Why Does Infatuation Get Such A Bad Rap?
Infatuation is a little like money. Money represents value, a necessary resource in our society. Whether it is good or bad depends not on the money, but on how the money is used. In the hands of a terrorist it yields mayhem, destruction and death. But, with good intent and actions it can generate benefit for millions.
Infatuation is simply intense feelings of love toward someone or something. Like money, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with those feelings. The problem is that infatuation typically lacks friendship, it lacks commitment, in short—it lacks relationship. Infatuation can attach itself to the innocuous (someone you admire at a distance), the inappropriate (someone who is already married), or the foolish (a movie star, an entertainer, a fictional character in a novel, or even someone who’s dead)!
Recently my twin daughters were studying the story of Romeo and Juliet. Gasp! Do you remember that Romeo and Juliet’s passion for each other was based on only three hours of interaction at a party?! They married 16 hours later. Good grief! Not only was Juliet merely 13 years old, but also Romeo had been infatuated with another woman just prior to the party. We might call Romeo and Juliet’s relationship “mutual infatuation.” I mean really, how much can you possibly know about a person in three hours? He knew that she was beautiful; she knew that he was handsome. They felt intense passion for each other. They ended up killing themselves over it! It’s likely that Romeo had serious anger-resolution issues (he killed two men in separate incidents within 24 hours); maybe Juliet was a jealous co-dependent; perhaps they were entirely incompatible. But their final act illustrates self-destructive behavior at its most extreme. Even more tragic is that they’re both dead and unable to cash in on the royalties from their enormously popular story!
Now, infatuation does not usually lead to death, but the story certainly is a reminder of how quickly and easily infatuation can trap us and lead to impulsive decisions. Ultimately, we need to remember that infatuation is a state of being completely carried away by unreasoning passion or love. If you or someone you know is intensely infatuated, what can be done? Here are two suggestions:
1. Get into a real relationship: Infatuation is based on a valid human need—the need to love and to be loved. So if one’s infatuation is feeding a need for romantic relationship then the answer is to get into a real relationship with an appropriate person that can fulfill these needs. The first step is to give up and move away from the unhealthy infatuation. So how do you do that? Try my next suggestion-
2. Don’t nurture it: Develop alternative focuses. When infatuation grips you, choose to shift your attention elsewhere. If infatuation is not nurtured, in time it will melt away.
I appreciate that neither of these steps may be easy. In some cases it may require counseling to help you develop real relationships. But when healing occurs the “intense feeling of love” can play the proper role in your life, just like money can provide benefit when used appropriately.