You must be kidding…
A man is more likely to get hooked before his female partner in a heterosexual relationship?
According to a 2010 study based on responses from 172 college students, men not only tend to fall in love with their dating partners / girlfriends first, they are also more likely to first say those three magic words.
I love you.
The aforementioned abstract was subsequently published by the American Journal of Social Psychology. Hence, it bears some legitimacy.
Of course, those findings contradict herd mentality which tells us the man is more likely to be less romantic, and less sensitive and emotionally-expressive early on.
How many times have we heard women complain about men not sharing their feelings or being emotionally unavailable? And how many times have we heard men complain about women wanting to move too fast, too soon in relationships?
On the surface, the study’s results seem laughable; But, maybe psychologists are on to something…
Because men are so often noncommittal in the early stages of dating and are just looking for a physical situation, perhaps women are more wary of getting their hearts broken and, consciously or subconsciously, keep their feelings in check a little longer?
“I think women unconsciously postpone love compared to men,” said Marissa Harrison, the psychologist who co-authored the study. (Source: myjoyonline.com)
“Women have a lot more to lose reproductively by committing to the wrong man. They are born with a finite number of eggs, yet men produce millions of sperm on a daily basis.”
And that makes sense… Moreover, because a woman can get pregnant, she must be more careful about sexual intimacy. While a man can have sex with multiple partners without physical consequences, a woman often can’t (depending on the level(s) of birth control implemented).
How many times have we seen women get knocked up by men they trusted only to be disappointed?
In the end, she’s left taking care of the child – a permanent reminder of the loser she gave her heart to – while the man continues to do his thing.
“If women commit to and get pregnant by an unworthy mate [with] no help rearing a child, that would be very costly, time- and resource-wise,” Harrison added.
Switching gears a bit, men’s natural aggression also gives women more options and power early in the relationship / dating situation. Hence, an ordinary woman can walk into a crowded bar and have men surrounding her in minutes. The same can’t be said for an ordinary man.
As a result, and because women tend to have so many more options at any given time, they are more likely to evaluate a longer list of potential suitors prior to getting attached to one.
Men, on the other hand, are generally more assertive and more likely to pursue their mates. They more easily take risks, regardless of whether they are genuinely interested or just want to hook up. And the more interested a man is, the more vulnerable he makes himself to the woman. After all, he doesn’t know if his feelings will be reciprocated.
Thus, it’s easier for women – on the average – to sit back and pick and choose while men bombard them with advances.
Let’s keep it real… It’s not uncommon for a single or married woman to get approached and/or stared at by salivating men all day, and every day. For those reasons, women might often be a little more tentative than men when considering getting attached because they realize they do have other options. And if they don’t at a particular time, they can usually create opportunities quicker and easier than a man.
…. But, male vs female relationship dynamics can be a Catch 22.
Not So Fast, Ladies
After a woman has her potential prince falling head over heels for her, she can decide where the relationship goes because he, by putting it all out there and making himself vulnerable, has given her the power to do so.
HOWEVER, if she decides to go all in with him and allows her emotions to run free, she must be wary the same male trait that give her power early on can work against her in the future.
Studies show that while men are more likely put their emotions on a platter first, they are also more likely to fall out of love first and suffer from a wandering eye.
Psychologist Ingrid Collins says that in her experience, “men are far more inclined to get fired up about a mate, but are also more likely to look around more.”
Because men are more natural “hunters,” they are more likely than women to be on the prowl, whether in a committed relationship or casual dating situation.
N.B: Of course, all of this is on the average and obviously not indicative of each and every situation. There are certainly some very aggressive women and very shy men.
Chemistry, and Putting in the Work
It always helps to have a heavy dose of good old fashioned attraction early on. Fireworks, goosebumps and all those crazy “butterflies” are very healthy for long-term relationship success. That “It” factor can be vital for people who not only want intense love early on, but want to keep the fire burning forever.
In the end, men, even the most fervent of hunters, are ultimately looking for the same things women are; But, both parties have to put in the work.
Good and consistent sex, non-sexual intimacy, unyielding support, trust, honesty, and shared laughter can go a long way in keeping the hunter off the prowl.
The stronger the bond, the stronger the relationship. And as a relationship grows, that bond should as well.
So men, don’t get discouraged if she doesn’t want to commit to you right away as it’s totally normal. Just keep working at it. If she’s giving you the time of day, you’re probably in the running and have a legitimate shot at making her all yours.
And women, don’t take your man for granted lest he could soon develop a wandering eye. Give him what he needs or your little puppy dog will likely turn into a wolf on the prowl.