It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between infatuation and love. This is especially true at the beginning of a relationship. It is easy to think that you have found true love as the intensity of infatuation takes over your life. Love, however, rarely comes on suddenly. It is a slow, gradual process that can only happen after the rush of infatuation starts to ebb.
Infatuation describes the intense range of feelings present at the beginning of most relationships; sweaty palms, rapidly beating heart, butterflies in the stomach. The world is a better, more beautiful place because object of your affection is with you. Every time you touch is thrilling, you remember every conversation, and your thoughts revolve around them. In more common terms, this is a crush. Crushes are a very real, normal part of human life. Everyone experiences at least one crush at some point or another in their lives.
Infatuation is caused by a chemical reaction in the body. The hormones released accounts for some of the feelings of elation. In truth, you are "high" on dopamine. This is an important evolutionary response to meeting a potential future mate. These hormones assure that two people will spend enough time together to possibly produce children, thus ensuring the survival of the species.
Love, on the other hand, is a calmer, more mature feeling. It is a sense of stability. Love is still exciting, at times. It can change day-to-day. Love takes work. The feelings are not supported by the highs of hormones, but by a shared love and respect for each other. Love is what exists after infatuation fades, if you are lucky.
Infatuation and love are different in many ways. While both result in pleasant feelings, the feeling of infatuation is more intense than the feeling of love. Love may not be as intense, but it is usually a much deeper emotion. Relationships that start as infatuation can mature into love.
One of the biggest differences between infatuation and love is how long each can last for. Infatuation can last, at most, several months before it starts to fade. Love, on the other hand, is capable of lasting fifty years or more, if both people in the relationship work for it. Infatuation is almost effortless. Anything put into the relationship is because you want to. Everything you do for the other person brings great pleasure for you, too. This isn’t always the case in love. You do things that you don’t want to do, things that you will get no pleasure from, because it is the fair thing to do. Love is about compromise.
Infatuation and love are both different in the amount of unpleasant tension that is part of the relationship some days. Infatuation discourages any real disagreements from taking place. You both are on your best behavior during all the time you spend together. Anything that could cause a discrepancy to the idea of a perfect relationship is avoided. Everything is perfect, and no one wants to mess that up.
Love allows people to be who they really are. While arguments aren’t encouraged, they happen. Sometimes they happen a lot, especially in times of stress. Love is admitting that your partner has faults, and so do you, but that is okay. You have realistic expectations of each other. Love is accepting.
Infatuation and love are two separate emotions, and there are many differences between them. They are, however, similar in some ways. Infatuation is like a shiny new pair of dress shoes, where as love is the comfy old sneakers you’ve had for years. Infatuation is fun, while it lasts. Eventually, though, the night out ends, and you slip into the sneakers that fit perfectly, even if they are starting to give at the seams and the tread is worn out. This is what happens in relationships. As the brilliance of infatuation fades, couples move into a contented place where, even if there are problems, they know they can depend on one another to provide the love and support they need. That is the difference between infatuation and love.