He sees me as a monogamous lifetime partner. Beause the man is 20+ years older than me and feels as though he's at the end of his lifea and has found the love of his life, I feel sorry for him and trapped. He occassionally says "I love you" in a pleading fashion, as if to say, "...but do you know that I love you?" It's so annoying. It's a friendship but one mostly built on convenience, dependency and unhealthy self-worth for both of us.

nonmember avatar faarmersmurf

As a guy I think chemistry and often times guilt compells me to say "i love you"... If you don't really mean it then don't say it! If your not honest with yourself then it will cause major castrophe's! Trust me because I have learned the hardway. I have never been married or had kids but, 2-3 years of saying I love you and not meaning it makes it harder to leave when things hit a turing poin. you know the turning point "are you gonna marry me?" But my problem seems to be someone always wants my companion and I end up losing them so it makes no difference to me. I'm tired of losing and plan to startwinning like chalie sheen haha!(without the drugs and domestic disputes . Besides I'm only 29, but I love you is NOT a joke. Love happens you don't just make it happen anyways !

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