Love, obsession, infatuation: An analysis of
by disillusioned
(Matters of the Heart, 4849 views) - 0/0/00
(recorded 0/0/00 @ 12:00:00 AM)
Is it as embarrassingly pathetic as I seem to think it is when you see yourself and your relationship with someone, or a past relationship (depending on what your present status is) in every facet of your otherwise normal life? Is it as nearly obsessive as it sounds, and if it is, is that acceptable? When you wake up, and the idea of that person being with you is the first thought on your mind... and when you go to bed, and the thought of dreaming of them is what allows you to sleep so pleasantly... when you hear a song on the radio, and it reminds you of the way that person smiles, or the way they used to do this or that... Are these as solid evidence towards the case of sheer insanity and obsessiveness as I believe them to be? Or are they more a result of a true feeling of love for that person?

When is the distinction blurred from "infatuation", such as it is, to love?

I once wrote the following to someone about their feelings for a guy that they had. They refused to believe these were feelings of infatuation...

I think you're confusing the terms 'obsessed' and 'infatuated'. Honestly. Having a 'life' does not make you impervious to feelings of infatuation. Also- Realize that love is, as I've had it explained to me, a friendship that has 'caught fire'... and has truly become something more for both of the people involved.
To help, here is a brief look into said terms, courtesy Mr. Webster:

in·fat·u·a·tion Pronunciation Key (-fch-shn)
A foolish, unreasoning, or extravagant passion or attraction. See Synonyms at love.
An object of extravagant, short-lived passion.

ob·ses·sion Pronunciation Key (b-sshn, b-)
Compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety.
A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion.

love Pronunciation Key (lv)
A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.

That part of arising from kinship has to do with the friendship thing. One of the reasons I don't believe in love at first sight. I believe in infatuation or lust at first sight, but love is something that can only truly develop after you know the inner and outer workings of the other persons being. When you know exactly how they operate, what they love, what their passions are, and who they are- who they REALLY are, to the point where there can be few surprises, and you STILL enjoy their company and truly care for them and like them- that's love. Don't let anyone (including yourself) tell you otherwise...

Now then, I believe it is perfectly possible and even acceptable, to varying degrees to be both obsessed, and to love someone. However, one must not allow themselves to fall into the simple trap of becoming obsessed with the concept of being in love. The basis of a strong, beautiful relationship these do not make.

How about falling in love?

Is there a distinction between loving someone and being *in love* with them? I believe there is. I love a lot of people. These are people I really care for very strongly, and whose wellbeing and general discourse is something of a great deal of concern to me. This is not the same as being in love with them, or even "liking them" in a more romantic way. To me, it is only possible to be truly in love with someone when they're willing to admit that they're in love with you. At least, this is my interpretation of the distinction. I refuse to fall in love with someone who doesn't feel the same way.

This is also a serious step within a relationship. Falling in love should be incredibly difficult. Alright... it shouldn't be "difficult", in the sense that it's a challenge to accomplish. It should be difficult in the sense that, when you finally allow your heart to take that path, falling "out of love" becomes nearly impossible. This could happen within your very first relationship. It could happen within your fiftieth. Nothing superficial*, existential** or conclusive through the means of over analytic thought*** should stop this from happening.
*Superficial meaning shallow, something that ignores the greater meaning of what it is to fall in love, such as it were
**Existential to say something that exists outside of that love for the other person, affecting said love without having the right to do so, without occurring naturally on the "chart" of things influential to your relationship
***Reasoning stopping you from following your heart and letting yourself feel how you truly feel that came about only after long sessions spent worrying, considering or exploring within your mind the many possibilities that could occur that would stop your relationship from progressing.
Sometimes, worrying about the things we worry about, and using them to stop ourselves from loving are about as practical as using the reasoning that "everybody dies". As in "I'd allow myself to love them as I truly want to do within my heart, but I'm afraid that they'll die, and then what?" This is a far-too-unacceptable reason to prevent yourself from following what you feel.

In my mind, telling someone you're in love with them is indicative of a more serious level of feeling than simply telling someone "I love you". Oftentimes, those words are bastardized and devoid of the true feeling and meaning behind them. They're scrawled on notes from junior highers to their best-friend-who-totally-braids-my-hair-just-perfect... I try to use the phrase with some discretion. I won't simply repeat it to someone who tells me that, even as a signing off... If I mean it in a more impersonal, "as a friend" way, I might use "I love ya" instead.

