Are you in love or just infatuated? Those in a new relationship often ask themselves this confusing question. This is not surprising, since there is a very fine line between the intense-but-fleeting emotional phase, and genuine and permanent affection. In the beginning of a relationship, it is quite difficult to differentiate between the two; it is only when the relationship matures that one can know for sure if it is merely infatuation or true love.
Initially, it is hard to distinguish between love and infatuation because the feelings involved in both are alike. You would think that the person you are dating is the best thing that ever came into your life. You feel high on emotions and invigorated with life. The person is constantly in your mind, so you find it hard to pay attention to anything else. When you are together, you can’t wipe that grin off your face and you are overwhelmed with joy.
As the relationship progresses, the distinction between love and infatuation is eventually revealed. Infatuation is a sudden and temporary surge of emotion, usually accompanied by ardent sexual attraction. It consumes all areas of your life, and not in a good way. You are so preoccupied with the other person that you spend less time with family and friends. You even become unproductive at work. After the excitement dies down, you are no longer interested in the person. When the passion fizzles, the relationship ends.
Love can also give you an emotional high, but it doesn’t change you for the worse. It doesn’t consume your life; instead, it complements it. While love may feel like infatuation at times, it reveals itself as something less intense but more constant. There is sexual attraction, but it doesn’t take over everything else. With true love, you want to be with the person and cherish his or her company. When the relationship isn’t new or exciting anymore, the feelings don’t vanish. Rather, it turns into something deeper.
If you want to know what you’re feeling, take a step back and assess the situation. Try to see how your feelings are affecting you and your life in general. Do you think you will stick around even after the initial intense phase is gone? Only time will tell for sure if it is love or just infatuation.