One of the really interesting questions about falling in love is how we choose our partners – is it conscious or unconscious? Is it a matter of chance, or are we predestined to meet a certain person?
When you think about it, if you’re looking to have a guy fall in love with you, this is a really important question. Happily, Andrew Galperin and Martie Haselton of the University of Los Angeles have looked at how often and when people fall in love, and can give us some answers. What they have to say makes interesting reading.
Why did love evolve in the first place?
There are plenty of reasons why people might get together besides love. And in any case, as we’ve seen from the current rate of marriage breakups in the Western world, it would seem that love doesn’t necessarily work too well as a glue to hold people together in a relationship.
But the truth is, we all want to be in love because it’s a glorious feeling – so why did it evolve? You see, love is a basic emotion for the entire human race – it is found wherever people are found, but it manifests differently between different people in different cultures.
One idea about why we feel love is that women are generally skeptical of men’s commitment – regrettably, often with good reason. So one theory for the evolution of love is that men evolved to fall in love first, as a demonstration of their commitment to a woman.
And in fact there are plenty of indicators which show that men are more love prone than women! One of those differences, as already mentioned, seems to be that men fall in love more easily than women. As a woman, this could help you find out how to make a man fall in love with you more easily and quickly.
Men may be prone to falling in love more quickly than women because love evolved as a way of making men commit to a particular partner – in other words, to live monogamously, and stay monogamous, for an extended period of time. According to this theory, love is basically a biological mechanism for protecting a woman who is pregnant and any children produced by the parents.
The Male Displays
Another facet of love is how men are often drawn to make costly “displays” to their intended partner – investing a lot of time and effort into the woman who they are pursuing. Of course these are time and resources which can’t be given to another partner. It’s a bit like the sexual selection mechanism in animals – think of the peacock’s tail, the only purpose of which is to attract a female by demonstrating how strong, powerful and dominant the male is…..
But there’s a more subtle aspect to this in humans: love really does signal commitment because it’s quite difficult to fake love. As a woman trying to make a man fall in love with you, it’s very likely you are going to know whether that man really is in love with you or not.
Men Fall In Love More Easily
One piece of evidence which supports the idea that men fall in love more easily than women was a study conducted in 1970, in which about a quarter of men (27%) but only 15% of women said that they experienced feelings of love within the first four dates. Clearly women are more cautious about falling in love.
And more men than women believe in love at first sight.
So what’s this all about?
Men report a higher number of experiences of “love at first sight” than women do, and they also report having had more experiences of unreciprocated love than women do – which means men are more willing to fall in love during what we used to call “courtship” than women are. (Courtship is all about getting to know and like a partner, not necessarily about falling in love or making a man fall in love.)
Obviously falling in love with an unsuitable partner may have a higher potential price for a woman than a man. These consequences have changed over time but still range from social exclusion or oppression to unsupported pregnancy.
What does this imply for relationships, and for any woman trying to please a man, or to get a man to like her, or indeed trying to get a man to fall in love with her?
Meeting And Mating With A Partner
One very interesting finding is that women are approached by men much more than men are by women. Therefore the perception that a man is interested in her is much less psychologically powerful for a woman than it is for a man – it happens a lot. For men, not so much.
And of course this gives women more opportunities than men to form a relationship. In turn, that means there’s less reason for a woman to fall in love with a man simply because he appears to be interested in them.
Indeed, the researchers found that when a man perceives a woman to be interested in him, this perception alone might be enough to generate a sense of liking her.
But for woman, the perception that a man is interested in her will not necessarily generate a sense of liking the man. Why should it? She will have many more men interested in her…. and she knows it.
This is very interesting: it means that a woman really does hold the power in the dating and mating game, provided she’s willing to extend herself and express interest in a man.
As soon as she does that, he may immediately like her – just because she’s expressed interest in him!
And liking, for men, is linked to loving. That’s not so true for women.
Women are more selective – they have an idea of what a man needs to be like before they will see him as a potential partner. But that alone is not enough to produce feelings of love. Which kind of supports the idea that women have the upper hand in several ways when it comes to knowing how to make a man fall in love with them.