I recently read a little tidbit that claims that in 2/3 of heterosexual relationships, men say 'I love you' first.
At first I thought it couldn't be true, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed feasible. Women have constantly been told that they're too emotional and that telling someone you love them will scare them away faster than an outbreak of herpes.
So of course women are clamming up and waiting for the man to confirm their feelings first. And, being on the receiving end of the first 'I love you' gives you the upper hand. You hold the cards for a brief moment, and you realize that you can make or break the relationship depending on your reaction. It also gives the man the chance to be the emotionally vulnerable one.
The Husband was the first to say it. I was leaving his apartment when he said, "I'll see you later. I love you, bye." It had just slipped out, and he obviously didn't mean to say it, so my shocked self asked if he meant to say it. He said, "I didn't plan on saying that tonight. But I don't want to take it back."
I wasn't ready for such an emotional connection, so I gave him a kiss and left. The Husband thought that he'd scared me away. Silly boy. I admit that it took me awhile to reciprocate the words, but seeing him be confident in his emotions and being unapologetic about it made me respect him more. His confidence convinced me to be confident.