infatuation is like an opiate high. where love is still in the early flirtatious giggley stage.. the stage where your palms get sweatly.. your tummy feels like butterflies are fluttering about.. its a lovely thing.

Their words can crush you or lift you to undreamt of heights.
You think nothing of rearranging your life to suit them.
Your priorities switch without you realising it.
You wonder if you are unhealthily obsessed; You worry about an accusation of net stalking.
Every word on every line of every email from them makes you beam like a child at Christmas.
You get hot and cold just thinking about talking to them.
Your literary talents suddenly seem to explode.
You try to convey this to your friends, but they stare at you baffled.
You misinterpret the slightest little thing to mean that this is destiny.
You find meaning in lyrics again.
Sometimes it feels as if you are falling from a plane, sometimes as though you are on a rocket.
Your self-confidence blooms; you feel relaxed about yourself.
You grow.

You start writing nodes to them and about them

infatuation: foolish and extravagant passion, especially as applied to a love affair that does not meet with family or local community or religious approval, and does not conform to customary criteria of a well arranged marriage. See also limerence.

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

This was my first (and, until recently, only) infatuation. It went horribly wrong, and I hope I never have another like it. The main reason for this was, on refelction, probably down to the fact that the object of my desire:

  • Had no idea of my feelings.
  • Had returned home (separating us by between 5 and 8 timezones, depending on the academic calendar), forcing us to communicate by email.
  • Was just as shy as I was.

It all came to a head on 24 January 2001, when, finding myself unable to function coherently any longer due to extreme angst (ack! how embarrasing!) I sent her the following email. It isn't very good, but it took me ages to write at the time. Reading it back now makes me cringe!

(The HTML formatting has been added for its inclusion here.)


Facem Porto.

Thank you. You have taken all my stupid emails with a good grace and lightness of heart they did not deserve.

The message that follows is the result of 6 month conversation with myself, the conclusion of which was: "You didn't, and you regretted it. If you don't, you'll regret it. What the hell, just send the blasted thing and be done with it! Think less, act more. When all's said and done, what's the worst she can do?"

I'm sure you have no idea what I'm talking about. Try not to freak out; this was not easy for me to do.


And so begins a chocolate-fuelled flood of verbalised emotion...
No matter how I broach this subject it will sound juvenile and perhaps trivial. I consider it to be neither, but you are free to form your own opinions. I accept that email is not the best medium for doing this, but no suitable alternatives have presented themselves:

I suspect that by now you are probably wondering why some guy who spoke hardly a word to you the whole time you were here (well, compared to some...) is suddenly, and with little explanation, emailing you on an almost daily basis. The answer may be summarised thus: I think that if I hadn't known you were returning to America after two terms in York, I would have asked you out, or at least for your phone number. As it was, you were, and I didn't.

This, I hope you'll agree, is not a big deal. It happens every day, as the Tom Jones song attests (okay, probably not the best analogy, but it carries the point). But I never was one to do myself any favours. As usual, I made a mess of it. Forgive me...

I told myself that this was just a crush, and that once you went home these feelings would fade. I was mistaken (but only on the second count, I think). I find myself increasingly preoccupied. I'm not doing this on purpose; I can't help it. But as complaints go it is not unpleasant... -:o) So I'm now in... what? I suppose "infatuation" is the best word to use, but without the overtones of obsessive behaviour and all-pervasive glee.

I think you are fascinating. And I'd like to know you better. You are delightful, intelligent, refined, eloquent, witty and understanding (otherwise I would not have sent this!). You are charming (you always have something nice to say about people), talented, athletic, noble and elegant, with a grace and poise that eludes me. You are awesome (you inspire awe) and you are fun to be around. You are prudent, courteous, kind and beautiful beyond description. I have tremendous respect for you.

It is nice to talk to you, albeit in text form. I suppose that at least over email I don't have to wait for Anthony to finish forcing himself upon one or other of us (but on reflection, that was worth it, if only for the look on your face! -;oþ ) or come up with some lame-ass pretext to start a conversation (except for the mind-reading-in-seminars one; that actually happened!).

Please understand; this is not a declaration of undying love. Just statement of fact. Life is not like "The Wonder Years". But, I hope you will at the very least take this as a compliment; it's always nice to know that someone finds you attractive, or that you are the object of someone's affection.

In composing this, I tried to think of things from your point of view. I am, I'm sure, just one of many people you email on a casual basis; fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I am well aware that we hardly know one another, and that I have woefully little to recommend me. Who am I to presume so much? How stupid do I feel?

