Is it Love or Infatuation?

isitloveorinfatuationI was a freshman in college and in my first serious relationship. My boyfriend was funny, fascinating, and made life so exciting.  It didn’t matter that he influenced me to do things that were against Scripture, had no ambition, didn’t follow through on his promises, and never treated me like a lady. I could overlook all those things because he was….. my “first love.”

Now that I’m in a godly marriage with my “last love,” I now realize that that first relationship wasn’t true love. Yes, I had strong feelings for him but it wasn’t love, it wasn’t lasting, and it wasn’t beneficial. It was infatuation. These two things, easily confused with each other, and often used interchangeably, are pretty much opposites.

Infatuation: Feels Good

There’s a reason so many people think they’re in love in many relationships: They feel pleasure, they feel “ooey-gooey” when their crush comes around. That’s because:

A surge of dopamine rushes through your brain causing you to feel good when you’re infatuated. Norepinephrine stimulates adrenaline (pounding heart), phenylethalimine (found in chocolate) creates a feeling of bliss in your brain and the hormone oxytocin signals feelings of emotional attachment. -(The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science, Volume 3 – W. Edward Craighead, Charles B. Nemeroff)

Infatuation can send you on a rollercoaster of ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of emotions. Having a crush isn’t a bad thing, I have a crush on my husband, but be careful of basing your relationship upon the “feelings” you have for your boyfriend. God warns us that feelings can NOT to be trusted (Prov.28:26) because He knows that strong, lasting relationships aren’t based on emotions but on love that continually does good.

Love: Does Good

When you love someone, you can still have those “crushy” feelings, but love  does good to the other person, no matter if things are good or bad. That’s partly why marriage vows say “For better or for worse.” True love is committed, it acts for the better of your boyfriend or husband in every circumstance, whether good or bad. The Proverbs 31 woman loved her husband by doing good to him “all the days of her life.” No doubt, she and her husband had some rough days that left her without the blissful butterflies, but she still did him good (Prov.31:12). Real love is different because it isn’t an emotion, but a choice and a lifestyle.  It doesn’t end and is not dependent on the other person.

Infatuation: Happens Quickly and Fades Quickly

It’s all around you, all over TV, in all the youth groups, even in your own children: Girls and guys saying “I love you” after they’ve been dating for only a few weeks. Some calling it cute,“puppy love.” Others scoff at the kid’s stupidity and lack of sense.  But true love doesn’t come rushing in like those endorphins, only infatuation is produced that quickly. All those “crushy” feelings can be gone in an instant. And when those butterflies fade you’ll immediately question if you’re still attracted to him or still in love with him. Infatuation fades as quickly as it came.

Love: Happens in God’s Timing

Those who seek true and godly love are cautious (Prov.14:16). They don’t let their emotions get the best of them but patiently wait on love. As Song of Songs says, “Do not awaken love, until it so desires.” (Sgs. 2:7; 3:5; 8:4) True love comes with time, with getting to know the other person,  who they are in Christ, and who they hope to be in the future. It doesn’t fade away in troubled times or quickly shaken. True love is ripened with time and waiting on for the Lord’s perfect timing.

Infatuation: Lacks Discernment

In the movie, “Dan in Real Life,” Dan has a teenage daughter that thinks she’s in love with her boyfriend. The teenage boyfriend gets caught sneaking into the house, against the father’s instructions, so Dan kicks him out and makes him go home. Of course, the daughter is sobbing and yells out at him, “You…are a murder… of LOVE!”

No doubt the daughter felt intense feelings for her boyfriend, but  following those feelings made her disobey her father, made her feel as though her world had collapsed when she wasn’t able to see her boyfriend for a few days. Infatuation makes logic and rationality take a back seat to the heart’s passions (Prov.14:30).

