What’s the difference between love and infatuation? If you are a Christian single, how can you identify when someone likes you too much? How can you tell if their desire for you is turning into infatuation? And how can you make sure you are not infatuated with someone else?
What’s the Difference Between Infatuation, Love, and Liking Someone?
Most times people ask the question, “What’s the difference between infatuation and love?” I’d like to offer a third category to define, however, because I do believe there is room to have healthy feelings that are neither love nor infatuation.
Infatuation is very similar to idolatry. The definition for infatuation is “an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something.” Much like idolatry, it is a desire for someone that is not rooted in truth. When you are infatuated with someone, your feelings are disproportionate to what you actually know about someone.
Love is the opposite of infatuation. Love is when you are not elevating someone as your god or putting all your hope for happiness on this person. Christian love is when you choose to sacrifice yourself for the benefit of another. It is when you are ready to commit to this person and show the love of Christ to him or her.
When it comes to romantic relationships, I believe there is one more category that a healthy Christian should be able to operate with in – liking someone. When you meet another eligible Christian single, it is healthy to have romantic interest in that person. You don’t have to jump between infatuation or deep love prepared to commit in marriage. When you like someone in a healthy way, you see there is potential for a godly relationship to develop and you are interested in exploring this possibility further.
In summary, liking someone as a single Christian and seeking to love someone in marriage are good for the Christian. Infatuation is bad. So here are three signs that someone is infatuated with you or that you are infatuated with someone else.
Infatuation Focuses More on External Qualities Rather Than Internal Qualities
When someone is infatuated, they will usually focus more on the external rather than the internal. Infatuation is based in a false storyline created in someone’s mind rather than based in reality.
It is easy to see a beautiful woman and then create answers in your head that you really have no idea about, “Wow, look at how she dresses. She must really love the Lord and she would make a great wife one day. I really want to be with that girl.” A woman’s external appearance has nothing to do with being a great wife. No clothing choice is a guarantee that she loves God. There are plenty of beautiful atheist women who dress modestly.
It’s easy to see a man driving a nice car who then walks into church holding a Bible and think to yourself, “Wow, that man would make a great godly husband. He looks like a great provider who could lead a family well.” A man showing up to church holding a Bible means nothing. Perhaps he is a Jehovah’s Witness. Perhaps that car belongs to his mother.
In short, when your romantic interest is solely based in external appearances rather than someone’s internal character, this is when infatuation occurs. Proverbs 31:30 is about a godly woman, but its overarching truth that the external is not as important as the internal applies to men and women, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Infatuation Causes People to Move Way Too Fast in a Relationship
Moving too fast in a relationship is a common sign that someone is infatuated rather than experiencing a healthy interest or real love.
As we just mentioned, when you are blinded by the external qualities of someone, it is easy to fill in the unknowns with what you want to be real rather than what is actually there. When we think we have all the answers we need about someone because we are creating these answers in our heads rather than confirming them in reality, this gives us a false sense of security which leads to progressing forward in the relationship at an alarming rate.
The reason dating for a decent amount of time is important is because it takes time to actually get to know someone. You might feel like you actually know someone you just met, but that’s infatuation talking.
When people in your life who love you are telling you to slow down, consider what they are saying. People who love you will want you to be happy. They will want you to be in a healthy relationship. And they will want your hopes for a relationship to come true. So when they share a concern about you moving too fast, just know they want what’s best for you.
If you feel like someone is pressuring you or is trying to move too fast with you, they may be infatuated with you.
Infatuation Is Usually Followed By Disappointment Because Their Expectations Are Always Higher than Their Experiences with You
As the cliché saying goes, “What comes up, must come down.” When someone is infatuated with another human, eventually the reality of that person actually being human sets in. No one can live up to the idol created in someone’s head. Infatuation is a mirage. When that expectation for perfection is not met, disappointment is not far behind.
You can always know how much you idolized someone by how mad you get at them when they fail you. Infatuation usually leads to disappointment because this person’s expectations are never going to happen in their experiences. Hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12).
So how can you know if someone is infatuated with you or if you are infatuated with someone? If you are constantly swinging between idealistic hopes and disappointed realities, there is an imbalance between your expectations and experiences. You are not living in reality. In other words, infatuation is occurring rather than love or a healthy romantic interest.
You may also like:
- How to Get Through 5 of the Hardest Parts of…
- 3 Christian Tips to Help You Lose Weight and Get…
- How Long Should a Christian Date Before Getting Married?
- 6 Signs Someone Lacks Relationship Discernment
- 4 Christian Relationship Lessons from the Life of Samson (Judges…
- Christian Dating Advice for Men: 5 Types of Women Christian…