What Is the Difference Between Infatuation and Love?
What Does Infatuation Mean?
It is not uncommon to confuse infatuation with love. In most examples, infatuation is treated as a dangerous phenomenon, whereas love is shown to be healthy. The fundamental question that needs to be asked, however, often remains unanswered: what does infatuation mean, and how is it different from love?
Infatuation is an uncontrollable passion towards another individual that is not based on sound common sense, but rather on raw physical or emotional attraction.
Infatuation is akin to driving a race car at over 300 kilometers an hour along country roads. It is an intense, exhilarating experience—it gives the driver a massive rush of excitement to the driver. Love, on the other hand, is like riding a vintage car that has been tried and tested, always managing to cope with local road conditions—no matter how difficult.
Love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own.— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
How People Show Infatuation
Infatuation almost always manifests itself as a growing interest in a person you're attracted to. A clear sign of infatuation is the desire to be with the other person at any cost. Overtime—generally gradually, but sometimes rapidly—the person with whom you're infatuated takes over the lion's share of your thoughts.
If you're infatuated with someone, you'll spend day and night thinking only about the other person, often losing a lot of sleep. You'll become extremely emotional, even if you don't express it outwardly. You also might attempt to fit a certain standard of acceptability in terms of physical appearance and personality, in order to interest the person you're infatuated with.
Finally, someone who is infatuated with another might develop a sense of false optimism, failing to see reason and considering the remote possibility of being with the other as a predestined reality. Their infatuation becomes the center of their universe even though it clearly isn't.
Infatuation Leads to Heartbreak
Infatuation Can Be Absolutely Exhausting
The start of infatuation is almost always an ominous sign of the difficult times to come. Once infatuation has set in, it is almost impossible to roll back.
Infatuation leads to a disconnected reality. The person of attraction becomes the be-all and end-all of the infatuated person's existence. Every action is designed with the goal of obtaining the desired person—much like winning a trophy.
Oftentimes, your behaviour could change drastically. Mood swings become common, and you might alternate between an unbelievable ecstasy and an unbearable depression. This frequent oscillation between happiness and depression leads to a long period of physical and emotional tiredness that is quite hard to overcome.
Self-Awareness Is Key
There are many differences between infatuation and true love. Knowing these differences is a good start to becoming a more mature person.
Comparing Love and Infatuation
Love provides one with a sense of security, whereas infatuation creates insecurity. Love is not a feeling—instead, it is an unchanging desire to be selfless. Love is being prepared to make sacrifices. A person who is truly in love is prepared to even leave their partner if that's what is required to ensure their partner's happiness.
Infatuation, on the other hand, is selfish. If you're infatuated with someone, losing your partner is unimaginable and even debilitating.
Unlike infatuation, love is not affected by the vagaries of circumstance. Love, once established, is there to stay. True lovers have a sane and realistic vision for the future, whereas infatuated people live in a present that changes each moment.
It has been often stated that "love does not care about external beauty". A lack of physical beauty can never be of detriment to love. On the other hand, infatuation consumes—either consciously or unconsciously—physical beauty for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Love is born to true lovers and shared with the world they inhabit. Infatuation makes the couple neglect the world around them, especially their family, friends, and everyone else they would otherwise spend time with.
Infatuation Vs. Love
Wants to receive
Wants to give
Always very practical
Unwilling to make sacrifices when necessary
Willing to make sacrifices
More emotion than good-sense
Mistrusts their partner
Trusts their partner
Ends without physical proximity
Stays strong despite the distance
Seeks to impress
Does not seek to impress
Wants to be seen
Not interested in being seen
Ends in heartbreak
Seeks instant gratification
Doesn't seek instant gratification
Wants to be picture-perfect
Isn't bothered about being picture-perfect
Neglects others for the sake of their partner
Makes their partner a part of their existing life
Considers physical beauty to be of prime Importance
Considers physical beauty to be of secondary importance
How to Deal With Infatuation in a Mature Way
Experiencing infatuation as a teenager years is normal. However, repeatedly becoming infatuated with people is a sign of immaturity.
It's important to face reality and realize that everyone is human and prone to weakness. No one is your perfect match—true love is always an imperfect match.
Get into the habit of listening to opinions contrary to your own, as and when you encounter them. This is a healthy habit that will widen your perspective in life.
Another helpful tip that I recommend is to seek a trustworthy and mature confidant of your own gender to confide in. It is good to let off emotional steam once in a while. A mature person is capable of listening to you without becoming judgmental, and in the process, they should also give you precious guidance and help you understand the situation. You do not need to share every little detail of your life with this person—or with anyone, for that matter—but if anything is troubling you and affecting your daily life, you should get it off your chest.
Infatuation Is Quite Common
Remember, infatuation is not a crime. It is a phenomenon that occurs in virtually every person's life. It is a barometer of one's progress in becoming a balanced and mature person, sensible and capable of supporting a family. Never beat yourself up if you think you have become infatuated with someone despite your best efforts not to get emotionally involved. Experience is a great teacher. Make sure to keep an open mind—you will learn some lessons that will prove to be invaluable in the future.
If you know of anyone who is struggling to cope with infatuation, make yourself available to him or her as a friend. Rather than trying to advise them, watch out for your friend and his or her emotions. If you notice signs of infatuation in your friend, just be there for them when they need you. They'll appreciate it.
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.— Ann Landers
What's the Difference Between Love and Lust?
If you found this article meaningful, or if you want to share your experience(s) of infatuation or love with others, use the comments section below.
Have you ever been infatuated with someone?
© 2013 Rohan Rinaldo Felix