Infatuation causes you to stop listening to wise counsel and go against it. (Prov.15:5; 18:2). When I was in “infatuation” I did so many stupid things because I thought I loved my boyfriend. I trusted my heart and it deceived me. I didn’t listen to the warnings or advice of others because I thought “how could they possibly understand our relationship, our love!?” I was being what Proverbs calls, a fool. You can’t talk to sense to a fool, they won’t listen to your advice or see the truth (Prov.1:7).

Infatuation can be harmful to you and others. Just look at harmful effects of infatuation with Amnon’s infatuation with his sister, Tamar (2 Sam.13) and Samson and Delilah (Jdgs. 16:1) because all discernment and godly wisdom were ignored.

Love: Uses Discernment

When you truly love someone, you keep wisdom and discernment close. The wise of heart, whether in love or out of it, listen to godly advice and follow it (Prov. 10:8). They keep their eyes on the ways of the Lord and do not stray from them just because they’re in love. With true love, you’re able to examine your relationship and your guy to see if they match up against Scripture,  to make sure you’re going down the right path (Prov.3:6).

Infatuation- Sees the Bad, Chooses to Forget.

We’ve all heard the saying “Love is blind” but anyone who’s ever really been in love knows that you definitely see all that’s wrong with the person you love. In actuality, “Infatuation is blind.” Infatuation sees the object of their affection as perfect, without flaws. A person that’s infatuated, when they do see a flaw, will either try to forget about it or justify it. Their eyes are either blinded by lust or emotions.  When  I was infatuated with a guy, no one could tell me the guy had anything wrong with him. If my Mom tried to warn me or advise me about one of his faults, I would immediately get defensive, justify the fault, and chalk it up to “them not understanding him or our relationship.”

When you’re blind, you will eventually stumble and fall because you won’t take off the blinders to see what’s in front of you. Unless you have your eyes open to the potential pitfalls, how will you be able to see the things which might eventually hurt you or hurt him? There is no wisdom or godliness in being blind to sin.

Love- Sees the Bad, Chooses to Forgive.

Christ – the ultimate example of true love – showed love towards us by forgiving our sin, not ignoring it. He saw our sin, saw our filthiness, but didn’t choose to ignore it instead he chose to forgive it (Rom. 5:8), show us patience, and bear with us.  True love continually forgives the wrongs  (Col.3:12-14;Eph. 4:1-3).  Just like God chose to love us when we were unlovable, we must love others even when they’re “unlovable” (Lk. 6:27, 35).  It’s not because the person is good, but because we choose to love.

Love is a choice you make every day, with everyone.  People say “You can’t choose who you love,” but God says you can. You choose who you become infatuated with and you choose who you will love. Infatuation is a feeling, love is a choice. Infatuation benefits you, love benefits others.

So, when entering into different relationships, be careful of being blinded by infatuation so much so that you end up in a hurtful situation that could have been avoided with wisdom.We’ve all made some unwise decisions when it comes to guys but take heed the warnings of others about your boyfriend, examine your guy and your relationship against Scripture. Ask yourself, “Does this guy or this relationship draw me closer to God, my friends and others?” Or “Does it tear me away from those who love me most and leave me in a rollercoaster of emotions?”

Remember, infatuation is worth avoiding. Love is worth waiting for.

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11 thoughts on “Is it Love or Infatuation?

  1. Thank you for this post and for all the other ones you guys write. I though I loved some guy, but clearly I did not….but can you be infatuated with the same guy for over three years?
    Anyway, these past few weeks I’ve been doing my best to remove myself from all that, because even though he says he ‘loves me’ he never treated me right, was ungrateful and was leading me on (I partly blame myself here) and he has a girlfriend who he says he will marry. It’s been hard for me, because for me to feel like I have control over my life, I have to be rude and mean to him which gets tiring, but it also seems like he doesn’t want to just let me go…especially now that he sees that the dynamics of the relationship have changed. I know that what God has in store for me is great and I want to and need to wait for that. Please could you give me advice on how to deal with him, cause I’m not a mean person, but I feel like can’t or shouldn’t be nice to him.

