Despite what movies would have you believe, men are usually the first to confess love.

By Seriously Science | February 24, 2014 6:00 am
Photo: flickr: Jeff Kubina

Photo: flickr: Jeff Kubina

Well, it appears it’s time for us to add a new tag to our blog: “take your stereotypes and shove ’em”, because these scientists have laid an oft-repeated one to rest. It turns out that ladies are usually NOT the first to spill their love-drenched guts. Instead, it’s the men who say “I love you” first, to the pride of all the Mr. Darcy’s of the world.

Let’s get serious: communicating commitment in romantic relationships.

“Are men or women more likely to confess love first in romantic relationships? And how do men and women feel when their partners say “I love you”? An evolutionary-economics perspective contends that women and men incur different potential costs and gain different potential benefits from confessing love. Across 6 studies testing current and former romantic relationships, we found that although people think that women are the first to confess love and feel happier when they receive such confessions, it is actually men who confess love first and feel happier when receiving confessions. Consistent with predictions from our model, additional studies have shown that men’s and women’s reactions to love confessions differ in important ways depending on whether the couple has engaged in sexual activity. These studies have demonstrated that saying and hearing “I love you” has different meanings depending on who is doing the confessing and when the confession is being made. Beyond romantic relationships, an evolutionary-economics perspective suggests that displays of commitment in other types of relationships–and reactions to these displays–will be influenced by specific, functional biases.”

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  • Hal Horvath

    uh….not to spoil the smug feeling, but, really, the reason writers make up unlikely stuff is exactly in order to do something New and Interesting, instead of telling us the cliche — the cliche being the well worn and usually true version of reality.

    In other words, “Hollywood” knows perfectly well that men confess first usually. If people have seen so many of the counter examples in fiction to get a false belief, that’s interesting, isn’t it?

    But afraid you’ll have to forgo the pleasant feeling of superiority on this one.

  • Robert Lincoln

    Makes sense. Females have huge consequences having sex if they get pregnant. Male have few adverse consequences having sex. But, males want it a lot. Thus, a male confessing love for a female is in part one way of facilitating sex. Females, on the other hand, need comfort in knowing the male will stand by her if she becomes pregnant. That comfort is his declaration of love.

  • fungus_Amongus

    it all depends on the guy…probably the top 15% of men based on attractiveness get told by women first they they are in love with them.

    why do people seem to think that really attractive people get treated basically the same was as average and less-then-average attractive people?

    do an experiment…go on you social network or dating site of choice and create a fake profile with a really attractive picture of someone as your image…you will discover a totally different reality of attention and offers, unless of course you are already one of the top 10%-ers.

    “fake” women will be PMed at an astonishing rate, and “fake” men will get tons of email from women hinting at hooking up and stuff…


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