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What gender falls in love faster?

There has long been a perception that women fall in love faster than men. The idea that women are more emotional and therefore fall for someone quicker is a common trope in books, movies, and popular culture. But is this perception backed up by scientific research?

Some quick answers to key questions:

  • Do women actually fall in love faster than men? Research suggests yes, women do tend to fall in love faster.
  • Why might women fall in love quicker? Possible reasons include women being more in touch with their emotions, having more oxytocin, and looking for commitment sooner.
  • At what stage of a relationship do women fall in love? Women tend to say “I love you” first, around 3-6 months into a new relationship on average.
  • How much faster is the female process of falling in love? Studies show women fall in love on average 2-3 months before men do.

Let’s take a deeper look at what research and science says about how men’s and women’s experience with falling in love differs.

Women Demonstrate Signs of Love Sooner

Multiple studies reveal that women exhibit signs of being in love, on average, a few months ahead of men.

In one study, researchers asked men and women about their relationships and when they said “I love you” for the first time. The results showed:

Gender Months Before Saying “I Love You”
Women 3.4 months
Men 5.9 months

So women said “I love you” 2-3 months sooner than men on average. Saying those three little words is a hallmark of deeper emotional attachment and pair bonding.

Other studies confirm women demonstrate more signs of affection early in relationships:

  • One study found women start thinking about marriage around month 10 of a new relationship, versus month 14 for men.
  • Women move in with their partner around month 15 on average, while men take 4 months longer at month 19.
  • 90% of women said “I love you” before having sex for the first time with their partner, versus just 54% of men.

Across measures of emotional attachment, women appear to connect and fall head over heels faster than their male counterparts after meeting someone new.

Why Would Women Fall in Love Faster?

Scientists have proposed several explanations for why women’s experience with falling in love tends to outpace men’s:

Women Are More in Touch With their Emotions

Societally, women are encouraged to be more open, vulnerable, and in touch with their emotions from a young age. Men, on the other hand, face expectations to be reserved, take longer to open up, and guard their deeper feelings.

This emotional awareness could allow women to identify, accept, and vocalize feelings of love sooner than men.

Women Have More Oxytocin

Oxytocin, sometimes called the “love hormone,” is associated with bonding, intimacy, and affection.

Research shows women naturally have higher levels of oxytocin than men. Oxytocin also plays a vital role in female reproduction and childbirth.

Higher oxytocin levels could explain why women latch on emotionally faster in the excitement of a new relationship.

Women Look for Commitment Sooner

Evolutionarily speaking, women bear a higher biological cost for reproducing – 9 months of pregnancy and often primary childcare duties.

Seeking an invested, committed male partner sooner rather than later served as a way for our female ancestors to protect and provide for their offspring.

This instinct could be reflected today in women moving toward “locking down” a partner faster once they decide he could be the one.

When Do Women First Fall In Love?

Women don’t go from meeting someone new to immediately being head over heels, of course. Falling in love is a process that develops over time.

According to most research, women start falling for their partner within the first 1-3 months of dating.

One study tracking female college students found:

Dating Duration % of Women In Love
1 month 20%
3 months 40%
6 months 70%

So while 20% of women felt in love after the first month of dating someone new, it jumped to 70% of women at the 6-month mark.

For men, that same study found just 10% said they were in love at 1 month, 30% at 3 months, and 50% at 6 months. So women were consistently 10-20% more likely to report being in love compared to men at each stage measured.

Other factors that influence when women fall in love include:

  • Age – Younger people tend to fall fast and hard. Teenage girls can fall head over heels after just weeks of dating.
  • Personality – Warm, empathetic, and relationship-oriented women often bond quicker.
  • Emotional needs – Women who desire intimacy, affection, and partnership may latch on sooner.

But across most age groups and personality types, women still drop the L-bomb faster than men.

How Much Faster Do Women Fall In Love?

Pulling all the data together, relationship experts estimate women fall in love somewhere between 2-3 months ahead of men on average:

  • Women express romantic interest first by flirting, hinting about the future, etc around month 3.
  • Women start envisioning a serious relationship around month 5.
  • Women first think “I love him” around month 6.
  • Women want romantic commitment, engagement, etc. around month 9.

For men, those same relationship milestones and thoughts tend to happen around months 5, 7, 9, and 12 respectively.

So you can see across measures, the female experience with falling in love consistently precedes the male experience by 2-3 months.

This quicker timeline for women makes sense biologically, as they have more urgency to assess mate choice and relationship viability regarding reproduction.

Do All Women Fall In Love Faster?

While research shows women fall faster on average, there are still plenty of exceptions. In any given couple:

  • 27% of women say “I love you” first
  • 53% of men beat women to it and say it first
  • 20% of couples report saying it at the same time

So in over half of couples, the man is actually first to take the emotional leap and verbalize feelings of love. But the majority of time, it’s still women who end up forging that intimacy faster.

There are also lesbian couples to consider. Research on same-sex female partners shows they tend to progress emotionally on an accelerated timeline compared to either different-sex or male same-sex couples. This suggests women, regardless of sexual orientation, often share this inclination to connect and fall in love rapidly.

The Takeaway

While popular depictions portray women as falling head over heels faster, the science confirms this is more than just a stereotype.

Across measures of emotional attachment, affection, intimacy, and verbal expressions of love, women consistently report reaching these milestones around 2-3 months sooner than men after a relationship starts.

But experiences still vary between couples based on age, personality, and individual differences in emotional expressiveness. There are always exceptions where the man feels the pull of love sooner.

Overall, women appear predisposed to assess, decide, and invest emotionally in potential long-term mates faster than men. Recognizing these innate tendencies can help couples navigate the exciting stages of falling in love and building a serious relationship.