The ‘love vs. infatuation’ debate is one that’s been going on since time immemorial. The reason why it’s so confusing to understand infatuation signs is that infatuation and love may feel very similar at times, and when you’ve got all those feelings bubbling inside of you, it’s hard to differentiate between the two. In such a situation, signs of infatuation can often be confused with love. And once the three-month mark has passed, the infatuation dies down only for the person to realize that they were never in love.
What is the difference between love and infatuation then? An infatuation relationship is characteristically short-lived, while love stands the test of time. Infatuation makes your heart race in the very beginning. It makes you impatient and numb to everything else in the world for the person you love. But love takes its own time to blossom. It doesn’t present itself as love in the very beginning, but there’s that one moment that catches you by surprise. That’s when it all falls into place and you look into another person’s eyes and know that you don’t want anything more than them.
That being said, it can still be quite confusing to recognize the signs of infatuation and separate them. But before we dive into this, let’s decode what infatuation is in the first place. From our panel of experts, psychologist Nandita Rambhia (MSc, Psychology), who specializes in CBT, REBT and couples counseling, is here to help shed light on what it means to be infatuated with someone and how it works.
What Is Infatuation?
Looking for infatuation meaning? What does infatuated love feel like? Allow us to help you. Strong feelings of love or attraction for someone or something, especially when these are unreasonable and do not last very long, is infatuation.
The focus point and our main takeaway from the infatuation definition is the fact that infatuation does not last long and is transient in nature. One of the clearest signs of infatuation lies in the fleeting manner of your feelings. Infatuation is intense. You develop strong feelings for someone but these are short-lived and generally tend to be obsessive too.
Everything about the person you are smitten with seems perfect and they seem like ‘The One’, but only for now. Their mere presence fills up your world with smiles that don’t go away and you are always daydreaming of a perfect ‘happily ever after’ with them. This is what an infatuation relationship looks like.
What is the difference between love and infatuation, you may wonder. Infatuation and love may look and feel like the same thing, which is why you might have even convinced yourself that the person before you is the love of your life. But you may not actually feel that way at all, since love and infatuation are actually poles apart. Love is not temporary, infatuation is. Nonetheless, infatuation is a powerful feeling in itself, but tends to fade quickly.
To differentiate between love and infatuation, learn to identify the signs of infatuation. Once you have done this, you will understand your feelings better. But, before we talk about infatuation signs, let us try to understand what causes or triggers people to feel infatuated with someone.
Related Reading: Love Vs Attachment: Is It Real Love? Understanding The Difference
What Causes Infatuation?
So you’ve bagged a snazzy new job. You go to work and meet this lovely person who is strikingly good-looking, smiles at you often, and makes you feel euphoric every time they pass by your desk. Because of the way they look at you, you can’t help but feel anxious, giddy and glad, all at the same time. You’re attracted to them, no doubt. But attraction is all this is.
Don’t go fooling yourself into believing that you are suddenly in love. The overflowing dopamine in that situation can highly mess up your judgment in such a case. The chemical reaction in your brain is going to make you feel like you’re falling in love too fast, but is that really so? Step back and think about it.
Understand and analyze your feelings. You feel an intense attraction toward the person. You want to see them more and more. You wait for them every day to lock eyes with you in the break-room when you’re getting your coffee. But is it love? Not really. These could just be signs of infatuation with a coworker. What you’re probably feeling is infatuated love, not the true or genuine kind.
What Triggers Infatuation In People?
The causes of falling into the trap of infatuation can be linked to your extreme need to fall in love, your aspiration to date quickly and to just get a taste of what a serious relationship feels like. People grow up with their own ideas about love and relationships, and when they meet someone attractive, they idealize that person within their own boundaries of what makes a loving relationship.
Nandita says, “Infatuation occurs when a person feels intense attraction, admiration or sexual passion toward someone else. You will notice physical symptoms of it, such as butterflies in your stomach, sweatiness and a rise in your heart rate, all in their presence. Our brains release a whole mix of chemicals and hormones that cause all these feelings surrounding infatuation. It also makes one unable to think clearly.”
One of the female or male infatuation signs is that one’s looks and appearance are given priority. But once they start to know the person better and all the quirks and flaws begin to surface, you might start to feel less euphoric about them. There can be mutual infatuation or mutual attraction signs too when both people feel the same. They mistake the signs of infatuation for love.
Then, you develop the tendency to move on to someone else. Realizing that you’re not in love, you feel the need to flee and find somebody new. You develop strong feelings for someone else. But by doing that, you can get infatuated again and again. You move from one infatuation relationship to another, getting stuck in a circle of misunderstanding yourself.
