Results from three continents indicate that men tend to say “I love you” before women
Despite common stereotypes that women are overly emotional or men are reluctant to express their feelings, research suggests that men say “I love you” first in relationships. A new study published in the Journal of social and personal relationships shows that this trend is found in all countries, not just the United States.
Expressing feelings in romantic relationships is very important. Acts and expressions of affection build commitment and lead to healthier and more stable long-term romantic relationships. Despite the benefits, many people get nervous when they say “I love you” for the first time. Research shows that saying “I love you” signals commitment to your romantic partner. Previous research has shown that there is a “male faith bias” in the United States, and this study seeks to see if this is applicable globally.
Researcher Christopher D. Watkins and his colleagues brought together a total of 1,428 participants from seven different countries on three different continents to carry out this study. Participants were asked to respond to demographic questions, as well as measures of attachment styles and confession of love. The love confession measure asked them to talk about their experiences saying “I love you” in a previous or current relationship and was used to create the “male confession bias” variable used in this study.
The results showed that men said “I love you” first in relationships, but more women than men said the man confessed his love first. This may be a memory error and has also been shown in previous research. Six of the seven countries studied present this same pattern, France being the only one not to have significant differences between the sexes.
Men and women showed no significant difference on when in the relationship they first thought about saying they loved their partner, how many days into the relationship it was said, or how happy they were. hear “I love you”. This suggests that while men may be the first to say they love their partner, women are generally on the same page emotionally. The results also suggest that men were more likely to say “I love you” first if they live in a country with more women than men, and avoidantly attached partners are less happy to hear confessions. of love.
“We know that romantic love and passion are universal cultural universes, and feeling and expressing love is important in a good quality relationship. At the same time, people differ, albeit predictably, in their propensity to to romantic love, which would be expressed in part through speech acts such as saying ‘I love you,'” Watkins said in a press release.
“In all the cultures we studied, our research suggests that men tend to say I love you before women, and both men and women are less happy to hear ‘I love you’ if they have tendency to avoid intimacy or romantic closeness.This expands on previous research, which has observed the same “male confession bias” when studying a single country, the United States.
This study aimed to measure whether male confession bias exists more widely than in the United States. Although this research shows that this phenomenon is generalizable to many countries, the authors did not include anywhere in Asia or Africa, which is a limitation. Future research could focus on whether countries that are more collectivist or communal in nature may show different patterns on confessions of love.
The study, “Men Say ‘I Love You’ Before Women Do: Robust in Multiple Countries”, was authored by Christopher D. Watkins, Jeanne Bovet, Ana Maria Fernandez, Juan David Leongómez, Agnieszka Żelaźniewicz , Marco Antônio Corrêa Varella and Danielle Wagstaff.