Is it Love or Infatuation?
Feelings are confusing, especially when it comes to dating. Like hello, is this person my soulmate or are we just “hanging out” or was it just a one night stand? I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, we live in a generation where chivalry is dead, actually communicating your thoughts is unheard of and hooking up casually is the culture, so how the heck are we supposed to know the difference between love and lust? Both emotions can be intense, all-consuming and make you feel all warm and tingly where it should (I’m talking about your heart, people!)…but at the end of the day, it comes down to figuring out real feelings vs. infatuation—trust, the two can be very blurry.
Do you actually love the hot, unattainable f*ckboy who barely text you back and is hard to have meaningful conversations with? Probably not. And don’t even vouch for him or think you’re going to “change” him because it’s not happening. Are you lusting over the girl next door who actually asks you how your day is going and is always emotionally there for you? Doubt it, because what’s sexy about someone giving your their time of day and being honest with you? Or, you could totally be blessed with the best of both worlds and have that perfect human being whom you’re in love with and in lust with, if so, Happy Valentine’s Day and get off this article. For all of us that aren’t that blessed, infatuation is a wolf in sheep’s clothing (cue Regina George). It sneaks into your relationship and makes you think you’ve met the one, only to have things blow up in your face before your romance has even gotten off the ground.
In short, infatuation is just a fantasy. Love is reality. So how can you spot the difference?
Desire vs. Friendship
Infatuation grows out of desire, like do you just want to hop on this person every time you see them or do you want to actually sit down and get to know them? Relationships are usually built on something more substantial than a good hook up. Think about it like this, infatuation is surface-level—you’re attracted to their good looks, money, power etc. While love is appreciating a person’s character and quirks. Do I think infatuation can turn into love? Absolutely. That initial attraction can definitely turn into something more over time—but that involves a two way effort and TIME.
Idea vs. Reality
Imagine meeting this awesome person you have great chemistry with but all your friends tell you that his or her personality is absolutely not your type BUT you’re still fixated on wanting this person to be yours. Yeah, that’s straight up lust. This person’s beliefs and values don’t even align with yours but you love the idea of this person so much that you think you could be with them long term. REALITY CHECK, the chemistry is blinding you and you’re thinking from the bottom half off your body instead of your head! Listen to your friends, I’m telling you, they know best and they can spot a bad seed from a mile away.
Dependable vs. Controlling
When you’re in a healthy and loving relationship, you get a sense of security and stability. You know your partner will always be there for you and you can depend on them. Lustful relationships tend to be more manipulative and controlling. Are they into you just for the sake of “having” you or are they looking out for your best interest? Love allows you to be your true self without feeling the need to change who your partner is due to something like fear. Have they been pulling the victim card on you when it’s clearly their fault? Yup, they’re keeping you attached by a string, honey. PSA to everyone: never ever change your personality for a person because trust me, if they can’t love all of you then they don’t deserve any of you.
Quick Fix vs. Compromise
Butting heads in a relationship likely means that you’re growing and evolving together as a couple while learning the art of compromise. But, when you’re never fighting, it makes you wonder, are you suppressing your emotions so you don’t lose what you have with this person? Usually when you’re infatuated with someone, you’re so focused on that attraction and having fun that you don’t go in depth about things that bother you with your partner. You brush it off or find a quick fix because 1. You haven’t had the “what are we” convo and 2. Having that convo means it might end what you have. If your partner is not interested in a healthy debate once in a while or working with you to resolve the fight, they’re probably not interested in anything past the bed post. The ball’s in your court now, do you kick 'em to the curb or just keep having fun?
In The Moment vs. Long Term
If your conversations never go past a “you up?” nightly text or even a “wyd Saturday night?” then red flag alert! Love is thinking about where this relationship will go long term, infatuation is living in the moment and uncertainty of what the future may hold. You can sense a person being infatuated rather than in love when they brush off talking about the future or tell you to “chill” when you bring it up. In all honesty, they probably just don’t see you in their future and want to continue this no strings attached rendezvous. If you're cool with it, then hello Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake...but, we all know how that movie ends.
So yeah, lust might be what you’re after, and there’s nothing wrong with that. By no means am I shaming people who just want to have fun because sometimes those flings can leave you feeling great. BUT, if you start to fall for someone, make sure it’s not just the hormones speaking. Remember, love and lust CAN coexist, you just gotta find someone dope enough to give ya both. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!