Geniune Love and Infatuation
After a long time, I read something so meaningful on reddit. How do you distinguish genuine love for someone from infatuation? was the question.
And I want to quote what I read and later express some of my thoughts on the subject. Here is the original comment.
This is a good question.
… It’s really easy to confuse it with genuine love. But for me anyway, infatuation is a lot more like a drug.
It’s a feeling that consumes you with temporary euphoric highs, and deep, dark lows. It’s almost like a panicked state of obsession. It fills your brain so all you can think about is that person. You start to care less about what really matters in your own life…your goals, your friends, your work. All that matters when you’re infatuated, is them. And you feel a strong, leeching desire to mold yourself into the person you think they’d want you to be.
When you’re infatuated with someone, when that person gets closer to you in any way, you feel a rush. Like you’re on cloud 9. Like you just popped a bunch of really good ecstasy. And it feels amazing in the moment. But then when you sense them distancing from you in any way…an ignored text. A rescheduled date. Flirting with another person. Going out on the town without you. Whatever. It feels like the world is crumbling…like you’re going through a withdrawal. You panic and fear you’re going to lose them. There’s a constant push/pull. In those moments of panic all you care about is pulling them back to you. Those up and downs can be maddening over time.
At its core, I think infatuation is latching onto the idealized picture your brain paints of someone. … You feel in love with them even though you barely know what’s it like to really be with them. … You start thinking crazy thoughts like “this person is perfect”…”this person is the solution to all of my problems, if I can just keep them I’ll be fulfilled”…”if I can’t have this person I’ll never be genuinely happy”. You think you’re madly in love. But it’s all shallow. Once that person actually starts getting closer to you…the infatuation can wear off pretty quickly…and you can be left feeling confused and deflated. Like a spent firework.
I think most “love at first sight”, and honeymoon periods is really just infatuation. It can turn into love, but it’s not really. And sometimes if you’re not careful, it can blind you and drag you down into some really dark places.
Love on the other hand, is a lot more comfortable. It’s less erratic. It grows slowly over time and stays pretty constant. Its the general feeling of caring and warmth towards someone. You can hate someone in a current moment, but still love them overall. You can find someone to be unattractive, or incompatible…and still love them deep down. You can have a fight with the person you love, and not fear you’re going to lose them…you just want to revolve it.
It’s not like a drug…it doesn’t have the highs and lows of infatuation. Its gotta be cultivated and nurtured. You don’t lose yourself in it, or have the drive to turn into the person they want you to be…love helps you find yourself, and drives you to become the person you want to be. Love for a partner isn’t too different than the love you feel for a blood relative. It can be subtle and mellow…sometimes barely recognizable…but it’s always there. You’re connected to them at a deep primal level.
This left me thinking for some time. Some of my thoughts:
We have little control over our Infatuation, but Love is a practice. It is comforting to know that love is not a fixed biological property which is set since birth. It is so much about our choices. We can learn to love and become one with it. We can teach people to practice love. Infact, there exists a very profoud meditation technique called “Loving-Kindness”.
People can sometimes fall in love with their infatuation but never the person. This is so interesting to think about! This can give someone a feeling of being in love. But as the infatuation fades, the love fades as well.
Infatuation is not bad at all. It’s as if, infatuation is our survival mechanism. But love goes beyond just surviving. It is spiritual.
Love is not an emotion. Happiness and Sadness come in phases. They are emotions. But love is always present, in us. Our mind may get distracted sometimes. (This is whole another perception, which I felt in one experience.)
Love is very fundamental and not complicated. Day passes by and my definition of love keeps getting shorter. Something so easy to experience, so difficult to express.