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What Is the Difference Between Infatuation and Love?

Rohan believes that being able to recognize infatuation when it occurs is a sign of maturity.

In the throes of passion, it can be difficult to determine whether you're in love with someone or you're simply infatuated with them.

In the throes of passion, it can be difficult to determine whether you're in love with someone or you're simply infatuated with them.

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 causes a lot of worry and pain, and is built on insecurity.

Infatuation causes a lot of worry and pain, and is built on insecurity.

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.

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

InfatuationLove

Wants to receive

Wants to give

Generally short-lived

Always long-lasting

Mostly impractical

Always very practical

Unwilling to make sacrifices when necessary

Willing to make sacrifices

More emotion than good-sense

Very sensible

Selfish

Selfless

Mistrusts their partner

Trusts their partner

Insecure

Secure

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

Doesn't end

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.

Almost everyone gets infatuated at some point of life. Do not beat yourself up about it. Rather, treat it as a valuable learning experience.

Almost everyone gets infatuated at some point of life. Do not beat yourself up about it. Rather, treat it as a valuable learning experience.

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.

© 2013 Rohan Rinaldo Felix

Comments

Vedr on March 24, 2019:

This is the absolute perfect commentary regarding infatuation. I have been dealing with it for three years and it has been exhausting. I feel reasssured to know that I am not out of the normal. Your article has helped me get back into my normal head and away from my craziness.

Averil on January 30, 2019:

Thank you for this wise article. I'm 25 and have struggled with infatuation my whole comparitively short life and its lead me into a lot of situations where i was taken advantage of and abused. I'm struggling with it again now but im starting to see that i dont want it, i can see how my past trauma has affected me and my fear of being alone and empty has encouraged it. I recently talked to an older friend who was very honest with me about what he was seeing, along with reading this article i feel ready to make change and take action intelligently. Infatuation is so painful, but despite the pain of it i know i have to do the right thing for myself, take responsibility and grow. Maybe i will not meet someone for many years to come, but i have to accept and find love in friendship too, and do whats right for myself without fearing boredom. A years or so ago i would have passed off how you defined love as boring and impossible, but thats only a reflection of my own self esteem, putting my self worth in the hands of other people. Its hard sometimes to comprehend how real love would be if you havent experienced it properly, or recognised it, mental illness and trauma can cloud your perceptions. I have loved someone before but it developed over many years, i still love that person but we arent together, i am happy to not be with him because it is best for both of our personal evolutions. Everyone has inner power, and we should never give it away only use it to for our betterment and to truly love others. Its a really hard time for me learning this, but its worth it.

lekshmi on December 21, 2018:

hi brother,

i dont i am having infatuation or love towards him. he is not interested and i want to make my mind controlled. what should i do to forget these feelings??

Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on August 11, 2018:

Glad you found it useful, Bryce!

Bryce on August 11, 2018:

Great article. Cleared a lot of things up for me. Thanks

Alison Gross on February 08, 2018:

This article makes love sound really lame and boring. To use the metaphor here, if I knew I would never get to go 300 km again, driving would be pointless, except as a utility function and, if the car was sentient, it might agree with me (strange that the metaphor for a thing that supposed to be about giving makes the other party and inanimate object). Sure, we all have to be sensible sometimes but if there aren't also times when we can let go and enjoy ourselves, what's the point of life?

Further, the dichotomy set up in this article makes love look as unrealistic and idealized as infatuation. I simply cannot believe that someone in a 20+ year relationship never feels selfish, never wants instant gratification, and never puts emotion above common sense and the current divorce rate, even many years into marriage puts the lie to the claim that "post infatuation" relationships are always long lasting or don't end. I think the current trend of trying to portray love and infatuation as totally separate and to vilify infatuation and exonerate love ignores the more nuanced and messy reality that is human life. My relationship is a total pick and mix from both sides of the chart here and I imagine many relationships look like that. This same kind of simplicity can be seen claiming the "cure" for infatuation is realizing people are imperfect. It's totally possible to obsess and swoon over someone's imperfections and to believe that you are destined to be together despite flaws or even elements of incompatibility. "The more obstacles in our path the more we prove our worthiness to be together." Totally impracticable and emotion driven but also totally not about instant gratification.

Jane on February 05, 2018:

My infatuation over somebody is at the verge of costing me my marriage, I feel like I finally have fallen so low I should want to let it go and get over it, but it is just so hard.

Kate on January 05, 2018:

I am experiencing infatuation with another. I know the euphoria/extreme sadness you speak of, it truly is exhausting. I constantly beat myself up for it but after reading that it is normal and that many people share this experience, I feel better. I have decided to stop being so hard on myself. "Everything new becomes old" - Indeed. Many thanks for this article.

Morey on December 13, 2017:

So how does real love happen? If it can not be thru physical appearance

Monica on October 16, 2017:

Thank you!

