Men are the first to say 'I love you' after 97 days (but women don't trust them)
Last updated at 11:57 PM on 16th June 2011
It may take them at least three months to get round to it but, contrary to popular perception, men are the first to say ‘I love you’.
However, their motives may not be entirely noble.
A study found men who profess their love early in a relationship are not to be trusted – and that women actually prefer it when males wait to get serious.
When researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. questioned 45 men and women, most thought women were first to broach the topic.
But quizzing others about current and past relationships revealed the opposite to be true, with the man saying the phrase first 61.5 per cent of the time.
Men began thinking about professing their love 97.3 days into a relationship – six weeks earlier than women, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reports.
Other experiments revealed timing to be key, with men happiest to hear the three little words early in a relationship.
But not because they are soppy sorts. Instead, they see the declaration as a sign a woman wants to go to bed with them.
Said later on, they may fear commitment and head for the hills.
Women, however, are loath to trust men who bring up the subject too early, perhaps as they have more to lose from pregnancy.
But said after they are in a sexual relationship, it brings with it the promise of commitment and a potential father to any child.
Researchers said: ‘If we were to rely on the traditional stereotype that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, we would expect that this act typically falls on the shoulders of women.
‘Indeed, people’s beliefs about the association between women and love support this idea.
‘Yet these beliefs may not reflect the romantic reality.
‘When examining what actually happened in their past and current relationships, it was men who were more likely to confess love first.
‘This was not simply a function of women waiting for their partners to make the first move – men first considered expressing their feelings six weeks before women did.
‘One important reason men may confess love earlier than women do is because men have a stronger desire to motivate early sexual activity in relationships.’