Love Vs. In Love: 20 Differences

Love Vs. In Love: Have you ever wondered what the key differences are between loving someone and being in love with them?

While love and infatuation can appear similar on the surface, they are quite different emotions that impact how we behave and think about our relationships.

In this post, we will explore 20 key differences between simply loving someone versus truly being in love with them.

Understanding these distinctions can provide useful insight into your feelings and relationships.

It may help you better recognize where you’re at emotionally and what needs may or may not be getting met.

Let’s get into the first 10 differences between love and being in love.

Differences Between Love Vs. In Love

Love Vs. In Love: 20 Differences

1. Focus of Attention

When you love someone, that person is important to you but likely shares your mental and emotional attention with others as well.

However, when you’re ‘In love’, that person tends to dominate your thoughts and priorities.

Minor tasks throughout the day may remind you of them. Everything circles back to the relationship in some way.

2. Frequency of Thoughts

Along those same lines, how often the person comes to mind differs between love and being in love. With love, thinking about them is periodic throughout the day.

When you’re in love, it’s nearly constant. Brief moments away from thinking about them are a relief rather than the norm.

3. Level of Affection

Displays of affection, when you love someone, can be meaningful but don’t carry the same intensity as when you’re in love.

Hand-holding, hugging, and expressions of care feel profound and deeply emotional when infatuated versus comfortable and casual when it’s love.

4. Physical Attraction

Physical attraction is generally present with love, but the magnetic pull and obsessive passion that comes with infatuation magnifies it exponentially.

Their appearance and the thoughts it elicits in you are amplified when you’re in love in a way it’s not with love alone.

5. Emotional Investment

Loving someone indicates valuing and prioritizing them as a person. Being in love, however, adds a deeper layer of vulnerability.

A situation where the relationship itself becomes emotionally wrapped up in your sense of self, purpose, and happiness that love alone does not demand. Losing the relationship would cut deeply.

6. Daydreaming

Fantasizing about shared experiences, adventures, and encounters yet to come is typical for those in love in a way it usually isn’t for those who simply love.

Daydreams inject positivity and strengthen the emotional bond versus casual considerations of possible future events with a loved one.

7. Idealization

Related to daydreaming is the tendency, sometimes subconscious, to idealize attributes of the person you’re in love with and the relationship.

Flaws slip from focus, and all the positive qualities are amplified through rose-colored glasses to an out-sized degree versus the balanced perspective held with love.

8. Obsession

When in love, small acts like a brief text or an instant of shared eye contact can remain vivid in memory and lift one’s mood for hours or days.

With love alone, such minor interactions don’t carry that intense obsessional quality or power to deeply affect your emotions.

9. Jealousy

Feelings of jealousy, if they exist at all with love, are mild and occasional. But with infatuation, jealousy sparks easily, intensely, and frequently over trivial real or imagined threats to the relationship.

It indicates a lack of trust beyond simple concern for a loved one.

10. Long-Term Commitment

While love can thrive long-term, being in love is characterized by uncertainty about duration.

The infatuation high could disappear quickly once the novelty fades, leaving commitment uncertain versus the stability expected when two people love each other long-term.

11. Time Spent Together

With love, one values shared time but can enjoy separation, independence, and time apart without discomfort.

Being in love creates a near-constant desire to be around the object of your affection which separation hard even for brief periods.

12. Communication Frequency

Staying in regular communication via calls, texts, and messages throughout the day comes more naturally when in love.

This is in contrast to the occasional checking in loved ones may do with each other without feeling disconnected.

13. Gift Giving

Thoughtful, sentimental gifts are often exchanged when in love to strengthen the bond and express affection.

For loved ones, gifts tend to focus more on occasions, being practical, or experiences to share versus tokens of infatuation and longing.

14. Social Media Interactions

Couples in love frequently post about each other publicly – sharing photos, comments and displays of affection that loved ones save more for in-person versus broadcasting.

It indicates a need for validation and public acknowledgment of the relationship.

15. Quality Time Focus

Being in love creates a desire to learn everything possible about the other person through heartfelt conversations.

Whereas loving someone in this context will focus more on shared enjoyable activities and not fixating only on each other constantly.

16. Physical Intimacy

Not just sex, but constantly wanting to cuddle, hold hands, and share affectionate touches comes more naturally when in love.

Loved ones express intimacy when feeling close versus it being an almost constant state of neediness.

17. Compromise Level

When in love, accommodating each other’s preferences and desires in most matters seems instinctive and brings joy.

With love, compromise honors each other’s needs but does require more conscious effort versus naturalness with infatuation.

18. Jealousy Triggers

Being in love prompts jealousy over platonic friends of any gender, celebrity crushes, or interactions perceived as too friendly although not to the extent of being toxic.

For loved ones, jealousy addresses meaningful emotional/sexual threats while trusting platonic bonds.

19. Future Planning

Making detailed life plans together centered around being a long-term coupling frequently occurs with infatuation in the early stages.

Loved ones discuss future goals and values matched as individuals first before immediately merging identities.

20. Emotional Highs & Lows

The infatuation which stems from surface love brings intense surges of passion, excitement, and joy.

However, it is also unstable as it can shift from bliss to sadness, anxiety, or despair, and fluctuations between happiness and security are far less dramatic.

Being in love on the other, hand despite wrongdoings and trials with your partner, the love remains.


How Long Should Infatuation Last Before Turning Into Love?

Experts generally say infatuation tends to last 6-18 months depending on individual personalities and relationship experience.

Of course, duration alone doesn’t determine if it’s love – you need mutual care, respect, commitment, and compatibility beyond heady feelings alone.

Can Infatuation and Love Coexist or Will One Take Over?

The intense focus and obsession of infatuation usually do fade as relationship realities set in.

It can sometimes allow true love to build over time with commitment through both good and challenging experiences together.

They don’t always entirely replace each other either.

What if I Still Have Some Infatuation Feelings Even Years Into a Relationship – Is It Still Not Love?

Having residual infatuation or “sparks” even long-term doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t deeply loving.

Emotions evolve but true partnership is what matters. Do you feel deeply connected, and supportive of each other’s growth?

Or do you have a strong desire to keep building a life together through all of life’s changes ahead? Infatuation alone doesn’t define it.

At What Point Should I Consider Ending a Relationship if I’m Confused About Infatuation vs Love?

If intense insecurity, jealousy, or obsessive behaviors continue for 6-9 months without signs of stabilizing into mutual care and respect, that’s a red flag the infatuation may not develop into love.

Lack of effort to genuinely understand each other’s perspective also points to incompatibility. Give yourself a timeframe to reassess honestly if expectations are being met.

Read Also: Why Does My Wife Say I Don’t Love Her?

Final Thought

As we’ve explored the concept of love vs in love, it’s essential to note that love and infatuation present very differently even if they feel all-consuming in the moment.

The key is whether a relationship anchored in deep caring, compatibility, and commitment is developing beyond fleeting strong emotions alone over time.

Pay attention to how you both make each other feel – secure and uplifted rather than unstable.

Overall, understanding the differences can help foster healthy, long-lasting connections.

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