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When it comes to feeling deeply about a new crush or girlfriend, people tend to go bananas wondering whether they’re “the one” or if the attraction is just infatuation.
As we grow up and are warned about love, we’re told to look for true love, and we’re reminded that infatuation is just a really deep crush that isn’t the real thing. The whole matter of deeply desirous or passionate emotion is divided primarily into these two categories, creating the illusion of love as a black and white matter.
Infatuation is characterized by obsessive thoughts about him/her, going out of your way to spend time with him/her, and shifting priorities to center around him/her. Infatuation may be one-sided and is often characterized by a lack of trust, commitment, or reciprocity.
Love, on the other hand, is built on honesty and mutual caring and sharing. It requires growth in terms of trust and level of comfort around a person. Love means understanding his/her needs and developing a symbiotic relationship where both people can achieve their goals and be happy. Also, most people are infatuated with their love partner, at least to some extent.
So how in the hell do you know if you two are in love or if you’re simply infatuated? The answer is, unfortunately, not cut and dry. Love is too complex to simply declare strong feeling as definitely love or definitely infatuation. As stated above, most people are infatuated with their love partner.
The answer is that there are many different types of love and infatuation, and the two categories are not mutually exclusive. Relationships are messy. Feelings are shifting, expanding, and changing at any given time. This is very confusing and often prompts people to seek “expert advice” from Internet quizzes or articles.
However, the way to go about finding answers is to take a step back and examine yourself and your relationship with this person you feel all loopy over. Make a list of what attracts you to them and what detracts from them in your eyes. If your positive attributes are mostly physical or sexual, you probably aren’t in love.
If your positive attributes list contains deeper value-based themes such as common hobbies/interests, deeply shared convictions, character strengths, and personality traits, then you’re on the right track to a more meaningful relationship, possibly a loving one. Now, you have to be honest with yourself about whether or not this person is interested in you for the same reasons, or for less reputable ones.
Is your relationship a giving one? Do you feel pressured to act in any way? Is their evidence of mutual respect, trust, and honesty? Answering questions about the depth and quality of a relationship can be difficult, so seeking outside advice from a trustworthy friend is recommended.
If you find that your relationship is built on respect and sharing, and your attraction to one another is based on much more than lust or desperation for a partner, you can safely say that you’re somewhere between love and infatuation, maybe leaning heavier on the side of love. Time reveals all, though, so don’t get too excited and rush into things.
See how your relationship continues to grow and blossom or shrivel and wilt over time before declaring yourself in love. Remain vigilant and analytical with regard to the quality of the relationship as it changes over weeks, months, or years. If it is meant to be, it really will be, and if it is love, it will only deepen with time.