However, when it comes to love, things go a little differently. You feel happy and euphoric, even if you have been in a relationship with someone for years. Their quirks and flaws are not things that bother you, those are things you learn to love about them. This is a major difference between love and infatuation.
Difference Between Infatuation And Love
What is the difference between love and infatuation? Well, both are two different emotions but it’s possible to mistake one for the other because the feelings are so intense. When you are infatuated with someone, the attraction is so intense that you feel like you’re in love or want it to be the case. However, that is not true.
What you feel is probably your idea of love. What you are infatuated with could be your perception of the person you are with. Like we stated earlier, it can be difficult to differentiate between both emotions. Allow us to help you understand the difference between love and infatuation so that you can get a better grip on what you are feeling.
|You feel a constant rush of emotions. You feel impatient. There are always butterflies fluttering in your stomach when you are infatuated with someone||Being with your partner has a calming effect on you. You feel a sense of safety and security when you are with the person you love. You feel complete|
|You think logically using your brain. It’s about how you can impress your crush and what benefits you can derive from them. You think about the pros and cons||You think from the heart. Your partner’s wellbeing and happiness matters to you the most when it comes to making decisions. Actions are driven by emotions|
|You experience fleeting emotions or an intense physical or sexual attraction that is usually short-lived||Love lasts longer because you feel a deep physical and emotional connection with your partner|
|You are attracted to their physicality. You have no interest in knowing who they are as a person. Your imagination and perception of them is all you care about. You don’t make an effort to get to know the real person beyond their external appearance or physicality||Love is not restricted to external beauty. When you’re in love, you want to know the person for who they are. You accept them with all their flaws and imperfections. You know the worst things about them and it is okay. Your feelings don’t change despite knowing their weaknesses|
|You set unrealistic expectations in infatuated love. The feelings are so intense that you’re ready to do anything for your partner and expect the same from them. You eventually lose interest if they don’t meet your expectations||In love, you set realistic expectations. Your feelings toward your partner do not change if expectations are not met. If there are differences, you have a conversation about it like adults and rework those expectations|
We hope the above mentioned differences between love and infatuation help you understand and analyze your feelings better. Sometimes, we develop so strong feelings for someone that we think that it’s love. Everything about them makes us act so crazy that we mistake these strong emotions for love. But, more often than not, these feelings are nothing but infatuated love that wears off with time.
Related Reading: 21 Love Messages To Text Your Boyfriend After A Fight
12 Clear Signs Of Infatuation That Are Mistaken For Signs Of Love
Now that we’ve discussed the infatuation meaning, what causes it, and the difference between love and infatuation, let’s talk about infatuation signs. As established already, it is not uncommon to confuse love and infatuation. There is no earmarked distinction per se. Besides, a lot of serious relationships do start with infatuation. Hence, identifying the signs of infatuation is not that simple. They can mess with your mind.
Female or male infatuation signs make you believe that your feelings are indeed love, only to set you up for future disappointment. In Mary Roberts Rinehart’s words, “Love sees clearly, and seeing, loves on. But infatuation is blind; when it gains sight, it dies. Infatuation is short-lived but intense. In this period, your feelings cloud your judgment. Until, one day, you realize that the lovey-dovey feelings have suddenly dissipated.”
Is it so easy to fall out of love? We don’t think so. But is it easy to stop feeling infatuated with someone? How long does infatuated love or an infatuation relationship last? All your questions will be answered once you learn to identify these signs of infatuation. So, without further ado, here are 12 clear signs you are infatuated and definitely not in love.
1. You put them on a pedestal
This is one of the biggest signs of infatuation in a girl or boy. You are so into this person that all their qualities seem perfect to you. They mean everything to you and you keep telling yourself that you’re lucky to be with them. Hence, you idolize them as if they are some kind of legend or prize. But that cannot possibly be love.
Love is when you go past this initial puppy love phase and come back to reality where you see the real person for who they are and accept them wholeheartedly. But until then, what you feel is just a magnetic attraction. As spellbinding as it may be, once the glass of ‘perfection’ shatters in infatuated love, you lose interest in the person as quickly as you developed it in the first place. After this, you can never look at them with the same level of awe.
2. You don’t feel like getting to know the person
Your infatuated self is so focused on spending more time admiring your so-called ‘lover’, that you don’t even want to get to know them. Think about your conversations with them. How much time or energy do you spend on actually understanding them, their way of life, their past experiences, and so on?
When you are infatuated or have strong feelings for someone, all you do is work your imagination and live in your own little fairy tale. When you are attracted to someone, you feel like you know this person because you have created the perfect version of them in your head, and they may turn out to be the complete opposite. However, you don’t want to ruin your flawless idea of them, which is why you don’t even make the effort to dig deep and get to know the real person.
