Is It True Love or Infatuation? How to Tell the Difference

by Percival J. Meris on July 12, 2010

Love or Infatuation

Love Photo Courtesy of Bina Sveda via stock.xchng

LOVE OR INFATUATION? This is the question people in love ask most of the time. This article will attempt to show the differences from this author’s point of view.

Love or Infatuation: Why the Confusion?

Both love and infatuation are characterized by a deep feeling of affection and passion. This means the occurrence of such feeling could be an indication of either love or infatuation.

This common characteristic has become a source of confusion for many. They do not know now which is which.

Since this feeling presents itself very strongly when one gets attracted to another, a person often focuses on it in describing the situation he is in. He says he is “in love”.

Loving vs. Being “In Love”

He who experiences this feeling at the initial stage of relationship says he is “in love”. He who continues to experience it beyond says he “loves”. Both are right. So, what is the difference?

True love does not exist at the initial stage. If it endures for a long period of time, affectionate feelings could be an indication of true love. Infatuation stops where true love goes beyond.

Love vs. Infatuation

The wrong assumption resulting from this confusion has been responsible for the rush into marriage. This is a dangerous decision, if based on feelings one does not understand. So, let us now distinguish one from another.

  • Infatuation Is Selfish; Love Is Selfless
  • Infatuation is all about getting; true love is all about giving.

    If you ask someone why he loves you and he answers by pointing at your qualities, beware! He does not love you. He loves your qualities.

    He loves your qualities because they please him. He wants to be pleased, because he loves himself – NOT YOU, my dear.

    So, when your qualities disappear, he breaks up with you. He is no longer GETTING what he wants.

    A truly loving person thinks more of you than of himself. He GIVES for the benefit of you, without expecting anything in return. He continues to give, until and even if it hurts.

  • Infatuation Is Illusory; Love Is Realistic
  • The infatuated person does not see you as you really are. Emotional excitement has blurred his vision of your reality. He sees an illusion, thinking one or more of your pleasing qualities make you perfect.

    Your glaring qualities outshine your imperfections, like the brightness of the sun hiding from view the darkness of outer space at daytime. When brightness fades, he sees the darkness. When the emotional excitement settles down, he sees your imperfections.

    He may or may not accept your imperfections. If he does not, he usually terminates your relationship. If he does, then he starts his journey to turning his infatuation into love.

    A person who turns his infatuation into true love likewise sees the imperfections, but sees beauty in them, like the darkness of an evening sky adorned by the moon and the stars.

    In fact, he even finds your beautiful attributes heightened by your imperfections. For, how can one have true appreciation of beauty, if he does not have knowledge of ugliness?

  • Infatuation Is Transitory; Love is Enduring
  • It is for this reason that infatuation is transitory. Infatuation does not last, since your imperfections begin to develop distaste in him for you.

    True love is not dependent on any of your qualities. He loves you for what you are, not for what you have. When your beauty fades and your other desirable qualities disappear, his love endures, because YOU ARE STILL THERE.

Falling in Love vs. Growing in Love

One falls in love, and gets infatuated. Another grows in love, and loves truly.

Falling in love is a sudden occurrence, just like when an intoxicated person falls unexpectedly into a pit. Growing in love is a slow, gradual process, like a plant extending its branches upwards and taking deep roots downwards.

On many occasions, one who falls in love falls out of love. But one who grows in love usually does not reverse his progress because of the momentum that has been initiated.

Love may start to grow when the individuals come to their senses after their infatuating experience. Unlike infatuation, it does not arrive in neat packages. It has to be worked for and built up, many times with tears and blood.

For it to bloom, love has to be watered like a plant, and bathed daily with the sunshine of joy and optimism. It has to be cultivated gently, and handled with tender loving care.

Final Words of Advice

Do not renounce infatuation because it is not true love. Infatuation is the beginning of true love.

Beautiful qualities are what made you fall for a person in the first place. But remember that nobody is perfect. Time will eventually reveal undesirable qualities that may put an end to your infatuation.

If you want to cultivate true love, these qualities are what you have to learn to accept. Beautiful qualities make you fall in love, but the ugly ones help you grow in love.

Related Articles:

Why We Should Love One Another
How We Should Love One Another


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali (Soulful Body & Mind) July 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Wow Percival, what wise words you share.

I agree with everything you said. I have never confused the two but I have seen countless others fall victim. Especially my male friends. It seems like ego and females do not mix!

“In fact, he even finds your beautiful attributes heightened by your imperfections. For, how can one have true appreciation of beauty, if he does not have knowledge of ugliness?”

That statement embodies the duality and balance of life. Too often people want to magnify imperfections then fail to appreciate the true beauty.

Your wisdom shined through this post Sir. I'm glad you shared it with us.

Percival J. Meris July 12, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Ali, thank you for your inspiring comment. Thank you for including your idea of duality and balance of life. They are ideas not included in my article but do provide additional concepts for readers to be enrich with.

Percival J. Meris July 12, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Ali, thank you for your inspiring comment. Thank you for including your idea of duality and balance of life. They are ideas not included in my article but do provide additional concepts for readers to be enriched with.

steveborgman July 13, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Percival: I like your statement that infatuation tends to be selfish, and true love is selfless. I Corinthians 13 is one of the most comprehensive passages on what true love is. Without true love, a relationship will never last beyond infatuation.

Percival J. Meris July 14, 2010 at 8:02 pm

@Steve: I Corinthians 13 is one of my favorites in the Bible. Love is the most powerful force in this whole creation – even more powerful than all nuclear weapons put together, the power of which is destructive. Love's power is constructive. It is the meaning of everything that is there is. God is sometimes defined as Love Itself.

manoj April 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm

sir,can anyone get infatuated to someone,wen he/she is in love with someone else??
pls do clear my confusion sir.

Percival J. Meris April 5, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Hi, Manoj. Thanks for stopping by. To your question, my answer is YES. I suppose that is what is happening to you now. That is proof that getting infatuated with somebody else when you are in love with another is possible.

But let us make things clear in our minds. How do you know you are loving somebody? I tend to consider being in love as another way of saying you are infatuated. There is a difference between to be “in love” and to “love”.

True love unfolds in time. Its ultimate proof is self-sacrifice in favor of another. Can you truly sacrifice yourself in favor of the person you love (or are in love with)? Sometimes, one does not know that he truly loves, until some occasions demand his sacrifice.

If the person you “love” leaves you for another person, can you accept it and be happy for your love’s happiness?
Percival J. Meris recently posted..How to Become the True Gentleman That Everyone Admires

Prince August 31, 2012 at 2:29 am

I really enjoyed your post. It is one of the few unique posts on the internet that have really handled this issue properly. I discovered that love and infatuation are bonding and it takes really careful studying and being wise to separate both. one other way to separate between love and infatuation is that in any relationship where parties involved are not ready to take equal measure of sacrifice, it becomes infatuation. love requires both partners to be sacrificial in nature. One person should never live completely the life of the other. there must be atom of compromise by the both parties. you said similar thing in this post when you talked about selfishness. There is a bigger confusion when a religious person is in love with non-religious person. One demands that your physical intimacy be postponed until marriage but the other does not. love may be involved but the desire of man and man’s belief spoils everything.
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denis December 11, 2015 at 3:48 pm

I’m more confused now than i was.

Percival J. Meris December 11, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Hi, Denis. I am sorry that my article has caused you more confusion than enlightenment. Love is really a deep concept. I hope that as time goes on you would understand the real difference between love and infatuation.

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