Men, in contrast, call their spouse most often for the first seven years of their relationship but then shift their focus to other friends, researchers at Oxford University studying how close, intimate relationships vary over a lifetime reported.
Among single people it is women who push the formation of romantic relationships, they said.
"It's the first really strong evidence that romantic relationships are driven by women," researcher Robin Dunbar told BBC News.
"It's they who make the decision and once they have made their mind up, they just go for the poor bloke until he keels over and gives in!"
Once married, women continue to call their spouse more than any other person until their daughters become old enough to have children, after which the daughters become the most important person in women's lives, Dunbar said.
"What seems to happen is that women push the 'old man' out to become their second best friend and he gets called much less often and all her attention is focused on her daughters just at the point at which you are likely to see grandchildren arriving."