How do we know if it’s love or mere infatuation? What is the difference? Infatuation is an ephemeral, hormonal attraction. Love is intense companionship in mind as well as in body. The explanation below is mine.
“Oh, how I love John!” Mary exclaimed to her friend, Nancy, as they sat eating lunch at Sardi’s Restaurant in New York City. Nancy took a big bite of her Taco salad before she acknowledged Mary’s words. Then she answered, shaking her head. “No, you are not in love with John, Mary. You just think you are. You are infatuated with him, that’s all.”
“I tingle all over whenever I see him, even just thinking about him,” Mary answered testily. “That’s not love?”
“You hardy know John,” said Nancy. “What you are feeling is a physical attraction that is infatuation. Love has depth.”
“What do you mean, depth?” askedMary. “Explain depth to me as it pertains to love.”
“Many people think they are falling in love because they are physically attracted to someone. The two may go out on dates and have great time together. But, if they do not share common interests, the dates became less frequent and the infatuation gradually dies out. Yes, the individual who still thinks he or she is in love is devastatingly bruised when the romance falls apart. If that individual could see him or herself, he or she would realize the experience was like eating icing on a cake without eating the cake. There was no depth to the romance. It consisted of wanting to be with someone to please one’s own emotions, even if that gratification was an unconscious desire.”
Nancy’s opinion was sound. Yet, one can be infatuated and develop, through mutual interests, love. Friendship is one of the first steps in learning to love another. The two people become as one in enjoying and sharing interests.
Infatuation belongs to the essence of nature. Nature insists on propagation from the lowest to the highest forms of life because without new life there will be no world. That is why you tingle when you are with the one with whom you are infatuated. Just as nature teaches us to try to survive bitter, freezing weather; violent, destroying storms; unbearable, shriveling heat; killing bacteria, viruses, insects and animals; it also unremittingly tempts us to add new life for the future.
Man, who has battled the vicissitudes of nature since his birth eons ago, has been forced to lay down rules to mitigate those perils. One of the unspoken rules frowns upon infatuation because it often causes unbearable distress, not only to the individuals involved, but also to others in the family group. The unspoken rules for celibacy until marriage are designed to save many young people from nature’s edict that reproduction is essential,regardless of the cost.
Infatuation can invigorate the dreams and hopes of both young and old. When we swoon to a picture or media show that depicts a famous crooner, a beautiful lady, an incredible dancer, a worthy writer; when we swoon over a celebrity who comes to perform in our own backyard; it is the sight of this individual doing things we can dream of doing that gives impetus to the young and lightens the reality of unfulfilled elders. These infatuations spur us upward, enriching our lives.
So – if we can keep our egos satiated during an infatuation, infatuation is a good thing. It is ego, not heart, that suffers over a lost infatuation; the temporary loss of pride is what devastates.
There are many vibrant shades of love since love is a primary emotion. Love fans out, like a tsunami. To encompass a few shades, there is love of family, love of children and love of country. In this essay we are defining the shades of meaning between infatuation and love of a man and a woman. Both have bad sides; infatuation can become obsession while love can twist into hate.
Love, as defined by Webster’s dictionary is, “based in part on sexual attraction.” It is much more than physical passion. True love imparts a sweet, almost anguished yearning to please its beloved. To love is to delight in each other’s companionship. It is affection without censure.
Love does not need to be repaid; love is payment in itself. Love is always ready to caress away the mind’s sores when unfortunate changes occur. And it is love that reaches out with a smile when the one that is loved is needy. If the one loved becomes ill, it is with joy that care is given. Loving husbands bathe and dress and feed and perform the necessary everyday chores, yet still shower gentle hugs to their ill wife. Loving wives do the same for their ailing husband.
Love turns a drab sunrise into beautiful splashes of color. It gives reason for moving forward with a dance in the every day step through life. Love imparts reason for laughing at nature’s essential character of change, for seeing the beauty and joy in both good and bad adventures of life.
Although infatuation and love have traits in common, they are different in intensity, in desire, in deed; they are also two primal drives of life that man would not be without.