Are women more romantic than men? Do they fall in love faster? Do they say "I love you" faster? All these questions are still common beliefs. Through her publication "Women and Men in Love: Who Really Feels It and Says It First?” Marisa A. Harrison attempts to unravel the truth about these preconceived notions.
By interviewing a group of 178 heterosexual students in their early 20 years about their past and present romantic relationships, Harrison attempts to find out if there is a real difference between men and women in their relationships.
At the end of the 28 questions asked from the students, it is clear that there is a significant difference between the two genders. But contrary to popular belief, it is men who fall in love faster than women. They are also three times more likely than women to say I love you first. Yet, everyone thinks otherwise. Among the group of students in this survey, the vast majority think that women fall in love first and are the first to say I love you.
Surprisingly, if there is one point on which men and women agree, it is in their perception of love. "We need to know the person to love him/her", "love at first sight exists", "love is a waste of time" are all questions whose answers do not vary according to gender, thus showing a similarity in their way of thinking.
Contrary to the widespread thought, women are more pragmatic than what the society tends to reflect as an image. This view is probably rooted in gender stereotypes, as men and women behave the way they are expected to. It is common knowledge that the man has to be the first to say I love you and express his feelings so that the woman, distraught with love all the while, can do so in return.
Although Harrison's study dates back to 2010, it is still used today in current research and is a source of inspiration for new topics. In particular, it is cited in a dissertation on the acceptance of the LGBTI community in universities. It is still used as a basis for studies on the evolution of romantic relationships, and on the understanding of love and the couple.