What is the difference between love and infatuation?
Many people assume that love and infatuation are the same thing. Nevertheless, the truth is that these two intense feelings are completely different even though it is quite easy to mix them up.
So, how do you know what’s the difference between love and infatuation?
For starters, when you’re infatuated, you feel like you’re in seventh heaven, you’re carried away and your head is in the clouds.
You have a strong feeling of lust and incredible euphoria every time you think of the object of your infatuation and it is like you’re magnetically drawn to them.
Judging by this description, you would probably describe all of these intense emotions as real love for one person.
Well, we’re here to shatter your delusions and give you some of the most important differences between these two concepts and help you realize whether you’re experiencing infatuation or love.
1. Physical attraction vs. character
One of the first differences between love vs. infatuation lies in the reason why you and your partner fell for each other. I won’t lie to you—the first thing you usually notice about a person is their appearance.
You’re physically attracted to something about their body or face or to the way they speak, smile, dance or talk to you.
However, when it comes to infatuation, this physical attraction is the only thing that exists between the two of you, even after a while.
No matter how much time you spend with this person, the thing that draws you to them is their body; if you’re a guy, you’re proud of yourself for having a girl with a great ass or big boobs and if you’re a girl, you’re happy that you’ve got yourself a catch with incredible abs and muscles.
Nevertheless, when it comes to love, all of this becomes irrelevant and what begins to matter is this person’s character traits.
You’re attracted to your partner’s kindness and devotion, to the fact that you can trust them and the fact they love you back unconditionally.
Yes, you still can’t fail to notice that your girlfriend has a smoking hot body but you know you would love her the same even if she gained weight or cut her hair short.
Most importantly—you would still want to kiss her and hold her in your arms the same way you wanted to when she looked like a top model.
Not only that—when it comes to real love, your partner becomes more and more beautiful with each day that passes, or at least, you perceive them that way.
No matter what happens, they would still be your only love interest and the most attractive person in the world according to you.
They could end up in a wheelchair, get wrinkles or transform their entire appearance in some other way but you would still be incredibly turned on by them.
You love them the same when you wake up next to them without make-up on, with your hair all messed up and with smelly breath and when they’re all dressed up, looking their best.
On the contrary, infatuation doesn’t make you feel that way.
2. Instantly vs. a process
According to most dating experts, there is no such thing as love at first sight. In fact, this concept of love at first sight is actually infatuation because this is how infatuation takes place—in the blink of an eye.
It happens instantly and before you know it, you’re head over heels for this special someone.
When something like this happens to you and when you lose the ground under your feet just by looking at a person of the opposite sex, you’re convinced that this is fate.
Everything is like in the movies; you two look at each other and you think they’re the one you’ve been waiting your entire life, that you’ve finally met your soulmate and the one person you should spend the rest of your life with.
Well, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble but the truth is actually quite different. In fact, in most cases, this instant sexual attraction most people mistake with love at first sight is nothing but that—physical attraction and infatuation.
On the other hand, true love is something different and it is a longer and more complex process. I don’t know what fairy tales taught you but in real life, love needs to grow, it takes time and effort.
You have to get to know the real person before you can say you love them. You need to get to the core of their personality, meet them in different life situations and discover a lot about them before you can truly say you love them.
So, how can you actually love someone you had this instant chemistry with? Well, you can’t—you can only be infatuated by them and there is a huge difference between these two concepts.
3. Physical intimacy vs. a deeper connection
I won’t lie to you—sex is a crucial part of every loving relationship and whoever tries to convince you otherwise is not telling the truth.
This is especially the case if you and your partner are not getting along in the bedroom because these problems can easily transfer to other aspects of your relationship as well.
So, the difference in infatuation vs love doesn’t lie in the quality of your sex life; in both cases, it is an important aspect and something that should be constantly worked on.
However, the main difference is in the level of intimacy and whether intimacy only stands for sex or not.
When someone is an object of your infatuation, the only way you two really connect is under the sheets. You have an amazing sex life, try new things, experiment in the bedroom and are obviously compatible in this area of your relationship.
However, when it comes to true love, you realize that in a healthy relationship, intimacy is much more than pure sex. You and your partner bond on much deeper levels than just physical.
You don’t resolve your arguments with sex, you don’t use every opportunity to get laid and your relationship simply doesn’t revolve around only that.
In fact, you two can spend an entire night, for example, holding hands and staring into each other’s eyes, without laying hands on one another and still have an amazing time.
When it comes to bedroom activities, you’re not only having sex—you’re making love every time you sleep together.
You’re both concerned about the other person’s needs as well and for the two of you, this act represents much more than pure physical pleasure—it is also a deeper connection which brings you two even closer and takes your relationship to a whole new level.
