True Love vs. Infatuation: 12 Differences You Should Know

true love vs infatuation
Photo by Ryan Holloway

At least once in your life, you find someone who you feel can completely turn your life around. You experience all sorts of emotions even though you are just thinking about them. That fluttering and unexplainable feeling in your gut. Feeling all giddy when they are near us, and wallowing in loneliness when they are not. You are constantly full of anticipation and you pine for the moment that you will see them again. You start jumping to the conclusion that what you feel is true love even though you have only just met them. You go mad with feelings, but are suddenly benumbed with this thought: is what you feel true love, or is it just infatuation?

You wish finding the answer to this could be easy but the truth of the matter is: it is not. First, you need to introspect and reflect on the differences between true love vs. infatuation. Only then can you move towards the more difficult part which is to take a step back from the Nicholas Sparks novels and to really examine your relationship without projecting a self-made fantasy.

If you’re still confused, here are 12 differences between true love and infatuation that you should know.


1. True love is kind and energizing; infatuation drains you and leaves you tired.

Being infatuated with someone leads you to constantly worry about what they think of you. You think too much about them, worry about them, cry over them and fall into a state of obsession making you feel tired in the long run.

When you have true love, your spirits are lifted and you feel truly happy. The world transforms and everything you see seems brighter and more brilliant. You laugh more and it comes to you ever more naturally than before.

Also read: 16 Good Ways to be Kind in a Relationship


2. True love seeks to be deeply connected; infatuation only wants physical intimacy.

When you are infatuated with someone, you feel like you always want to behold them. Over time, you will feel distant, insecure, and less satisfied when they are showing love in a routine “physical way.”

True love is not confined to the overwhelming zing you experience. It is also about being able to associate deeper meaning to other areas in life and in love. It is about creating a deep connection that affords you feelings of assurance and security. In time, you can have deep and meaningful conversations and you almost always read each other’s minds.

You find that being sincere, open, and vulnerable is the only way to build that deep connection that you have always craved for. The more you know things about each other, the more you care for them. You find strength in knowing you may have just found the person who is not just your truest friend, but also possibly your soulmate.

Also read: True Love vs Lust: 10 Differences You Should Know


3. True love grows with friendship; infatuation grows with desire.

When you are truly in love, you tell each other things that you have never revealed to another person before – even to yourself. They get a good grasp of everything you say and they ask you questions indicating that they were indeed listening and not just pretending to be. You become the best of friends and your relationship is not just bound by physical desires but by admiration, compassion, and support for each other. This is the reason why friendship is a fundamental element of true love. It gives you comfort that your bond will last the test of time; as opposed to feelings of infatuation which are intense but short-lived.


4. True love is being in love with who the person is; infatuation is being in love with “your own idea” of someone.

Another indicator of true love is that you know and understand your partner’s unique quirks and accept them instead of only trying to change or fix them. You do not try to transform them into a completely different person just because that is what you expected of them. Rather, you are full of respect, appreciation, and adoration in your partner’s overall qualities as well as his/her flaws and imperfections.


5. True love is generous; infatuation is possessive.

An old adage goes, “If you love really someone, let him go. If he comes back, he’s yours. If he doesn’t, then he was never yours to begin with.” This is quite true. True love gives you freedom and does not confine and force you into a single choice. Rather, it liberates and is willing to set you free if need be because true love is never about possession.

Also read: 13 Early Signs of True Love in a Relationship


6. True love forgives; infatuation holds grudges.

What the Bible said about true love is true: it keeps no record of wrongs. Doing wrong to someone who loves you may be a sin but true love lets the person off the hook. Despite the damage and pain, true love enables you to have the heart to rebuild that loving relationship instead of turning it into a bitter and distrustful one.

Forgiveness may be a difficult act, but it is the surefire manifestation of true love.

Also read: How to Forgive Each Other in a Relationship: 12 Tips


7. True love is a slow process; infatuation happens instantly.

When you are infatuated, you fall into an illusion or a fantasy bubble made of your assumptions and projections. Despite not knowing anything about the other person, you quickly feel they are your soulmate and that you are both an instant love match only to find out that the attachment that you felt was made by nothing more than your imaginings.

True love takes a while to develop. It is about being familiar and comfortable with someone, and really knowing all their ins and outs and still being okay with how they are as a person. It is not only about attraction but it is also about complementing each other in a bond that only the two of you share.

Also read: 15 Signs of True Love in a Relationship


8. True love encourages you to try something new; infatuation closes doors to new experiences.

Infatuation does not want you to change and expects you to “stay the same.” It is alarmed when you have broken normal routines, met new people, or when you have taken on a new hobby. This is because it is afraid that these changes and experiences will lead you further away from them and that they would eventually lose you.

With true love, you become enthralled in things that never interested you before because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. This does not mean you have to love and participate in everything your partner enjoys. More importantly, the willingness to welcome new grounding is what makes much of the difference. You breathe life into your relationship as you both are lively, open, and invigorated.


9. True love stems from self-assurance; infatuation stems from insecurity.

You no longer need to worry about losing them to someone else because you are confident that you are specially bound to them. You know they have a special view of you that sets you apart from most people. Because really, true love gives you confidence. Feelings of pressure, jealousy, or competition are given no room. There is only serenity when they are around.

Also read: How to Overcome Insecurities in a Relationship: 12 Tips


10. True love calms you down; infatuation makes you act unreasonably and without tact.

True love soothes and acknowledges feelings of fear. It is tender and sweet, not dramatic. It does not treat you poorly when you have hurt them but helps you work things out with them. When you are creating a ton of drama in your relationship and you are projecting a lot of intense and insecure feelings towards your partner, then it is most likely not true love.


11. True love respects each other’s boundaries, priorities, and goals; infatuation goes beyond boundaries and neglects your goals in life.

When what you have is true love, you share hopes for the future and you feel comfortable in sharing what you want out of life. You do not hesitate in telling them about dreams that may have never come true, your unachieved goals, or the countless setbacks that life has thrown at you. Being with them even on your worst days does not feel much of a task as they are never embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting and disappointed or to laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself.

But when what you have is infatuation, you struggle to keep everything to yourself knowing they have no concern over your dreams and ambitions. True love consoles the disappointments of the other. True love roots for you and encourages you to try again next time.  And when something good finally happens, you rush in to tell them about it knowing they will share in your excitement.

Also read: How to be Respectful in a Relationship: 15 Thoughtful Ways


12. True love knows love is not perfect but it doesn’t matter; infatuation expects nothing but perfection.

At first glance, you might think your love interest ticks all the boxes and is the embodiment of perfection. We create unrealistic expectations in our minds and they must always look beautiful, be strong, agreeable, courageous, and exhibit no blemishes in terms of character. But time will destroy this illusion that we placed on our partners and how you react to that reality will be the measure of your love.

Personal issues, family problems, and a different outlook in life will surface as you and your partner reveal your truest selves. But if you can accept these and still be around to support each other despite the highs and the lows, then it may just be true love.


Show your true loving self.

On a final note, one must remember that to achieve true love, one must be willing to show the genuine version of the self. Living life authentically rather than living it in a facade may end an infatuated relationship but it will help you plant one of true love’s seeds: truth.

Also read: True Love vs Love at First Sight: 8 Differences You Should Know

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