When Does Infatuation Become Love? Signs You Truly Care About Someone

When does infatuation become love? For some, these two feelings seem nearly identical. A person who’s full of wild passion for their new partner is often said to be “head-over-heels in love.” But in reality, the two are very different. Love may follow on the heels of infatuation, but it’s definitely not a foregone conclusion. Here is when you know you’re truly in deep with someone and it’s serious.

  1. You worry about them. Your heart has to be deeply tied to someone to fear for their wellbeing. It shows that you are invested in their livelihood, not just their attention. When you call to make sure they’re okay after they leave your house at night or when you know they’ve had an exhausting day, you’re displaying a characteristic behavior of love, not infatuation.
  2. You want the best for them. Infatuation is selfish. You think about what you can get from the person–attention, affection, sexual gratification, desire. Whatever they feel outside of your relationship is not important. However, when you love someone, you separate yourself from them. You start to care about their needs and ambitions and emotions that exist outside your relationship. You want them to succeed in their pursuits because you care about their happiness beyond how it affects you.
  3. You accept their imperfections. When you’re head-over-heels in lust with someone, you only see their good side. As far as you’re concerned, they are perfect. You idealize them to the point of blindness. When the filter of infatuation is lifted and you realize they are imperfect, you will either lose interest in them, or you will accept their failings and embrace them as a complete human being. If it’s the latter, you are headed for love.
  4. You make sacrifices. Loving someone means compromising with them. You will never see exactly eye-to-eye with anyone, even if they’re your soulmate, and you will therefore find out how resilient your feelings are for each other when you encounter a conflict. If you’re infatuated, you’ll throw up your hands and walk away, determined to not give an inch. If you’re in love, you’ll work through the frustration and find a middle ground.
  5. You let them see your ugly side. Love requires transparency. You can’t always put your best foot forward with the people you’re closest to, and eventually, this means you’ll be the worst version of yourself sometimes. When you’re infatuated with someone, your aim is always to impress. You will do anything to avoid showing your weaknesses, even if it means hiding a significant part of yourself. When you’re in love, you won’t try to hide who you are anymore.
  6. You’ve been together for at least three months. Research indicates that men take about three months to say “I love you” for the first time, while women take nearly five months. When you’re swept up in the whirlwind of infatuation, it’s easy to imagine that you’re in love. But love takes time to develop, and you won’t say it to your partner unless you know it’s real. If you’re feeling confused about whether you’re infatuated or in love, consider how long you’ve been together.
  7. You don’t run away from their issues. Infatuation does not withstand even the slightest disturbance. Because it is self-serving, you won’t stick around when your partner asks you for an inconvenient favor or struggles with their mental health. You want to maintain the high of romantic obsession, and anything that detracts from that is a turn-off. When you’re in love, however, your connection is so strong that you stick with your partner even when things are tough.
  8. Your emotions are steady. Love is not as exciting as it’s portrayed in movies and books. You don’t daydream about your partner every moment of the day. You don’t giddily tell your friends each tiny detail of your most recent date. And you don’t feel electric currents run through you every time they touch you. All of those things are signs of infatuation. Love is steady and enduring. It settles over you like a warm, cozy blanket and sustains you through even the most challenging times.
  9. You communicate with each other. One of the reasons infatuation is so exciting is because there is a hint of mystery to it. You immerse yourself in intense emotion, but you’re never quite sure where the other person stands. Your mind is occupied with speculation. Do they feel about you the way you feel about them? When you’re in love, you and your partner know how you feel about each other. Your emotions are obvious because they run deep enough to show on your faces and in your actions.
  10. You trust them. Trust is one of the most important components of love. Without trust, your feelings are closer to fear than love. When you’re infatuated with someone, you haven’t reached the stage where you can ask anything of them or put your heart on the line. You may be jealous, but you keep it to yourself because you don’t want to reveal how strong your feelings are. When you’re in love, you abandon pretenses. You have let yourself fall for them, and that requires a willingness to be hurt.

How do you know when it’s only infatuation rather than love?

If you feel like you might be in love with someone but you’re not quite sure, it could just be the intensity of that initial infatuation stage that’s playing tricks on your mind and heart. If you relate to any of the following, chances are you’re not in with them all that deep.

  1. You think they’re perfect in every way. No one is perfect and logically speaking, you know this. So why do you put them on a pedestal and act as if they’re flawless? Elevating a partner’s status to near god-like is a sign that you actually know nothing about them and are more into the idea of them than you are the actuality. How can you love someone you don’t truly know?
  2. Things with them are moving at the speed of light. Yes, the old saying is “when you know, you know,” but it’s a red flag when relationships move so fast that neither person can keep up with them. Typically speaking, the desire to speed things up and rush through relationship milestones rather than to live and bask in the moment is fuelled by infatuation rather than love. It becomes an all-out obsession, driving you to push things forward without even thinking about it. In other words, it’s not a good thing.
  3. You’re not showing them your true self. You can’t love someone and they can’t love you if you can’t be yourself around them. We all want to make a good impression when we first start dating someone, but if you’ve been out on a few dates now or have even been together for a couple of months and there’s a whole side of you (or multiple sides) that they’re completely unaware of, there’s no way you love them. You’re infatuated with them, which means you’re still stuck in that “I need to impress” phase. You’ll have to get out of that if you want your relationship to stand a chance.
  4. You feel a bit desperate. As mentioned above, infatuation leads to obsession, and that can make you feel and seem desperate. You call them constantly, you start to feel clingy and needy, you want so much from them that you can never get enough. It’s not healthy and certainly doesn’t have long-term potential. Oh yeah, and it definitely isn’t love. Love is patient, love is kind… you get the picture.
  5. You want to jump their bones every time you see them. While wanting to have sex with a new partner isn’t weird, obviously, it is a problem if that’s the biggest connection you have. Infatuation can often result from incredible sexual chemistry, but it doesn’t mean there’s anything deeper there. If you feel a bit at a loss with them when you’re not getting it on, there’s no way you love them.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.