Do You Mean It When You Say "I Love You"?

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Here's the thing: In my dating and romantic life, I've said those three little words once. He was my first love and while I would say things were very intense, it wasn't until almost a year into our relationship that I felt certain about what I felt.

Looking back, there were probably a lot of signs I missed about where his feelings really were, and maybe I didn't want to believe the tough stuff. But I can say that since that time, I learned more about what I want and what it'll take before I can feel that again.

Anyway, why the love talk? Well, a recent study about who says those precious words first and why totally flipped my point of view on the subject. And made me realize that contrary to what you'd want to think, "I Love You" means different things depending on when and how it's said...

A study that's coming out in the June edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says that 64% of people assume that a woman says "I Love You" first, according to a Forbes blog post.

Heck I assumed that. But I didn't guess the rest.

Men are not only more likely to say it first -- they even said it a full six weeks earlier than women!

Now that's a doozy. But in thinking about it, I guess I can see that. Men are, for the most part, pretty straight up creatures that are always telling you what they feel even without saying anything. So when they're into someone, they just are. No guessing. No games. Just real.

What's also interesting was the motivation for using those words:

  • Men also reported being significantly happier
    than women to hear "I love you" one month into the relationship if they
    had not yet had sex
  • Meanwhile, women felt happier than men when they heard
    "I love you" after the onset of sex in the relationship.

The theory behind this? As the Vancouver Sun stated, a pre-sex love confession may be a sign of wanting to move the relationship towards sex, which is
what men would want. 
Women, on the other hand, preferred a post-sex
confession because then it would mean the big "C": Commitment.

Makes you think about why you'd use the "L" word, doesn't it? I don't imagine most people throw it around loosely, but is it real when you say it? And what would need to happen in a relationship before you use it again?

Food for thought indeed. :-)

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