It’s True That Men Have to Fall Harder For Women Than They Fall For Us

Damon Young discusses why a man really should love his wife a little more than she loves him.

This article originally appeared at Very Smart Brothas 

One of the best (and worst) things about being an adult is the occasional realization that certain things you never wanted to believe to be true are, in fact, true. On a macro level, these realizations are good because they help you grow and see the world for what it truly is and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But, however good this knowledge may ultimately be, it still stings a bit to learn that you believed some wrong-ass shit.

In the past few years or so I’ve had (at least) two such realizations. One was already touched on by my partner at Very Smart Brothas a couple weeks ago in “Is This What Growed Up Feels Like?” But, while Panama admitted feeling a little ashamed that he was a fan of such ignant rap, I feel no such shame. I’ve stopped trying to explain how the misogyny, nihilism, and overall misandry present in much of popular rap — even rap made by “conscious” artists — is just some sort of postmodern social commentary reflecting on the trails and tribulations of post-industrial inner city society and finally admitted to myself that I just happen to like some ignorant-ass, vulgar-ass, violent-ass music that’s ignorant, vulgar, and violent for no reason. I’m not sure what exactly that says about me, but it’s about time I stopped trying to believe that wasn’t true.

The second realization wasn’t as easy to accept. I was either at my friend’s aunt’s house or outside of a greyhound station bathroom (can’t remember which) when I first remember hearing that “a man should love his wife a bit more than she loves him.”  In both instances, I was too busy making sure no improbably fast six-legged creatures crawled on my chicken to pay much attention to the phrase.

As the years passed, I began to hear it more and more, but it was never actually said with any type of sane explanation. A girl I dated in college once told me that her mom told her never to like a boy more than the boy likes her. When she asked her why, she apparently mumbled, shook her head, and said “because you don’t want to end up with the gout and worms like your grandmother, that’s why.”

Explanation or not, that sentiment just never really sat right with me. A relationship idealist, I believed that the best partnerships were formed when both parties fell in love simultaneously and loved each other equally. Plus, as a young man doing whatever the f*ck I needed to do to stay the hell away from any burgeoning relationship with “friends zone” potential, the idea that I need to be more into a woman than she was into me was an affront to my pride and the complete antithesis of everything I “learned”  through experience.

I don’t know exactly when or where I started to accept this sentiment as truth, but I do know today that it is undeniably, unequivocally, and uncomfortably true. Thing is, while (many) men seem to reject this sentiment because it seems to balance the dating and relationship scale in the woman’s favor, it’s actually necessary because that part of the game is already balanced in our favor. Us falling first and harder doesn’t do anything but even things out.

To wit, I’m assuming most of the thousands of men who will read this have been in at least one good relationship, and possibly more. I’m also going to assume that, in at least 50 percent of these relationships, the guy eventually “won” the woman over by “growing on” her. Basically, he was really feeling her, she was “eh” about him at first, but he eventually managed to somehow convince her that he was worth being with/sleeping with/swallowing, etc.

Now, if I were to ask how many of these men ended up happy with a woman that they were completely “eh” about at first until she convinced him that she was worth being with, I doubt I’d get many replies.

Because of certain sociological and biological factors largely out of our control, women aren’t really able to grow on men the same way we can grow on them, making it paramount that we (men) are the ones who show the most initial interest.

Also, another completely unscientific and unresearched theory to add to the rest of the completely unscientific and unresearched theories presented today is that men who aren’t head over hills about the woman they’re with are more likely to do things that “unsettled” men do — i.e., cheat, be non-committal, stay emotionally unavailable, etc.

Obviously, men in love do still do these things (women definitely aren’t immune to it either), but I just don’t think it happens as often as a man who doesn’t really feel like he put the time and effort into “winning” anybody. Just as women are more likely to value men who are wanted by other women but chose to pursue them, men are more likely to value the women they chose to attempt to win. It’s a truth I didn’t really want to admit, but I guess learning new shit is the best part about being a grown-up. (Actually, being able to drink moosetracks milkshakes for breakfast while sitting on your couch butt-naked and watching “Miller’s Crossing” without anyone saying a gotdamn thing is a pretty good part about being a grown-up, but that’s beside the point).

