Getting the word out: Why It takes us so long to say ‘I love you’

August 8, 2018

During the first blush of affection and attraction between a man and a woman (or two romantic partners), there is one word that is never uttered, for fear of seeming “too intense” or “too needy” or “scaring a suitor off.” But there comes a time when the word, “love,” simply must be blurted out, or the possessor of those feeling will burst.

According to findings of a poll conducted by YouGov on behalf of eHarmony, it takes an average of three months—or specifically, 88 days—for men to say, “I love you” for the very first time to their partners. And surprisingly enough, it takes a woman a more substantial amount of time to fess up to those feelings—as long as four months and two weeks—or 134 days.

The study revealed that 39% of men say, “I love you” within the first month of seeing someone compared to only 23% of women. Researchers also found that 33% of men had met their partner’s family within the first month of dating, compared to only 25% of women.

What’s more, contrary to the popular belief that men are terrible at remembering relationship milestones, fully 77% of male respondents said they remembered the day on which they said “I love you” for the first time—and 95% admitted that they could recall the first time they held hands with their partner.

When it comes to sex, more men admit to having sex within the first month of dating—with 43% claiming to have had sex within the first month, compared to 36% of women. Women were happier and felt more positive emotion if first declarations of love came after sexual intimacy in the relationship. Happiness was associated with feelings of romantic excitement, especially for those who had long-term relationship goals (people looking for a commitment in a relationship rather than sex). When women thought about someone declaring love before sex, they perceived the other person to be less trustworthy and sincere.

Surprisingly, men are also quick to commit to long-term relationships, with 33% moving in together with their partner within the first year. The survey also found that 37% of respondents got married or engaged within the first 12 months of dating.

All in all, this kind of dispels the theory of “commitment phobia” when it comes to men. Not so much for women.

Research contact: @eHarmony

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