Is It Love or Is It Infatuation?
Love at First Sight?
There are no clear rules. There is no manual. You’re surrounded by couples, but you cant seem to find that secret ingredient. You feel a bit down because it’s been ages since you felt that glow of finding that perfect person with whom things just seem to click into place, and them BAM! you’re knocked off your feet onto cloud nine, and you seem to float through every day on a magic carpet of bliss.
But you have a niggling feeling that something’s not quite right. Or that everything is a bit too right. You’re wondering if there’s a catch, whether it’s really possible that this one could be ‘The One’, or if this is just a whirlwind romance that will fade like the spring blossom. And you want to know: is it love? Or is it infatuation?
Do you want to be with the person, or do you just want to be them? If you suddenly become an avid fan of football or knitting, when you’ve never even heard of Ryan Giggs or the Garter Stitch until three days ago, you may be infatuated with the passion of the apple of your eye. People with a lust for life – or even just a lust for knitting – can ignite that flame in others, and make the things we found dull seem fascinating. There’s nothing wrong with taking an interest in the hobbies of your loved one, but if you find yourself starting to share their life and leave your own behind, make sure you see the warning signs, because obsession can get real old real quick, and one of you will get bored.
Can You Be Yourself?
'Being Yourself' v. 'Wearing a Mask'
Do you try to be ‘someone else’ when you’re with them? With a new person, be it a friend, a crush, or even new co-workers, we often try to present our best side, or we can be a bit shy. But if you find yourself trying to imitate that movie star to make yourself more attractive or interesting, or the things you say are the things your best, witty, friend said to you three days ago, then you might want to recognise that you’re not quite comfortable with this person, and if you can’t ‘be yourself’, that’s going to get extremely tiresome quite soon. Love does bring out the best in people, but it’s the best in you it should bring out.
Can you talk to them? Everyone gets tongue-tied on the first couple of dates, but if you’ve been dating for a month and you’re still so overawed by their magnificent presence that you’re tripping over your words, then realistically can you both ever have a good, interesting conversation together?
Do you love spending time with them but cringe at the thought of introducing them to your friends? This can only mean one of two things – either your friends are judgemental, in which case you might be better off without them; or you unwillingly recognise that the person you’ve fallen for has faults that may well be insurmountable somewhere down the line.
We can fall for people who are very different from us, but with love, we’ll want to shout it from the rooftops even if we know no one else can see what we see.
Does the Object of your Affections Know you Exist?
Are they interested in you? Love is a two-way thing, and if you’ve been flirting and chatting away for months and not received even a glimmer of reciprocation, then you might want to back off and save yourself some heartache. If you haven’t already taken the final step and asked them for a date, be brave and do it, instead of living in that delicious ‘what if’ dream.
Daydreams v. Real Life
Are your daydreams about them better than your real dates? If you moon around the house all day in a daze, but start to get bored five minutes after you meet your paragon of perfection in the restaurant, how are you going to feel in six months or six years? Nothing is perfect all the time, but if just having dinner becomes a bit of a chore, then it’s better to get out now. You can still keep the daydreams, if they’re really that good.
Lovers' Tiffs or Stressful Quarrels?
How often do you argue? I don’t mean calm, rational debate about the things you’re interested in, I mean full-blown screaming matches, or sniping meanly at each other. An occasional argument is part of being in a relationship, but if you’re reducing each other to tears every time you meet up, are you just seeking attention and some form of excitement?
Do you have anything in common? It's not an absolute criteria for love or happiness, and opposites do attract, but the vast majority of good relationships have a solid foundation to build on. It might only be something like you both enjoy chess, or even cheese; or it could be something quite deep-rooted like you share the same religious or political views, but if you really have nothing in common, then do you have anything to build on, or would it be better to part as friends before the cracks begin to show?
Love and Crushes
Love is calm, solid and caring. Infatuation is exciting, fiery and can be quite selfish at times. Can you see yourself with this person in twenty years? Remember that a crush, or a fling, isn’t ‘bad’, but for both of you, and to save anyone getting hurt, it’s better to recognise it for what it is.
Have fun and expect nothing. Sometimes infatuation leads to friendships after the spark has gone out. After all, you recognised something great in this person. So try to stay calm, enjoy your crush, and if your thinking leads you to break up with that once-special person, be gentle, because they might have a crush on you too.