Infatuation is something people often confuse with true love. But unfortunately, true love is not something people come across often. Everyone wants to find it, but it’s one of the hardest things to achieve. Still, that doesn’t mean you won’t ever have feelings towards someone else. It’s just that those feelings aren’t always what they seem.
It’s far more common to feel infatuation, but that feeling isn’t an issue. The issue is what people do with it. Instead of recognizing and accepting it as it is, they treat it like love. When that happens, you can start to create false expectations about the relationship you’re in. Realistically, you can never spend your life with someone you’re just infatuated with. But that doesn’t mean that people don’t try.
That’s how you end up getting hurt or even hurting someone else. It would help if you learned to differentiate between the two feelings. One will lead to a short-lived, albeit fun, relationship. And the other will lead to a lifetime of happiness next to your match.
What is Infatuation?
Infatuation is something people experience as early as childhood. At first, you get captivated by objects. You have that one toy you are obsessed with and never let it out of sight. You have that one book you repeatedly read that you can almost recite by heart. And then you grow older, and you start feeling attracted to people. You start liking a classmate and convince yourself they are your true love. Even though they aren’t, you still imagine your life with them. And your heart gets broken when those dreams don’t become a reality.
Research shows that infatuation does not possess the element of attachment and compassion required by true love. Instead, it’s a state that precedes love. But that doesn’t mean love always comes after infatuation. It just means that, often, infatuation becomes love. This evolution makes sense, as the definition of infatuation is an intense state of physical and psychological arousal. When you become infatuated, your thoughts become obsessive, filling you with anxiety. You’ll also make up scenarios that will most likely not happen. Finally, you’ll start worrying and overthinking, as you won’t get those thoughts out of your head.
The scientific literature hasn’t yet agreed upon a fixed definition, but those seem to be the most common characteristics. Still, they agree that everyone experiences infatuation, regardless of age or culture. If you weren’t familiar with the term, that doesn’t mean you’ve never heard of the concept. But you probably know it under a different name, like puppy love, passionate love, or obsessive love. But the term “love” is used in all these names is what throws people off.
Sure, infatuation is a type of love. But it’s not what people expect when they hear love. If this infatuation doesn’t turn into something relatively quickly, it will become toxic. You can’t be with someone you’re just fascinated with and expect things to go well after a couple of years. Either you won’t make it that far or end up abusing each other.
4 Differences Between Infatuation and True Love
Infatuation is a feeling everyone needs to experience. It teaches you the first things you need to know about attraction and love. But that’s only possible if you learn to differentiate between infatuation and true love. To make things more transparent, here are four differences between true love and infatuation.
1. Infatuation Is All About Appearances
Dating is based on meeting people and deciding whether to give them a shot based on their first impression. So, it’s not a surprise that relationships start superficially. But these kinds of relationships are all about appearances. They’re about how good someone looks or how they act in public. But true love requires you to get to know someone deeper.
To fall in love, you must know and accept everything about a person. You need to know what things they do annoy you and how to avoid stepping on each other’s toes. But that’s not something that happens when you are fascinated. In that state, you only care about appearances. If they are good-looking and they seem to have a decent personality, that’s enough for you. This behavior is toxic because you overlook your partner’s negative traits.
You might have to put up with someone mistreating or abusing you. It would help if you learned that, no matter how pretty the cover looks, that doesn’t mean the inside matches. When you finally fall in love, looks won’t matter as much. Sure, attraction stays essential, but true love is more than that. You care about someone so much that they always look beautiful in your eyes.
2. Infatuation Is Obsessive. True Love Is Compassionate
If we could describe infatuation in just one word, it would be “obsessive.” All your thoughts revolve around the person who you are infatuated with. You always think about what they are doing and who they are with. This idea that your partner should always be on your mind is society’s idea of romance. People yearn for that kind of passion. But they forget that these recurring thoughts are toxic.
Passion can quickly become an obsession, and it often does with infatuation. It’s not just that you want to know that your partner is safe and happy. It’s that you want to know everything they do at all times. And chances are, you also want them to spend every living moment with you.
But true love never feels this way. You are not concerned with what they are doing at all times because you trust them. You never force them to spend time with you because you know you have enough time. If they are busy, you respect that. This kind of relationship is compassionate.
You want to see your partner grow and are happy you can go through life together. You don’t spend every second thinking about them because they’ll tell you their day when they get home. This connection is more mature and patient.
3. True Love Is Respectful and Empathetic
Infatuation is often damaging because it’s about what you think and feel but never about the other person. You don’t even need to know someone; you become infatuated with them. Because of that, infatuation is very egotistical. It’s all about what you want and what you like, but never about the other person and what they prefer. So even if you get into a relationship with someone you’re infatuated with, it won’t be based on respect.
It’ll just be something you impulsively decide to do. You won’t cherish the person you’re with, and they won’t love you. Instead of being empathetic, you risk bringing each other down. You could end up with someone who is only satisfied if you act according to their image of you. And you’ll likely treat them the same.
But true love is only possible when two people meet and decide to build something together. In those cases, respect will be something that both of you value. So, you’ll work to have it in your relationship. Not only that, but you’ll be empathetic. You’ll find that you’ll be willing to sacrifice to see your partner happy. The beautiful thing is that they will reciprocate this behavior.
Your partner will also strive to see you happy, even at the cost of making some sacrifices. You’ll always feel safe and cherished. You won’t be anxious about where they are and what they’re doing. They respect you, and you trust them to give them freedom. This relationship will not be your whole life. Instead, the relationship will be an addition to an already satisfying lifestyle.
4. Infatuation Is Not Bound to Last
We all would like to find the one we truly love when we are young and stay with them forever. Some people are lucky enough to have that kind of love in their lives. But most people go through a few short relationships before finding the one. That’s because infatuation is not a solid foundation for any relationship.
Marriage based on infatuation is probably the biggest mistake you can make in your love life. The marriage will likely end in divorce. And even if it doesn’t, you’ll never be delighted. Because infatuation is obsessive and gives people anxiety, it will always make you doubt your partner. You’ll never feel that you can fully trust them. This anxiety will make you act impulsively.
You’ll often accuse them of infidelity or lying. But, even if that doesn’t happen, other issues will appear. And you’ll find it hard to solve fights, as there’s a lack of empathy. But, when you find true love, all those issues will fade away. Sure, you’ll still fight sometimes, and that’s normal. But you’ll trust them and know they truly value you.
You and your partner will always solve fights because you know that, no matter what, it’s you against the world. You’ll always be a team and value each other more than your pride. You’ll even feel the dynamic difference because you won’t be anxious about losing them. These relationships will last because of all of these reasons.
Final Thoughts on Some Differences Between Infatuation and True Love
Love is tricky to navigate and even trickier to find. There are many types of love, and you’ll likely experience all of them. If you haven’t already found your true love, don’t worry. You have all the time in the world. Even if you’ve seen them, that might not be the case. You might just be infatuated with someone, confusing that for love.
Infatuation is a normal feeling. Unfortunately, it often makes people act irrationally or become toxic. Infatuation is much different from true love because it is egotistical and obsessive. True love is selfless, empathetic, respectful, and compassionate. That’s not the case for infatuation. That feeling is only based on appearances.
In that case, you could even ignore red flags because of how blinded it makes you. Maybe this connection feels like true passion, but it’s not sustainable. True love is steadier and more patient. When you finally find the one, you will understand there’s no rush. You have all the time to build a happy life alongside the one you love.