We’ve all at some time been held in the grips of infatuation.
It is, by definition, an intense and short-lived experience. Nobody stays infatuated.
But whilst it lasts, infatuation and the accompanying feelings – longing, devotion, etc. – can be quite all-consuming and tough to bear.
A lot of us have learned the painful way that infatuation isn’t necessarily a thing to allow to guide your decisions. Infatuation, unlike ingredients such as common values, mutual appreciation, admiration, respect, love and desire, may not be a solid basis for a relationship.
This post details some truths about infatuation, set out Q&A style, which should help you to get a perspective and get over an infatuation the next time it happens.
(If you are currently in the throes, then you have my sympathies and good luck my friend).
What is infatuation?
Your infatuation might be a defence mechanism, an unconscious strategy for avoiding pain. It sound totally crazy to say that infatuation is way of warding off pain, but it really can be.
When we idealise someone, it protects us against feelings of inner pain and despair. The initial profound infatuation with the person creates a feeling similar to a drug-induced ‘high’ which temporarily elevates us out of our depression.
So if you get infatuated a lot, this could be a thing. And the key to getting over your infatuation is to realise that it’s you creating the situation to deal with uncomfortable feelings. (I recommend practicing acceptance, if this is the case).
If not a defence mechanism, what else is infatuation?
Infatuation can also happen as a result of projection. Every self respecting millennial has come across the term ‘projection’. But are you clear on what it actually means?
A projection is a different defence mechanism that we use to keep aspects of ourselves that we have denied hidden from our awareness. Why we do this is something I have written about in a previous post.
It is an inherently difficult thing to be able to see, but your infatuation object could have the traits that you have disowned. Confidence, for example, or success or charisma. You could be attributing too much significance to these things, as you see them as outside of your personal reach.
Another form of projection is where we attribute to others a special ability to give us a feeling that we aren’t giving ourselves: unconditional love and acceptance, for example. A lot of us do not treat ourselves with love and unconditional acceptance.
Having a load of disowned traits makes us easy targets for infatuation. If someone happens to come along bearing those things, they ‘hook’ us easily.
Help yourself not to be such an easy target by working to reintegrate your Shadow aspects. If you think that projection is the reason that you get infatuated with people, then this is the secret to getting over infatuation for you.
Do we all have an infatuation pattern?
Unless you’re totally integrated and whole, then you probably do have some kind of pattern to your infatuations.
Understand what yours is by using mindfulness and self-observation. What types of people do you tend to get infatuated with? What are their qualities? Are you addicted to the highs and inevitable lows of idolising someone and then having them fall from grace?
Our infatuations are great clues to disowned parts of ourselves. These parts hold a lot of power over us until we make them conscious.
What do you do when infatuation isn’t reciprocated?
If your infatuation was reciprocated, then you probably wouldn’t be reading this article, but I pose the question nonetheless.
If you need to get over an infatuation and fall out of love with somebody, then read this.
Can infatuation turn into love?
Yeah I think so. Just because you’re infatuated, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a solid basis for a relationship. But you do need to separate the two things out ideally.
How do you know whether your infatuation could materialize into something substantial?
You have to figure out what you value in life and in your partner. Choosing romantic partners needs to be based on values, not infatuation, in my opinion anyway.
If you want relationship fulfilment, you’re better off selecting a person with the qualities you know you are looking for. It needs to be a conscious decision.
Otherwise, it is worth hanging in there, and waiting for that itch to stop itching.
Which it will. It always does.
After a period of growth and awareness work, you may notice fewer incidents of infatuation. That has been my experience at least. It happens naturally once you begin owning all of your positive and negative traits, and practicing self-love so that you don’t go to others to fill the gaps.
That doesn’t mean we stop seeing the amazing qualities in others. In my experience, we see them even more clearly. It just means nobody’s on the pedestal.
After all, it’s lonely up there (and down there, too).