4. Butterflies vs. calmness
Infatuation is addictive love. It’s a new love that hits you and takes over you completely before you even get a chance to realize what happened.
It is all about butterflies in your stomach you can’t get rid of, as much as you try. It is about excitement and the feeling as if you’re going to fly directly into space when your crush looks at you.
It is about fireworks and storms. It is the feeling that you can’t get yourself to go to sleep just because you know you’ll see the object of your affection the next day.
When you’re infatuated, you don’t see typical signs of love and you feel like you’re on drugs, like you couldn’t breathe without this person by your side and like they’re the only one you need to properly function in this world.
These strong emotions get the best of you; your palms are sweaty, you get tongue-tied and can’t even talk properly, your pupils get bigger, your voice shakes and this person is the only one you can ever think of.
The worst part is that this happens at all possible stages of your relationship. When they’re not around, you constantly miss them or when something is off, you’re worried about what will happen next.
On the other hand, when the two of you are together, you feel like you’re in seventh heaven for having them next to you and you can’t think straight because you’re consumed by the pleasure this person’s presence causes in you.
Sounds romantic, right? Well, it’s not—it is unhealthy and scary.
You two have obviously been dragged into a circle of codependency and this entire roller coaster of emotions makes you think that this is the real deal. Let me tell you that it’s not.
When you’re young, the last thing you want is a peaceful relationship without any ups and downs. You think of these couples as boring and you assume that their loving relationships have gotten into a rut, since they lost all the excitement.
However, as you get older and more mature, you understand that is what real love is all about—about the calmness. Yes, being in love makes you feel butterflies in your stomach but loving someone makes you feel at complete peace.
This person’s presence calms you down, makes you feel like you’re at home and like nothing and nobody could get to you. They become your harbor and your anchor, which keeps you safe against all the storms.
5. Short-term vs. long-term
Another crucial difference between infatuation vs love is in its duration. How long does your relationship last or how long do you expect it to last?
While infatuation is an intense feeling, it actually lasts way shorter than true love. It burns out and it simply fades away, as if it was never there, without leaving a permanent trace on your life.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not claiming that every true love interest lasts a lifetime. Sadly, some of them end and are not meant to be, despite all of your efforts to make things work.
However, the fact is that love doesn’t have an expiration date and even when it ends, it still remains important. It shapes you as a person and forever stays an unerasable part of who you are.
True love lasts for years and it doesn’t depend on your financial status, looks, friends, family, education or anything else; it just exists, despite everything.
It accepts all of your and your partner’s changes and it grows together with you in all of its selflessness.
It defies time and all other obstacles life might throw at you. It is stronger than everything standing in its way and it cannot be destroyed by anything or anyone.
Sounds overly romantic, I know. However, you only think that way until you experience it and until you see it really is the truth.
On the other hand, infatuation ends at the first glance of trouble. It replaces you with someone better and more convenient and it doesn’t put up a decent fight before dying off for good.
6. Jealousy vs. trust
When you’re in love, it is natural for you to be scared of losing the person next to you so jealousy and possessiveness appear.
You’re ready to do whatever it takes to keep them around and you’re convinced you couldn’t live without them.
You become overly controlling and you think that by behaving like you own the object of your deep affection, you will prevent them from leaving your side.
However, usually, the opposite happens. Often, you get a completely counterproductive effect and you just end up chasing them away.
On the other hand, when you truly love your partner, there is no place for jealousy or possessive behavior. Of course, you wouldn’t be indifferent if you, for example, see them kissing someone else but your fear of losing them doesn’t control you and is not at the center of your feelings for them.
You know that you can live without this person—you just don’t want to (contrary to addictive love, where you’re convinced you wouldn’t make it without the object of your infatuation).
You know you would eventually survive their absence—you just choose to fight for their presence every day.
In a healthy relationship like this, mutual trust is one of the most important things your love is based on.
You don’t have the need to stalk your partner, to follow them around, to control their every move or to check up on them all the time simply because you trust that they wouldn’t do anything behind you back, even if they had a chance to.
After all, if they really want to be with another person, who are you to stop them? The last thing you would want is for them to remain next to you while thinking about someone else or while emotionally cheating on you.
You see, one of the signs of love is its selflessness. You have such strong emotions for someone that you want them to be happy, even if that happiness doesn’t include you.
The same goes the other way around—it is not that you’re faithful because you’re scared of getting caught; you don’t cheat on them because you couldn’t imagine yourself next to someone else and because you would rather be alone than with anyone else.
7. Resentment vs. forgiveness
Ego is a huge part of relationships that are built upon infatuation. Whenever the other person does something you don’t like or hurts you in any way, you think about ways to pay them back and give them a taste of their own medicine.
