Predictors of how often and when people fall in loveEvolutionary Psychology 8(1): 5-28
A leading theory of romantic love is that it functions to make one feel committed to one’s beloved, as well as to signal this commitment to the beloved (Frank, 1988). Because women tend to be skeptical of men’s commitment, this view entails that men may have evolved to fall in love first, in order to show their commitment to women. Using a sample of online participants of a broad range of ages, this study tested this sex difference and several related individual difference hypotheses concerning the ease of falling in love. There was mixed evidence for sex differences: only some measures indicated that men are generally more love-prone than are women. We also found that men were more prone to falling in love if they tended to overestimate women’s sexual interest and highly valued physical attractiveness in potential partners. Women were more prone to falling in love if they had a stronger sex drive. These results provide modest support for the existence of sex differences in falling in love, as well as initial evidence for links between several individual difference variables and the propensity to fall in love.
romantic love, passionate love, sex differences, physical attractiveness, sexual misperception