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Saying 'I love you' is not so simple

Sunday - 1/8/2012, 12:37pm  ET

Randi Marin, a View from Venus

WASHINGTON - Most people are thrilled when they hear "I Love you" from their romantic partners for the first time, but does it really mean what you think?

Joshua Ackerman, a psychologist at the MIT Slone School of Management, says it all depends on when the person says it.

"If somebody is saying 'I Love you' before sex, it probably does pay to be a little more skeptical about it."

Studies have long shown that men not women tend to express love first in relationships, contrary to what many may believe or what romantic movies may portray.

Ackerman points out that when love is expressed it subconsciously starts like a business transaction or negotiation.

The power is in the women's corner before sex and shifts to the mans corner after.

At the start of a relationship when a man hears "I Love You" from his partner, he is pretty happy thinking they are on their way to romantic relations.

When love is spoken both men and women mean it, but its meaning can have many layers. Meanings can range from I want to work toward a commitment to I just want to just have sex.

Ackerman says we tend to talk over each other without really getting the meaning of the words.

Perhaps after hearing "I Love You" a couple of follow up questions wouldn't be a bad idea.

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