T Mo on September 15, 2017:

I am currently struggling with infatuation. I've been infatuated with a coworker for three years and I am desperate to let go. I've tried everything and yet I still feel things. It is frustrating.

paankaj sonawane on August 11, 2017:

very good article

Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on June 14, 2017:

Please take note of the word "usually."

C on June 13, 2017:

"Infatuation is almost always discovered in terms of a growing interest in another person, usually belonging to another gender. "

What a pointless and unnecessary statement. Infatuation can affect someone of any gender, towards someone else of any gender. Why gender this statement?!

Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on May 29, 2017:

I'm glad this article has helped you deal with your situation!

Craftartist on May 25, 2017:

Your article perfect timing! So emotional with my infatuation. I didn't like how I was so obsessed with this person. I have stayed away and kept busy and talked myself on how this was not a good thing. Yes I getting my commonsense back!!!!!

Ram on March 31, 2017:

Thanks a lot for providing this useful information

Rafał on March 21, 2017:

Turns out I've never been in love and the current woman I'm chasing is also a passer-by. That seems to have made it a lot easier, thank you. Also, I'm laughing right now because I once again thought it's love.

furkan on January 31, 2017:

ah.. so thats what it was. great srticle ser, word by word it fits my situation. in my case we were BOTH infatuated with each other which made the seperation very difficult.

even now i repeatedly think about her but its hateful remarks now even though it used to be "pure love" for me. hah.. thinking back now about the stuff we said "we'll always be togethet now and forever" and how often i remember her in negative thoughts..

The seperation made me feel like "real-Love-doesnt-exist" for a veeery long time up until now. im willing to try this love thing again.

i must also note that the article is indeed black and white, neither of us caed about appearances or physical contact. the rest was true though.

Shashi Ganiha on January 26, 2017:

Thanks a ton for this article. This absolutely relates to my current life. Very useful!!!

no.one on January 17, 2017:

I can relate

Mr.Nobody on January 05, 2017:

I can relate. My self-diagnosis is correct.

Xyz on December 01, 2016:

Nice article on what actually happens when one is affected by infatuation. ... thanks. .

LFG on August 25, 2016:

This article is a little black and white. The table comparing infatuation to love appears to imply that infatuation is largely negative, and love positive, but fails to acknowledge that there are positive and negative aspects of both. While I agree with the majority of the article, I don't believe it's as clear cut as the article suggests. But maybe that's because I'm currently suffering from infatuation. ;)

Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on August 08, 2016:

You've learnt a difficult lesson, haven't you? I'm sure this learning has made you very strong!

setanksetunk on August 08, 2016:

I wish I had your article a long time ago. I figured out 20 years later that a crushing infatuation I had, which altered the course of my life, was merely a projection of feelings of true love I had for someone else. It would be nice to have had a clue a bit earlier. But with matters of the heart, I am one of those people woefully inept.

Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on August 05, 2016:

I'm glad you found this article useful!

Anon on August 03, 2016:

This is the most useful article I have ever read in my life. How have I never heard of infatuation before? This has been really helpful at this point in my life right now.

someone on April 24, 2016:

it is very meaninful

Jim on November 04, 2014:

This article has helped to ground me today. I have been through and emotional nightmare for a few weeks, with seemingly no control over my roller-coaster emotions, which have ranged from euphoric to suicidal. This is the third time this has happened to me, and I am not young - I am 61 years old. It is a very painful condition, from which I am slowly recovering. Thank you for the article - a reader in Ireland.

Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on September 13, 2014:

I'm glad you found this article useful!

Ali Ahmed on September 13, 2014:

I've been suffering for the past 8-10 years with chronic infatuations.

This somewhat helped.

Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on August 25, 2014:

I'm glad you found this article helpful.

allen on August 24, 2014:

thanks for the article i have finally found out my problem

Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on June 26, 2013:

Many thanks for the meaningful opinion Mr. Rahul!

rahul naidu on June 26, 2013:

This article veraciously sticks to its subject without being subjective. It's a must read. I congratulate the writer.

Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on June 13, 2013:

I must agree that infatuation is a form of obsession.

Rohan Rinaldo Felix (author) from Chennai, India on June 13, 2013:

Very meaningful words there. I definitely agree that infatuation is a phase that everyone goes through.

Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on June 12, 2013:

Infatuation doesn't have to be aimed at a person either. I often think of infatuation along the lines of enthusiast and/or obsession. All of which can be good when applied in a healthy manner....

dashingscorpio from Chicago on June 12, 2013:

Instead of attempting to avoid infatuation in my opinion it is best to (accept) that it is the natural (first) step in all new relationships. Infatuation is nothing more than a chemical reaction towards someone you are attracted to that causes you to feel giddy and excited to be around them.

A mature person knows and accepts that this is normal for the beginning of most relationships. They also understand it takes (time) for people to reveal their "authentic selves" and therefore they relent from making promises or overly committing too soon. Infatuation always fades so enjoy it while it lasts. However just understand it's phase one. Everything new becomes old.

"Never separate your mind from your heart when making relationship decisions. The purpose of the mind is to protect the heart."

One man's opinion! :-)

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