1. Headline
  1. Headline
By
updated 6/23/2011 7:14:21 PM ET 2011-06-23T23:14:21

Dump the stereotype of the manly commitment-phobe. A new study finds that not only do men often say "I love you" first in relationships, they're often happier than women when they hear the three little words said to them.

  1. Stories from
    1. Doctor in New York City Tests Positive for Ebola
    2. Lamar Odom Won't Sign Divorce Papers, Kardashians Haven't Heard from Him in Weeks
    3. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's Family-Friendly Dinner
    4. We Whip Up a Recipe From Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt's New Cookbook
    5. Brittany Maynard to Dr. Ira Byock: Quit Talking About Me

The bigger happiness boost comes when a woman confesses her love prior to the couple having sex, researchers reported in June in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

From an evolutionary perspective in which men value the opportunity to reproduce and women value commitment to raise offspring, the findings make sense, the researchers wrote. Men may prefer a pre-sex confession because it comes with the promise of getting some action in the near future. Women, on the other hand, would prefer the post-sex confession because it means the sex comes with a commitment.

The researchers recruited 45 students and other passersby at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and asked them whether they thought men or women said, " I love you " first more often in relationships. Sixty-four percent said women were most likely to drop the L-word first. On average, the respondents predicted, women would say "I love you" 23 days before men.

In fact, the researchers found after surveying about 100 undergraduates and 47 heterosexual couples of all ages, between 61 percent and 70 percent of people said the man had said "I love you" first in their past or current relationship. On average, men considered saying "I love you" 42 days before women did, suggesting that the difference was not just based on women waiting for men to make the first move.

Further study showed that, when asked to imagine a scenario in which their girlfriend said "I love you," men reported the biggest imagined happiness boost if the confession came before the two had ever had sex. After sex, men reported a slightly smaller happiness boost when the confession was made.

Women, in comparison, were less impressed with pre-sex confessions, but became significantly happier if the "I love you" came after the couple had started having sex.

© 2012 LiveScience.com. All rights reserved.

Vote: Who said I love you first in your most recent relationship?

More on TODAY.com

  1. Mark Winans

    ‘It’s a miracle:’ Oregon dog survives 150-foot fall

    10/23/2014 9:08:40 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T21:08:40
  1. New York checks suspected Ebola patient

    A health care worker who recently returned from West Africa is being isolated and checked for Ebola virus at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, city health officials said Thursday.

    10/23/2014 7:47:58 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T19:47:58
  1. Getty Images file

    Conan O'Brien gets zinged by Madeleine Albright in epic Twitter

    10/23/2014 11:50:22 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T23:50:22
  1. Reports: ‘I am mad at our son,' says Ottawa shooter’s mom

    The mother of the Ottawa parliament attack gunman said Thursday she was crying for the victims of the shooting, not her son, according to The Associated Press.

    10/23/2014 3:51:20 PM +00:00 2014-10-23T15:51:20