Vive la difference: Men & Women

Psychology Of Love – Part 3

Contrary to popular beliefs, romantic ideals are not the sole province of the fair sex. Both men and women report experiencing the same levels of intensity of love. However, there are some differences between the sexes that contradict the romantic notions of the lightning strike of mutual attraction. For example, men tend to fall in love at an earlier point in a relationship than women, and women fall out of love more quickly than men. When it comes to falling in love, a woman might be still at the ‘getting to know you’ stage, while the man could be ready for the comforts of home and Saturday afternoon football. The finding that women fall out of love more quickly could explain why so many men are left watching the football, wondering where their partners have gone.

Most people would like to believe that, despite these differences, men and women eventually get to the same place, even though it might not necessarily be at the same time! However, research indicates that although men and women might feel love equally passionately, the place they get to is very different.

Generally men are supposed be spontaneous (some might argue irresponsible) and enjoy the game playing love of Ludus with all the passionate and sexual fun of Eros. Whereas, it is assumed that women tend to be more practical preferring the security of Pragma and the friendship of Agape. So, it would appear that, even if men and women are in the same place, they view love in very different ways. Most people would admit that intimate relationships are complicated but the different styles of love adopted by men and women make the whole experience a bit like a game of football, but with one team playing cricket.

While research has identified a number of different tendencies in men and women’s styles of love, the greatest difference of all, and probably the one that causes the most problems, is how men and women communicate their love.

It is well known that women prefer the verbal language of love (okay they like to talk), but for most women the spoken word is the key to all romantic and loving encounters. Whereas, for men, actions speak louder than words and they tend to show their love by buying gifts, fixing something, or in physical ways like hugs and sex. Indeed, all you have to do to confirm these differences is observe how women and men play with children. Women usually play games that involve reading or verbal communication, whereas men generally enjoy the physical activities of sport, building, rough-and-tumble etc.

Basically, women like to hear how their partners feel about them, while men like to show how they feel with actions. Perhaps this is the reason why, in adult romantic relationships, most men run in terror when they hear those four little words ‘we need to talk’, and women accuse men of only being interested in sex when they get a pat on their backsides.

So, if women and men can’t get the timing right, are playing different games and speaking a different language, it is perhaps not surprising that love isn’t always the ‘many splendoured thing’ that the romantics would have us believe.

In Blog 4: Love At First Sight.

Dr. Lori Boul gained her PhD at the University of Sheffield in the UK and the research for her thesis, into ‘male menopause’, attracted worldwide media attention. Dr Lori is probably one of the most outspoken speakers on the topic of human sexuality and in writing her book DIY Sex and Relationship Therapy has dared to challenge the need for face-to-face therapy. According to Dr Lori, “Good therapists can be hard to find and for many people a good spoonful of common sense is all that is needed”.

Whether speaking to the general public or professionals, Dr Lori’s expertise, sensitivity and humour inspire new ways of thinking about relationships, sex and psychology. She has presented talks at national and international conferences, provides training courses and executive mentoring, and is featured as a regular guest speaker with Cunard.