We’ve all been there. There’s no other feeling as sublime. Your heart beats faster when you’re around him – or even just thinking about him. Life seems so exciting, so full of joy, so perfect. The world is a beautiful place! And you’re certain this feeling will go on forever. He’s your “one,” and you’re convinced you are madly in love.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines love as “a warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion to another person,” while infatuation is defined as “a feeling of foolish or obsessively strong love for, admiration for, or interest in someone or something.” Not so similar, are they?
When we’re infatuated, everything looks wonderful. We see the world through rose-colored glasses. We see him as perfect despite not knowing him well. This usually happens straight away after meeting someone for the first time. You’re swept off your feet and in the “honeymoon phase” – passionate, intense, magical – which is why so many people confuse infatuation with love and dream about their wedding by date number three. Slow down, sister, and consider the following guideposts before you start choosing the colors for your bridesmaids and the song they’ll play for your first dance.
Signs of Infatuation
- You think about him constantly and are developing feelings for him at the speed of light.
- You think it’s love at first sight, that he’s the perfect match, and you fantasize about a romanticized future with him.
- You can’t believe he chose you. You are euphoric at the idea of having him as your man, and your self-esteem grows from being attached to him.
- You don’t know him that well on a personal level, yet you already are convinced you’re in love. Most of what you know about him is surface level, based on his appearance, his behavior in a group setting, what people say about him, or even on his social media.
- You feel disappointed when he cancels or doesn’t live up to your expectations.
- The essence of your emotions is uncertainty, and you are often insecure about whether or not he’s going to leave.
- You overthink the relationship and wonder what he’s feeling. When will he want to see you again? Or the little things like if he’s going to call, what or when to text him, and why hasn’t he texted you back?
- Sex is a massive component of your relationship and is always involved when you see him. Or you are so physically attracted to him that it can sometimes distract you from getting to know the real him or spotting those red flags.
- You ignore those red flags!
Whereas infatuation is based on assumptions – on the fantasy that we create about an idealized version of him – love is based on reality. It grows from the knowledge of the other person. You respect your man’s differences and aren’t oblivious to his flaws and shortcomings. You love him in spite of them.
Signs of Love
- While infatuation is rooted in passion, love is rooted in both passion and intimacy. Not only do you have the elements of adoration and infatuation, but you also have trust, support, friendship, and vulnerability.
- You know personal details about each other and feel safe sharing details and opening up about yourselves.
- You feel content in your relationship, as opposed to anxious, insecure, and worried about how he feels and what he is doing.
- Infatuation is often superficial and obsessive and involves massive attraction. It’s excitement, romance, and sex rolled into one great, big high. On the other hand, real love encourages deep understanding. It comes from similar goals and values, connection, and actually wanting to stay together.
- Where infatuation happens quickly, love is a much deeper experience. Love is being known and seen, feeling bonded, caring about him in a way that’s long-lasting and not centered around how he makes you feel or your self-esteem.
- Love nurtures individuality and celebrates the differences between two people. It builds a connection that allows both people to thrive independently.
- With infatuation, you feel compelled to fawn – to give, sacrifice, and compromise with him in order to have a future with him. Love, on the other hand, takes a more practical approach. Couples in love often discuss things like career, marriage, and future goals after time together has passed, when feelings and the relationship are on solid and equal footing.
- You feel supported. His presence is a comfort, and you know you can count on him in the bad times as well as the good.
Don’t get me wrong. Infatuation is not necessarily a negative thing. While it might be over in the blink of an eye, it can also last for weeks, even months, and often evolves into love. It just requires getting to know someone more intimately. It requires that you let go of the fantasy and embrace the differences, shortcomings, and individuality. Infatuation tricks us into seeing what we want to see and what we want others to be. It is an idealized romantic love. And it is fleeting. Real love accepts and supports the good, the bad, and the ugly without sugarcoating. Love has depth and meaning. Love doesn’t run away.