How to tell if it’s lust, infatuation or love
It’s common when dating for us to associate love with the ‘happily ever after’ portrayed in fairytales and movies. While the feeling of being in love is often described like this, placing this expectation onto your own love life is unrealistic, especially in those early stages of a relationship. If you believe being in love means everything always flows perfectly, you risk dismissing a blossoming potential relationship when things start to get hard and you may not realise you’re actually in love. On the other hand, having strong ‘happily ever after’ ideals and feelings for someone can make you think you’re in love when you’re actually in lust or infatuated. Here’s the important distinction between lust and infatuation:
Lust is a physical emotion and reaction to someone else’s physical appearance. It’s when you’re sexually attracted to someone. Lust tends to be short-lived and is more about immediate gratification.
Infatuation is an intense feeling. It happens when you are attracted to someone’s appearance or attracted to them sexually. Infatuation happens early on and tends to become obsessive. When you’re infatuated, you see a person through rose-colored glasses based on who you idealise them to be. You have put them on a pedestal and don’t acknowledge the person for who they really are. You may behave irrationally, become caught up in your feelings of what you think love is, and not living in reality.
The intensity of feelings that come with lusting after someone or being infatuated may cause you to think you’re in love. When the person you’re lusting after or are infatuated with doesn’t feel the same way, disappointment and heartache ensue. As a result, these lustful and infatuation experiences that don’t work out may cause you to believe, “Love is hard, painful and uncertain.” The reality is love isn’t any of these things. If you’re experiencing love to be hard, painful and uncertain, and asking, “Am I in love?”, you are not in love.
Lust and infatuation are usually fleeting and short-lived and don’t tend to turn into love. When you are in love, you will have intense feelings for someone, and be attracted and connected to them on the level of mind, body and soul.
So how do you know if you’re in love? Ask yourself the following questions, answering ‘true’ or ‘false’ with the first response that comes to mind. If you’re thinking about or rationalising your answers too much, stop, take some deep breaths and relax. Then respond from a place of inner calm.
1. I am attracted and connected to my partner physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
2. The thought of my partner makes me happy.
3. I feel happy about myself when I’m with my partner and without them.
4. I am free to be my true self in my relationship.
5. I like who I am in my relationship.
6. I love myself just as much as I love my partner.
7. I feel good about who my partner is.
8. If my partner were to lose their material possessions, I would still love them and be with them.
9. I appreciate my partner and their quirks.
10. I’m happy for my partner when good things come their way.
11. When difficulties come up for my partner, I’m here to support them.
12. I feel good about the way my partner and I interact and resolve issues.
13. I choose in favour of our relationship; my decisions are for the greater good of our relationship.
14. When I have good or bad news, or a challenging situation, my partner is one of the first people I call.
15. When we have issues, my initial response is to resolve them, not leave my partner.
16. When our relationship isn’t flowing as smoothly as I’d like, I’m able to trust that things are and will be fine.
17. I feel content and fulfilled in my relationship.
18. I know my partner feels the same way about me as I do them (i.e. we both like and love each other).
19. There’s no one else I’d rather be with, than my partner.
20. I mostly approach our relationship from a place of love.
You are likely in love if the majority of your answers are ’true’. The bottom line is: if you’re in love with the right person, love won’t be or feel so hard. You will feel uplifted and loved for your true self, and you will know how they feel about you. Your relationship will flow with more ease and when difficulties arise, they will be resolved respectfully.
This article originally appeared on eHarmony Blog.
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