Love or infatuation? Know the difference
I know I misbehaved and you made your mistakes
And we both still got room left to grow.
And though love sometimes hurts
I still put you first
And we'll make this thing work
But I think maybe we should take it slow.
- Ordinary People by John Legend
A lot of marriages are now falling apart as couples sometimes confuse the short-term rush of emotions, known as infatuation, for something more long-lasting, like love.
With both emotions producing the same rush of adrenaline in the initial stage, it is even more important to know the difference before making any long-term plans.
Family and Religion reached out to guidance counsellor Dawitt Jeffrey for insight on the matter, and he admitted that the two can be confused.
"Though they exhibit similar emotions, love can be differentiated from infatuation. When we love, it is beyond what we see and not limited to our emotions and how we feel, but it is how we react when the situations of life and battles cross our path," he said, citing 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 as the landmark.
"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil," he quoted, stating that aligning with the scripture will reflect what true love really is.
Unlike love, Jeffrey said infatuation is short-lived and only lasts for a season.
For him, where infatuation is concerned, when the true strength of the relationship is tested, the minute something challenging is thrown in, everything will fall apart.
"When push comes to shove, that is normally the breaking part that highlights the point of infatuation. Love endures; infatuation doesn't," he said.
Jeffrey, in talking about the two emotions, said that true love can only be tested in one way, and this is when challenges show up in the relationship.
"When conflicts arise in the relationship, or when persons who were breadwinners suddenly lose their jobs, or one partner has a serious illness and the other must step up to the plate to deal with it, true love will see the spouse sticking around, while infatuation will have them running," he pointed out.
Jeffrey said it is not hard for someone to tell that they are in the wrong lane where true love is concerned. The red flags are there with glaring warning if one takes the time to observe, he said.
"If after a while you are the one trying to keep the communication lines in the relationship going, receiving vague answers when you want to make plans for the future, and all the initial fire that you started off with [is] cooling down significantly, then accept it for what it is," cautioned Jeffrey.
He also noted that there are other signs to tell that you are not dealing with the real thing, and these involve partners who are stubborn and refuse to compromise on anything. He also said another tell-tale sign surrounds the issue of not being willing to sacrifice anything to make the relationship work.
"If you are in a relationship with someone who constantly disagrees, doesn't find an interest in God, and is a dictator, then that is not real love," he said.
"When someone loves you, they go the extra mile, out of their comfort zones, to make sure that the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with is comfortable. Love conquers every challenge that we face because with love eventually comes a solution," Jeffrey said.