“The first date I had with my boyfriend was amazing. I spent all day with him, and later that night, we went and looked at the star by a lake close to where he lives. I’ll never forget that night. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I loved him and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him just from the way he looked at me and kissed me. I can’t really explain it…I just knew it in my heart.”
Infatuation is the first phase of falling in love. The following excerpt is an example of how people can be so enamored during the first date despite lack of personal knowledge of the real character and personality of their partners.
In order to appreciate the reality of true love, it is better that people must first distinguish between infatuation and real love. Infatuation is the earliest stage of falling in love or what people would commonly call as “love at first sight”. Infatuation is the intense feelings associated with falling in love. However, it starts and ends quickly. In infatuation, a person instantly falls in love with someone he or she knows nothing about. Thus, when he or she discovers after an initial encounter that his or her first date is different from what he or she expects, the intense feeling immediately evaporates and he or she moves on to find another partner.
Relationship coach Chana Leviton characterized infatuation as a powerful connection to someone that leaves a person feeling out of control and possessed by his or her feelings. It strikes the person without warning by someone he or she may not have nothing in common or even dislike. Infatuation is irrational and unrealistic. Since the initial interaction with the person is too short to allow deeper acquaintance, the feelings of attraction in infatuation are superficial and based on false assumptions about the true character of the partner. Of course, there are cases that infatuation can also lead to true love. But more often it can result in frustration and separation after the initial encounter.
Since infatuation is a fleeting experience and feeling of falling in love, many social scientists do not consider this as “real” love. Moralists call infatuation as lust and not love in a sense that it is more sexual and self-centered. “Real” love is said to take time and is realistic. Infatuation is a fleeting feeling of intense attraction with no knowledge of real personality and character between partners. It can, at times, become a starting point for true love if the partner decides to continue their romantic relationship despite the initial discovery of incompatibilities, but in itself, infatuation can hardly be called a real mutual self-giving between partners.
“Real” love, on the one hand, has a positive effect on the person’s personality. Infatuation, on the other hand, has a disorganizing negative effect to the person falling in love. It can leave him or her unable to sleep, eat or concentrate. It can make him or her possessive and prone to bouts of jealousy. Real love, on the contrary, makes the person energetic, creative, and purposeful. It makes him or her trustful of the other and feel secure. So the real indicator whether the initial experience of falling in love is a mere infatuation or a real beginning of a true love seems to the type of effect or impact of the initial encounter of the partners in their daily life. If the general effect of the falling in love at the beginning is negative, i.e., the person loses control of his or her life of the intense feeling, then it is most likely an infatuation. But if the general effect is positive, i.e., the initial feeling of love makes the partners more inspired to reach their life goals, happy, and productive in their daily routine, then most likely the falling in love is not just an infatuation but probably the beginning of true romance, love, and commitment.
Romantic partners who share similar traits and level of attractiveness are more likely to end together for a longer period than those who look significantly different. Many social researchers believe that there is a pattern on how people choose their mates or romantic relationships. The matching hypothesis indicates that people who are more attracted to others who share a similar attraction level with them.
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