You hold grudges forever and the resentment often eats you alive. You simply have to get even and you feel angered if you don’t get your revenge.
However, when it comes to love, you are both aware that forgiveness is the key to a healthy relationship.
I’m not saying that in this case scenario, you should allow the other person to walk over you all the time while you do nothing about it but you won’t plot your vengeance about every little thing just to fix your broken ego either.
In fact, when they apologize, you accept it and you two move on. You know they mean it when they tell you how sorry they are and you know that there is no point in constantly going back over the past if you’ve both agreed on leaving something behind you.
You don’t lie to them that you’ve managed to forgive them for their misdeeds just so you could get them on thin ice or pay them back.
Instead, you take your time and decide whether you’re really capable of forgetting about the episode which hurt you and move on, as if nothing happened.
When love is concerned, you do your best to understand your partner, even when you disagree with them.
You don’t judge them and try walking a mile in their shoes in order to understand their reasons and in order to eventually forgive them.
You don’t let your emotional baggage ruin your relationship and you keep an open heart to all possible solutions which will bring progress to your romance.
8. Passion vs. friendship
When you’re infatuated by someone, you see them as nothing but your lover and romantic partner. At first sight, you assume that this is more than enough and that a healthy relationship shouldn’t bring you anything more than that.
However, only once you experience true love do you understand the importance of other things. You realize that your loved one shouldn’t be your lover only—they should be your best friend as well.
You understand the real meaning of partnership. This is your person, your partner in crime and your other half—the first person you go to when you’re in trouble or when you need advice or guidance.
This is someone who can make you laugh, who has the ability to wipe away all of your tears, who can brighten up your darkest day and who is your dearest family member and best friend in the whole wide world.
Your partner becomes your confidant and the person you enjoy spending time with the most. It is someone you can tell your darkest secrets, without a fear of being judged, someone who listens to you and who shares your interests.
Without losing your individuality, the two of you become an item and function together. You’re not just a romantic couple—you’re a team and you go against the world.
9. Idealizing vs. acceptance
Another crucial difference in love vs infatuation lies in the perception you and your partner have about each other. It is the difference between realistic and unrealistic expectations of your relationship.
When you’re infatuated by another person, you only love the best version of them and you don’t dig under the multiple layers of their complex personality.
You’re not concerned by their flaws and you don’t even put any effort into trying to get to know their dark side, which we all have, simply because you don’t care enough.
The same goes the other way; you always try to look your best in front of your partner, to have a smile on your face and to be in the best of moods, even when you’re actually at your lowest.
You don’t bother this person with your financial problems or family emergencies, you don’t share your troubles with them and you don’t let them in all the way.
Consequently, you both end up idealizing each other, romanticizing your entire relationship and thinking of everything as way better than it actually is.
However, when it comes to love, you accept the person next to you completely. You are not wearing rose-tinted glasses and you don’t think of them as some superhuman who is never cranky, nervous or in a bad mood.
You don’t try to change them and you’re completely aware of their imperfections. Not only that—you love them for those imperfections because you’re aware that they also shaped them into the person they are today.
You don’t expect this person to be flawless and you are completely fine with everything their personality and appearance consist of.
Instead, you love them for who they really are and you wouldn’t change any part of their character, even if you had a chance to.
When real love is in question, you and your partner care for each other the same at your best and at your worst. You don’t try to put each other in a box and you have realistic expectations of your relationship.
10. Drama vs. compromise
If you’re infatuated with another person, you experience strong feelings regarding everything about them. You enjoy the constant tension in your relationship and you even find it cute.
You see the fact that you and your loved one can’t get along as signs of strong chemistry and steaming passion.
You two fight and make a fuss about every little thing. After all, the makeup sex is always wilder after the argument is over.
What you clearly fail to see is that the two of you might share some intense feelings but that we’re not talking about love but of deep affection and sexual attraction, since you are obviously not compatible enough to have a healthy, mature romantic relationship.
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying that couples who don’t fight don’t share intense emotions or that those who love each other don’t fight. They most certainly do but their arguments are never without a point and they don’t create drama over nothing.
In fact, their fights are always as productive as possible and they use them as learning points to make their relationship better. They are aware that they’re on the same team and it is always them against the problem, never them against each other.
When you love your partner, you are aware of the importance of compromise. You see your relationship as a two-way street and you’re both ready to put in your maximum effort to make things work.
In this case scenario, there is no place for ego or self-esteem boosts and it never matters who is right or wrong.
You don’t compete in who won more arguments and the only important thing is to find a solution that will suit both of you and will be best for the future of your relationship.