    Grace Nduku

  2. Hi Nduku,

    I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. I know exactly how hurt, torn, and confused a situation like that can make someone feel. To answer your first question, yes, you can be infatuated for 3 years. I was infatuated with the boyfriend in my article for 3 years because I kept holding to what might be and let him stay in my life. Anytime my ex-boyfriend noticed that I was trying to move on and separate myself, he would start to treat me nicer in hopes of keeping me around, for whatever reasons. It would give me hope that we might have a future but he was never the godly man I needed in my life. Eventually, I had to completely cut him out of my life and that was how I got over him and had a clear head to see what God wanted for me.

    I would advise you to do the same. This guy has a girlfriend so he’s completely off limits, and you shouldn’t have any sort of emotional connection with him since he’s committed to someone else. He isn’t doing what’s best for you because he’s letting you hang on for hope when he’s not the type of guy God wants you with nor is he ready to commit to only you. There’s a solution in which you don’t have to be mean or rude but can still have your life going the way God wants it and with peace: Let him know that you can no longer talk with him or have him in your life for good.

    I know it can hurt letting go of someone you care for but if they don’t treat you right, love someone else, and pull you away from your Lord then they shouldn’t be in your life. It will hurt at first but with time and separation you will get over him and you will move on and be happier because of it. The Lord will walk with you through the hard times and give you strength to do what’s right. He has much better plan for you than this! I hope this helps and I pray you find strength and joy in the Lord to make the right decision. My prayers are with you!

    Diane M.

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  5. Is it possible for someone to fall into a deep infatuation stage with someone they’ve known for a little over a year and then within a few days decide that you have fallen head over heels in love with them? And is it infatuation if they can’t sleep, eat, or focus on the things that are valuable to them in their lives? I read somewhere that it was infatuation if you begin to have a reckless behavior and abandonment of your values. I feel like this might be what a very close friend of mine is feeling for someone else when they know how I feel about them. They keep me close and talking about their feelings and it hurts a lot because we were together once and I could still see if they came around they would see what was right in front of them but I know they need to figure it out for themselves. So when I try to keep a bit of a distance they pull me back in and when I make a suggestion I get snapped at. I saw in a video that when one snaps at their friends like that and are no longer fun to be around then it is infatuation. Is this right? I mean they are talking about marriage and they just barely told the person how they felt. The person sounds like they were thrown off and worried about things. So my friend isn’t even sure if it’s going to work out. I just don’t know how to help them without getting hurt myself. I have plans to move forward and get involved with things and if something comes a long before they see what’s right in front of them I’m not going to stop it. Any advice?

    • Hi Jasmine,

      From what you have described, it definitely sounds like your friend is experiencing the emotions of infatuation which can be overwhelming and very convincing as true love. When you’ve tried to speak wisdom into a friend’s life about these types of things but they don’t listen then you have to back off and pray for them, from the background. Since your friend is someone you have feelings for and have a past with, it is wisest to step away from a friendship that is hurting you. He has feelings for someone else and the friendship does not help protect your heart, as God would want. I pray that you’re able to find ways to guard your heart and your friend will be guided by the Spirit in his new relationship.

      Blessings, Diane

  6. Thank you so much for this. By reading this article, I have now realized what I was getting myself into in my relationship with my significant other who I now call my ex-boyfriend. My father kept reminding me that our relationship was not “love,” but in fact “infatuation.” He had always warned me about my boyfriend and the consequences and dangerous situations we would both get ourselves into in the near future, but I was foolish and decided to ignore him. I knew he was not good for me and how dangerous he was, but I ignored his flaws and didn’t let it keep me from being with him. I thought he was my life and that I couldn’t live without him, but I was wrong. My mind wouldn’t allow me to to let go, which did lead to many problems for myself. A few weeks ago, something terrible happened to me and my family and it was all my ex-boyfriend’s fault. My father forced us to break up and I was not allowed to see him or have any contact whatsoever with him ever again. Because this is what happened, I have seen how horrible he really was and realized that my father was right this whole time and that our “love” was only “infatuation” after all.

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