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 those feelings seemed like love but weren’t. When you can’t tell, that is infatuation vs love.
These two things can mimic one another, but there are some pretty big differences between them.
There are too many younger adults specifically who are convinced that they’re in love without actually knowing. They haven’t spent enough time together or may not really know what love is.
Just because you can’t stop thinking about someone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in love. It could be good ole infatuation at its finest.
There is a deception between the two that makes it really hard to tell what you’re feeling. Sometimes you don’t really know until the relationship is over if it was true love or not.
Luckily, there are ways you can differentiate between infatuation vs love. [Read: Is love at first sight real?]
The difference may seem small, 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.
On the surface, they sound similar, but infatuation is short-lived. Sure, it can turn into love down the line, but it isn’t as deeply rooted as love.
Infatuation is what you probably shared with your high school partner. It sure felt like love, though. At the time, those feelings were so strong that anything bad elt like the end of your world. But, guess what? You’re an adult, and you’re totally fine.
When considering infatuation vs love, they can be intertwined and confused for one another pretty darn easily.
But, instead of waiting to find out which it was until things wind down, figure it out now. [Read: Love versus in love]
As similar as infatuation vs love can be, the differences are there, and they’re important. Believing you’re in love when it is infatuation can throw you into the deep end of something you both aren’t ready for. And believing it’s simply infatuation when you’re actually in love can lead to your missing out on something amazing.
Pay attention to these differences so you can figure out what you’re feeling now and what to do next.
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]
The funny thing about the two is that they can be related. You can look at first *and this is pretty common* be completely infatuated with the person you later will fall in love with. But the key is that love comes later, often 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 their real personality. You can’t love someone you don’t know anything about, despite what rom-coms have been telling you for years.
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 on your first impression or what the person looks like.
Maybe you see someone across the room, and they are laughing and seem to have gained the crowd’s attention. You may be drawn to their energy and attractiveness, but what does that tell you about how compatible you are? If you never see them again, your life will be no different than it was a few minutes ago. Infatuation vs love separates those intensely brief emotions and the long-term ones. [Read: All the different types of attraction]
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 just on a sexual level.
Love develops over time. It won’t happen after one date or maybe even a month. Love forms as you get to know someone. As you learn more about them and they learn about you, you become comfortable. You get used to having this person around. Your feelings lapse brevity when it is true love. [Read: 12 real signs of true love in a relationship]
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.
These are the nerves you get when you are seeing someone new. The excitement of the unknown and the chemistry is off the charts. Will you kiss? Will you touch? What will happen? How far will things go? Infatuation vs love is like a spark versus a steady flame.
Love, on the other hand, is calming. It makes you feel safe 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.
When you are with the one you love, the excitement is for comfort. You can’t wait to hug them and be with them because they give you security. They aren’t teasing you or making you question things. You know what to expect in a sense, and that is the comfort that comes along with love. [Read: How to get over dating anxiety]
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.
You might have word vomit. You may share some too-intimate details too early on. Infatuation can affect you in some strange ways. This is what makes you stalk your new partner online and research their ex, cousin, and great aunt twice removed. If your friends tell 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]
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 you’re in love with because you know they love and accept you as yourself.
This once again comes down to comfort. Love allows you to relax. You aren’t putting on a show or even trying your hardest to seem your best. You are actually better because of love. Infatuation vs love is the difference between trying to be better and being better.
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. You put them first.
Infatuation influences you in a way that it doesn’t with love. It makes you compromise, but not by meeting halfway. Instead, you see the movies they want to see, eat what they like, and maybe even dress how they like.
This goes along with not being yourself. You might even shut out your friends and family to be available for this person. That is not love. [Read: How to focus on yourself in a relationship]
Pleasing someone and wanting happiness for someone are two completely different things. Love causes you to think more about your partner’s happiness in the long term. You will argue over where to eat or what to watch. But you will support them in a job transition or new hobby.
You want them to be happy in life. Love helps you compromise when it matters. You don’t need to pretend to like what they like to please them. You are yourself, and that makes them happy. Infatuation vs love is the now versus the future. [Read: How to prove you love someone, the right way]
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.
You might make plans for someone you’re infatuated with. Rather than doing things together, it is for them or about them.
When you’re in love with someone, it’s like you are one unit. Sure, you are two full parts on your own, but you fit together, and you love that. You make plans together.
You refer to yourselves as “we” or “us.” Instead of focusing solely on yourself, you work towards a better and stronger relationship for you both. [Read: 14 signs to help you know if you’re a couple]
When you can’t stop thinking about someone, it isn’t love. You may overcheck their social media or text them too much. When all you do is talk about them, you are making up for something.
Infatuation can get out of hand because it is so much built-up tension and intensity so quickly. It overflows within you and can cause obsessive behavior. [Read: How to end things with someone who is obsessive]
Love is steady and smooth. Sure, there will be ups and downs, but you don’t become overwhelmed when it is really love. Love adds happiness to your life, and it doesn’t absorb everything else.
Love doesn’t get in the way of your family and friendships, or work. Infatuation vs love is intensity vs ease.
Infatuation can become dangerous. It can force you to make bad choices or do irrational things. Maybe you sell your car to give them a loan to start a business just because of these intense emotions.
Irrational decisions like this lead to long-term problems and consequences. There are often a lot of regrets when it comes to infatuation versus love that has a bit more practicality. [Read: Dumb things we do for what we think is love]
Love can be wild, but it is also calmer. If you are in love you look out for each other. If you are investing together, you make sure you look out for each other’s best interests.
Love has comfort and safety that helps you make smarter and healthier decisions.
Infatuation is very easily paired with jealousy and control. It is strong but unstable and unsustainable. It can make you act out.
Opposed to love, infatuation can make you fight and say things you regret that truly hurt people. You may threaten people, control them, or even manipulate them.
Love goes along with trust. You have confidence in your relationship, yourself, and your partner. You are two whole people. Love means you let them live their life, and you live yours, but come together within that.
Infatuation vs love is a crazed controlling relationship versus a stable and healthy one. [Read: How to feel secure in your relationship]
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.
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.
If things ended, your feelings for this person would remain deep-seated for a long time during the relationship and afterward. You’ll always remember your feelings for that person, and they’ll always be within you. It doesn’t just pass by.
[Read: Learn how to recognize true love when it comes your way]
Infatuation vs love is nothing to glaze over. Paying attention to the similarities and the differences can help prevent you from making a major mistake or losing out on something meant to be.
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