Are you in a relationship and beginning to fall for your partner? There are constant butterflies and giddy feelings revolving all around you and you may be envisioning your future together. You also daydream about them constantly and feel like you are on cloud nine all of the time. Before you drop the "L" word onto your partner, though, make sure that you are actually feeling love and not just infatuation. Here are five ways to differentiate between the two feelings:
1. Infatuation is fast while love takes time.
Say you and your partner have been together for about a month now. Everything is going as you hoped and you are finally on your way to getting your "happily ever after" that you always dreamed of. When you are crushing on your new partner, it can feel fun, flirty, and fresh. Infatuation is the feeling you have when you are very interested in someone because you are excited to get to know them and spend every second with them. It is easy to feel infatuated with someone quickly because it is an instant attraction towards them. You are letting your butterflies and heart eyes take control without you even knowing who they are. Infatuation fades just as fast as it begins.
Love, on the other hand, takes time to grow. It sneaks up on you. You may feel butterflies at first, but they will eventually fade. When you are beginning to fall in love, you are seeing that person for who they are and accepting every bit of them. You can also find inner peace and security with them. As it says in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres."
Love sticks around, too. Once you are in love with someone, it is very difficult to "fall out of love" and takes just as long to move on if you fell in love in the first place.
2. Infatuation is surface level while love is deep.
Infatuation is like a sparkler on the 4th of July. It is beautiful, electric, and puts you in awe, but it dies very quickly because it is not built on anything deep. Crushes are focused on surface-level facts and conversation. You may feel like you and your crush have so much in common because you watch the same TV shows and movies. Or maybe you both have Spotify and make playlists for each other all the time. Regardless, it can feel like someone likes and cares about you because they share the same interests, but honestly, none of that matters in the long run.
When you are in love, there is a deeper connection than there is with infatuation. You may catch yourself opening up about your past and be comfortable sharing your feelings. Love comes with vulnerability and being able to be undeniably yourself around them without feeling judged. When you are starting to fall in love, you begin to share secrets that no one else knows and tell them your deepest fears in life. Love is being open to the other person because you are willing to let them see your heart and vise versa.
3. Infatuation feels insecure while love feels stable.
There is a lot of uncertainty with a crush. There is a lot of anticipation to want to talk to them and scared feelings if they do not text you back. You constantly wonder if you are good enough for them and your insecurities come forth because you feel as if you need to "win them over." You can also feel a lot of rush with infatuation because of the adrenaline that is pumping throughout your body due to your nerves or need to impress.
Love stems from trust. You do not feel possessive or jealous in the relationship because you fully trust and understand them. It's trusting their motives and that they wouldn't do anything to intentionally hurt you. You do not question if they want to spend time with their friends or even act kindly towards others. There is no sense of uncertainty because your partner is open and communicative with you about their life. Love also forms off of acceptance. If you open up to your partner about an ex who has previously hurt you, your partner will be understanding of your past insecurities and validate your feelings so that you do not feel that way in your current relationship.
4. Infatuation feels fresh, while love feels familiar.
When someone new comes into our lives, it can be easy to want to get to know them as fast as possible and rush into things. It can feel exciting, different, and like a Nicholas Sparks movie. You may fantasize about your dream wedding and what your kids will look like. It is easy to overlook a person's flaws when we are infatuated with someone.
Love, however, is warm and cozy. It is built on accepting the person's flaws and loving them more for it. Love forms into a new comfort zone for you, just like your childhood house. You feel at peace and at home when you are in love with your partner. It almost feels as if you are relieved to see them after an exhausting day at work or school. You can unleash your true colors to them without feeling like you need to put on your best face and pretend.
5. Infatuation is reckless while love is mature.
Crushes can feel confusing, manipulating, and unstable. They can be on-and-off and really bring out the worst in you. Have you ever looked back on someone you had a crush on and wondered why you did afterward? Crushes are often blinding and can be misleading if we do not look deeper than the surface. You can miss out on red flags and warning signs that could have saved you a couple of tears down the road.
Love takes time and is mature. When you are in love, you begin to mature as you fall deeper. You begin to grow as a person and push your partner to do the same. You take challenges together, learn how to communicate, and begin to think about a future and how to compromise with adult tasks. As time goes on, love deepens and your appreciation and respect for your partner only grows more. Rather than staying as a feeling, love turns into an experience that you get to share with someone.
Are you crushing on someone or believing you are falling in love?
A crush is very exciting and fun, but love is a different level. Once you know where you are with your current partner, you can decide if you are ready to tell them you love them or not!