What was it like when you first fell in love? Did time stand still? Can you remember what you were doing and what you were wearing?
Some of you were literally knocked off center. Instantly you were transformed from a reasonably functional and intelligent person into a stuttering bundle of insecurity. Just the sight of him filled you full of longing. Looking into her eyes and getting a whiff of her perfume transported you into another galaxy. Did you sleep with a T-shirt of his? When your hands accidentally brushed against hers was it as if you’d experienced an electrical shock?
Surely this must be love. This is what we’ve been waiting for. Our life no longer seems mundane. Movie script-writers, romance authors and many of our friends call this stage of temporary insanity, love.
It’s fun! We feel sexy! It’s fabulously dramatic, but we can at best, only call it a very early stage of what may prove to be love. What is it, then?
Your brain has been abducted. You are now under the influence of strong chemical forces. You are on natural amphetamines.
When we see love and infatuation as synonymous, we do a great disservice to ourselves and to the one we love. In marriage counseling I hear individuals, who started out as friends and grew over time into lovers, now question if they are missing something. The brave ones admit that they are envious of those who started with such a drama filled adventure.
Others, who have believed that infatuation is true love, have pursued infatuation at all costs. In the process, they have brought untold destruction to themselves, their spouse, and their children.
Both infatuation and love require one person. That’s where the similarities end.
At best infatuation, as stimulating as it may be, is only the earliest stage of love. So what really is infatuation?
Webster defines infatuation as…..
- Lacking sound judgment, foolish,
- Completely carried away by foolish or shallow love or affection.
- Extrapolating from insufficient information.
I can almost hear some of you thinking, “why are you writing this blog anyway? Are you trying to rain on our parade? Truth be told, I want you to be very clear that infatuation is just infatuation, not mature love.
Here is what research has taught us about infatuation?
- The initial physical attraction between two people has more to do with biology than love. Therefore we can be head over heels infatuated with a total jerk.
- Infatuation is not the same as acceptance. In fact at times the chemical wallop is so intoxicating that we appear to have undergone a personality change. We act differently. We try things we’ve never tried before. When infatuation wears off, a partner can actually feel as if they got false advertising.
- Infatuation results in blurred boundaries. We don’t know where we end and our beloved begins. We are “one”.
- Infatuation results in increased anxiety when our lover is separated from us.
- Infatuation renders us so optimistic that we ignore all red flags. We discount any input from any source that doesn’t affirm how fabulous our loved one is, even if that source has previously been a trusted resource for us.
- Infatuation and the sheer novelty of a new relationship give us extra energy and put us in a state of excitement whenever we are together.
- Infatuation has more to do with trying to get our needs met and our value reflected back in the gaze of our beloved. It’s focus is on being loved more than on choosing to love.
- Infatuation is fueled by chemicals such as PEA, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are released in the brain. It is sometimes referred to as nature’s love potion or a “love cocktail.” However it doesn’t last. Research suggests that infatuation’s life span is six months to two years.
Infatuation fueled by chemistry makes our heart sing. Yet, it is no guarantee that the one we are infatuated with will ever choose to be a conscious lover.
Until our next Conscious Lover’s Blog…..