The Bruin Voice

Love vs. Infacatuation — the real difference

Jason Aquino, Staff Writer

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Despite all the vocabulary teens learn throughout their high school years, one phrase eludes definition: true love. For many teens, feelings of affection, lust and infatuation override the typical definition of love that involves commitment, compromise and loyalty.
It is easy for a teen to fall into a relationship due to lust or infatuation. Both feelings are primal and natural; sex drive and hormones can increase a teen’s desire for a partner. Infatuation is similar to a child receiving a new toy. The child loves the toy at first, but after playing with it for so long, interest varies and the child quickly moves on to the next shiny object.
“I believe most people fall so quickly into relationships because they’re lonely and want a sense of comfort,” senior Angelo Bulahan said.
At first, infatuation appears to be an antidote to feelings of loneliness and emptiness – emotions that leave one vulnerable to falling victim to partners who, at least initially, make the pain and fear associated with loneliness seem invisible.
Infatuation can also feed to feelings of attachment to the point of being obsessive. This feeling works to fulfill a need. Infatuation focuses only on the best, most positive attributes of the relationship – not its entirety.
“Love manages to be intoxicating and terrifying at the same time,” Voice Correspondent of HelpYourTeenNow Grace Ford said. “It can be mysterious and elusive. It takes something that should be so simple and makes it seem extremely complex.”
Similar to infatuation, lust can be deceptive and is often confused for love. Typically, lust is superficial and lacks substance and significance; it is a drive solely based on physical attributes. Lust and infatuation are connected in that they both glorify the positives of the relationship instead of acknowledging the relationship in its entirety.
“I was once overly obsessed with this girl,” junior Samuel Yi said. “At the time, I neglected that I was infatuated and just believed I was in love. I would constantly text her and she was always prominent in my mind. It was unhealthy.”
Love and lust are not just emotion driven feelings; for teens, hormones play a role in how a teenager approaches relationships. Part of puberty is the uncontrollable influx of hormonal based breakdowns and anxiety. An imbalance of serotonin can lead a person struggling with self-image nt a hole. Emptiness and low self esteem can stem from seeing couples around campus but not feeling personally worthy enough to be in a relationship.
Social media also hinders a teen’s decisiveness for whether or not they are infatuated with somebody. Social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter portray only the positives of a relationship. This distortion may play into the dynamic where there are certain societal standards for being in a relationship.
“What I’ve seen is that it’s expected to put your anniversary date on your Instagram bio, and to make Snapchats with each other and the gifts you buy,” junior Niko Brown said.
But through all mixed feelings, confusion and distractions, love can be very real in a teenager’s life. Love is marathon. Love is a safety net to experience every emotion with another person, yet still desire to see them the next day.
“Infatuation traps the person into one character,” junior Vincent Ferrer said. “Lust then makes you want sexual relations based off that one character. [Both lust and infatuation] create a fallacy and a false image that you grow out of over time. Love is pain. It is growing as an individual to admire the true character of your partner. That’s what love is.”

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Love vs. Infacatuation — the real difference