Although it can be confusing when your boyfriend says "I love you" a few days into your relationship, you can decode the meaning of this surprise. Pay attention, first of all, to what research has to say about how men behave when they are in romantic relationships.
Come Here, You Big Sap
Research published in 1999 in the "Journal of Social and Personal Relationships" found that most men hold very romantic attitudes about relationships, contrary to the popular image of the macho-type man. So, knowing that your boyfriend may be secretly prone to being overly sappy about his feelings for you can help you understand his desire to communicate this, even if it catches you off guard.
He Likes What He Sees
Men also tend to believe in the idea that a person can experience “love at first sight.” This finding was reported in the "Journal of Adolescence" in 1986. So, although you may have your doubts about immediately loving someone upon meeting him, your boyfriend may feel more confident about his gut feelings. If you hold similar beliefs, this can lead to a whirlwind type of romance. But if you hold different views, then you may feel put off by his early declaration of love.
Passion Is Everything
One of the most important points to understand, though, is that men tend to put more emphasis on passion than intimacy and commitment. Passion is usually caused by physical arousal combined with loving thoughts. Intimacy is formed by sharing personal information over time, and commitment is the decision to stay with someone irrespective of the levels of passion and intimacy. An early declaration of love is most likely fueled by passion. The good news about this is that a relationship with high amounts of passion can feel intense and exciting. On the other hand, passion, which can come and go, can also make a relationship unstable.
Bring It Up Gently
Although you may be equipped with an understanding of the research behind a man saying “I love you” early, the only way sure to know the meaning behind your boyfriend's words is to talk to him. Try to figure out what prompted this revelation. Did he say it in the heat of a loving moment with you? If so, then it was probably related to feelings of passion. If he said it after putting in some thought, then perhaps he’s a very romantic guy who believes in “love at first sight.”
- Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: Romantic Beliefs: Their Influence on Relationships and Patterns of Change Over Time
- Journal of Adolescence: Measuring Passionate Love in Intimate Relationships
- Review of General Psychology: Adult Romantic Attachment: Theoretical Developments, Emerging Controversies, and Unanswered Questions
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images