SALT LAKE CITY — Who's more romantic, men or women? When it comes to love at first sight, the answer may surprise you.
A recent study found that men are more likely to fall in love at first sight than women, which may contribute to their increased propensity to stray compared to their female counterparts.
The findings come from an online survey of more than 10,000 people around the world, answering questions about their relationships. Among the findings: 48 percent of men claim they have fallen in love at first sight, while just 28 percent of women say the same.
The data from the survey was published in the new book "The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal About Creating a New Normal in Your Relationship." The book "aims to dispel the myths surrounding sexuality and relationships (and) shed light on what a real 21st-century relationship entails," according to The Daily Mail.
So does this mean men are more romantic than women? Perhaps, but not necessarily in the Harlequin-novel way that this implies.
According to Dr. J.R. Bruns, a psychiatrist and medical director of La Mer Integrative & Behavioral Medical Group, such instantaneous relationships are "a badge of manly honor in today's society." He writes for Psychology Today that "even if these relationships ultimately fail, there is a heroic, romantic sense attached to them, of dating and mating boldly and recklessly."
"Our media of music, television, movies and the Internet reinforce that this is the way to live life to its fullest," he continues. "Thus we long to read about mirage relationships, watch them on the silver screen or rent them from Netflix, and hum along to their ballads of foolish love. Given the chance, we act them out as our real-life romantic fantasy."
- Put your partner first. Learn to say no to other interruptions. Always make your marriage the top priority in your life.
- Talk together and set solid boundaries with each other. Know where you're strong, know where you're weak.
- Learn to talk to your partner, and talk about your feelings and temptations. Talk about your rules as a couple. Talk about what is OK and what isn't OK.
- Seek help sooner rather than later. When you first begin to feel the temptation is the time to seek help.
So why do more men than women fall quickly and easily? "Love at first sight provides immediate emotional and physical intimacy to men," Bruns suggests. "In a society that lives for the moment ... why take time to actually get to know someone first before you hand them your heart?"
It's this arguably endorphin-fueled mentality that may also lead men astray once they're in a relationship, however. According to the survey, 33 percent of men admitted to having extramarital affairs, compared to 19 percent of women. Perhaps even more troubling, "the number confessing to being unfaithful shot up dramatically when the question was phrased as 'sex outside your current relationship,' " according to The Daily Mail.
The motivations for having an affair are individual and complex, but in many cases, the impetus may be the same force that entices men to believe in love at first sight:
"Studies show most men who cheat want to experiment sexually and experience the rush associated with 'new sex,'" writes psychiatrist Dr. Gail Saltz for today.com. "This is their way of prolonging indefinitely the early and intoxicating phase of infatuation in a relationship."
That's why experts advise keeping your relationship exciting as the years go by. "Any relationship, no matter how great, can turn boring if it isn’t nurtured," Saltz says. "Reinvigorate the marriage and the sex life you already have. Inject some play and renewed intimacy; talk to your husband, go traveling, go dancing, work on a project together."
The bottom line, she says: "The way to revive a boring marriage is to invest energy and interest in one another, not in a different partner" — no matter how exciting the thought of new love at first sight may seem.