The oldest question in the language of relationships—is it love or infatuation? Doesn’t asking this make you feel like you’re in middle school again? So let us figure out what the difference is!
Signs of Infatuation:
- It’s spicy and passionate. You crave the physicality of the other person and want to be around them in every instant.
- It’s quick. It will hit you upside your head, with a baseball bat… from behind…without warning.
- It’s an emotional roller coaster. One minute you are in that passionate world where everything is pure perfection. Then the next, you go through the downswings of instability.
- You feel like you know this person… but you just met? When you’re infatuated, you feel like you understand the other person at some profound depth. However, you’ve never seen this person at their worst—you don’t know their real character.
- Idealization. The other person is a model of perfection. Nothing they do is wrong, and you go color blind (I swear, that red flag was green a minute ago!)
Signs of Love:
- It’s warm and comfortable. The fires of your soul are more of a calming campfire rather than an uncontrolled forest fire. The person feels like home, and they bring you a calm that goes unmatched.
- It’s slow. Love matures with time and develops in your soul. You know it, then you feel it, then it quietly makes itself known with the three famous words—I love you.
- It’s stable and feels like home. When you are in love and in a healthy relationship, the problems that arise are taken care of in a considerate manner. There is trust and respect.
- You’ve taken time to get to know and understand this person. You have made your time and realized what this person offers to the world. You’ve seen them at their best and at their worst, and you love each version of them the same. Instead of being a ride of ups and downs, it maintains a constant growth.
- Commitment. With love comes commitment and the everlasting choice to go back to each other time and time again. To set vows and keep them for a lifetime. It is the commitment to accept, trust, and respect the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual parts of the other person.
So that’s it, right? Just infatuation and love. According to the English language, that surely is it. However, many of us find ourselves in a specific type of love limbo. A point that passes just beyond the extent of infatuation but is just before the infancy of love.
Sometimes, when we meet someone or look into the eyes of someone we hardly know, there is something that goes beyond the English language. Often it is called love at first sight, but how is that so? Love takes time, doesn’t it?
I believe hopeless romantics are most acquainted with this phenomenon. Is it matured infatuation? Pre-love?
In the search for this term in other languages, I believe Arabic comes the closest—‘Ishq (عشق). It is when the first root of love plants itself in the heart. This is the point in which we stand in that state of transition that isn’t entirely acknowledged by English.
Signs of ‘Ishq:
- It’s almost uncontrollable. Sort of like the moment when your uncle throws a bit too much gasoline on the campfire because he’s a few beers into the celebration.
- It’s the tortoise that beats the hare. It moves more quicker than love but slower than infatuation. Elements like emotional, mental, and spiritual connections are becoming present.
- It varies, but there is always some sort of flowing undercurrent. It has ups and downs, but there is still a part of you that whispers the name of the other person.
- It’s the foundation of the phenomena like love at first sight and soul mates. There is something unexplainable in the air that swirls around the two of you. It is when you can look into the eyes of someone and see everything you’ve ever wanted but know how distant that everything truly is. You know them without words. It’s a connection that extends beyond the logical mind.
- It’s a willingness to give a commitment, but the wisdom to know how much you must learn about the other. It knows the next step you take closer to this person, is in fact, the first step of building love.
We are so quick to define what we feel in our hearts with the logic of our minds that we forget how much we have yet to discover about our experience. Though ‘Ishq may not be the best word for it, there is an undeniable presence when it comes to love. And sometimes… sometimes we just recognize a face that we’ve never seen before.