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Is It Love or Infatuation?

By: Danielle Bertini, LPC

Whether through movies, television, social media, or any other forms of pop culture, we’ve been given the idea of “love at first sight” and “when you know, you know.” These ideas sound super romantic, but in reality, these two concepts blend love and infatuation, which are two very different feelings.

So, What Is Infatuation? 

Infatuation is a strong feeling of attraction, fascination, and fixation towards someone, often without actually knowing them that well. Although it feels very intense, infatuation tends to be based more on physical attraction and imagined fantasy about who this person is (Gonsalves, 2021). Infatuation can also involve rejecting information that goes against this fantasy, such as ignoring red flags or early signs of incompatibility. 

Someone who is infatuated is constantly thinking about the person, and these feelings tend to form very quickly after meeting someone. They might even feel like they’ve found “the one” even though they’ve just met them.

What About Love Versus Infatuation? 

Whereas infatuation tends to happen very quickly and involves a strong attraction, love is a much deeper experience of knowing someone fully, feeling bonded and close to them, and caring about them in a way that’s both enduring and not centered around how they make you feel (Gonsalves, 2021). It is more than just a feeling, as it requires some knowledge about the person and being able to love despite knowing that their loved one is flawed and imperfect.

Does Infatuation Turn Into Love?

Infatuation doesn’t always turn into love, sometimes it stays that way until the relationship ends, either because the object of infatuation fails to live up to the fantasy or because the feelings aren’t reciprocated (Gonsalves, 2021). However, infatuation can sometimes turn into love. This can happen if you are able to accept the disappointment and are willing to give rather than self-serve. If you are able to give, sacrifice, and compromise with the person you are infatuated with, with joy and willingness, then it can certainly turn into love (Gonsalves, 2021).

How Long Does Infatuation Last in a Relationship?

Infatuation usually happens immediately after meeting someone for the first time, but there really isn’t a set amount of time that it lasts in every relationship (Gonsalves, 2021). It usually happens during the “honeymoon phase” of a relationship, which lasts a few weeks for some couples and a few months or even years for others. 

Is Infatuation a Bad Thing?

The short answer — is no. Infatuation is not necessarily a bad thing; it just requires getting to know someone more intimately for it to grow into love. However, infatuation can be unhealthy in extremes. If infatuation becomes an obsession with unrealistic expectations and demands for perfection, then yes, it becomes bad (Gonsalves, 2021).

The Bottom Line.

Infatuation can be a normal part of the early stages of getting to know someone or of a new relationship. It often feels very intense, which is why many people confuse infatuation with love. Infatuation can also be a part of the process of falling in love, and in healthy amounts is not necessarily a bad thing! If infatuation goes both ways, with the sense of security from both parties, you’re off to a good start. Just remember to take your time and really invest in getting to know the person you’re with — flaws and all. And maybe wait until the rose-colored glasses come off before making any big decisions. 

If you find yourself struggling with love and infatuation, you may find it helpful to talk with one of our therapists in Chicago at Symmetry Counseling. You can explore our counseling services online, and contact Symmetry today at (312) 578-9990 to get matched with one of our licensed counselors. 

References

Gonsalves, K. (2021, January 22). Infatuation vs. Love: How To Tell If You’re Just Infatuated

mindbodygreen. Retrieved February 9, 2022, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/is-it-love-or-infatuation-how-to-know-when-youre-infatuated 

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