Most Americans Have Only Said "I Love You" To 3 Partners, Survey Finds, Plus More Interesting Dating Stats

Three words. Eight letters. As simple as it sounds, saying "I love you" is understandably hard to do (just ask Blair and Chuck). As soon as you utter those words to someone you're dating, it feels like you're opening the floodgates of vulnerability and just begging the universe to come back and bite you for being too happy. If you find it difficult to say those three tiny words aloud, you aren't alone: According to a new survey, most people only say "I love you" to three romantic partners in their lifetime.

The online survey by YouGov asked 986 Americans, aged 18-65, about their relationships, and what they found was enlightening to say the least. Although the data doesn't specify to whom the respondents were saying "I love you" —  boyfriend, girlfriend, friend with benefits, husband, or wife — or whether or not they meant it, it does offer some comfort to those who might have thought themselves abnormal or unable to emote properly. It also didn't say whether or not the love they were professing was unrequited (*sheds tear*), or if they were in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship. No matter the technicalities of the relationship, though, it's remarkable that even amongst the 65-and-over group, 80 percent had only said I love you to three or fewer people. Granted, the younger groups still have plenty of life left to live and love left to give, so maybe by the time they reach senior status, they'll have said "I love you" to dozens of people. 

The survey didn't just ask about how often respondents professed their love — here are three other eye-opening stats this survey gave us. 

1. Three is the Magic Number for LTRs 

Across all age brackets, 75 percent of people said they had been in love three or less times in their lifetime (which makes sense, given the fact that they'd also said "I love you" to the same number of partners). It's worth noting that the survey didn't specify what length of time qualified as a long-term relationship, but it is surprising that there was so much consistency across the generations. Of course, the youngest age bracket, 18-29, had been in less LTRs and had said "I love you" less than the older brackets, because duh — the more years you've been alive, the more people you might fall in love with. But the fact that even older people hadn't been in love with significantly more people might be a good sign: Maybe there's hope that the person you're with now will be your Forever Bae.

2. More Men Than Women Keep in Touch with Exes

Apparently men just can't stay away from their Past Baes. While only 36 percent of women said they still had contact with at least one ex, 52 percent of men copped to it. Sure, it may be totally platonic and no cause for panic, but it's still worth noting that over half of men stay in touch with their former flames. (But seriously, don't use this as an excuse to go home and stalk your boo's Gmail inbox.) 

3. Men Get Dumped More Often

Of all the questions, this one saw the most significant dissension amongst the genders. 19 percent of women admitted that, in all their past relationships, they had always been the Dumper rather than the Dumpee. Sadly, the same is only true for seven percent of guys. What's even worse is that 21 percent of men said they'd only ever been dumped and had never actually broken up with anyone, while the same was true for only 12 percent of ladies. About a third of each gender had both been broken up with and done the deed themselves, so I guess that's a small comfort. Still, these numbers spell out lots of heartbreak for men — start stocking up on Kleenex now, guys. 

Images: macadam13/pixabayGiphy (4)

Want more sex? Of course you do. So download Bustle's app from iTunes for all the most recent sex and relationships news, advice, memes, and GIFs from around the Web. Guaranteed to fulfill you more than your ex. 

Must Reads