3. You start acting desperate
One of the unmissable infatuation signs is desperation. When you feel infatuated with someone, every feeling is heightened to such an extent that you want things to accelerate as quickly as possible. You feel desperate to take things forward, even though you know that it’s probably all happening too fast.
Nandita tells us, “Thinking that the person is almost perfect, is one of the clear signs of infatuation. One only sees the positives in them and only focuses on what one likes about them. You will dismiss their negative points because of this intense admiration. Due to such idealistic notions, you tend to become needy almost to a point where you would be willing to do anything for them.”
If you are an insecure woman or man, it’s possible that your insecurity is what is causing your desperation. You also feel the need to seize every moment because deep down, you know it’s going to come crashing down very soon. In love, you take one step at a time. You don’t feel the need to rush because you know you are together. Moreover, the slow process is so enjoyable that you don’t feel the need to speed things up.
4. Flirting too much is one of the signs of infatuation
Your conversations can’t be called ‘actual conversations’ because they are just 80% flirting. Almost every conversation includes both of you flirting incessantly and complimenting each other non-stop. It is as if there is nothing else to talk about. Because that’s the truth — there is nothing else to talk about. This is an absolute sign of mutual infatuation.
Yes, it is healthy to flirt, but only up to a certain point. What happens when you have to talk about things that are less exciting? Mundane things, like your daily routine, are of no interest to them. You, too, lose interest in their life. This is a major difference when we look at the infatuation vs love debate.
When you’re in love with someone, you can find affection even in the most boring conversations. You may be talking about laundry and still tell yourself “Wow, I love this person so much!” If you haven’t felt this way about the person you’re probably thinking of while going through this checklist of signs of infatuation, you know what the answer to your question is.
5. It’s all going too fast
It seems as if you are in a rush and can’t wait to take your relationship to the next level. You do not think about taking some time out and spending quality time together, all you want to do is label yourselves as boyfriend and girlfriend. This is one of the signs of infatuation in a girl or boy and it can actually be quite disastrous as you may jump into a relationship without actually wanting to be in one.
All you feel is this adrenaline rushing within you at all times. You don’t even stop to think about what you really want in your partner. You don’t want to think about facts or reason, because that might make you realize that this is not the right person for you. You do not want your bubble to burst as you are not ready to face the infatuation signs.
6. Not acting like yourself is one of the clear signs of infatuation
When you are super attracted to someone, you want to impress that person, even if it means not being yourself. You don’t act like your normal self in front of that person because you want them to like you so badly. It doesn’t even matter if they like you for ‘you’ or not. You just want to feel loved and validated by them. So instead of being yourself, you portray a version of yourself that they would like and enjoy.
Not being yourself or doing things to impress someone can work out for you in the short run (maybe), but is not a good strategy to use ever. When, in every moment, you start to worry that revealing your true self will threaten your relationship, it is a sign of infatuation. It will make you anxious and worried that the moment they know the real you, they will walk out of your life. This is a clear sign of an infatuation relationship.
Nandita suggests, “The basis of this is all the sorts of changes that take place in your body. The sudden rush of chemicals that mess with your logical thinking abilities makes you dwell in an illusory world which compels you to start acting differently around the person you have a crush on.” When this happens, know that your feelings have infatuated love written all over it.
7. Lust overpowers other emotions
One of the signs of infatuation in a guy or a girl is that they care about sex far more than they care about you. So it’s time to ask yourself whether you feel love or lust for them. What is the first feeling that you get when you see your partner? Do you want to make out with them or rope them into a long hug first? Is the sexual tension palpable?
Do you feel like staring at them all day or feel like looking for a corner and pushing them against a wall? Infatuation makes you more sexually attracted to a person than wanting to spend quality time with them. While that’s fair and understandable, it certainly is not love. If you feel like the only things you want to do with your partner are of a sexual nature, know that it is one of the signs of infatuation.
8. You want everything to be perfect in your world
You want the perfect relationship with your other half, which is nothing short of a fantasy. Nothing should ruin your relationship because you live in a sort of illusion created by your own mind. Your ideas and perceptions of them are all that make this relationship what it is and if anything threatens that, you start to freak out.
This is because you are in this relationship not for yourself, but for show and also because of the attractive perks it has to offer. You want everything to be perfect in this bubble you’ve created for yourself and you are ready to do anything, go to any length to protect it even if it means overlooking your partner’s flaws or red flags. Overreaching for perfection at all times is one of the signs of infatuation.
9. You are starting to lose interest
It has not been long since your relationship began and you are already getting bored of what the two of you have. Things you once liked about the person are no longer appealing to you. Those butterflies you used to get earlier are nowhere to be seen or felt anymore. You realize that you’re starting to lose interest in them.
