There’s a delicate border separating love and infatuation. The latter is rooted in physical attraction, inching more towards lust. You feel an intense attraction towards a person, so much that it hurts at times to be away from them. You think about them every waking minute, daydream scenarios with them in it, and you might almost feel obsessed with them. But love is calmer and, at the same time, passionate. You have the ingredients of infatuation in love but in a much milder and more controlled form. Love comes coupled with friendship, trust, emotional intimacy, mental support, and other such attributes that infatuation lacks.
Infatuation often comes with an obsessive fixation on someone you barely know. For instance, there’s a girl in your college. She is pretty, and she carries herself with utmost confidence. You find yourself fascinated with her, but in reality, you are clueless about who she is as a person. It sounds intense because infatuation tends to have an extreme feeling to it, but it is mostly just based on physical attraction and fantasy to know the person and be with them. It also tends to be short-lived. You can’t obsess about someone you don’t know for too long, can you?
Often when you find someone infatuated, one of the primary telltale signs would be their utter ignorance of red flags and rejecting any signs of compatibility because it goes against their fantasy.
But, infatuation looks a lot like love. Some even go as far as to say it is a part of love. I beg to differ. Love is more sincere and grounded, whereas infatuation can be destructive. Love gives you a sense of stability, a place of comfort. The other makes you feel a constant fear of loss.
One thing to remember, most of us have felt infatuated, especially during those young-adult days. You see a new boy or girl in class, and boom, you think it’s love at first sight. Hold your horses. Or wish we held our horses. It’s more often than not just mere infatuation. You are or were not in love.
Love and infatuation are enmeshed, and the feelings can be misleading. But there are some steady signs to tell these two apart. Let’s waste no more of our time and jump straight into it.
Craving To Be Next To Them
Yes, I understand how this can be puzzling. When in love, you feel like spending as much time with them as possible. But there’s a catch. That feeling stays within reason. Yes, you feel bad if your plans to meet your sweetheart get delayed, but it does not ache.
In infatuation, it hurts when you don’t see your person of fixation. The craving crosses all bounds and limits of normal feelings. One of the ways to tell the difference between infatuation and love is that the former will make you feel giddy and intoxicated even though the same has not been reciprocated.
It is a feeling different from being in love. In love, you desire to get into a relationship with someone you know. For instance, you know their take on the current global condition, what their political stance is, you have some idea about their plans for the future, where they come from, and so on. You know some intimate details about this person, and that is how you fell in love. When infatuated, you are clueless about everything else except for wanting them in your life.
You Are Always Wondering How They Feel.
Love is a two-way street. When in love, the goal is to convey the feeling by words or actions. We tend to worry about how their emotions towards us will be after hearing our confession, but once that part is over, there’s clarity.
Infatuation, on the other hand, does not come with clarity or closure. Your fixation begins and ends with you. The person of interest is often unaware of it. It is one-sided. When you are infatuated with someone, you will find yourself whiling away, wondering whether they will feel the same about you had they known you or your feelings. Observe how you know you will never admit your feelings to them, and that’s why you resort to guessing.
Infatuation comes with insecurity. You might see them hanging out with someone else, and the pang of imagining them loving someone else will become too hard to bear. You almost feel jealous. In love, people tend to be more understanding and selfless.
Fantasy Vs. Fact
Infatuation is almost like a fairy tale. You build a beautiful story in your head. It is about how happy you and this person you fancy are. Everything is perfect. In that state of mind, life seems lovely; often so because we disregard every red flag or any such obstructions that might burst the perfect little bubble. Infatuation distorts how we think.
Infatuation has a fascinating quality; it allows us to see only what we want to. We see people exactly how we want them to be, not how they are in reality. It works as a veil. In infatuation, we perceive things to be there which are not, but rather are mere projections of our needs and wants.
Infatuation lets you see life through rose-tinted glasses. But life is not that way. The reality comes with the good, bad, and downright ugly. In love, you accept people for who they are, not what you would have liked them to be. In love, you dream together, and you build your bubble alright, but together. You not only fancy your significant other but see their flaws and love them for and despite that.
Obsession Or Fondness
Infatuation makes you love the ideal. Let me demonstrate. You see a new guy in your class or office. He carries himself in a certain way that appeals to you. And he looks attractive. Aside from these, you know pretty much nothing else about him. Now your imagination will come into play. You love it when a guy is strong and has high morals. You will give this new guy in class the shape you want. In your mind, he is strong, good at sports, brilliant, has the quirks you love, and might even love to read because that’s what you want in the person.
The truth can be far from what you have cooked up in your head. He might not be patient enough to read a page, let alone an entire book. Whatever he is in your mind is the reflection of your ideal man. Infatuation can be consuming. You will often find yourself thinking about them all day long. Infatuation demands you to put your life on hold. You start behaving indifferently towards friends and family. And behave irresponsibly with your life.
Love, on the other hand, pushes a person to be their better self. When you are in love with someone, not only do you accept them for who they are, but you also accept yourself with much more ease. Love comes with no judgment or conditions. It creates a secure place for you in life and completes you.
While infatuation is more like a commitment to oneself and to satisfy a whim, love is a commitment to another. It comes with genuine feelings and promises.
Short-Lived Vs. Long-Term
Infatuation starts very quickly and ends just as abruptly. Some people experience it at the beginning of a relationship. The euphoria, lust, and newfound love, the feeling of infatuation, are marked by all these extreme feelings. It can make you irrationally excited. One can even go as far as to say sexually aroused. But it’s short-lived. You won’t always feel this way. Rest assured, this torture ends as quickly as it starts.
With love, you bond emotionally. Of course, there is physical intimacy, but that is not all that excites you in love. It is a feeling cultivated and cared for over a long time. You start by getting to know the person and then proceed to fall in love. You let your guards down and be vulnerable.
Does Infatuation Turn Into Love?
More often than not, infatuation does not turn into love. Most of these relationships end when the object of interest ceases to be exciting, or they turn out to be someone you did not imagine them to be; in other words, you see them for who they are. It also ends abruptly from the lack of reciprocation in such a relationship.
Having said that, sometimes, infatuation can evolve into love. It requires you to remove the veil and face reality. If you can accept it, you might slowly fall in love with the person you fancy for who they are, not for who you wanted them to be.
Infatuation is a lot like love, and love is a lot like infatuation. But as mentioned, there are telltale signs to tell the former from the latter.
Infatuation doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing. It can be a nuisance, though. It can be dangerous in its extremes. But it can also be a natural part of getting to know someone.
Infatuation can easily be present in the initial stages of a relationship. But, to grow to love someone, you require much more intimate knowledge about the person. Remember to tread slowly, invest your time and emotion in knowing the person, and wait before you can see them without the rose-tinted glasses before jumping head-first into a relationship.
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