“I met my first girlfriend on campus on my way to class. I felt a sudden connection and had to do anything to get to her and in no time we started dating. We started with the world revolving around us but our relationship didn’t even last for up to a year. I always wanted her to be around me and always wanted a kiss and when she refused I got angry. With time I lost the connection I initially felt then we eventually broke up. That was when I realized we weren’t really in love.” Stephen, 23 (KNUST)
Love and infatuation are both intense emotions that one feels for another person. These feelings are most often confused for each other by many people. But the two feelings differ in their actuality of love, intensity and final outcome.
Infatuation is the state of being completely carried away by unreasoning passion or love; addictive love. Infatuation usually occurs at the beginning of relationship when sexual attraction is central. Love can be described as feeling of intense affection for another person. It is most often talked about as an emotion between two persons. Hence is also sometimes referred to as interpersonal love.
Infatuation versus Love comparison chart
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Infatuation is the state of being completely lost in the emotion of unreasoning desire.
Love is an intense feeling of deep affection.
Infatuation- Urgency, intensity, sexual desire, anxiety, high risk choices, reckless abandonment of what was once valued.
Love- Faithfulness, loyalty, confidence. Willingness to make sacrifices for another, Working at settling differences, Able to compromise so that either both win or at least give the other person’s opinion a chance.
Person to Person
Infatuation- Reckless commitment to satisfy one’s all-consuming lust.
Love- Commitment to another. Genuine intentions. Think about other person’s feelings before acting.
Infatuation- All-consuming euphoria similar to recreational drug use (addictive chemical reactions in the brain), stupidity (cupidity). Can risk everything for the next hit of adrenalin.
Love- A deep affection, contentment, confidence. Partners communicate and negotiate appropriate expectations. Requires a lot of selflessness and polite assertiveness. You are loving your best friend.
Infatuation- Emptiness, consequences of choices made while under the influence of mind numbing temporary lust.
Love- Security, peace, a solid partnership which can provide the ideal atmosphere to raise confident, secure children.
Infatuation- Being controlled by brain chemistry, not the heart, loss of ability to make rational evaluations of what is true, valuable and worthy.
Love- Contentment, stability.
Infatuation- Cannot be sustained without some portion of love and physical attraction. Desire to be always close to that person at any cost.
Love- Partnership. Can lead to codependency if not tempered with self-awareness and self-guidedness.
Infatuation- Takes off fast and furious like a spark in dry grass burns out quickly and can leave feelings of emptiness.
Love- It will deepen with the passage of time.
Infatuation- This is temporary in life and goes off after some period.
Love- This feeling may continue throughout one’s life.
Infatuation is delusional. Not real.
Love is unconditional and the real deal.
Infatuation is of the now.
Love is a gradual process. It happens over time.:
Symptoms of Love vs. Infatuation
The foremost symptom of being infatuated by a person is wanting to be around that person. This may sometimes also be sexual desire. Other symptoms may be anxiety, panic, jealousy etc. Love, on the other hand, may start with infatuation or lust and then become love. Symptoms of love are emotional attachment with someone, feelings of confidence, and affection.
Differences in Attributes
Love can happen without conscious intention and hence pure love doesn’t expect anything in return. Infatuation, though, comes with a feeling of passion. It may start with physical attraction and may render excitement to be around a person. Love comes with passion as well as intimacy. Love is also tolerant and forgiving while Infatuation may invoke jealousy. Infatuation induces impatience while Love is patient.
Reasons people fall in love or be infatuated
There may or may not be any reason to fall in love. It comes with mixed emotions and may be caused by physical attraction, intellectual and emotional compatibility. Infatuation, on the other hand, may start with physical attraction and gives a feeling of being in love.
Differences in Feelings
Infatuation feels like being in love but it is not. The intensity of the emotion is strong but not pure like love.
Love is the quiet understanding and mature acceptance of imperfection. Love is always associated with connection between two souls that goes beyond the self. Infatuation may make the other person selfish if the opposite person’s reaction isn’t the same. Infatuation isn’t pure like love and may be accompanied by lust. It is about thinking about oneself and not the other person.
Differences in effects of separation
Infatuation is weakened by time and separation whereas real love is strengthened by time and separation. Separation in both emotions causes great pain but infatuation may get weak and cause the feeling to lessen over time. Love develops more with time and separation.
Commitment in love vs infatuation
While true and pure love between two people can often develop into long term commitment, infatuation may only in very few cases lead to any commitment. True love induces a feeling of close bond towards the other person that is mutual. While infatuation may produce feelings of closeness, because they are typically one sided real, lasting commitment by both parties isn’t possible.
Age as a factor
Infatuation is generally in the context of teenage or adolescence. There is generally no age associated with love. Anyone can be in love at any age, but most love stories before the age of 20 are considered infatuation or “puppy love”.
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