Contrary to popular belief, love isn’t blind.
Infatuated people rush blindly into relationships, not realizing that they’re only in love with the idea of the person they’re with. They’re focused on externals, or who they think the person could become, and not who they actually are. You know you’re infatuated if you mentally close your eyes and ears to what’s right in front of you about the person, thinking “They’ll change eventually.”
You’re infatuated, not in love, if you find yourself doing even one of the things on this list:
Questions to ask yourself:
- Am I going against things I value or believe in to be with this person?
- Am I shutting out people in my life that keep me accountable?
- Am I ignoring the warnings and advice of close friends regarding this relationship?
- Have I made up my mind to leave this relationship before, only to find myself drawn back in somehow?
- Do I silence the voice of reason (or my conscience) regarding this relationship?
- Do my feelings for this person center around how they make me feel, or their internal qualities (honesty, integrity, hard-working, kind)?
- Does our time together mainly consist of us getting physically intimate?
- Do we say and do destructive things to one another when we disagree (physical altercations, name-calling and profanity (verbal abuse), leaving each other stranded in a public place during an argument)?
It’s very easy to get into an infatuation-based relationship. Sometimes you may feel gratitude or pity for someone, and then before you know it, you’re with a person that you know isn’t marriage material.
My husband and I knew a young man who started dating a young lady. They got involved sexually early on in the relationship. Times got hard for him financially, he had no car and no job for many months. His girlfriend stepped in and helped him in whatever way she could, giving him rides, and anything else he needed.
Pretty soon, though, the cracks in their relationship started showing. They would get into serious arguments, and at times she would get physical and scratch him. He made up his mind to end things several times, but always ended up staying because he felt indebted to her. He reasoned that she had been there for him when he was at his lowest, so there had to be a way for them to make things work.
Thankfully, he finally got the courage to end things for good, and is happily married today, but that experience brought trauma and heartbreak to both sides, not to mention scars that will need time to heal.
Then What Does Love Like?
It’s important to have honest conversations with yourself, and the people who care about you to help you look at your relationship objectively. Here are some traits of healthy, loving relationships.
- You’ve carefully and HONESTLY looked at their character, both the positives and negatives
- You challenge one another to excellence in all areas of life
- You share the same core values
- You have a genuine friendship where you can open up to one another about things that are important to you.
- Your time together is meaningful, and allows you to see new facets of each other’s character.
- You treat one another with kindness and respect, even when you disagree.
Distinguishing love from infatuation requires you to take a long, honest look at your relationship, your motives, and even your own character. If you have a history of getting into bad relationships, you may need to make this a conversation you have with the people who genuinely care about you, and that you can trust as mentors. If you realize that you should end the relationship, remember that it’s better to end it early before getting entangled to the point of being in a relationship that you know is destroying you or reducing your potential.
"When you develop an infatuation with someone, you always find a reason to believe that this is exactly the person for you." -Leonardo DiCaprio