Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Love vs Infatuation

“What is the difference between love and infatuation?” a student asked recently.  I’ve been meaning to write about this, and the student’s question reminded to post my thoughts.

Here are a couple of definitions from dictionary.com:

Infatuate: to inspire or possess with a foolish or unreasoning passion, as of love.
Infatuation: foolish or all-absorbing passion.

Even an online dictionary mentions “love” in the definition (along with “foolish”).  Interesting, isn’t it?  Because love and infatuation both involve powerful emotions, it is easy to get the two confused.

I’ve looked up a few other articles on “infatuation vs. love.”  There are some long, drawn-out explanations.  But I’m not interested in writing a thesis—I want to give you a simple, practical way to understand the difference.

This is what I told the student: “I think infatuation tends to be based on an illusion, but love is based on reality.” 

I’ve experienced infatuation (yes, I was once a teenager).  My passion was based more on my illusion of who she (the object of my desire) was instead of who she really was.  Based on my experience and observations, we often get infatuated with people we barely know.  We are simply drawn to another’s physical beauty or perceived qualities.

The illusion doesn’t stop there.  Infatuation causes us to have unrealistic beliefs regarding relationships.  I remember believing my life would be perfect if only she were in love with me.  I believed my life would not be complete without her.  Infatuation causes us to think this way.

These illusions are what make infatuation temporary.  We eventually see that he/she isn’t everything we imagined.  Or we simply “burn out” emotionally—we don’t have the energy to sustain our foolish passions indefinitely.

Love, on the other hand, is based on truth and reality.  We love someone based on a genuine understanding of who he/she really is.  We see the good and the bad, and we love anyway.  Our affection grows as the friendship grows.

God’s love, of course, is the ultimate example.  He knows us completely, yet he loves us anyway (Psalm 139:1-16).  Christ died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8).

Looking back, I see how silly and immature I was during my infatuated days.  Now I understand that a woman can complement my life, but only Christ completes my life.  I also understand that relationships are based on more than just feelings—commitment, respect, and hard work are all components of a lifelong covenant.

As you mature spiritually and emotionally, you’ll also learn to recognize the difference between love and infatuation.  I hope this article helps you along in this process.

 

21 Comments

  1. anna marielle adarayan

    12/10/2008 at 12:37 pm

    hi kuya kevin!…haha..im the student who asked you that…*smirks*
    thanks..it helped me alot..im sure..a lot of people specially teenagers need enlightenment on this matter…
    thanks ulit kuya kevin..=)

  2. May I add that “infatuation” usually involves just one person, one individual infatuated over another whereas “love” is mutual.

  3. this is really nice! i’m a Christian too and i know exactly what you’re getting at.. ^^
    i happen to be researching about our thesis about homosexuals and your blog appeared… i read it and we included your blog as one of our related literatures. thank you for your initiative to share… Godbless you more!

  4. Anna,
    Thanks for asking that question and for stopping by.

    Thess,
    Agree.

    Ica,
    I hope you’ll come back and maybe buy my book 🙂

  5. Hi Kuya Kevin,
    After reading this blog, I have to admit I’ve been guilty of being all-infatuated most of the time.. I’d like to share this article with my friends, can I forward it thru email?

    Thanks in advance
    *char*

  6. The best thing would be just to forward the link.

    But if you decide to copy and past the whole article, be sure to mention KuyaKevin.com as the source.

    Thanks–hope the article helps your friends.

  7. That’s great. I have a question on this, though. You mention infatuation is based on the perceived qualities of a person, whereas love is based on reality. How can you tell the difference between the two if your infatuation distorts your perception and makes it seem like reality?

    In my limited experience – even throughout the infatuation there were a few “alarm bells” (things that didn’t seem quite so right)…but you don’t tend to notice these things.

  8. For starters, I think we all have to be aware that our judgment isn’t always perfect. That’s where it helps to get other people involved in our lovelife decisions.

    Perhaps one of the best ways to tell is give it a little time and see if you’re still so enthusiastic once you know him/her.

  9. hi kuya kevin..

    i’m a youth leader and discipler in our church and i really have a serious problem in my hands right now concerning one of the girls under my care.

    she has been involved (meaning in a relationship) for quite some time with a lesbian. and she keeps on insisting that she loves the other girl. It has produced quite a problem in her family and even her studies.

    i usually know how to deal with questions about knowing if its real love or just infatuation. i have counselled and helped a lot of girls and guys in relationships. i can easily dish out advice regarding relationships since i have experienced it myself but this one’s different.

    how do i deal with this issue? how do i point the vital things out to her in a loving non-judgmental way?

    can you please help me? i’m really at alost here. we have been praying for her for quite sometime and i feel we’re not helping her by not dealing with the issues up front or talking to her.

    thank you kuya kevin.

  10. Xyza,

    Thank you for your work and ministry with youth!

    This young woman needs to be confronted with the truth of Scripture. Yes, you must be as sensitive as possible because she is young and confused. BUT, don’t be afraid of offending her.

    Think of it this way:
    Imagine I’m a doctor and I have a patient with cancer. I would have to tell him the truth. It would be unethical not to tell him.

    In the same way, we have to tell the truth to those who are spiritually sick. In the case of same-sex attraction, we must let people know that God’s mind has not changed–He does not bless same-sex relationships.

    She needs to know that she is damaging her relationship with God and creating damaging strongholds in her life.

  11. Just to add the wisdom of an older woman, if the infatuated one was abused as a child, the object of her (or his) infatuation will likely turn out to be very much like the person who abused the infatuated. It’s called “Repetition Cycle” and is referred to (in The Word) as “passing the sins of the father to the 3rd and 4th generation.” Get your baggage straight before you start any relationship!

  12. hi kuya.. i just want to ask you if same sex relationship can work out?
    can you give us some advice for those who are engage in type of relationship..

  13. I’ve written about this in other articles. Such relationships are against God’s will.

    KuyaKevin.com: Same-Sex Relationships

  14. it really helps thank you kuya kevin. 🙂

  15. sigh… this article made me really realize that i do love my ex. i know his bad side, but i was able to handle them. he said he didn’t want me to see the bad, only the good… but that’s a different story all together. he’s confused right now so we broke up… sigh

  16. thanks kuya kevin. your articles are short but very clear in issues of life. I’ve share this to my daughter. God bless you and your ministry!!!

  17. hi kuya kevin , thanks to your book 😀
    i read it .and it helps me a lot 🙂 thankyou. im christina.
    yung bumili po ng book niyo sa SM manila .. 🙂

  18. Thanks for buying! Glad it helped you.

  19. Hi Kuya kevin.. what’s the difference between unconditional love and martyrdom?

  20. Look up “Romantic Martyr Syndrome”

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