Reality has come crashing down on you with all its force. Your partner is getting comfortable around you and might even be falling in love with you. But them portraying their true self and opening up to you is just not appealing to you anymore. It is definitely not what you had expected but it is happening.
10. You start feeling alone
There will be times when you will feel low and want someone by your side. You look around and see your partner willing to give you that comfort, but you just don’t feel that connected to them anymore. This complacency in a relationship is one of the signs of infatuation. You no longer see them as your safe space.
They aren’t your support system or your shoulder to cry on. You start feeling lonely even though you are with someone in a relationship. This is because you can’t rely on your partner in tough times because there was never any understanding or love in your relationship to begin with. Now that you know that, you feel distant from them and are unwilling to open up.
11. You do whatever they tell you to do
It will seem as if all your senses have stopped working and that itself is the biggest sign that you are not in love. Love can enrapture you, but it shouldn’t make you act crazy. On the other hand, infatuation can. When you are infatuated with someone, you do not want to disappoint them. You tend to do whatever they tell you to.
Your brain is working toward a singular objective – impressing your partner and making them love you. You do not question their ways. If they are abusive, controlling, obsessive or clingy toward you, it just doesn’t register because you are so infatuated with them that you look the other way and, therefore, choose to ignore all the relationship red flags.
12. You are delusional
Finally, it’s important to say this one out loud – You think that you are in love, but in reality, it’s merely an intense attraction topped with lust. You don’t think straight, you are simply unable to. The infatuation just keeps making you dive deeper into your delusions, making you think of this perfect life with the perfect person that does not even exist outside of your own head.
Nandita tells us, “For a short period of time, one is prey to an illusion of perfectionism in another person. One wants the fantasy to continue as they avoid looking at the red flags in that person.” If you’re oblivious to or delusional about your partner’s ways, know that you are in an infatuation relationship.
How Long Does Infatuation Last?
In a world where it takes just about a minute to break up with one person and move on to the next, relationships solely based on infatuation are common. The truth is that these relationships are short-lived because they are based on feelings that are not real, which brings us to our next set of questions. How long does infatuation last for a man and a woman? Does infatuation last in a long-distance relationship?
The answer to the first question “How long does infatuation last on average?” is this: Infatuation may last for a period as short as 15 minutes when you glance at the man or woman who caught your eye at the bar, and can continue for something like a year. It all depends on how long you stay confused about your feelings and mistake infatuation for love. If you are unsure, ask yourself what you want in a relationship.
Nandita says, “Infatuation is normally short-lived, but it could indeed last anywhere from one month to three years. It occurs when we still don’t know a person well enough and choose to be smitten by only knowing one side of them. But when you meet the person often and understand other dimensions of their personality, the infatuation slowly reduces. When it comes to pop idols or celebrities, one’s infatuation is longer simply because you don’t see that person on a regular basis or get to know them.”
How long does infatuation last in a rebound? The moment you feel like your sexual needs have been satisfied, you may feel like the rebound relationship is going downhill. One only gets into a rebound to feel some sort of escape that comes quickly and easily. But the moment those feelings start wearing off and you finally put your glasses on, you are able to see that you were never invested in the person in the first place.
Don’t blindly accept your feelings for someone. Question them. Understand and analyze them. Look for the signs of infatuation in a guy or a girl. Do you find yourself relating to these infatuation signs? Then, think about what you want from the relationship. If you think you want to go with the flow, then feel free to ride the wave.
However, if you are waiting for a soulmate kind of love and want a relationship that will last forever, think it through and don’t waste your energies on the wrong person. It is detrimental for you in the long run. It is time to ask yourself, infatuation vs love: what is it that you truly seek and are willing to work for?
No, there is nothing wrong with infatuation. In fact, most of us get infatuated at some point in our life. It’s the most normal thing. At times, infatuated love leads to real love. It can get toxic and unhealthy if taken to an extreme level. But, otherwise, it is the first step to getting to know someone intimately.
An infatuation lasts anywhere between six months and three years. It could turn into a more serious relationship if it lasts beyond that. But people do realize even after a year that they are infatuated and it is not love. It can last longer if it’s a long distance relationship.
What starts as infatuation can turn into love. Infatuation typically starts with sexual or physical attraction. It’s the physical aspect that keeps the relationship going, but sometimes mutual infatuation can turn into mutual love. Having said that, it is also possible for an infatuation to not turn into love if the person does not reciprocate their partner’s feelings or live up to their idea of a perfect partner.
As we’ve already mentioned above, if you show signs of infatuation — like you are too physical, too desperate, you feel overpowering lust, and you don’t want to look beyond the superficial things — then it’s not love. If you are in love, you will look at your relationship from a deeper perspective. You will want to savor every moment of it and take things slow.