 Photo—Stephen Cummings

About Damon Young

Pittsburgh native Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) is the co-founder of Their first book Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide To Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime is available at


  1. ITA with the piece.

    I think when a man falls for the woman faster than she for him benefits everyone. The man can bring out his romantic side, and she can see that she’s not another quick thrill for him.

    • How does that benefit men who need to see she’s not just after a quick thrill herself? Or someone just using him for attention? If the men fall faster n harder, then what happens when they don’t succeed, more heartbreak vs females?

  2. Quadruple A says:

    The whole idea here seems to be that there is just something ugly and less loveable about men. Yet then women are only lovable because of some biological basis. I think this way of thinking objectifies women and it also objectifies men. Both genders are valued or less valued in terms of some supposedly biological way of thinking (which is actually ideological) rather than valuing a person’s individuality which requires time and getting to know a person. It takes time but not because we find something repulsive about their maleness or because we are looking beyond superficial feminine appearances but because knowing a person’s true self requires effort. I guess this show how sexism against both genders is intertwined in the way the body is encoded.

    • Quardruple A, I was thinking much the same thing but you rather articulated it much better then I could have. I’m not sure being the side of the gender that should be hypothetically loved a little more is any more positive then being the gender that needs to do the little extra loving.

      • Quadruple A says:

        I’m glad that there are others who think like me. I often wander if anyone understands me or if I’m in a different world. Feeling, especially feelings about sex and gender are hard to articulate. I try hard to do that because it seems like something others who are looking at gender aren’t doing and don’t seem to understand it’s importance.

        I don’t know how he could feel okay not being just as loved if maybe he didn’t feel a kind of chivalric self-satisfaction for being the greater love in the relationship. I think it’s sad though and that is not what I want. Maybe the OP distrusts women and feels he needs to rationalize that distrust or maybe I should get his feedback so I am not prejudging him.

  3. Damon – You make me want to show up at your place in the morning packing moosetracks, wearing an apron and a smile. 🙂

    Seriously though….thanks for bringing this up. I find it sad that we have strayed so far from our natures that we have to figure this out on purpose now. It’s simple…..energetically speaking, sexual attraction is caused by the tension between masculine and feminine energy….which isn’t to say men or women, because we all have the capacity to inhabit both energies at will.

    Where I’ve seen thing botch up most is when men spend too much time in their feminine (like not spending time with their boys) or when women spend too much time in their masculine (like when we’re at work on a project.)

    What I finally figured out is that is doesn’t matter who’s in which….only that both are present. Half the fun is figuring that out in real time and playing with the energy together, consciously. It’s the little things.

    I wouldn’t know about the original question though….I can’t remember ever being in a relationship where it felt like he loved me more than I loved him. (Note to self: Let’s try one of those next time!)

    Thanks again, Damon!

  4. Interesting viewpoint that I can support with my own life. I was much more into my college boyfriends than they were me. Didn’t work in the long run. I also see this as a relationship coach. Women who will do anything for their guy ultimately lose them. There is something in the chase and the need to continue to be on one’s toes that keeps a guy interested. Women can also shut men down by too little attention and too much criticism.

  5. Some great points made here and in the comments.

    1. I would like to read the ‘researched and scientific’ article about : “certain sociological and biological factors largely out of our control”

    As someone with a new love interest I’m head over heels for a guy I find to be a potential mate and I have been going out of my way to impress him. From his standpoint, in the first week – I “blew his mind” – speaking from my own research it is not true that: “women aren’t really able to grow on men the same way we can grow on them” – but the result is yet to be seen.

    2. I think what you are pointing out here is that men need a challenge and reward system. Because I am crazy about this guy – I have made sure to keep that system in tact. I fully express what I need and how I am feeling but I realize now I have to sit back and let him simmer. At some point the other party must reciprocate and realize their own feelings. I don’t think (hope) it’s right to say that the dynamic must always be that the guy has to like the girl more – I think what’s important is that men feel challenged. I happen to be a very ambitious and desireable woman so I also like the challenge. In fact – if you want to know some of the research on “love” chemicals – when women fall in love their testosterone actually increases while the males decreases – this would actually in fact result in the woman being more sexual and aggressive and the male more vulnerable. Look it up.

