Emotional Dependency, Human Nature, Ideas, Infatuation, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Relationships

Infatuation

SUMMARY: People often distinguish between love and infatuation on the basis of how long each is purported to last.  Love is said to last forever, while infatuations are said to be brief and fleeting.  This post proposes that infatuations are better defined as emotional dependencies.

(About a 3 minute read)

I have probably heard a hundred or more times in my life someone confess to me that he or she married their partner — not because they loved them — but because they were infatuated with them.  Never once have I heard someone say that worked out well.

But what, exactly, is infatuation?

In common thought, infatuation is to be distinguished from love mainly by how long it is assumed to last.  That is, an infatuation is seen as of brief duration, while love is thought to always be enduring.  But I have problems with that definition.

In the first place, I was once infatuated with someone for about five and a half years. In the second place, I have experienced profound love for more than one person that lasted under a year (People — you or they — sometimes change).  It seems to me the notion that infatuation can be distinguished from love by so simple a means as duration is misguided.

Yet, if there is more to the distinction than that, what is there more?

In my book, infatuation is a form of self-love.  In the end, it always boils down to our loving ourselves more than we love them.  Of course, we think we love them.  If we did not, we would not be infatuated with them.  But what we really love is ourselves.

That fact is easily masked to us, however.  We might feel, for instance, that we cannot live without them.  We might even routinely put their needs and wants above our own.  But — strange as it might sound — feeling you cannot live without someone, or even putting their needs and wants above your own, is not a sure and certain sign you love them.

Lovers often do those things, but so too do people who are merely co-dependent.  That is, emotionally dependent on each other. In fact, emotionally dependent people often go to lengths true lovers refuse to go when it comes to such things as staying with someone who abuses them.  So I don’t think a conclusive sign of love is a willingness to put someone else’s needs above one’s own, or to feel as if one cannot live without them.

To me, infatuation is pretty much the same thing as emotional dependency.  Which is to say, I think people can become almost instantly emotionally dependent on someone else.  Not full-blown emotional dependency, but identifiable emotional dependency.

You can see a pretty girl or a handsome man for the first time in your life and within moments feel pangs of yearning for them.  So far as I can see, those pangs are capable of blossoming into full emotional dependency. They don’t always do so, of course, but they can.

For that, and for other reasons, I am inclined to reject the notion that infatuation can be distinguished from love by how long it endures.  Instead, I think it can be distinguished in the same manner that we distinguish emotional dependency from love.

Questions?  Comments?

15 thoughts on “Infatuation”

  1. Isn’t infatuation when you can’t get someone out of your head? And if that’s the case perhaps it’s really a form of obsession. And if it’s an obsession is that unhealthy or can that lead to love?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent points! The infatuation I had with Janet was certainly an obsession. I couldn’t get the girl out of my head for more than half a day for five and a half years. it never led to love. I suspect it couldn’t have without it coming to an end. Then again, love can sprout in remarkable conditions, can’t it?

      What do you think, Miriam? How would you answer your own questions?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know about obsession. There was someone I couldn’t get out of my head for over three years. I kept telling myself it would lead to love but it stayed purely physical, for him. One way streets are never long lasting. Though you’re right, conditions change and so can people.

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  2. Interesting to think about the distinction or correlation between infatuation, love, or just emotional dependency. I agree that any of these things cannot be accurately defined just by length of time! I like what you said about how willingness to put someone else’s needs above one’s own isn’t always a sign of love. It could definitely be codependency. A toxic relationship under the facade.

    My husband is in the military and so I end up meeting a lot of different types of people when there are any events happening, like Yellow Ribbon – anyway, I met this seemingly nice man, early 20’s, who was in my husband’s unit. He was very polite and grateful to my husband (they worked together overseas when deployed), and I thought “what a nice person!”. Then I met his wife and she seemed a little quiet and timid. Suddenly he was a whole different person. He was insulting her in front of us and when she would speak he would somehow say something condescending, which visibly destroyed her confidence. I couldn’t believe she was staying with this person and putting up with that kind of crap.
    Then later on that night when the soldiers were off duty, I had a chance to get to know the wife more. She started talking about stories how he would make her mad and once she went after him with scissors. When they were together again she started seeming emotionally abusive towards him and even slapped him once. The tables turned – I guess he gets the being-awful shift in the morning and she gets that shift in the evening. I think both of them would benefit from NOT being together…or maybe they should both at least talk to a psychologist? lol.

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    1. Good gods, what a couple! Makes you wonder why on earth they stick it out? I mean, it should be obvious to them they are merely dependent on each other, rather than in love, right? Even if they don’t use those terms, they’ve got to know they’re not in love. Then again, some people think dependency is love, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know!! It was the craziest couple I’ve ever seen. I thought to myself “woah…I think I want to be as far away from these two as possible” haha. Yeah who knows if they could tell what chaos they had, rather than love! I think their codependency was too strong for them to know the truth lol

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  3. Indeed infatuation is a fleeting emotion that dwindles with time. May be it stems from the urgent need to have the person you are infatuated with around me. But love, theoretically, doesn’t dwell on that. Love can exist from a distance. But do we have that kind of love anymore? I wonder

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    1. I agree love can exist from a distance. Today, we often enough see couples who met over the net and fell in love long before they met in person. I guess that’s one of the remarkable things about the internet.

      We don’t see eye to eye about infatuation being a fleeting emotion, but that’s ok. Takes all kinds to make the world go around.

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