Love v/s Infatuation: Most burning questions answered5 minute
In a recent audience poll conducted by our team, 57% of participants voted for “infatuation” being their first romantic encounter. The rest 43% said theirs was true love. This obviously concludes the subtlety of infatuation signs in a tie-in.
Have you ever been in a relationship where everything feels ruddy and rosy at the very beginning and you can’t help but fully indulge in this feeling, devouring every bit of the late-night tizzies only to find yourself in crossfires after a couple of months have passed? You are most certainly not alone.
Why does it feel a lot like love when it's only here to wreak havoc on you eventually? Because it’s not love. It’s like an evil twin brother, really. It’s a mere infatuation.
But how can you tell?
Nothing’s impossible to decipher if you step out of your mushy rom-com and give this equation with your partner a complete once over. That can’t be so hard, can it? Well, it’s not so easy either. People, especially in romantic relationships can be completely misguided into a perfect idea of what their love saga is, but oftentimes, that's all it remains - an idea.
But enough with the pessimism already. Love is beautiful when you do actually find it. And I’m here to be your personal Alexa to answer any burning question you have about the differences between the two. Feel free to give me the third degree in the comments below if I do miss out on anything.
Love vs Infatuation
Let’s start with defining the two terms:
What is love?
Many-a-poets, authors, believers and non-believers, the hopeful, the scientists, the philosophers and the sceptics have all managed to answer this lingering question in their own distinguished ways and I would be a fool to assume that I can be successful in defining what true love really is. But this doesn’t mean you can't identify love with some characteristics that make or break the concept or feeling rather. A loving relationship is one that has immense respect and kindness as its basis. It's not forceful, or restrictive and doesn’t feel choking. It allows you to be the truest version of yourself and inspires you to be better, feel better. There is a feeling of being loved at all times, irrespective of physical closeness or a compulsive need for attention. That’s when you know you might start to question if your relationship is fulfilling or draining.
What is infatuation?
Don’t look at this negatively. Infatuation is bound to be a part of one’s life, especially in their years of youth. It’s magnetic and all-consuming - which is a key reason why people later tend to use phrases like “I lost myself in it” and “I didn’t realise who I had become”. Infatuation is usually characterised by feelings of obsession, desire, compulsive needs, and strong but unhealthy emotions that do very little to help you be better but instead, make you feel like your relationship has burdened all the other aspects of your life.
Even though the two might seem very easy to set apart, in reality, it’s quite complex. Love can sometimes contain strong or even negative emotions - that’s normal. On the other hand, infatuation can sometimes feel so amazing, that it only shows up to start bringing you down when it’s too late.
So how to tell whether it’s love or infatuation?
If you’re having trouble defining your relationship, try and understand some things first. You can do so by asking yourself the following questions:
1. Does your mood (mostly) depend on the status of your relationship?
If you constantly find yourself negatively reacting to unanswered texts and starting to imagine the worst in any situation, this might be a huge tell that you’re not in love - only infatuated. The extreme change of mood can be both positive or negative. For instance, a lot of attention can suddenly lift up your mood and make you feel on top of the world - either way, this means that your partner has the capability to make or break your mindset, and that’s not very healthy.
2. Has your relationship had an impact on your self-esteem?
The polarising moods of infatuation could leave you with feelings of insecurity and vulnerability. If someone has the power to decide how you feel at any given point, and affect your mood with every small thing they say/do, you might start to ignore your priorities and focus on providing a great experience to them. Your own feelings of comfort and self-worth are ignored. This is clearly infatuation. Love allows and accommodates difference of opinions and furthermore, lets you celebrate each other’s strengths.
3. Are you attempting to really get to know the person?
Although infatuation may seem more intense and give you the sense that you're deeply involved in each other's lives, it is oftentimes quite the contrary. When you’re infatuated with someone, you’re so focused on admiring them for all the grand gestures that a lover comes with, that you are barely interested to know the real them. You feel like you already know them based on your assumptions of this flawless version of them. But how much do you really know about this person?
4. Are your conversations usually just flirting back and forth?
Flirting is great. A famous line from a film says, “flirting is good for health, you know, like yoga?” and I couldn't agree more. But when you’re in a relationship, and all you ever do is flirt, I’m sorry to break the news hon, but you ain’t in love. Not even close. It’s like, when you’re trying to preserve a good moment, so you consciously decide to only make good ones. It can’t happen in life, and it sure as hell can’t happen in love. Love is made of mundane things like laundry, paying bills, questions like “have you gotten that blister in your mouth checked” and “Which detergent do I get” and still thinking “wow, I love this man so much”.
5. How much of a role does jealousy play in your relationship?
If you find yourself being unreasonably jealous, monitoring your partner’s every action on social media or feeling hurt if they like other’s posts often, your relationship might be in a bit of trouble. Feeling threatened or insecure leads to possessive behaviour and this might just not be love. It can be hard to burn that jealous bone but ask yourself what the jealousy says about your relationship. Confront what truly makes you insecure. Address the issue with your partner so you can eventually aim to build trust and true intimacy in your relationship. There is always a possibility of a romance starting off as infatuation but ending in love, but this takes effort.
6. Are you dodging other priorities?
Infatuation makes you toss your priorities out of whack because there’s this feeling of urgency as though your relationship will collapse if you turn away even for a minute. You may find yourself blowing off friends, family, and work responsibilities, assuming that time with the object of your infatuation is more valuable. You might even find yourself putting your life on hold to remain available for your S.O. all the time. When you love someone, you’re inspired by the way they live their life. You don’t need to be with them every minute of every day! Love respects boundaries and ensures space for people to have fulfilling lives of their own.
7. Are you being yourself?
This is probably the most important question to ask yourself from time to time when you’re romantically involved with someone. Think about all the things you generally do to make yourself happy - have your interests taken a detour for the sake of protecting your relationship? Don't get me wrong, it’s always exciting to get a new perspective on things, be introduced to new hobbies, new music and new genres of films. The problem arises when you have to hide or change bits of you just to seem like the right “fit” for your partner. That’s not love, that’s clearly infatuation and downright toxic.
By the end of this self-test, you will most likely arrive at an answer. But if you’re still in a fog, let me do you a solid and define some of the key differences between love and infatuation.
Trying to sound as little as the bible as possible, here’s a gist of the differences between love and infatuation:
Love is a slow process. It is respectful and allows one to grow individually. A person in love is likely to make you feel safe and happy. Love is comfortable but lasts longer. It has genuine intentions and it is considerate. It is kind and energizing. Love brings understanding and trust. Infatuation on the other hand is rocky. It keeps you guessing, holds grudges and is possessive. It is selfish and draining and makes you act irrationally. Infatuation is intense, obsessive, but short-lived.
All this information might sound too black and white, but it’s far more complex to comprehend a connection. An infatuation that once sprouted from a crush can find its way to become love if both you and your partner are willing to nourish it with the right intentions. Similarly, love can fall apart when you take it for granted and stop paying attention to the things that matter.