by Zara Mohammed, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 26th April, 2019
Loving a person and being in love with someone can feel very different. Likewise, love can feel very different to different people, and the feelings and love you experience for someone can develop or change over time. Love is therefore very individual and subjective.
But there are a few qualities about love that many people experience in the same way, and so I have compiled these, each with an explanation of what the feelings mean.
A crush is a feel usually associated with young people because of its sense of innocence and the behaviours it can often result in, but anyone can develop a crush for anyone at any age.
I have known people in their teens, mid-twenties, late thirties, forties and even older who have described their crushes and they all seems to have one thing in common - a sense of childish giddiness when they see or think of the person they are crushing on.
I guess the only difference is that the older and more experienced you are, perhaps the more able you might be to control or disguise your feelings, or communicate them in a more mature and attractive manner. Crushes are awesome though, and they are a constant reminder of what it is like to feel young and in awe of someone.
Infatuation is a stronger feeling than having a crush on someone Infatuation usually grows out of a sense of feeling physically or emotionally connected to a person, and it is greatly charged by bodily chemicals that make you feel good.
You will know if you are infatuated with someone when they are all you can think about. It is a strong and overwhelming mixture of emotions, which can cause you to behave out of character.
Infatuation is known as a selfish kind of love, and this is because your focus is mainly on how the other person makes you feel. Often a lack of reciprocation of your own feelings can go unnoticed and lead to confusion and insecurity.
If you find yourself going from feeling intoxicatingly high to horribly low and back again, you are probably experiencing infatuation.
Being in love can feel wonderful. Everything seems more colourful, shinier, more inspiring and more positive when you feel in love. The future looks rosy, you can't imagine anything ever going wrong between you and your love one.
It can feel like you are drunk when you are with them, and all the moments you spend together will feel symbolic and special. You may even feel like you have found your soul mate. But being in love isn't all roses and chocolate, there are other emotions that go hand in hand with being in love, and there is a strong link to infatuation with the way you might be feeling in this state.
Being in love is a little bit like being on drugs, you feel great when you are with the person, but the more time you are apart the ore withdrawal symptoms you experience, and these can transform your positive feelings into negative ones like insecurity, jealousy, possessiveness and even obsession.
These can all be dangerous emotions, which have the potential to make your experience a darker one.
Feeling true love for a person is not the same as having a crush, feeling infatuated or being in love. True love is the kind of love that develops more slowly in a relationship. It takes time to mature, and it can often be hard work to maintain.
One of the main differences between loving someone and being in love with someone is that loving someone is a choice. It is something that you have to work at and offer compromise and understanding, compassion, caring, empathy and above all patience. Being in love can feel like you are out of control and that it is a feeling you can't escape from.
Real love means investing in someone, and showing consistency in your love for them no matter what happens between you. It is often described as unconditional love and people relate it to the kind of love you have for family members, very close friends, children and pets.
It is a warm, nurturing emotion that brings with is security and safety. It is often quite selfless, and should involve a sense of respect and equality.
Here is a checklist to help you work out how you are feeling, and what stage love you are experiencing for someone.