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Infatuation vs. Love: 14 Ways You Can Tell the Difference

infatuation vs love

Are you really falling in love with your new SO, or could it be something else? Here are the best ways to tell if it’s true love or just an infatuation.

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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Bella Pope
Bella Pope
Bella is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog, p...

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3 thoughts on “Infatuation vs. Love: 14 Ways You Can Tell the Difference”

  1. flawed says:

    Love to me, is quite general. It’s ironic I call it “general” because it took me a lot of work to get to that point about love. When I was younger I was depressed to varying degrees for many years. I learned about the Buddhist concept of what love is, compassion and it changed how I view love. Put very simply love is the cultivation in yourself and surroundings, for compassion and kindness for others. It’s not always easy to do all the time, but I feel like trying to actively cultivate this form of “love” in my life generally, to others, and myself makes me feel like a more whole and complete person. Being in love is trickier. It’s part “I just know”. A big hint for me it’s a genuine connection is looking past their flaws(not quite deal-breaker territory flaw), and still seeing so much overwhelming good. The desire and ability to compromise for the sake of our realtionship is either easy or accepted as part of what makes a realtionship work without resistance. This is mutual though, not one sided. When we are both accepting and romantic of each-other, and willing to put in the effort to be with one another, and really know one another to a deeper level, I think this is when I can start to differentiate I am in love with someone. The key is the mutual aspect here. Infatuation is along the lines of a crush. The feelings are extremely over-inflated. Sometimes it’s mutual, but typically one person’s feelings are far stronger. Sometimes it’s not even mutual, and the “crush” may have no idea of the infatuated person’s existence or degree of affection for them. If infatuated, I see the person through “rose colored glasses” very often, but it’s difficult for me to see this though a 3rd party might. With infatuation it’s part fantasy, putting someone in a pedestal and creating them into something much more than they are. When a fantasy is created out of someone, often expectations are made that are not agreed to and this is often why “infatuations” crumble that are typically found in flings or casual sex partners. Of course, this is just my perspective and observation on the issues being discussed! Don’t want to come off “preachy”

  2. are you ready says:

    Love is not necessarily romantic. I love my mother, I love my sister, I love my friends, I love my boyfriend. Each of them I came to love through different means but for each of them I would do nearly anything because I care deeply about them. Infatuation is what I thought being in love was when I was younger. You’ve met someone and you don’t know them very well or maybe you do but you are suddenly overwhelmed with thoughts about them. Your desire for them is overpowering and you often find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster because you’re never sure if they feel the same way about you. This is a state of high highs and low lows and is often very fleeting. Infatuation either blows up in your face, fades or can turn into real love. Being in love can feel a little like infatuation at first but there is a safe, calmness and a stability to being in love that infatuation doesn’t have. While there are still highs and lows they seems to be less extreme and with less frequent fluctuations. I very recently fell in love with my boyfriend. Our relationship is still new and we’re still learning things about each other but I feel like I could tell him anything and he wouldn’t judge me and I’m sure he feels the same. I trust him explicitly and I am in awe of the kindness and generosity he shows everyone in his life. I don’t check my phone every 10 minutes desperately hoping he’ll text me back. I don’t worry that he’ll disappear into smoke tomorrow. Are you picturing yourself old with them? and I don’t just mean a cute old couple on a porch swing, I mean you might be wiping their ass for them, or they might be wiping yours. If you are willing to do that and trust them to do that for you, then you’re heading in the right direction for real love. That being said, even while they are young you have to expect to clean up some messes. They are human and make mistakes. If you can clean them up after they’ve puked all over themselves, and not be angry about it, that’s a good start. Also not raging when they put the toilet roll on the “wrong” way. Or show contempt. If you feel contempt at all towards this person, you probably aren’t really in love with them. Getting angry happens once in a while, it’s normal, but how you deal with the problem as an individual and as a couple is what indicates how the relationship is going.

  3. think says:

    Real love is hard to come by. It’s not like other emotions we feel. True love is unconditional, but we are faced with situations that makes love conditional. It is in a place deep inside of you that gives you the strength to carry on. This place doesn’t exist, like the point of a pin, but is somewhere within you and your identity. It gives you the power to control your future and helps you create concrete goals. Knowing that life is ultimately short, we look to others to learn from. It isn’t being isolated, but a communal feeling of belonging to some place, thing, or person. Love is the binder that allows us to grow, develop, and be proud. It allows you to do it and to share it with others. It gives you strength and pride. It is something more than a feeling, it is a mindset. It helps you be confident of who you are and allows you to be confident in others. Feelings, like love, can come and go. We try to have unconditional love and surrender ourselves in totality to what we love or who we love. But like I said, it doesn’t really exist. So we yearn for something close to it. We try to grow, but sometimes we don’t. We try to develop, but sometimes we don’t. We try to be proud, but we don’t sometimes. When you’re in love, you’ll try and keep the conditions that created this mindset. Think of it this way, the next time someone says they love chocolate, are they saying the same thing as I love myself or I love you? They’re saying that this thing is necessary for them to have a certain mindset. Is it ever sufficient? Never. When they say I love you, are they saying that you’re important for their well-being? Maybe just right now you are. They could love someone else. When we think of love, we like to bring up relationships and managing it. The best thing to do is to not confuse the two. You can still love someone you’re not with. You can love someone who doesn’t know you exist. It’s a mindset, for me at least.

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