How do you know whether you’re truly in love, or just infatuated?
Both infatuation and love involve deep, sometimes overwhelming feelings for another person.
Many people fall into the trap of assuming that if they can’t stop thinking about someone, they must be in love.
It’s important to realize that this isn’t necessarily true.
If you don’t understand the difference, you may dive into a relationship too quickly, or fail to identify glaring red flags because you are so blinded by their looks or brilliance.
Learning to separate infatuation from love is an essential skill if you want to find a partner.
Here are 7 key rules to remember:
1. Infatuation is based on an illusion, but true love is based in reality
Loving someone means acknowledging their faults, but accepting them anyway.
Infatuation is based around an idealized image or fantasy.
If you are infatuated, you probably can’t see their faults, and you may even think that they have the power to solve all of your own problems.
2. Infatuation is an emotional rollercoaster, whereas true love is steadier
If you’ve ever had an intense crush on someone, you’ll know the highs and lows that come with analyzing their behavior. For instance, if they smile at you, you might feel happy for hours.
Love, on the other hand, doesn’t leave you feeling insecure or desperate for small scraps of approval.
When you love someone, you simply want what’s best for them, even if you can’t be together.
If someone loves you back, they will always let you know where you stand.
3. Love involves deep but considered commitment, whereas infatuation promotes reckless sacrifice
When you love someone, you are willing to put their happiness above your own – within reason.
For instance, a husband may agree to move a couple of hours away when his wife gets a new job, or a woman may agree to cut back on her spending so that she and her boyfriend can replace their car.
Infatuation, on the other hand, is usually accompanied by inappropriate sacrifices.
For instance, applying to the same school as someone you are infatuated with, possibly at the cost of your educational future, would not be healthy or sensible.
4. Infatuation is often accompanied by jealousy, whereas love entails trust
If you are infatuated with someone, it’s immensely painful to watch them date or flirt with others.
You feel that they are “yours,” and feel upset when they pay attention to someone else.
On the other hand, when you love someone, you usually feel you can trust them.
5. Infatuation is based in the present, whereas love is a deep feeling that grows with time
Infatuation usually starts suddenly, before you’ve had a chance to get to know the person in question.
By contrast, love is a deep, affectionate bond that strengthens over many months and years.
6. When you are infatuated, you may believe someone is in some way better than you
It’s common for infatuated people to treat their crush as a god-like being, rather than an ordinary person with a set of strengths, flaws, and quirks.
Sometimes, we become infatuated with people not because they would make good partners, but because we want to resemble them in some way.
For instance, if you are aspiring artist, you might become infatuated with someone who doesn’t have many redeeming qualities, but just so happens to be a talented painter.
By associating yourself with them, you may hope to acquire their characteristics.
7. Infatuation gets in the way of everyday life, whereas love helps you become the best version of yourself
Have you ever had a crush so strong that you can’t eat or sleep properly?
Infatuation can be all-consuming.
In fact, it can distract you from your work or studies, with potentially serious consequences.
Love doesn’t hold you back; it builds you up.
Being in love inspires you to do your best in all areas of your life.
You might think about your loved one quite often, but not so much that you can’t function.
So, is it love or infatuation?
Deep down, you probably already know whether you are truly in love, or have just developed a strong crush.
If it’s the latter, making some changes to your lifestyle and routine might help the feelings pass more quickly.
For example, spending more time with friends or taking up a new hobby may help distract you.
If your feelings have turned into an obsession, it would be wise to talk to a relationship therapist or counsellor for advice.