In Summary

A number of people are convinced that they are in love with someone just because they cannot stop thinking about them. However, most of the time the intensity that comes with really liking someone is infatuation. Here are some ways to tell the difference.

The beginning stages of any relationship can be intense and it is easy to think that your connection might actually be love. However, most times it is hard to differentiate between love and infatuation since the two are confusing. In many relationships, people talk about love without necessarily knowing what it means.

Juliet Rwebembera says she was once trapped in such a scenario. “While in my first year of university, I got involved in a relationship that was built on lies. The man claimed to love me so much but in actual sense he was only attracted to my physical appearance. When we became intimate, his ‘love’ drastically reduced. He started ignoring my calls and make excuses not to meet with me until I decided to let go of the relationship,” she shares.

According to Margaret Tumusiime, a counsellor with Girl Talk Uganda, the difference between infatuation and love is that one is short –lived while the other is permanent. “Infatuation is a short-lived passion for someone whereas love is a deep affection for someone that lasts the test of time,” she says.

She observes that infatuation is a powerful feeling that has on many occasions made people think they are in love when they are not.
“I know people who declared their love for each other after a few days. But, a few months later, they realise that they hated everything about each other. This means that when they claimed to love each other, they had not taken enough time to really get to know the person enough to really love them,” she adds. She gives signs of infatuation.

Infatuated people have only one intention; satisfying their needs
Paul Mubiru, a relationship counsellor in Mukono, says if your partner does not care about your needs but is always forcing you to do what they like, then it might be a sign that they are using you to satisfy themselves and probably not having genuine love for you.

Mubiru adds that if all you can see is perfection in that person, then it is infatuation and not love. “Nobody is perfect, no matter how much it seems that way. Every one of us has faults and makes mistakes and can get a bit annoying to other human beings. When you truly love someone, you can see them for who they are the good, including the bad and love them anyway,” he says.

How to tell it is genuine love
Tumusiime says love is patient, kind and does not envy. She adds that love does not boast, it is not proud and makes people feel at ease. She adds that love does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, it always protects, always trusts, always hope, and always perseveres. To her if anybody experiences the above attributes in a relationship, then they are in love.

Love takes time to build
Ali Male, a counsellor at YMCA, says love takes time to build, and if you are in love with someone, you enjoy the process of getting to know them and building your relationship with them one step at a time. Male adds that with love, one connects to the inner things of a person and not just their appearance.
“Some people connect to the outside appearance of a person and they think they are in love but I can assure you that you do not connect to the superficial things in a person, you connect to the internal things, such as how they feel, what they believe, what their hopes and dreams are, and how they treat other people. If you love the way they sing or look, then that is infatuation,” he explains.

Differences
•Infatuation happens instantly. Love is a slow process.
•Infatuation craves physical affection. Love craves a deeper connection.
•Infatuation makes you act irrationally or ‘crazy.’ Love calms you down.
•Infatuation is intense but short-lived. Love is comfortable but lasts longer.
•Infatuation is reckless with our emotions. Love is more considerate.
•Infatuation brings out obsession and jealousy. Love brings out understanding and trust.