Most of us experience a phase in life where we think we are completely in love with a person. But can we be sure that it is love and not infatuation? When infatuated, you tend to imagine a beautiful situation with this person in your mind, giving way to feelings of pure joy.
Infatuation, also known as limerence, can be described as an unreasonable desire to be with a person who is constantly in your thoughts, leading to passing moments of pleasure.
This short-lived passion causes sleepless nights, and your mind is always in endless thoughts of the charismatic but fugacious beloved.
Most people, at some age or the other, are smitten by the strong forces of attraction. Let us look at some causes which develop such a temperament in an individual.
Looks Do Kill
Physical attraction happens to be one of the biggest reasons for a person falling for somebody. Beauty attracts you, and you feel like being physically close to that special person. it plays a crucial role in infatuation. It becomes harder to get away from this feeling, as you are gripped by the strong forces of beauty. You start thinking it’s serious love, only to find that it lasts for just a few weeks or months. Though most people stand by the cliché, ‘looks don’t matter’, it definitely does.
The Need for Excitement
It could either be the first time you’re ‘falling in love’, or it could be because you want to move on from your previous relationship failures. You want someone who gives you a chance to work on your drawbacks. You want to be with someone who can bring some liveliness in your day-to-day schedule. Infatuation serves as a distraction, and keeps your mind occupied for long periods, ensuring you don’t get bored in your free time, creating a sense of excitement.
Need for Attention
Humans always carry an intense desire to be ‘special’. This leads to the search for someone who can give attention to your moods and sentiments. You create a situation where you act sad or fight with the ‘crush’; at times even crying, as you feel the need to be comforted and pacified. Everybody loves to be sympathized with, and be the apple of an eye. The eagerness to find someone who treats you special, and actually getting that attention, can be a serious cause for infatuation.
The Chemistry of Infatuation
A likely cause behind infatuation is the chemical reactions that take place in your brain. When you see a person you like, phenylethylamine (PEA), a natural alkaloid, is emitted by your body, which speeds up the communication between your nerve cells and triggers the release of dopamine, which creates a feeling of bliss.
Diane Ackerman, author of ‘The Nature of Love and A Natural History of the Senses’, states that norepinephrine, a catecholamine, stimulates the production of adrenaline. Combined, these three chemicals act as amphetamines, elevating energy and mood levels. The effects of these chemicals usually can last anywhere between six months to three years, after which people either decide to stick with each other or find a new high.
Loneliness happens to be one of the major causes of infatuation. While waiting for the love of your life, you may get pulled into this short-lived passion. When the ‘right’ person does not breeze in fast enough, you make amends or compensate for it by falling for someone temporarily. A basic example that proves this is looking at how you spend your waking and sleeping moments when you are single and lonely.
Even a stranger who jogs along the road during your morning walk seems attractive, as does the person you had a crush on in high school. A few calls and you are ready to believe that these people are your perfect soul-mates. This stops you from waiting for something to happen, and also provides some lively moments to fill the emptiness in your life.
The Hope for Better
When you face rejection, you choose to create a mirage where you believe the person you have a crush on is an embodiment of a true hero possessing only positive attributes. He/she happens to be the person who understands your pain and sorrow. You believe he/she will love and accept you for what you are. In this scenario, you opt to believe that your crush never ever rejects you, and pays heed to all your little needs and wants.
In your new-found ‘love’, you find attributes that were missing in your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, who just gave a cold shoulder to your feelings and emotions. You are blinded by the halo that you have created around this person, and you love this blindness as it progresses.
Disinterest in Your Current Relationship
Lack of true love between two people is also a major cause of infatuation. As time goes by, one gets to know about the true nature of his love. Many times, you reach a saturation point or certain stagnation in your relationship. At this point of time, you start looking for someone else in your life. This is when you get infatuated, either because the new person possesses qualities that your partner lacks, or simply because you need a temporary change.
Many times, the stress exerted on the mind leads you to try out different things in your life. Everyone enjoys living a life that is engulfed in love and appreciation. When infatuated, the person in mind relieves you of your stress. You feel like you are embalmed in a cocoon of unadulterated bliss where you unwind for the day, transcending to a man-made heaven. The crush appears to be a stress buster at the end of the day.
It is perfectly normal to get infatuated by someone. But the high anticipation you may have for someone can sometimes end in bitter results. Moreover, infatuation may cause you to take steps which may not be in your favor. Your love for a person should be prudent and not based on looks or for a temporary change in your life.