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A study says that men and women say ‘I love you’ for different reasons.

Women, being from Venus, have a reputation for being the first to spring “I love you” in romantic relationships.

But men actually are more likely to utter those three loaded little words first, and men admit thinking about confessing love six weeks earlier than their female partners, according to an article to be published in the June issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

That doesn’t mean men are bigger saps. Taking an “evolutionary-economics” perspective, the article concludes that gender differences in the timing and function of saying “I love you” are related to whether a couple has had sex.

“Men may be more impulsive in the way they express love, but what love means to men and what love means to women may be very different,” said co-author Josh Ackerman, assistant professor of marketing at MIT Sloan School of Management.

In a series of surveys, researchers found that two-thirds of couples report that the man was first in confessing love. Men also reported being significantly happier than women to hear “I love you” one month into the relationship if they had not yet had sex, while women felt happier than men when they heard “I love you” after the onset of sex in the relationship.

The researchers theorized that a pre-sex love confession may signal interest in advancing the relationship to include sexual activity – which is what men want, evolutionarily speaking, so as not to lose an opportunity to spread their genes. They want to “buy low,” as the article put it. Women, who have more to lose if they get pregnant, prefer a post-sex confession as a signal of long-term commitment. They prefer to “sell high.”

Furthering the point, the men happiest to get a pre-sex love confession were those interested in a short-term fling, while both men and women seeking a long-term relationship were happier hearing “I love you” post-sex.

Despite birth control and egalitarian values in modern society, these primitive patterns persist in the subconscious, Ackerman said.

The researchers hope exposing the biological underpinnings of these behaviors can help people understand the hidden meanings and motivations behind professions of love, which are ripe for misinterpretation.

So what is this study telling us as it relates to game? You have to read between the lines a little, but basically it’s saying that expressions of love are intimately tied up with men’s and women’s sexual market value. Women who wait to say ‘I love you’ until after the man has said it are subcommunicating their higher value. (A high value woman juggles interest from many men, and can make a man wait for sex much longer than he is comfortable until she is satisfied his commitment to her is genuine.) In contrast, men who rush to say ‘I love you’ subcommunicate their urgency to extract sex, and thus their lower value. (A high value man is never urgent for sex because he is getting all the sex he needs from other women in his informal harem.)

This study dovetails with the very first, and probably most important, Poon Commandment:

I. Never say ‘I Love You’ first

Women want to feel like they have to overcome obstacles to win a man’s heart. They crave the challenge of capturing the interest of a man who has other women competing for his attention, and eventually prevailing over his grudging reluctance to award his committed exclusivity. The man who gives his emotional world away too easily robs women of the satisfaction of earning his love. Though you may be in love with her, don’t say it before she has said it. Show compassionate restraint for her need to struggle toward yin fulfillment. Inspire her to take the leap for you, and she’ll return the favor a thousandfold.

As a man, the ideal time to say ‘I love you’ (assuming you mean it) is after your lover has confessed it to you, preferably a few weeks to months after her initial confession. Doing so will create the perception in her mind that you are higher value than her, and as anyone who doesn’t live under a rock or reside in the halls of academia knows by now women most desire men who are higher status than themselves.

Chicks dig power, men dig beauty.

One of the fundamental principles upon which many game concepts rest is the ease with which women can be seduced if you flip the script and make a concerted effort to refrain from playing the conventional courtship role of your gender. For men, this means *not* being the sex-hungry, needy beta who blurts out ‘I love you’ after two dates in hopes it will accelerate the progress to sex. By waiting to say ‘I love you’ only until after she has said it, you demonstrate high value. Her hamster registers this dynamic as: “He must have a lot of options with women if he’s taking so long to find out for himself if he loves me. I LOVE men with options!”

This is what her hamster squeaks when the man says he loves her after two weeks: “Aw how sweet… yuck.”

I can tell you from experience that the girls who were most into me — “into me” is measured as a function of the girl’s emotional distress when I waited more than two hours to return her phone call — were the ones who said they loved me first, and who had to wait a few months more before I replied in kind.

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