Have you ever been so head-over-heels in “love” with someone that even the sound of their name was enough to throw your stomach into flips and spins? If so, it’s quite possible you were truly in love with them. But what if you’ve only known them for a few minutes? It is really love, then?
Or could it be the ever more common sensation called infatuation? There are too many people— younger adults specifically—who are convinced that they’re in love after the first week of spending time with someone, because they just “can’t stop thinking about them!”
Believe me. I’ve been there. I’ve felt the deception between the two, and it really is hard to tell. Luckily, there are ways you can differentiate between really falling in love and just being ridiculously infatuated with them and the idea of being with them. [Read: 20 signs of attraction in the first conversation]
Infatuation or love: Can you tell the difference?
The difference may seem minute, but it’s actually huge. The real definition of infatuation is “an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something.” The actual definition of love is “an intense feeling of deep affection.”
They don’t sound so far off, right? Wrong. If you’re still feeling confused about the difference between infatuation and love, here are 14 ways to tell them apart.
14 differences between infatuation and love
#1 Infatuation happens quickly. Infatuation is commonly associated with the “love at first sight” phenomenon. It can happen extremely quickly and even without your ever talking to that person! You’ll feel immense feelings of attraction to them as soon as you first lay eyes on them.
It can take almost no time at all for you to convince yourself and others that you’re completely in love with this person about whom you barely know anything. It’s fast and overwhelming. [Read: Limerence, infatuation and love – The real differences]
#2 Love is a slow process. The funny thing about the two is that they can be related. You can at first *and this is pretty common* be completely infatuated with the person with whom you later will fall in love. But the key is that love comes much later.
If you truly are in love with someone, it takes a lot of time to develop those feelings because you need time to really get to know his or her real personality. You can’t love someone you don’t know anything about, despite what Disney movies may say.
#3 Infatuation is only superficial affection. Since it comes on so quickly and can happen even when you’ve never met a person, the feelings you initially have for them are only on the surface. This means that you’re basing your feelings purely off of what the person looks like.
#4 Love is a “deeper” connection with someone. Love happens when you truly know someone inside and out and care about them for more than what they look like. It’s a connection on a personal level, not on a sexual level. [Read: 12 real signs of true love in a relationship]
#5 Infatuation is associated with anxiety *the good kind*. That head-spinning, heart-thumping, butterfly-inducing feeling you get when you see your crush is what I mean when I say “anxiety.” Infatuation causes your vitals to spike, in a way, because of the excitement you feel when you’re about to see your new person of interest.
#6 Love is associated with comfort. Love, on the other hand, is calming. It makes you feel complete and not on edge. I’m not saying that love doesn’t cause excitement, because it does. But it doesn’t cause the level of anxiety that infatuation does. Love makes you feel peaceful and whole.
#7 Infatuation causes you to act differently than you normally would. The anxiety, excitement, and intense feelings you have for that person will cause you to act weird. You’ll be doing things you normally wouldn’t be doing, like going out on a Wednesday night just to see them, and you might say things you wouldn’t normally say, too.
If your friends are telling you that you’re acting completely insane over this person, it’s probably infatuation. [Read: 15 obvious signs of flirting between a guy and a girl]
#8 Love allows you to be 100% your true self. When you’re really in love, you don’t feel the need to be anybody but yourself. You don’t fake anything with the person with whom you’re in love because you know they love and accept you as yourself.
#9 Infatuation makes you want to satisfy the other person. Sure, you also want to please the person you’re in love with. But infatuation takes it a step further, making it almost as if you HAVE to please that person.
This goes along with not being yourself. You might shut out your friends and family in order to be available for this person.
#10 Love makes you want to make the other person happy. Pleasing someone and wanting happiness for someone are two completely different things. Love causes you to think more about your partner’s happiness than your own.
You want them to be happy in life, but at the same time, your being in their life makes them happy. They don’t want you to buy them things or anything like that. All they need is you and your kindness towards them. [Read: How to prove you love someone, the right way]
#11 Infatuation means that there’s a “you” and a “them.” Infatuation causes you to separate the two of you because “THEY are so perfect.” You take the emphasis off of the two of you being a pair and put it solely on them.
#12 Love means there’s an “us.” When you’re in love with someone, it’s like you are one unit. There’s no separation between the two. When you speak, you use pronouns like “us” and “we.” You are together as equals.
#13 Infatuation is short-lived. Infatuation is like a plane flying overhead. It grabs your attention, makes you look in a different direction for some time, but then eventually passes by and you finally realize that you’ve just wasted time on something that wasn’t even remotely important.
The good news is that you’ll get over the people you’re infatuated with fairly quickly because there’s no deep connection involved. They come, they go, and you go on to live your life and accept them as just a memory.
#14 Love is everlasting. Hopefully, anyways. Sometimes, it doesn’t always work out that way and it is possible to fall out of love with someone. However, if you’re truly falling in love with someone, it won’t drift away overnight.
The feelings you have for this person will remain deep-seated for a long time during the relationship, and even after the relationship if things ended. You’ll always remember your feelings for that person, and they’ll always be within you. It doesn’t just pass by.
I’ve had to take a step back a time or two and decide whether I was infatuated with this person or if I really loved them. These are the tips I used to discover the difference, and it helped me dramatically. Use them to help you, too!
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