VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – I love you. They’re three little words we all love to hear, but not everyone is quick to say.

A new study shows when it comes to who’s first to lay their heart on the line and say how they really feel, it’s a 70/30 split between the sexes. But the people who say it first aren’t who you might think. The study by a team of psychologists shows men are more often the first to utter those three key words.

The study also looks at how often those words are taken seriously. One of the psychologists says it makes sense to be skeptical of the “I love you” if it comes before sex because both sexes are genetically programmed to invest in a relationship where there is a potential for pregnancy.

He adds when the outpouring of emotion comes after sex, it’s more often an indicator of real feelings and commitment.

Many people we spoke to were surprised by the results, saying they would have assumed it was either 50/50 or a woman who’s most likely to speak first.

“It’s the women, because women are more emotional and a lot of the time, women would say ‘I love you’ but they do expect the guy to reply to that and say ‘I love you, too,’” says Marie-Claire.

But John said he can understand men being the first to put the emotion into words. “I think women don’t say it in words but they hint around and they start talking about wedding days and all this and all of a sudden, it’s there.”

After hearing the results of the study, Marie-Claire conceded sometimes a man will say it first, but usually because he expects something in return.