Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Theory & Essay

Why It’s True That Men Need To Fall For Women A Bit Harder Than They Fall For Us

"I'm smiling now, but if you bite my neck again, this'll be the last time we have pier sex"

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 Panama last week in “Is This What Growed Up Feels Like?” But, while P 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 “friend’s 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” from the baseheads selling jumper cables outside of my barber shop 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 visit this blog today 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 “eh” about at first until she convinced him that she was worth being with, I doubt I’d get many replies. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t get any.

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. Basically, while there’s a good chance that a good relationship can spring if a guy has grow on a chick, there’s absolutely no chance of it happening if the opposite occurs.

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, 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 besides the point)

Anyway, people of VSB, do you think think it’s true that the best relationships happen when men fall in love a little harder and a little faster than the woman they’re with? (For some strange reason, I get the feeling that the responses will be split along gender lines. I may be wrong, though) 

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • First!

  • I feel like we’ve had this conversation before…

  • Jay

    1. My days as a relationship idealist ended… a few hours ago.

    2. Millers Crossing is a waaaay underrated gangster flick.

  • Royale W. Cheese

    “do you think think it’s true that the best relationships happen when men fall in love a little harder and a little faster than the woman they’re with?”

    Yes, and my explanation is quite simple. When it comes to romance, men (relative to women) have attention deficit disorder. In contrast, women have obsessive compulsive disorder.

  • Editgirl

    False. No couple EVER loves each other equally. Ever. Forever, never. And, you’re speaking from the experiencing of leaving a relationship because you didn’t want to have to tell someone where you were going to be so I think that makes you a limited. That’s no slight. It’s the truth. The truth being, what do you really know about truly falling for someone and sticking around?

    During a relationship we all know that there are times where your love is strong as hell and then there are times where you’re like “I hate that bastid.” If WE have those feelings, ya best believe your partner has them to. Men aren’t alone in feeling that seesaw of emotion. Women do, too.

    So really, there’s no WAY for a man to always love a woman more because the feelings of love are cyclical in all relationships.

    That’s it.

  • Marshal

    You right about everything in this post. I thin that’s why the concept of “Tradition” comes form to explain aspects of Relationships- Chilvary, Proposing/Engagements, Weddings, etc. The resistance to Same Sex Equality is prime example to this reasoning, in a way.

  • Aminah

    I agree. However, if the relationship is rooted in love it doesn’t stay that way. I’ve been married for 14 years & in the beginning he loved me more. As time went on I loved him more & desired to make him just as happy as he does me. We’re constantly in competition to one up the other & it’s still fun.

  • Editgirl

    As a woman, it’s unclear to me if women that have to be “won over by men” feel those men are anything more than worthy of being dated cyclically. In my experience, all the woman I know that were “eh” about a man and ended up dating him later pretty much leave the relationship wondering, why the heck did I ever date that negro? Like, seriously. I have had friends tell me “I must have been going through some things when I dated him because I don’t even find him remotely attractive.” I think men highly exaggerate their ability to win people over. Yeah you got the girl briefly. But, did she love him? Was she is ride or die? Doubt it.

  • Step_AI

    Agreed. One thing I always questioned (and you gave me the answer…so thanks) is why is it when I would be attracted to a guy it wouldn’t go anywhere, but when a guy liked me we ended up in a relationship…bothered the shit out of me but happy some of them did grow on me.

  • Possibly. In my case, it has always worked to my advantage. So yes, as it relates to me. Although, ya’ll I got to say, I just finished skyping with this wonderful, good spirited, meets all my requirements and qualities man, one problem, though he is a Flavor Flave clone. Furthermore, he wants me as his wife. We cannot be seen in public together, no way no how. By the way I LOVE pretty ugly swag, but when the ugly done crossed over to fugly, it’s time, I took it to the Calvary where Jesus paid for it all. He is going to carry that guilt for me, of not admitting why I am hesitant to pursue a relationship-boy you fugly. Oh shiiid.

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