Do men get attached more easily than women? And if so, does that represent a sea change in gender behaviors?
The researchers behind a new survey from Match.com seem to think that might be the case. Men apparently fall in love more quickly than women: 54 percent of guys say they've felt love at first sight, for instance, compared to 44 percent of women. Guys are also less interested in having time to themselves, away from their significant other: 77 percent of women say having personal space is "very important," compared to just 58 percent of men, and only 23 percent of guys think it's crucial to have regular nights out with their pals, as opposed to 35 percent of the ladies.
In a USA Today story about all this, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, who helped develop the survey, said, "Men are now expressing some traditionally female attitudes, while women are adopting some of those long attributed to men." Social historian Stephanie Coontz, who collaborated with Fisher on the project, added, "It's just amazing confirmation about what has changed in the last 40 years."
If you ask me, maybe what guys will admit to has changed, but as far as I can tell, men have always seemed a little bit more sappy (in a good way!) than women. Sure, ladies might be more open to possibility than men, and they're more willing to give guys they're not certain about a chance. Nevertheless, when guys fall, they fall hard — and once they're hooked (even if it happens slowly) they're almost always a bit more attached to the relationship than their female counterparts are.
Why's that? It might have to do with the kinds of intense personal relationships women tend to have outside of their romantic partnership. Women are more likely to be emotive and confessional with their friends. They like playing the role of arm-chair psychologists. And when a man gets into a relationship, he comes to depend almost exclusively on his girlfriend for emotional support and amateur therapy sessions — whereas women often continue to turn to their closest friends for help through any psychological difficulties or blue periods.
Think I'm on to something here? Or totally off the mark?
The study also had some other hope-inspiring things to report:
- Plenty of people become friends first before falling in love. 71 percent fell in love with someone they did not initially find attractive after having great conversations or shared interests. And 35 percent fell in love with someone even though they felt no sparks initially. (Sort of like Jake Stein and I did.)
- Love lasts! The study gathered data from nearly 5,200 single people — and found that 29 percent reported remaining deeply in love with their last partner for two to five years, eight percent felt this way for six to 10 years, and 18 percent did for more than 10 years. Not bad, really.
- Random hook-ups can lead to serious relationships. 35 percent of the people surveyed segued from a one-night-stand to a long-term commitment. (I'm surprised, but glad to hear it.)