Oh dear. That didn't come across very well, did it? The line between melodrama, and sincerity with overtones of romance, seems to have become increasingly blurred for me. I should write dialogue for "Dawson's Creek". -:o(

So, how to proceed? Well, if I don't hear from you, you'll not hear from me. Hopefully it won't come to that though, and we can at least remain friends. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

On a slightly more light-hearted (as opposed to heavy-hearted) note, it would have been foolish of me to say all this had I not anticipated your response to my unexpected outburst. Here's what I narrowed it down to:

  1. "Eww! That's creepy! Can you say 'Court Injunction'? I have 911 on one-touch dialling..."
  2. "That's sweet, but I think of you more as a... person I met."
  3. "I'm flattered, but you're a bit of a jerk. Leave me alone."
  4. "My boyfriend is a hitman for the CIA. You have three days to live."

Yay defeatism.

Please don't dismiss this out of hand.


I do not propose to publish her reply here, but suffice it to say that it let me down ever-so gently, and is still one of the nicest emails I have ever received.

I sent her a Valentine a month later, and we stayed in (rather stitled) email contact for a few months. I have not heard from her since October.

Infatuation

Let us assume, as many do, that there is such a thing as love. Let us assume that this love is an emotion, and by emotion, we mean an intangible reaction to an experience/situation. And let us assume, then, that there are emotions which are not love, but which can masquerade as love, or be a conduit of love. This is what we call infatuation.

It should come as no shock that the term is derived from the Latin fatuus--a fool, a buffoon. We act like fools when we are infatuated. Obsessing over a person, maybe (innocuously) following them around; in high school or college, memorizing their schedule. Constantly thinking about that person, wondering what they're thinking, whether they think of you. It thrives on the unknown, it is a state of chaos and exploration. It is a flooding the the senses (literally; see below) with pleasure.

During this period, our body is flooded with amphetamine-related chemicals, namely phenylethylamine, dopamine, and norepinephrine. What you experience literally is a "high." For instance, phenylethylamine is found in chocolate. Hense the connections between love and chocolate, depression and chocolate, etc.

The body will only do this for so long with a certain stimulus. A tolerance is developed. Infatuation can last a very short time, or it can last a long time. The problem with infatuation is that it doesn't last. It isn't deep, it has nothing invested in it. It is purely chemcial. If it doesn't aid in the development of love--infatuation does not become love, but helps it develope by creating an initial attraction--then the relationship is doomed to failure. By failure I don't necessarily mean that the two people involved do not stay together--worse, they may stat together simply out of a certain comfort level. A desire not to leave or be alone. In other cases, those infatuated persons usually realize at some point that that is all they feel--not love--and thus end the relationship.


How does infatuation help develope love? That's something I can't answer yet. Sometimes infatuation developes love--it keeps the person around. Sometimes that's all there is, the infatuation. Where love--mutual love between two people, not an unrequited love--comes from, though, I don't know yet.

I could feel it. His words making me blush despite the millions of miles between us. I can hear his voice in my mind and my ears, and I imagine us holding hands or something. It's a strange feeling of infatuation and real love mixed in a blender on high. I don't know what to make of it. It's a nice feeling though, so I'm not really complaining, despite the lack of him being near me physically. I see us on a cold night, our breath is foggy. I dunno. I can see us kiss once and at the same time I can see us just talk about whatever....I feel bad for not starting the conversations or trying harder to keep in touch though.

That suits me just fine.

The real question is.........

...nevermind, it's a stupid question.

I found a better one.

...Is this wrong?

I imagine him kissing me and my whole body shudders. I wanted that. Just kisses. Maybe it's wrong. I don't know.

He tells me it's not over the internet and gives me a kiss. I blush.

Damn it, why can't he be here? Why can't I be there?

I think back to that time before he left. Kissing him. My mind was inebriated by the music. The thumping in my chest caused by mixing heartrate and bass. What if it had been us alone? I wouldn't have done anything extreme, just making out and talking. Which, again, works for me.

 

This infatuation.
It’s warm. It feels.
It’s dopamine-producing and adrenaline-consuming scary.
These flutters of my heart, they’re real because they’re reflected in the shortness of my breath.
How intense. How stupid.
I always scroll a bit faster when I see her face on my news feed.
It’s like I miss her when I see those doppelganger pixels.
Someone needs to be there first for another to miss them, right?
This is clearly unhealthy.
I could contain this creation by harbouring it deep in my heart.
Never breathing it to life with words.
But this fluttering. This shortness of breath.
Intense. Stupid.
Let’s kill it instead.
How?
Admit it.

In*fat`u*a"tion (?), n. [LL. infatuatio: cf. F. infatuation.]

The act of infatuating; the state of being infatuated; folly; that which infatuates.

The infatuations of the sensual and frivolous part of mankind are amazing; but the infatuations of the learned and sophistical are incomparably more so. I. Taylor.

Such is the infatuation of self-love. Blair.

 

© Webster 1913.

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