How to Tell the Difference Between Love and Infatuation

Published: 01st June 2009
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We often confuse infatuation for true love. How can we really tell the difference? Here are some useful pointers.

A commonly mistaken interpretation of infatuation is that it is "love at first sight". As soon as you meet, you feel this incredible attraction to the other person to the point where you can't let go. You get instantly attached and dependent on the object of your attraction, much like you do on a drug.
Biologically, infatuation is caused by secretion of vast amounts of a brain neurochemical called phenylethylamine. When supplied with plenty of this neurochemical, the body experiences an exhilarating high similar to that of cocaine or ecstasy. And just like we easily get addicted to these substances, we also get addicted to our own brain chemicals and literally experience withdrawal when they are cut off. That's why someone who is infatuated will often say: "I can't live without my partner!"
The purpose behind the secretion of phenylethylamine is quite simple: to ensure the continuation of our species, basically to get us to reproduce. That's why infatuation is very often characterized as "amazing chemistry". But that's all it is. In a nutshell, infatuation is nothing more than a chemical high.

Love is not a chemical high. While it is common for couples in love to have "amazing chemistry" which may have begun as infatuation, their relationship goes far beyond the realms of sexual attraction. True love entails a soul connection: a fundamental bond on the energy level, that level of subatomic particles where you both vibrate together in perfect harmony. True love is a connection in itself, not just an attraction based on hormones and neurochemicals.
It may be disappointing for some to hear that there is no such thing as "love at first sight". No matter how hard romance novels and movies try to perpetuate the idea, true love just doesn't work like that. You can have a connection at first sight, but feelings of love take time to develop. True love grows and changes over the course of the relationship. It is not a steady high, like infatuation, which eventually fades and never comes back. The bottom line is that you must spend time with the other person for feelings of true love to really encompass you both.
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