Well Being

According to Blisstree Women, Saying “I Love You” First Is Cliché

By  | 

Relationship dynamics are a-changing. Lovertines these days are less concerned with the right time to profess their undying devotion in the course of the relationship, and more concerned with who will succumb and say it first. Those three little words seem to weigh heavily on everyone's mind.

What if you say it and they don't say it back? What if they say it to you and you're just not ready yet? If you're the first to admit the L-O-V-E, does that mean you've given your partner all the status in the relationship? These questions used to be seen as something only women thought about, but a new study published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that not only are men preoccupied with these questions, they are statistically more likely to be the first ones in the relationship to actually say “I love you.” Does that come as a surprise to you? Not to me, it doesn't. I absolutely refuse to tell a man “I love you” first, and I'm not alone. I asked some friends, colleagues, and Blisstree readers to weigh in on the subject, and discovered we're all pretty much in agreement.

Amanda says, “I had been dating Rob just over three months and we were completely smitten with each other. I think we both wanted to say I love you, but neither wanted to be first. One night, we were out at a bar, having a good time. We were dancing, surrounded by people. He was staring at me with this goofy look on his face. ‘I’m not going to say it first,' I told him. So, then he told me he loved me.”

Natasha* says, “My fiance told me he loved me after we had been dating about two months. We had just gone on this amazing trip to his friend's wedding, I had met his parents and all of his high school friends. The day after we got back, I was leaving for work and we were really sad to say goodbye to each other after the long weekend, but we did, and I got in the elevator and left. As I was walking out of the building, this man was holding the door open for me, and my now-fiance pulled me by the arm and turned me around. He was barefoot and had run down five flights of stairs. And just told me ‘I love you!' The guy was still holding the door open for me and looked really confused. I don't know why I didn't say it back at the time. ”

Annie* says, “The first time that [my boyfriend] and I slept together, about five seconds in he started having severe abdominal pains and I had to take him to the emergency room. Turns out he was passing a kidney stone, and I stayed with him all night until they discharged us at about 5:00AM. I hadn’t slept at all, and he was woozy from all the painkillers, but somehow we made it back to my apartment and passed out, curled up together in my bed. Just as I was falling asleep, he told me he loved me. I think he was trying to tell me that he was thankful to me for staying with him and making sure he was OK, but it was still sweet. We’re still together now, so I guess he meant it.”

It is traditionally held belief that women dole out the I-Love-You's first, confirmed by the 64% of people surveyed in the study who share that belief.  Perhaps that's the very reason why women are hesitant to say it first. Natasha* goes on to say, “I never say I love you first. I feel like there's this stereotype that girls jump into relationships head first. I'm totally willing to give someone everything, but I won't say I love you first because I don't want to be a cliché. So even if I think it, I'll wait for the guy to say it. I just feel like it means so much more if he says it first, rather than as an afterthought when I've said it, or out of guilt.”

I'm forced to agree. No matter how much we say that we don't want to play games in relationships, there are still some rules we must play by, even if it makes us cringe. One of them is avoiding the “needy, desperate chick” label. Women are well aware that men steer clear of clingy, lovey-dovey females who spout off “I love you” as soon as the condom comes off. I play nonchalant in most instances. I never call or text men first, and I absolutely refuse to start a Facebook chat or BBM convo. Let him come to me, I say. Because no matter how much men say they like assertive, forthright women who are open about how they feel, trust me, deep down, they are running for hills.

When news of this study broke, Twitter was awash with similar sentiments from men and women alike. The women all had the same viewpoint- never in a million years will they say it first:

@jennelizhicks: “been in a long term rlshp for many yrs so going back awhile…was v insecure in teens/20s so always said first. Now,no way!”
@oceanarias: “last bf said it hours after we declared bf/gf status and that wad when I knew it was the beginning of the end.
@KRIS5Y: “I'm never the one who says it first!”
@ejbrooks: “I generally try to hold out until the guy says it. Last time I didn't. Didn't go so well haha.”
@isimma: “I NEVER say it first. Never. I even struggle saying it after he's said it. I am not a robot. Just cold-hearted.”
@GrrrlZilla: “my hubby said it first when he agreed to leave the radio on a song he hated!”
@juliecgardner: “I think the only guy who ever said, ‘I love you' first let it fly on the first date. Yeah. Not good. Premature adoration.”
@CapnAllegra says: “I was asleep and sleep-talking the first time @oytamarind said it. I said it back but didn't remember upon waking up.”
@oytamarind (responding to his girlfriend's tweet): “She mumbled “lub you too” then rolled over and snored. Ouch. Stole the blankets, too.”

The men on Twitter revealed that saying I love you first was actually a rather frequent occurrence for them:

@ibisrox: “I get burned and I still say it. im thinkin it might be a curse.”
@TheStory: “I said it first a few times. Best response was “you're crazy” then few hours later, she admitted she loved me 🙂

But perhaps the best tweet and commentary on the entire situation came from @DustinSlaughter who simply tweets:

“Wearing your heart on your sleeve is foolish. Damned foolish.”

Words we can all live by.

*Not her real name

(Photo: Thinkstock)

comments