Love vs. Infatuation

Being in college and dating different people throughout my life has made me think a lot about what love is, and how it is different than infatuation. In our relationships, we often mistake these two things, confusing our hearts. 

I feel lucky to say that I have been in love, and I have experienced feelings of infatuation. Reflecting on these feelings now, I am happy I could feel both during different stages of my life, because both were eye-opening experiences.

Being in love was amazing and I was the happiest I have ever been. It changed my perspective on life, and helped me grow and realize what was important to me as an individual. Being completely infatuated with someone was a whole other set of emotions and feelings. I felt the constant need to be with this person, knowing that I wasn’t in love with them. Feeling intense infatuation was like being on an emotional roller coaster with all the fast ups and downs, and the thrill was worth it in the end. 

Love and infatuation are both subjective things. They mean something different to each human, and the meanings change when we change. However, as young women, we should be aware of how these two strong emotions can be confused, especially because of our relationships in the media this day and age.

Take a moment to think about the relationships we see in movies and television shows. Many of these relationships portray “love” that happens immediately between characters. But in reality, real love rarely happens that fast. This makes me question whether the “love” between characters on screen should be displayed as such, or should it be displayed as infatuation? 

Infatuation is almost never expressed or openly stated in shows or in movies, which is strange because it is a common feeling. Obviously, these are made up plot lines about fictional characters, but I think it is still something we should question and address. Perhaps if the movies and shows that we watch showed people being infatuated with another person, we would be able to recognize it in our real lives and relationships. 

Social media also influences why we confuse love and infatuation. Social media allows us to learn information about a current or potential partners at a faster rate than interacting with them in person. We can go through every single social media account a person has, and look at every photo, status update, and tweet they have ever posted. After doing this, we think we know someone at a more personal level. Except, do we really?

Social media offers unimportant information too, like what your new boyfriend posted on his Instagram in 2016, but this isn’t anything that will enhance your relationship. “Stalking” someone on social media may give us immediate gratification, but nothing will ever enhance a relationship like face to face communication. 

It allows you to think you know someone, and you think you know them really well. It speeds up the process of self-disclosure, leading people to feel more connected to each other. This may lead to you believe that you are in love with them because social media enhances these feelings of connection. However, you’re most likely only experiencing infatuation. 

Because love and infatuation are both subjective, it is smart to think long and hard about which is ruling your emotions in a relationship. Ask yourself, “Is this love or is this infatuation that I am feeling?” This may feel silly, but it will help you in the long run, trust me. If you aren’t sure which you’re feeling, do not worry, because it will become clear soon enough. 

Being in love with someone and being infatuated with someone are both special feelings, and both are completely valid to feel when involved in any type of relationship with someone. Love is truly the best feeling in the world and infatuation is fun, exciting, and can be healthy in a relationship. I hope everyone is able to experience both of these feelings because they are real, raw, and undoubtedly human.