Eight Qualities That Define Infatuation

Updated April 15, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Have you ever thought you truly loved someone but realized it wasn’t quite the love that you had thought? That can be a common realization that people have when they find themselves infatuated with someone. Getting a grasp on the definition of infatuation can help you understand the difference between love and infatuation. Once you recognize the difference between the two, you can assess if what you’re feeling may be true love or something else. Let’s begin to unravel the definition of infatuation and what it can mean in relationships.

Is it infatuation or love? Let our experts guide you

Definition of infatuation

Infatuation is a profound feeling of desire and fondness for someone or something that is normally not long-lasting. It can be challenging to distinguish the difference between infatuation and love based on this definition alone. Love is defined as a feeling of warmth, endearment, and devotion developed over a long-term period. Although the differences in the two definitions might help clarify some confusion, a more thorough explanation can clear up any remaining uncertainty. Below are eight qualities of infatuation that you may find useful as you try to discern love from infatuation. 

Love at first sight or infatuation?

Love at first sight is a romantic thought, but is it true love, or is it infatuation? There are skeptics regarding the idea of love at first sight as well as some believers. However, most people tend to think that the concept of love at first sight is actually infatuation. It normally refers to falling in love with the way someone looks before ever having a conversation with them to get to know who they are under the surface. 

If you believe in love at first sight, you might have a greater understanding of the feeling we’re talking about. It is immediate, like that of infatuation. Think about what made love at first sight possible. Was it the way a person walked, talked, or looked? Evaluating what made those feelings so intense can help you identify if what was considered love at first sight was, in reality, infatuation.

Physical affection is most important

When you are infatuated with someone, physical affection is often far more important than any other related aspect of the relationship or connection. On the other hand, people who are in love tend to have a strong desire to hear their companion’s thoughts and feelings, learn about what they enjoy doing, and even want to know their favorite color, foods, and movie. 

Although sex and physical attraction can be natural aspects of falling in love, and important parts of the relationship, infatuated people normally have no real desire to learn more about their partner. A person in love often differs greatly in this area. For them, physical attraction and affection play a part in falling in love, but it is not the most important factor. Instead, people in love like to spend time learning about one another’s interests and hobbies, even partaking in some activities themselves.

Love the person or the idea of who they might become

It can be easy to fall in love with the idea of a person or even who they might be in the future. Rather than being a sign of love, though, this could indicate infatuation. Loving the person in the present just as they are, flaws and all, characterizes genuine love. Not only can someone fall for an idea, but they could be in love with love itself in cases of infatuation. 

Love is a powerful feeling that can become addicting itself. Many people get caught up in that feeling and do whatever it takes to feel it over and over. Rather than falling in love naturally, they may, in a way, force themselves to fall in love. These types of behaviors usually align more with infatuation. Real love stays present in the moment while also considering the future. It is something that most cannot imagine ending.

Touch and go or a solid connection

Infatuation often involves mind games and a push and pull from one person to the other. The relationship normally isn’t solid – rather, it tends to go up and down. One or both parties might play hard to get, ignore phone calls or text messages, and might spend time with someone else in an attempt to get their partner’s attention. If this is present in a relationship, it is not likely to be love but infatuation.

Love develops a solid connection that individuals don’t want to mess with by playing games. It is often more straightforward and honest than that of an infatuated couple’s relationship. Love involves respect for your partner and a real connection. A couple who is in love spends time continually getting to know one another and deepens their connection over time. 

Running from problems or solving them

At the first sign of trouble, an infatuated person will, in most cases, run. However, a person in love will usually do whatever it takes to work things out and stay with the person they are with. An infatuation is not typically worth the effort, so may be easier for someone to leave it behind.

Solving problems requires open and honest communication. Since an infatuated individual is normally not interested in communicating with their partner, this could signal that the relationship is not loving. If you and your partner are working through an issue and communicating, there is a chance it is love. If you are looking for additional help in solving an issue and are willing to speak with a counselor, putting forth an effort can prove the presence of love even more so.

Is it infatuation or love? Let our experts guide you

Short term vs. long term

When a relationship is built on infatuation and not love, it is often more short-term. Although infatuation can expand into love and become long-term, the infatuation aspect does not generally last in a long-lasting relationship. For many couples, infatuation is a normal stage in the early part of their romantic relationship. From there, though, it often fades, and love takes its place. For other couples, the end of infatuation marks the end of the relationship.

To turn infatuation into love, couples must emphasize the communication aspect of the relationship. Talking more with the person you are infatuated with often leads to knowing whether you’d like to continue communicating with them or put a stop to the relationship. Thus, short-term relationships are often infatuated because both parties don’t take the time to get to know one another. 

Are you monogamous?

Many couples who are in love have no interest in sleeping with other people. Of course, some people are polyamorous, consensually non-monogamous, or in open relationships and feel differently. There’s nothing wrong with any of these relationship styles, but the most common choice is monogamy. If you are in a relationship with no desire to be monogamous and do not identify as one of the previously mentioned relationship types, infatuation may be the reason for the way you feel. Someone who is infatuated might have just one person on their mind when in their presence but have no problem straying outside of the relationship when their partner is not available. Monogamy can be a strong indication that the relationship is more than infatuation.

Unrealistic expectations

Having unrealistic expectations of a person can be a powerful sign of infatuation. Putting an individual on a pedestal removes the human element of their personality and makes them seem as though they are better than the average person. When people are held to (and expected to meet) much higher expectations, it can be easy to believe that you are in love with them. After all, many people may desire a perfect person to love. In truth, unrealistic expectations can be the result of infatuation because it can be easy to overlook someone’s flaws when you think so highly of them. On the other hand, loving someone means loving their flaws in addition to the parts of them that you enjoy.

Online counseling with Regain

If you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing infatuation or love, speaking with a professional could give you more clarity. Regain provides both individual and couples counseling entirely online. You can process your feelings with your therapist on your own and then work with your partner to create a stronger bond. Even if you and your significant other have demanding schedules, you can still find a time to meet that works for both of you. Whether you connect through phone calls, video chats, or in-app messaging, you can begin getting the support you need from the comfort of your home. 

The efficacy of online counseling 

Relationships built on infatuation may blossom into love, but some come to an end when couples realize they may not work out long-term. Even when infatuation is present, it can still be difficult to move on after romantic ties are cut. Researchers have assessed whether online therapy could help people move past a breakup. In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, researchers found that getting people to write down a list of all the negative aspects of their ex helped them get over their heartbreak. While participants initially felt worse because they were focused on their difficult emotions, the study found that they were ultimately able to decrease their attachment to their ex with greater ease


Infatuation has the potential to transform into love over time. By putting in effort to get to know your partner’s mind, personality, and interests, you may be able to eventually fall in love with them. Loving all aspects of a person—flaws and all— can show dedication and help cultivate genuine feelings of love with time. It can even be beneficial for a couple to speak with a professional if infatuation is present in their relationship, but each person desires more. Regain can equip you with a couples therapist to support and guide you through the difficult parts of your relationship and help you establish a firmer foundation as a pair. 

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