Love or infatuation?


Love or infatuation?


your avatar   Liza, 18-year-old woman

I am still in high school. I haven't had a boyfriend yet and I don't have any intention to have one at least until college. However, I've known this guy for almost two years now and I feel "something" for him. I always wanted to ask if he's already eaten; if he's happy or something's bothering him; what colors he likes - I just want to know more about him. Although imperfect, he is a very nice person. Simple, but has a big heart. I want to get closer and closer to him. But, it would just make the scenario even worse. He's quite older than me. He's still single but I don't know if he likes someone else. All I know is that I am happy with him. I feel full when I see him around. We both have a lot of similarities. Though I tried to forget about my feelings for him throughout the summer, I just couldn't do it. He's on my mind. He's my inspiration. He gives me courage to move on.

Is that what they call "love" or is it just infatuation? Is it even possible to know if he likes me too?


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Liza,

There are some crazy myths about love. It is supposed to be some sort of magical inner explosion. When you meet your Love, the world is supposed to change, and you are in heaven. Trouble is, when people meet someone and feel like this, often it proves to be an illusion. This romantic myth also causes harm in another way: Suppose I meet someone and think this is my soul mate. I will now have perfect love for the rest of my life. But in real life, nothing is ever perfect. There are ALWAYS problems between any two people. So, if I expect perfection I'll be disappointed. When the "honeymoon" is over and the problems arise, I'll think, "This is not my soul mate after all." And the tendency is to trade in this person for another, just like a car or computer.

The way to a satisfying long-term relationship is to be friends first and last. When the honeymoon glow wears off, what you have is friendship, or nothing much. This is what you have with this guy. You care about his welfare. Being with him makes you feel good. He and you share interests and similar world views. This friendship is a much better basis for long-term love than the romantic myth. Also, because you are not blinded by the distorting glasses of an infatuation, you can see that he is imperfect. You can see his faults and shortcomings, and the potential problem situations between you. This is wonderful. There are problems between any two people, as I've said. What you need to do with them is to address them in a mutually respectful way.

You have your education to complete and a career to build. You need to establish your own way in the world. However, having a loving relationship with another person is no bar to that. You can have both.

Have a good life,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


Give a problem its due consideration but don't over-think it. Rumination is a trap.
"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
Dr. Seuss
Remember, your weaknesses are not set in stone. You can improve anything if you set your mind to it.