Infatuation is a strong, overpowering feeling. It can make you do the most unheard of, inane things for the sake of your intense feelings for the object of your infatuation. However, while you may think that you’re head-over-heels in selfless love, what you feel, being merely infatuation, is essentially selfish.
This is because when you are infatuated, you solely focus on how the other person makes you feel, rather than consider whether or not that feeling is reciprocated. Thus, infatuation can cause us to act and think in selfish ways, in the sense that you “take” from the other person and let this taking fill and assure you, therefore justifying the relationship or the feeling as “love.”
So how do we know, exactly, if our feelings for another person are just infatuation and not love? Here, we discuss what infatuation really is, how it’s different from love, and how you know if you’re really infatuated with someone or if it could be something more.
Infatuation is best defined as strong and often foolish and extravagant passion or admiration that is often short-lived. The feeling is heady and intoxicating, taking you to the highest of heights when things go well, and the lowest of lows when it doesn’t.
Some relationships start out as infatuation, burning brightly as the couple can’t seem to get their eyes and hands off of each other at first. These feelings are so strong, like a fire taking over your whole being. If you’re one of the lucky few, this infatuation will mellow down into something tamer and more lasting, which can be considered “love.”
However, some people can mistake infatuation for love, which can result in their making all sorts of impulsive *and even crazy* decisions. When the flame of infatuation eventually dies down, it will be easier to see that your feelings weren’t real love at all, and you can be well on your way to finding another person to fan the embers and light your life anew.
So how do you know if what you’re feeling is just infatuation or true love?
Infatuation vs. Love
To more aptly define what infatuation is, you must also be able to distinguish it from what it isn’t. Although infatuation can often be mistaken as love, it isn’t love. You may have gotten yourself into all sorts of problems and troubles thinking that the strong feelings you have for another person are true love, which is something more serious, deeper, and long-lasting.
Here’s how to distinguish infatuation from love:
#1 Perfection and flaws. When you’re infatuated with a person, you tend to think that person has all the qualities in a romantic partner you’ve ever wanted and more—you think that they’re perfect. However, when you’re in love, you have a more realistic grasp on the fact that the person is not perfect, but you love them anyway and accept their flaws.
#2 Selfish desires. When you’re infatuated, you want that person to always be with you. Often, you both forget your responsibilities because you want to be together. You expect everything else to take a back seat. When it’s love, however, you become more selfless and more considerate of each other’s needs and priorities.
#3 Possessiveness. It’s common to want to be with each other 24/7 when you are infatuated. You’ll likely always want *or even demand* that they spend all their time with you, resulting in your becoming possessive and even insecure.
You want their presence to be an assurance of your feelings. But when you’re in love, you understand that they don’t have to be around you for you to feel good about yourself or your relationship.
Signs you’re infatuated
Even if you think you have a handle on the difference between love and infatuation, when you find yourself caught up in the throes of passion, it can be extremely difficult to tell the two apart. If you suspect your feelings may be a bit out of control, try to take a step back and examine yourself and your relationship as objectively as possible. Below are the most common signs of infatuation to look for:
#1 Thinking goes haywire. Where you could once pride yourself for being rational, infatuation has now taken hold of your brain and is making you think the silliest, most illogical thoughts. It seems like your mind has a new way of tying every thought you have to the object of your affection. You hear a song on the radio? It’s like it was written for the two of you. Almost everything reminds you of them, from the topic on the news that day to the shirt that your colleague is wearing.
#2 Losing focus. You’re doing one thing, but your mind is wandering off to thoughts about your crush. Whether you’re at work, in school, doing chores, or even hanging out with other people, you can’t seem to perform at your once-optimum level because your focus is not on what’s in front of you. Instead, you’re constantly letting your thoughts of that special someone totally consume your focus and drive.
#3 Perma-smiling. Each time you think of this person, you have this one weird, silly smile on your face that just doesn’t seem to go away. A word from them, a memory, or even a remote reminder will evoke a kind of smile that only they can give you, even without their knowing. This smile is plastered on your face the whole day, and everyone can tell you’ve been daydreaming about “that guy” or “that girl” again.
#4 Heightened emotions. Being infatuated leaves you feeling giddy one moment, and down in the dumps the next. This is because you feel like you’re in a roller-coaster, where your emotions, as sensitive as they are at this moment, are going to the extremes. When you see your guy or girl, you feel like you’re up on cloud nine. But when you’re missing them, things don’t feel quite right in your life, and everything else is affected.
#5 Non-stop talking. Since everything reminds you of this person, naturally, you can’t stop talking about them. A friend asks you how you are, and you answer, “I’m fine… I’m great, actually! Marc just texted me ‘Good morning!’ today. Yay!” If your friends are understanding, they will let you gush over your crush non-stop and may even join in as you rave *because they probably know that this stage likely won’t last long and you’ll be all over them in no time*.
#6 Number-one follower. In this age of social media, it’s so easy to stalk your object of infatuation. You follow them on all their social media accounts, “like” all their posts, and even drop in some eager comments every now and then *just so they won’t notice how much you’re into them*. Not only that, but you’ll also spend hours each day just going over all of their posts and photos again and again.
#7 Double espresso of pleasure. When you see your crush, it’s like you’ve been hit with two shots of espresso—only it’s actually bliss. It’s like Cupid hit you with two arrows packed with some feel-good drug, because you can’t help but feel all giddy and elated.
Even when you simply see them from afar, you’re swooning like you’re going to have a heart attack. And when they approach you, even just to say hello, the hit is so strong that you almost feel as if you’ve died and gone to heaven.
#8 Their hands, their eyes, their everything. To you, your crush’s eyes are suddenly the brightest, warmest, most beautiful sight. You can’t get enough of how their hands look and feel, and in fact, even a whiff of his cologne or her perfume from miles away can make your heart do somersaults. It’s like everything about this person is perfect *even their crooked teeth* and no one else can come close.
#9 Drop everything. When you’re infatuated, you’re willing to drop everything at the beck and call of your crush or object of infatuation. You’re struggling to finish some work at home, but one phone call from them and you are suddenly out the door, not caring if your boss will fire you the next day because you put your work on hold.
#10 You’re living in a fantasy world. Ever caught yourself daydreaming about the object of your affection nearly everywhere you go? Whether you’re running on the treadmill, sitting in class, or hard at work, you can’t help but constantly imagine that you’re somewhere else—in your crush’s arms.
Think of the middle school cliché of doodling your names together in hearts on all of your binders. Only now, you may actually have yourself convinced that the two of you are soulmates, when in fact, your crush might not even realize you’ve been feeling so intensely about them.
Infatuation can set you up for a lot of disappointment and heartbreak, especially when you mistake it for love. Being infatuated can feel a lot like being in love. However, the best way to distinguish love from infatuation is to keep in mind that infatuation is driven more by feelings. And feelings are fickle.