This is probably the best time to bring up infatuation vs. being in love. I say that because we've heard of men breaking up before the holidays to either save money or avoid any steps to commitment--e.g. meeting the family. I think I might have done that to a girl in college.
So, what is being in love? We can't just go with Ron Burgundy's take on love.
I found an article in the November issue of Austin Woman that discusses the difference between being in love with a person and just loving the person.
The article, which is written by Eric Leech, lists nine differences of infatuation versus being in love, and concludes that "True love should be selective, connected and enduring."
Below I've listed the nine differences along with my thoughts (in red).
1. "Your best" - Leech explains that when a person is in love "the relationship should bring out the best of both" people; whereas when a person loves, it's not entirely genuine and only done to keep the other person around. I've done that. Other guys have done this, and I would be surprised if women weren't guilty of this too. When a couple is in love, both encourage each other to be the best in life.
2. "Happiness" - Leech states that when a person is in love, that person"will be happy when he [or she] makes you happy." This is probably true. Relationships works both ways. If happiness only benefits one person in the relationship, then it's probably an infactuation.
3. "Selflessness" - A person is in love when that person "seeks to understand with compassion..." and will find ways to make life better, while a person who loves expects things in return after doing something nice. I'm guilty of this and should improve in this department. Men need to listen more and not just rush to purchase the most expensive thing to receive something in return.
4. "Planning" - Leech explains that when a person is in love, that person will plan the weekends around the other person's schedule. When my wife and I were dating, our time together were spent around her schedule.
5. "Joy" - Leech quotes American psychiatrist Dr. George E. Vaillant, "The secret to life is finding joy, not happiness... Happiness is drive reduction. Joy is connection." In other words, sex gets old. The key is compatibility.
6. "Future" - When a person is in love, ther person "will see a future" with the other person; while a person who only loves does not "necessarily influence a man [or woman] to think ahead." One word: commitment. If the person is not willing to commit long term, then perhaps the person is not in love.
7. "Vulnerability" - "Being in love is when a guy [or gal] allows...fears and vulnerabilities to bring the two of you closer." I encountered this when my wife and I were getting serious in our relationship. I was extremely scared with everything I was inheriting and bringing into our relationship. Regardless, I knew I loved her and wanted to be with her despite any challenge. It's been that way since.
8. "Attachment" - Leech states that "Men [or women] in love will become attached to their relationship, whereas love itself is more of an addiction." An old girlfriend of mine was extremely possessive to the point where she would drive down my street checking to make sure I was at home. Being with her was great, but I knew that we weren't in love with each other and that it was all an infatuation. Soon after, I called it off. Yes, this is the same girl I dumped before the holidays.
9. "Pairing" - "Pairing up as a couple in love is about sharing intimacies with each other." Love shouldn't be of convenience.
In other words, there's more to love than just afternoon delights. It's about bringing the best out of the you love without expectations and enjoying each other's time together.
You can read the complete article HERE.
Men's Health has The Bacon Test. See if you are in love or infatuated HERE.