When you think about falling in love you may think of the sweaty palms, dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, and giddiness that many people experience when they are first attracted to someone. You may also think of the intense physical attraction that you can feel for someone you want to be with. These feelings can be part of falling in love, but love, if given the chance, develops beyond infatuation.
It's important to understand the progression from infatuation to love and to understand that there are lots of important things to think about when you are entering into a love relationship. If you have questions about your feelings or your relationship, talk to someone you trust, like a parent, friend or counsellor at Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868). We are here to talk with you 24-hours a day.
Infatuation is the initial attraction and intense desire for the other person. Infatuation sometimes feels like love and looks a lot like what is portrayed in many movies, books and fairytales. If you are infatuated you may be:
- Convinced that you can't live without the other person
- Unable to see the person for who they really are because in your eyes they are perfect
Infatuation is usually temporary and eventually fades.
Love usually lasts longer and goes deeper than the strong sexual feelings related to infatuation. This doesn't mean that you don't feel sexual desire for someone that you love - it just means that you will usually feel more than just the initial excitement of physical arousal. If you love someone you:
- See the person for who they really are
- Accept their good and bad qualities
- Respect their opinions
- Share similar values and beliefs
- Trust that they love you even when they're far away
Love doesn't depend on what your boyfriend or girlfriend is wearing, how popular they are or whether or not you are having sex with them.
Falling in love can be a magical experience but it can also be confusing and frustrating. Love can be chaotic, all consuming and irrational. As hard as it may be, you need to try to be somewhat rational when you fall in love. You will need to think about important things like:
- Issues surrounding sexuality (such as using birth control and protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS)
If you decide to have a longer-term relationship with someone you will probably want to introduce that person to your family and friends. For some people, this is a time of joy. Sometimes your parents may worry about whether the person you are seeing is kind and whether you are both making responsible decisions, but hopefully they will support your choice of partners.
Sometimes your parents may not approve of your partner. Maybe they are worried that you are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. If they are concerned about how your partner treats you, you may want to consider what they have to say even if this is difficult.
It may also be possible that your parents don't approve of your partner's gender, race, age or religion. You may be very happy with your partner and have a good relationship even though your parents do not accept it. This type of family conflict can be very challenging. You need to learn to stay true to yourself while at the same time dealing with people around you who do not approve of your choice of partner. Fighting discrimination demands continuous effort. You will no doubt have to discuss the situation with your partner and also with other people who you trust to make decisions about how to deal with your family's disapproval.
Here are a few questions you may need to think about:
If they do not approve of your choice of partner but you are happy with this person and feel you are in a healthy relationship, then it is important that you stay true to yourself. Discuss the issues with your partner and find ways to deal with the relationships that are being affected.
- Is it possible to talk things through with your family?
- Do you usually have a good relationship with your family?
- Despite their disapproval are your parents open to trying to get to know your partner?
Last checked: March 2010