Here’s the thing about trying to tell the difference between infatuation vs. love… it’s not always going to be as straightforward as you’d you like.
When you first fall for someone, you become infatuated with them. You’re physically attracted to them, and when you’re with them somewhere, holding hands, the way they smile at you makes you go all wibbly-wobbly inside.
There’s pretty much nothing they can do that makes you anything but giddy with excitement about the promise that this new person may actually be “the one.”
Love is something else entirely. When you love someone, your feelings for them manifest themselves in the things you do every single day of the week to try and make their life better. You’ve made an active commitment to loving this person and doing everything in your power to insure their well-being for as long as you possibly can.
Infatuation is the first step on the road to loving someone, but you may or may not end up making it all the way down that path.
And staying in love is hard work. It’s more than just thinking someone’s got a dope body or a killer smile. Love is work, work, work, work.
It took me a long time to figure out that those first embers don’t always lead to actually falling in love.
Personally, I have cripplingly low self-esteem, so it can take me a year before I feel confident enough to ask myself if I truly like someone. I spend all that time in the honeymoon stage worrying about whether or not they like me!
Of course, women aren’t the only ones who struggle to understand the distinctions. When it comes to relationships, men also worry and wonder if their latest romance is a simple crush or something righteous that could grow into true love.
One person headed over to Reddit’s AskMen forum to ask this very question: “…I’d like to know how men differentiate between love and infatuation as well! I’m asking, in general, based on your own experiences, definitions, and opinions.”
If you want to know if the man in your life is falling in love with you, here are some things to look for, straight from the horses’ mouths!
Here are 11 ways men on Reddit explained the how they tell difference between love and lust.
1. If it’s infatuation, the attraction is purely physical.
“[Infatuation is] mostly physical attraction, thinking about them sexually, its what you feel when you don’t know someone but are interested in something with them. If they left, it wouldn’t be a big deal.”
2. If it’s love, that person is your whole life, not just your bedmate.
“[Love is when you have] someone you live for. Being with them, talking to them makes you a better person. They don’t just make you happy, they bring joy to your life. No matter how bad your day was, hugging them just makes everything go away. Holding them can feel like time itself has stopped.
They become your whole world, everything you do is for them and very little if anything is for yourself. Trust on a whole new level. There’s nothing you can’t say or talk about. Every day when you see them after coming home and both of you just light up.
You need each other as much as you want each other. No matter how broken we are, no matter what issues we have, they’re willing to spend the rest of our lives together putting us back together. Being scared is mostly gone, with your only fear being what you would be without them.”
3. If it’s infatuation, he puts you on a pedestal — and keeps you there.
“Infatuation to me is when you think the person is perfect and no matter what they do you are [enamored] by them. If they play sports, they are the best at that sport. If they paint, every painting they do is amazing. Basically the person can’t do anything wrong in your mind and they are built up on a pedestal.”
4. If it’s love, he sees you as an extension of himself.
“Infatuation is an emotion, a state of being absorbed by another person. Love is an action, a choice to put someone before yourself and see yourself as part of a whole with them. To be in love is for both people to make this choice.”
5. It it’s infatuation, it’s a starting point that may or may not reach its destination.
“Infatuation is the beginning man. Infatuation leads to love. But not always. Love is built patiently. It is not instant. Infatuation is instant. You can’t call it love.”
6. If it’s love, he’s making a conscious decision to love you.
“My view of love is that it’s a choice you make to commit yourself to caring for someone and pursuing their best interests. If it’s not something you’re choosing to do, it’s not love.”
7. If it’s infatuation, he ignores your flaws… for now.
“Usually, when someone is infatuated with another person, they will look for excuses to justify behaviors and character traits they wouldn’t tolerate with others.”
8. If it’s love, he recognizes your flaws… and embraces them.
“Love is when you care, respect, and think the world of someone, while also taking into account that they are a human being, for better or worse.”
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9. If it’s infatuation, he’s still all about himself.
“Infatuation is something you can feel (and it does not last). Love is something you give.”
10. If It’s love, it’s real.
“One [is] based on reality. The other, pure fantasy. One, makes your heart grow bigger, the other, your penis.”
11. In the end, the difference doesn’t really matter.
“There are so many definitions for either term floating around as to make the two virtually exchangeable, and if I look at the top google result for Love vs Infatuation, I have to say I have always felt both love and infatuation, from the very first moment, throughout a 20-year relationship, to this very day.
My conclusion is that the distinction is worthless, and not worth my while to worry about.”
Rebecca Jane Stokes is a freelance writer and the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.