Madissyn Fredericks, Licensed Professional Counselor, Symmetry Counseling

What’s your definition of being in love? For you, it may be the constant thoughts of your significant other combined with your heart racing when you see them. For others, love may mean they can’t stop smiling, see someone as “perfect”, or want to be with them every second. The feeling of love is not entirely universal and often gets mixed up with the feeling of being infatuated. Therefore, my next question for you is, what does being infatuated mean to you? Being infatuated often consists of all the same feelings that love does, leaving many to say “I love you” before they actually mean it. While it is possible for feelings of infatuation to turn into real love, it is important to be aware of what makes them different. Understanding what you are feeling will help you think and act more mindfully and intentionally in relationships moving forward. Below is a more in-depth description of real love versus infatuation to help you decipher between the two.


Infatuation is the feeling of overwhelming passion, attraction, and admiration you have for another person.

  • You may see your romantic partner through rose-colored glasses that make them appear perfect.
  • Infatuation is typically short-lived and not secure.
  • While you may have strong feelings and attraction to someone, if you feel a shift or see an imperfection, you may begin to question yourself and feel
  • abandoned, anxious, insecure, or self-conscious.
  • You are focused on how the relationship makes YOU feel.
  • You most likely have unrealistic expectations and beliefs about the relationship and your partner.
  • You expect to always feel happy and fulfilled by your partner.
  • You are defined by the relationship.

Real Love

Real love is identified as an intense feeling of deep affection. Love is something that is selfless, unconditional, secure, and long-lasting.

  • Real love is different from infatuation in that it is secure and true.
  • It is based on shared values, respect, and acceptance.
  • You love yourself just as much as you love your relationship.
  • You feel secure because you are always there for each other.
  • You are thinking about your happiness as a couple rather than as an individual.
  • Your expectations for each other are more realistic and reasonable.
  • The ups and downs don’t make you want to leave.
  • You love your partner, flaws and all.

As you ask yourself what being in love means to you, consider some of the points above. Doing so may shift your definition of love in a direction that is more healthy and true rather than something that is unrealistic. Understanding what love means to you will help you identify your feelings more effectively in your romantic relationships and keep you from mistaking infatuation for real love.

If you are currently struggling to decipher if what you are feeling is infatuation or real love, it may be useful to connect with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very talented therapists at one of our two Chicago locations.