    3. “Just as women are more likely to value men who are wanted by other women but chose to pursue them, men are more likely to value the women they chose to attempt to win.” Why can’t this work the other way around?? I’ve made it clear to my guy that I am a desireable woman – I have shown him this and frankly I know I can have any man I want. I have actually really enjoyed the pursuit (it’s my first time) and I feel like Amelie or that movie ‘In July’ – the woman must pursue the man in a cunning way and then let go – and let him decide his feelings. But then again it works the same both ways.

    All I know is I feel like a totally different woman because I’ve been inspired by a brilliant and beautiful man – I have found traits in myself that I will keep with me no matter what happens between him and I and will use for my own pursuits regardless of whether our relationship progresses or not.

  6. To certain extent this rings true when you consider that men overwhelmingly bear the brunt of having to “be romantic” for their women. You never hear a man complain that his wife never takes him anywhere or doesn’t bring him home special gifts or leave little love notes hidden for him to discover. It’s because we’re conditioned not to expect that stuff, whereas women are conditioned to expect it and when a man fails to deliver, it is further evidence that the man does not care for her much because he is not willing to make an effort. I say it’s time for women to make more of an effort, especially in marriage, to keep romance alive. The next time a woman complains her boyfriend or husband is “boring” they need to ask themselves what fabulous fun ideas they have come up with in the last year.

  7. (R)Evoluzione says:

    Damon, you make some good points. At first, reading the headline, I was ready to ride your ass about being a misandrist bastard. But as I read the post, I realized you make some good, if unscientific, unresearched, and unresearchable points.

    Yet the fact is undeniable that in general, women control access to sex, while men control access to commitment. It’s true that men who aren’t totally head over heels for a woman is more likely to cheat, to remain aloof & noncommital. As a man who’s lived on both sides of that sword, I can verify what you’ve said is true.

    The challenge is, falling head over heels for a woman is just asking for a case of one-itis, that crippling emotional attachment to one woman that is more likely than not to leave a man bereft and shredded emotionally, because one-itis can and often does come off as emotionally needed. As a corollary, this phenomenon demonstrates that it’s men who are the true romantics.

    The conundrum then becomes, how does a man maintain his sense of self while falling in love? Is it possible to fall in love slowly and carefully, making sure that there’s a proper level of reciprocation going on. There must be balance. Unrequited love is an STD, that’s why it’s called “catching feelings.” Only when both parties are truly & deeply in love can there be equity, even if the balance of feelings does put the man in a more ardent position.

  8. “Because of certain sociological and biological factors largely out of our control, women aren’t really able to grow on men the same way we can grow on them, making it paramount that we (men) are the ones who show the most initial interest.”

    What the what? I can’t figure out whether this is sexist against women, for assuming we’re so changeable. Or whether it’s sexist against men for assuming they’re slaves to their initial judgements of a potential mate. You wanna list some reputable sources to back this up, because at the minute it’s really nothing more than anecdotal, and my own experience totally doesn’t line up with yours.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Well, I think he makes it clear that this is “unscientific” and “unresearched” and therefore completely and entirely anecdotal.

    • HeatherN:
      In my experience, men really do base a lot on initial impressions. For example, men are more likely to fall in love at first sight.
      In my relationships it has always been the man to say I love you first. I think there’s a lot of truth when people say men often do and should fall in love faster than the woman.

      • Yeah I think it’s wrong to tell anyone what they “should” do emotionally, particularly with regards to a romantic relationship. No one should twist themselves to follow some sort of script; that’ll just end badly. What everyone “should” do is find someone (or multiple someones) who are compatible with them and go from there.

        • That’s all good and dandy, but it just doesn’t seem to work out well when the man isnt first to fall head over heels.


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