In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the stark differences between love and infatuation.
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Now, let’s talk about love and infatuation and how to distinguish one from the other.
So much has been written about love in poetry, music, books, songs and films. Many people have strived to define and even categorize love in its many forms: puppy love, mature love, platonic love, spiritual love, unconditional love, agape love, maternal love, paternal love, tragic love, etc.
There are four different Greek words and terms for love:
Philia refers to love in friendship; the caring and concern for one’s fellow human beings. The city of Philadelphia gets its name from Philia and thus it is known as the city of brotherly love.
Storge – is parental love and affection felt towards one’s children or offspring.
Eros is sensual love; the love of attraction; the concept of being “in love” but it can also refer to an evolved appreciation of one’s beauty inside and out.
Agape – is an unselfish love; unconditional love – when you give without expecting anything in return.
Many people confuse love and infatuation, particularly in the early stages of dating and courting.
You might recall the famous movie and musical “Grease” and the hit song “Summer Nights.” Although the song refers to teen love and the concept of magnetic attraction, it also sums up many aspects of infatuation:
Danny: Summer lovin’ had me a blast
Sandy: Summer lovin’ happened so fast
Danny: I met a girl crazy for me
Sandy: Met a boy cute as can be
Thunderbirds: Tell me more, tell me more
Doody: Did you get very far?
Pink Ladies: Tell me more, tell me more
Marty: Like does he have a car?
…Frenchy: Was it love at first sight?
Thunderbirds: Tell me more, tell me more
Kenickie: Did she put up a fight?
…Danny: We made out under the dock
Sandy: We stayed out ’till ten o’clock
Both: Summer fling, don’t mean a thing, but uh-oh those summer nights
Sandy: He got friendly, holding my hand
Danny: While she got friendly down in the sand
Sandy: He was sweet, just turned eighteen
Danny: Well she was good you know what I mean
Both: Summer heat, boy and girl meet, but uh-oh those summer nights
…Jan: How much dough did he spend?
…Sandy: It turned colder – that’s where it ends
Danny: So I told her we’d still be friends
Sandy: Then we made our true love vow
Danny: Wonder what she’s doing now
Both: Summer dreams ripped at the seams,
bu-ut oh, those su-ummer nights….
Everyone: Tell me more, tell me more!
I often explain infatuation as romantic love – when you only care about what you can receive and feel with this person. So what are the other signs and differences between love and infatuation?
Love – The romance builds and develops slowly as the couple get to know each other; this can take time – months or even years.
Infatuation – As summed up in “Summer Nights”, the romance happens very fast, before the couple get to know each other – this can happen in a matter of hours or just a few days.
Love – Attraction is based on all aspects of the other person’s characteristics and traits – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual;
Infatuation – Attraction is based purely on the other person’s physical appearance and characteristics Sandy says, I met a boy cute as can be.”
Love reveals an unselfish caring about the interests and wellbeing of the other person
Infatuation is selfish and almost parasitic; best summed up by “What can this person/relationship do for me?”
Love focuses on the one partner, thus leading to commitment and loyalty.
Infatuation focuses on whoever can satisfy the need in the moment – usually several people – and thus usually lacks loyalty and fidelity.
Love motivates you to want to be a better person; In the famous movie, “As Good as it Gets”, Jack Nicholson plays a bitter, cynical man who struggles to give any compliments because he has lived by criticizing people and finally he tells Helen Hunt “You make me want to be a better man.”
Infatuation has a destructive and disorganizing effect; one or both partners lose interest in other areas of life or forego responsibilities; obsessions are created.
Love allows you to see the other person as a whole being – “warts and all”; viewing him/her realistically with all of their faults and still loving and accepting them as they are. This does not refer to allowing the other person to mistreat you.
Infatuation is denial, ignoring any doubts or flaws not out of love but rather out of a desperate desire to create a fantasy and fill the inner emptiness; the denial and delusion lead to the belief that the other person seems perfect.
Love – Of course, there are arguments but you are able to reasonably resolve them with communication and open discussion.
Infatuation – Arguments begin almost from the outset of the relationship, are more frequent and almost never truly resolved. Instead they are ignored, washed over and suppressed with a kiss or hug. Eventually, resentment sets in and old unresolved arguments and issues are raised each time there is a new argument.
Love is selfless: There is a natural desire to share and give to the other person; you enjoy giving and you describe the relationship in terms of “we.”
Infatuation is selfish. You focus on satisfying your needs and desires (often physical) and focus on how much the other person can give to you; you think in terms of “me.”
Love survives time apart as well as physical and geographical separation; love survives because of a deeper bond and foundation and because of mutual appreciation and respect.
Infatuation doesn’t survive separation or time apart; the foundation is primarily whimsical and the flame quickly dies or either partner quickly turns to someone else to replace the need for the attention and physical connection.
Termination and transformation
Love ends slowly and usually transforms into a friendship.
Infatuation ends the way it began – rapidly – and rarely transforms into friendship (of course, resentment, bitterness, rejection or a lack of forgiveness can also create this result.)
Infatuation in adulthood is not love but rather an urge, a sense of desperation to fill a need (attention, emptiness, low self-esteem, validation, etc.) Infatuation is always one-sided and just as the season of summer reveals, the heat begins and ends abruptly. Love, on the other hand, matures and develops; love survives and continues evolving and transforming just like the four seasons – spring, summer, winter and fall.
If you would like to comment on this newsletter you can post your comment below.
I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.