It is not unusual for a teenager to feel affection for someone, or even believe themselves to be in love. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to complicated and downright awkward situations. This can certainly be the case if the object of your affections does not know that you exist.
Whether you only recently developed feelings for someone that you have run into in passing, or you secretly admire an acquaintance, it can be quite disheartening to feel unseen and unknown while your heart beats with ardor. In such a situation, understanding the difference between love and infatuation can make all the difference.
Infatuation is defined as feeling extremely attracted to someone due to physical appearance, or merely emotions and fantasies. In these cases, people tend to be more excited to fall in love than to actually be in love. While infatuation may seem like love, it is more of a passing thrill that fades with time. This feeling is usually marked by obsessiveness. You will lose interest in other activities, you may find yourself daydreaming about the person, or you could become possessive and jealous. You may also be overly sensitive when interpreting their behavior.
In contrast, genuine love is far deeper. Rather than possessiveness, genuine love is marked by both respect and admiration of the person. Love transcends the superficial and focuses on platonic connection and the building of emotional bonds. This level of commitment is usually not present with mere infatuation. Additionally, real love involves communicating with the person, instead of merely fantasizing. Finally, while infatuation lasts only as long as it is kept alive by excitement and mystery, real love can stand up to whatever life throws at it, although it sometimes takes hard work and dedication.
So, if you are a teenager in such a situation and not sure what to do, you should take a step back and analyze the feelings you have. While falling in love can be one of life’s most liberating and beautiful experiences, this is a crucial line, between something that may pass, and a momentous milestone. Having somebody reciprocate, creating memories together and learning to communicate openly, is far more gratifying than simply dreaming about them.
Unfortunately, sometimes you may discover that you are merely infatuated, but it serves as an important lesson that can help you build self-confidence and awareness in later relationships. If, however, it turns out that you genuinely care for the person, then taking the time to process it can help you invest in yourself and focus on the qualities you like in yourself. Self-acceptance is a powerful tool and an essential element of everything that comes afterwards, including expressing your feelings and finally sharing your love.
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