Couples are most likely to utter the words ‘I love you’ at 10pm on a Saturday night.
A study of 2,000 people in relationships shows most feel more loving and inclined to whisper those three magic words at the end of a long, busy week.
By this point on a Saturday night the majority of couples are in a good mood, have wound down from the working week and feel more romantic.
But incredibly, one in ten people claimed they NEVER tell their other half they love them, because they should ‘already know’.
Instead of showing their love vocally, they are more likely to express themselves by cooking and cleaning, being affectionate and making each other laugh.
Antonia Hurford-Jones Director of Sky Living, which conducted the research to launch the TV show ‘It’s Love Actually’, said: “These results are really reassuring because they show most couples still find the time to tell each other how they feel.
“And while four in 10 people don’t tend to profess their love for each other as often as they did before they started living together, this is only because the words won’t seem as genuine if repeated over and over again.
“The old saying – actions speak louder than words – can be deemed true in many relationships, and this proves that words are meaningless until they are backed up by feeling, emotion and demonstration.”
The study indicates couples are most likely to tell each other ‘I love you’ just before going to sleep at night – showing the phrase becomes a habit for many partners.
Others polled admit they utter the words in response to a partner saying them, while 41 per cent will say it to acknowledge a particularly romantic gesture.
Couples will also say the three little words before, during and after love making.
Birthdays, being in a particularly good mood, being spoilt and being cooked a nice meal all encourage couples to express their feelings.
A fifth of those polled say they sometimes appreciate how much they love their partner when on a night out with friends; they come to the realisation they are happy and proud to be with them.
Another 23 per cent say they feel love when their other half does loads of work around the house, and they grasp how well they are looked after.
And a further 36 per cent say they know their partner would be instantly cheered up by hearing how special they are.
But four in 10 people admit they are sometimes guilty of saying ‘I love you’ without really meaning it – with the average person uttering the expression up to nine times a week.
The research also showed saying ‘I love you’ can become routine for many, with 35 per cent of people saying it when leaving for work, and 32 per cent always say it when hanging up the phone.
Going to bed, after being served a hot meal, being handed a hot cup of tea and when going out with friends also inspire people to show their love.
The findings emerged as part of a bigger study which looks into the change in relationships once couples start co-habiting.
In addition to identifying how couples express their love for each other it was found 50 per cent struggle to keep the romance alive after moving in together.
A key reason for this was most couples have just over one hour on their own together each week – and after moving in, many began rowing about trivial things such as how to stack the dishwasher or the food shopping.
Of those polled, 22 per cent fell in love after just one month, and moved in together after 10 months of dating.
It’s Love Actually, Thursdays at 8pm on Sky Living HD
TOP REASONS FOR SAYING ‘I LOVE YOU':
1. Before you go to sleep at night
2. They tell you they love you
3. A romantic gesture
4. You are in a particularly good mood
5. After love making
6. On their birthday
7. They need cheering up
8. They are particularly thoughtful
9. You’ve had a good day
10. Realising your other half is beautiful
11. They make you laugh
12. They spoil you
13. Your partner cooks you a nice meal
14. They buy something for you as a surprise
15. During love making
16. Other half doing the housework and looking after you
17. Pre love making
18. If they are upset about work
19. They compromise on something
20. On a night out when you realise you are proud of them