Know Your Heart: Infatuation vs. Love
Everybody knows those scenes in Hollywood movies when protagonists first look into each other’s eyes, and they immediately know — this is true love. And everyone wants to experience that!
However, too often, pop culture makes us confuse infatuation with love, which can create a lot of problems. So, read on if you want to learn more about infatuation vs. love and save yourself from heartbreak.
Infatuation VS. True Love
So, what exactly is infatuation? Is it that much different from love? There’s a fine line between true love and infatuation. Therefore, it’s important to define both if we want to understand the differences between them.
How to Recognize Infatuation
Infatuation is best described as strong feelings of attraction, fascination, or even obsession directed to someone that you don’t really know well. It usually starts soon after you meet this person for the first time. So, you see someone, and you immediately feel an intense physical attraction to them. Moreover, you might think that you have found “the one.”
Later, you catch yourself constantly thinking about them. You feel giddy, you can’t stop smiling, and you can’t stop talking about the object of your infatuation. Your feelings are rooted in passion, lust, and excitement.
But since you don’t know the person, in fact, you’ve only interacted with them a couple of times, you start imagining who they are. Everything you know about them comes from their Social Media pages, hearsay, or their behavior when they are with friends.
Still, you create a fantasy in which they are perfect and your ideal partner. So, you do everything to impress them and show them your best side. You think in terms of “having” them or them “choosing” you. Furthermore, you reject anything that goes against this fantasy, such as red flags or any signs of incompatibility.
And in case you do get into a relationship with that person, you move too quickly, eager to hit the relationship milestones as soon as possible. When infatuated, you spend a lot of time thinking about your partner’s feelings and why they are not super into you.
Also, you start overthinking little things, like why they haven’t texted you back right away. The whole relationship is making you feel insecure, and you fear they are going to leave you.
In the end, you feel disappointed when they turn out to be different, or you even refuse to believe they are not like you’ve expected them to be.
Signs of True Love
“Love is patient, love is kind…” — you know the words. Although it sounds like a cliche, that’s what true love looks like.
Love is a deep experience. You fully know your loved one and feel bonded and close to them. So, love goes beyond feelings and attraction — love involves knowledge and acceptance. Some say love is a form of intimacy, and intimacy isn’t just a physical thing; it includes knowing someone on a deeper level.
There’s also a saying that love is a friendship lit on fire. And friendship indicates having a meaningful relationship with someone and accepting their good as well as bad sides. Therefore, when in love, you are able to appreciate your partner even though they are flawed and imperfect.
If you are in love, you care about the person, but that isn’t based on how they make you feel — it’s all about who they are. Moreover, you are willing to sacrifice and compromise.
True love makes you feel safe and supported. Furthermore, you feel connected to them even though you are not together all the time. Also, you know that you can count on your loved one in a time of crisis. Since your relationship has depth, problems won’t scare your partner away.
True love is two-sided and long-lasting.
The Differences Between True Love and Infatuation
Now that we know the basics of infatuation and true love, let’s talk about how to tell them apart. There are many differences between the two, but it’s easy to confuse them since they both include intense feelings. So, here are some signs that will help you recognize if you are in love or just infatuated with someone.
1. Infatuation Appears Fast, Falling in Love Takes Time
With infatuation, you don’t have to think a lot, but you immediately feel plenty. As soon as you meet a person, you start imagining your future together. Moreover, without even knowing them well, you already believe they are “the one” and that everything will work out between you two.
On the other hand, love takes time to develop. It is a process that involves getting to know someone, spending time with them, and learning their positive and negative sides.
2. Infatuation Expects Perfection, True Love Accepts the Real Person
If you are just crushing on someone, it only takes seeing them to believe they are perfect. But since you don’t really know the person, you fill in the blanks in your mind with your imagination.
You create a persona you want them to be and project all your needs and desires onto that imaginary person. So, you see them as always beautiful, strong, agreeable, and perfect. Furthermore, if you notice anything you don’t like, you tend to ignore it or brush it away as a one-time thing.
But true love is aware of all the imperfections and loves the person anyway. Moreover, you feel comfortable enough to reveal your true self — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
So, you do not bother to look your best all the time. You feel free to walk around with no make-up, and you don’t have to put on an act to impress your partner. They love you too much to care about such things anyway.
3. Infatuation Can Quickly Fade Away, Love is Lasting
Shakespeare once wrote: “These violent delights have violent ends… The sweetest honey is loathsome in his own deliciousness. And in the taste confounds the appetite. Therefore love moderately; long love doth so; Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.”
And this is exactly the point. Infatuation can appear fast but can also come crashing down at first sight of something disagreeable. Love, however, is consistent. You can be away from your loved one for months on end, but that doesn’t change anything about your relationship.
4. Infatuation Suffocates, True Love Lets You Be
If you are infatuated with someone, you might feel the need to check up on them all the time, keep an eye on them, and be on a constant alert. Furthermore, your partner becomes your obsession, and deep in your heart, you don’t really trust them.
But if you love someone, you are willing to let them have their time alone, away from you. Still, you feel safe and secure — you know your partner will never intentionally hurt you or your relationship.
Can Infatuation Turn Into Love?
Infatuation won’t always turn into love. Sometimes it even evaporates before the relationship starts because, as you get to know the person, you realize they don’t fulfill your expectations.
On the other hand, the relationship can last until you are ready to admit that you are not truly compatible with each other or that they do not reciprocate your feelings.
However, if you are ready to let go of your fantasy and stop idolizing your partner, your feelings can turn into love. Since infatuation is usually self-serving, you will know that your feelings are becoming deeper when you start giving, accepting compromises, and making sacrifices.
Is Infatuation Always a Bad Thing?
There’s nothing wrong with infatuation if it’s measured and eventually grows into something deeper. Having a crush is intoxicating. It makes you feel alive, excited, and like you are floating above the ground.
When you are infatuated with someone, you find them physically and sexually attractive. And that is important for developing a deep, romantic relationship.
However, it’s just not everything. No matter how great you feel, it’s usually just passion. Infatuation can never replace true love.
Furthermore, because of the intensity of your feelings, infatuation can become unhealthy. If you find yourself obsessing over someone, demanding perfection, or if you are at the receiving end of such treatment, then things have gone bad. In such cases, infatuation becomes a burden to both partners.
It’s not unusual to experience infatuation when you first meet someone or at the beginning of a relationship. It feels warm, fuzzy, and intense, and your life looks like a scene of your favorite rom-com. However, this is why it’s very easy to confuse infatuation with love. And that’s when this article of infatuation vs. love comes in handy.
Infatuation, in healthy amounts, is good as the beginning stage of falling in love. If you spend enough time with the person you like and are willing to accept them as they are, you are off to a good start.
But before you put a true love label on your feelings, take time to get to know the person you are attracted to. Let enough time pass, and your intense emotions cool off a bit, so you can clearly understand your heart. This way, you might save yourself and the other person from heartbreak.