It sounds stupid, I know... But I actually draw a distinction between those two phrases- "I love ya" and "I love you". The latter of them is essentially telling the other person that within you, you feel something special about them: "A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person" as it was so succinctly put above. The former holds, at least in my mind, a more friendly air to it- not as serious. I'm not saying that I derive these feelings or emotions from others' use of these phrases, but simply that I know their meaning when *I* use them.

I have loved before. This isn't to say that I don't love now, or that I've fallen *in* love with someone before. These are my own silly definitions, and in the end, such matters of the heart shouldn't be analyzed in such a manner that it trivializes and quantifies every degree of love and those similar feelings. I don't rate the degree to which I love someone- when I truly feel that way towards someone, someone who is special and dear to me, and whom I really love, then I feel it inside of me, in the unmistakable form of that "pit-of-the-stomach" feeling... The one where 'you almost have to look away, but don't want to, for the fear that doing so could cause you to miss a moment where you could be looking at each other'... When it's something more than a simple crush or infatuation, (and it is sometimes difficult to discern the difference between the two) the first evidence is that the feeling will be wholly mutual. You'll make them feel precisely how they make you feel, and you'll believe that it's impossible, your feelings for them strong as they are. Other evidence is where you find your mind wandering in its spare time, but more importantly, how happy you know you can be with that person, through good times, and especially coming out of bad times. There are so many other factors, but when you love someone, you'll be willing to go to extraordinary lengths to make that love realized on both ends.

It's difficult to describe the difference in feeling that exists through love and through infatuation. It's just something *I* believe you simply know in your heart- something that can only come from having based your relationship with that person on a strong friendship, and to the point when, even after suffering through great periods of upset and the like, you come out with an even stronger feeling for that person...

Try to draw these distinctions in your mind, and keep separate your feelings- remember that infatuation comes so much easier than love, and treat love especially with the respect that it deserves. Love has the funny ability to outsmart even the brightest mind, and force the heart to do things it would normally never do, and feel things it would normally never feel, no matter how much you try to stop it. And love has that other crazy affinity towards driving people to making things work, even through and after periods of adversity, and with little or no regard of the cost.

Protect your heart, but when you know that something about that person is truly there- something that transcends all other limitations that would knock down simple feelings of infatuation- when you know that, allow yourself to love and love wholly. You'll never be disappointed by the decisions two like-minded hearts will make.

Next musing: Bad Poetry
Back to disillusioned's Notebook :: Back to the Musings
A very well constructed article. One of which I feel deserves much respect as the words and thoughts inside it release the mind to a very novel idea. That love is a splendid gift. A strong virtue. An incredible force, bringing two people together in an unstoppable cause. Many good thoughts to feast on. Thanks for sharing :) - Froz

   [FrozNic (J) 7/21/03 3:07 AM]

Excellent words. Just wanted to expound on one thought. When two people are truly in love the phrase “I love you” becomes frivolous since this phrase inadequately describes love’s depth. I’ve found that the deepest words remain unknown to the mind, unspoken by lips and unheard by ears. These words are only exchanged through every beat of the two hearts involved. You’ll find that the best conversations can be discovered in the silent moments shared with your beloved.

   [resplendence (J) 7/21/03 5:48 AM]

Great write up Dis. This is a thought process I have invoked upon myself many times in order to determine if I actually have deeper feelings for someone. I'm glad that you vocalized it in such a way that sounds more analytical than corny.

   [Canis (J) 7/21/03 2:38 PM]

We've chatted far too much on the subject for me to post anything concerning what you've written really. Brent, very very nice on that. I agree wholeheartedly and was glad someone said what was going to appear quite soon in this note. Keep in mind all, the only way to experience true untainted "love" or perhaps even happiness is by putting yourself out there and risking it all. Only this is something worth risking everything, most importantly your heart and soul. Plus i HIGHLY recommend to all of you who haven't experienced that which is "love" to get out there and at least give it a shot. Don't even go looking for love but at least do something you wouldn't ordinarily do for a change. Things don't just happen, you have to make them happen.

   [noprotein (J :: M) 7/22/03 3:42 AM]

i am quite impressed with your article. it has enlightened me. thank you.

   [je_ne_sais_quoi (J) 7/23/03 12:27 AM]

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