Why do many men bolt when women say I love you? When Should I Say I Love You?
What Makes A Man Fall In
Why we can't let love in until you've shown us the way-and the simple words that can unleash our deepest affections from men.
Think of a great relationship as though it were a great meal: A delicious, meaty steak of sexual passion accompanied by a fine, delicate wine of romance and commitment. Both of us want it all -the perfect, satisfying course. And we need both-steak by itself is dry and unsatisfying; and wine will get you tipsy, but it won't satisfy your hunger. Now, before the metaphor police revoke my license, let me simply push this analogy a little further: Men are a little more focused on the meat of the relationship, and women a bit more on the wine. But both sexes want to get up from the table completely satisfied.
Need evidence? More than three-fourth of men believe in soul mates. And when we asked our guys to choose between meeting the love of their life or having amazing sex for six months, 92 percent chose falling in love.
So why then does it always seem like women are leading the relationship toward commitment, and men need to be dragged along like a preschooler to a dentist appointment? Because in the early-on Stratego game of dating, we need to see where you're moving first. Consider this: Less than half of men say they're typically the first ones to say "I love you" in a relationship, and more women than men initially broach the subject of taking the relationship to the next level.
That point to the notion that what men really want when it comes to love in your assurance-your permission, really-that it's okay to let the butterflies out of the cage.
Michael, 37, a restaurant owner in North Carolina, says he's cautious about expressing himself early on-not because he's complacent or wants to play games or wants to make the woman squirm like a mouse in a cat's mouth. He holds back because he's waiting to get the signal that it's okay to press the accelerator.
Chris, 29, a recently married public defender, agrees, "Men need to be told that they're wanted," he says. "Women forget that if they like a nice guy, that the nice guy might be too nervous to tell them what he feels." And then he added this interesting insight: "Women need to be more open to being hurt the way guys are every day."
Hold on a second. Guys are hurt more often than women?
Hmm. Think about it: In the romance game, it's usually the man who makes the first move (Usually after you've dropped him countless hints waiting for him to finally pick up on them). But in doing so, men open themselves up to more rejection than a telemarketing trainee. And believe me, even George Clooney has a psychic master list of turn-downs that he still winces over from time to time.
So once a man has crossed that first barrier-okay, you like him, it's safe-he's reluctant to cross the next. Like monkeys in a lab, we've been shocked plenty of times before, and if we're in a safe place with you, we're happy simply to stay there. So it's a delicate balance-a woman needs to signal that it's okay for him to take the next step, without making him feel as if he's being pushed toward it. Let him know that you feel there's something really special between you. Let him know it's okay if he lets himself feel that, too. But proceed cautiously-there's danger ahead, as you'll see.
He's thinking that, three weeks into dating, he doesn't want to have this conversation. To him, that's a relationship birth announcement. Today, we welcome the birth of a beautiful committed couple, weighting in at eight dates, two movies, and six orgasms (five for him one for her): It's Bob and Cindy! Congratulations! It's too formal, too official, too planned. And that formality serves as the fire extinguisher to the initial spark he's been feeling. "The only thing worse than a woman who doesn't show any interest after a few dates is a woman who shows too much," says Anthony, 25. Terry, 32, adds: "Slow down. Please don't tell us that you love us after three weeks." Think of it this way. You know how you don't like when he skips the foreplay and goes right to the sex? When you talk about the status of a relationship too early, it's like skipping the foreplay of pursuit and going right to the private parts of commitment. If he's seeing you four times a week, then it's a good sign that your relationship is headed in the right direction. Just let him have some fun-and some mystery-while he's getting there.
Bring up love in the second month but try this approach first and he may be saying I love you first.
Two months may seem like a blip on the relationship radar, but for some guys, that qualifies as a full-fledged era. At this point, men certainly want some honesty. "If she is more open with me, I'll be more open with her, especially at the beginning when you're both feeling each other out, emotionally," says Warren, 33. But that comes with a caution. Feel free to be honest about your feelings, but don't make assumptions about his. Don't use the word us. At this early stage, you'll solidify your primo status if you talk about what you like about what you like about him, what you get out of a relationship with him, what turns you on about him. Us scares him; him excites him. (Yes, we're our own favorite subject, but that's just human nature.) It's a way of saying you love the relationship while giving him the ego-boosting rush he craves-all without making him think you're brushing up on the four Cs of diamond shopping. At this still-early stage, that's a secret to tip-toeing between giving him permission to love and giving him a reason to leave.
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