“I Love You”: A Game of Chicken?

Do you like playing a game of chicken? Unless you’re a thrill seeker…probably not! At least not in the traditional car-racing-toward-each-other sense. But we do play the relationship equivalent, in fact. It can be summed up in three little words: “I love you”! Yep, that very risky and usually relationship-changing (or ending?!) moment.

According to a study done by MIT psychologist Josh Ackerman, in which the 205 people studied were all involved in heterosexual relationships, men are more likely than women to be the one who drops the L word first (even though over 60 percent of those studied said they thought women tend to be the initiators!). Also, men reportedly feel happier than women after those words are exchanged. (Although, the study concedes, it’s not ALWAYS because they have noble intentions…but sometimes it is!) Ackerman even provides tips to women for when and how to say those three powerful words when dealing with commitment phobes, with men who are looking for longer-term relationships…and, when to just hold out till the guy says it.

I remember a few years ago, I was tearing my hair out wondering why the guy I had been seeing seriously wasn’t saying those words. Of course, being that that relationship was obviously destined to end, right now I can’t remember if I wanted to hear it because I felt the milestone was just appropriate, or because I was bursting to say it too. Maybe it was my slightly competitive nature; but I do not tend to yield (and in that case, I didn’t)! But, there’s not necessarily a right or  a wrong, and every situation, every relationship, is different.

Until I meet a situation where my emotions overwhelm my reason (and, um, my pride), I definitely have to agree with the study’s indirect recommendation that [if they’re not willing to risk being met with the sounds of dead silence, or whatever reason they do have] women should hold out as long as they can i.e. wait for the guy to give in first…because, as Ackerman’s study indicates at least, he probably will. Heh.

Do you speak what you feel when it comes to “I love you”, or do you wait for it to be said first? Is pride an issue for you? What if he/she just didn’t give in?

Check out Yahoo!’s Shine article on the study here.
And for those of you who really wanna know all the info, here is a full copy of the study.

  1. pete said:

    hey pam,

    nice to see fps back in action again. 🙂 hope you’re well!

    anyway, i’m not at all surprised at the results of the mit study, because i think females tend to take a more cerebral approach to romantic relationships than do males, in general. (why? i don’t know.) i think that the idea of plotting and scheming and waiting for someone to say “i love you” is a classic case of over-thinking. from my perspective, love is an unlimited, consistently potent commodity. if you feel it, say it. why not?

    just because you say “i love you” to somebody doesn’t mean it’s a less powerful thing to say to someone else further down the road, so long as you actually feel it. likewise, if you love somebody before they’ve told you that they love you, too, don’t you still love them? does it matter if they choose not to love you? pride may bruise, but hearts don’t truly break like this, i don’t think.

    i’d rather say, “i feel the way i feel because it comes from inside me, and i’m strong enough to say it, regardless of the result” than, “i’ll only admit to feeling the way i feel if you say you feel that way, too.” it’s the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic locus of control.

    if you feel love for someone, say it.

    still, at the end of the day, what we do carries more weight than what we say, so the words “i love you” shouldn’t be the only valid evidence for love. verbal reinforcement is nice, but when it comes right down to it, a turtle is a turtle whether i call it a turtle out loud or not.

    just my two cents.


  2. Pam said:

    Hey Pete!

    Nice to see you commenting again! 🙂
    Women take a more cerebral approach? Really, you think so? Um, guess I have an entire blog that proves that statement correct, at least for me! Haha.
    I thought the study was really interesting, and I have to admit: I was surprised.
    LOL @ “a turtle is a turtle whether i call it a turtle out loud or not”! Very true!!

  3. Lily said:

    hey pam, nice blog post 🙂 i’ve definitely heard this before, that men tend to say “i love you” first in a relationship. i say, if things feel right and you think the other person won’t completely freak out on you, say those devilish little words. but maybe i’m a proponent of just saying how you feel in general.

    • Pam said:

      Oh heyy Lily! Thanks for commenting! 😀

  4. Skank Tank said:

    Where the hell are these men that say it first?

    • Pam said:

      Haha!! Is there a story behind this comment, Skank?!? do share, I love your anecdotes!

      I had to delve through 60 pages to find the calculated number, but it says that men said it first in about 60% of all relationships that had gotten to that stage…so, barely more than half! Still higher than I expected though.

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