There is truly nothing that can compare to the warm fuzzies you experience when you have feelings for someone. It could be a crush on a random stranger that smiled at you in the coffee shop and then asked for your number. Or it could be your wife of 10 years who annoys you all the time, but you still love with all your being.
But exactly what’s the difference between a crush and love?
What is love?
Honestly, there is really no way to summarize love into one definition, but we will give it a try!
To put it simply, love is a deep positive feeling you have towards someone. It makes you drawn to them. It makes you want to spend more time with them. It makes you want the very best for them.
Technically, love comes in many different types depending on the subject. It could be family love towards your brother or a long-time friend. Maybe it is the love you have for your furry little buddy and all his puppy goodness. However, in this case, we will be focusing on what we usually know as romantic love.
What is a crush?
While love is typically a deep emotional connection, a crush is often a short, shallow, intense, and temporary infatuation with a person. It is usually based on surface-level information like what they look like, how you both order the same coffee every morning or the fact that she plays the guitar.
Crush vs love; what are the differences
Now that we have the specific definitions out of the way, it is time to look at the actual differences. How can you actually tell whether what you are feeling for that person right now is love or just a crush? Well, here are six tell-tale differences.
How it hits you
Love is a slow and precise process. It comes slowly at first then hits you all at once, and you are a goner. This is because to love someone truly, you actually have to get to know them. I know you’re probably wondering to yourself right now, “But what about love at first sight?”
Well, I’m glad you asked. “Love at first sight” is what you call a crush. It doesn’t matter how strong the feelings are or the power of your conviction that he/she is the one. Crushes hit you fast and hard, so if you feel something intense that fast, do not call it love.
How long it lasts
How long is a crush supposed to last?
Remember the definition of the word crush? One of the key terms there was ‘temporary.’ That is a major difference here. This is not to say that love always lasts forever. Jeez, this is not a fairytale; it is life!
However, true love does tend to last a whole lot longer than crushes. This is because there is a lot of time, emotion and intent invested in making it work.
The driving force
Love is driven by a desire to be together through everything, whether good or bad. At the very heart of it all should be a strong friendship foundation, which makes this perpetuating force work.
With crushes, on the other hand, there really isn’t a distinct driving force. You like the person for no good reason and will continue to experience the feeling until some random and almost always irrelevant thing stops you. Maybe it is how he ties his shoelaces. Or how she always sniffs her food before she tastes it. Crushes are fickle like that.
What do you want from them?
With love, you want your partner to care for you just as much as you care for them. You want to spend as much time with this person as you can spare and maybe even spend your life together. You want them to be honest about who they are and open about what they want in a relationship.
With crushes, on the other hand, you probably just want one thing – for the other person to notice you and probably like you back. Maybe you noticed some “are we more than friends” signs? Make up your mind to avoid any suffering.
What do you want for them?
Love means wanting the best for the other person. Even when that means that you have to lose them, it means being ready to sacrifice your comfort and needs to help them achieve whatever they want. It could be moving with them to a new country as they pursue their career dreams. Maybe you might have to give up meat as she tries this new vegan diet she heard about.
With crushes, it is unlikely that you ever think of the other person’s needs. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you are a monster. It’s just how crushes work. If you do wish them well, it is likely because of your general human nature.
Your perception of the object of affection
When it comes to true love, you do not see your partner through perfection filters. You see them just as they are, flaws and all. And despite all that, you still want to be with them and show them as much affection as you can.
With crushes, there is a tendency to see this person as perfect. They can do no wrong. Sandals with socks? He makes it work. Chewing with her mouth open? Aaw, how adorable!
Can a crush become love?
Clearly, there is a huge difference between a crush and someone you are in love with. However, it is not a life sentence, and there IS something that can be done to move things to the next level. Here are a few tips to help you go from crush to love:
Spend more alone time together
This allows you to get to know the person as an individual and not a part of the group. It also builds a close personal bond that can very easily and naturally turn into love. So, ditch that group hang for a casual coffee date with your crush.
Get invested in each other’s interests
Get interested in what he or she likes and make efforts to be involved. This works great if you are already in love and would like to get your love interest on the same level. It not only allows you to get to know each other better but shows romantic interest, which pushes things forward.
Double up on the non-verbal cues
A playful touch here, and long-held eye contact there could make all the difference if you are trying to move from crush to love. This plays into the physical connection aspect of love that is very important when building a foundation.
Make exciting new memories together
There is something powerful about having a fun memory connected to someone you are interested in. This is a great way to try and move things from the crush level to love. And you will always have fun inside jokes to share from it all.
Come clean about your feelings and what you really want
The easiest and most direct way to turn a crush into love is by simply asking for it. Let your love interest know how you feel and what you would like to have with them. This might blow up in your face, of course, but if it works, it will save you a lot of guesswork and anxiety.
Summary of the key differences between a crush and love
So, what have we learned today about love and crushes? What is the difference between love and crush?
Firstly, love is a powerful slow-burning fire that consumes you and changes you over time to want nothing but the best for someone else.
A crush, on the other hand, is more like a short but exciting fireworks show that makes you all warm and fuzzy but is more for fun than anything else.
The one thing they have in common is that both are always a lot more fun if the object of your affection feels the same.
Now, with all the information offered here, it should be easy to understand love vs crush and move things to the next level if you feel the need to. Whatever the case, enjoy the ride and have as much fun with the warm fuzzies as you can!
If you still can’t tell if you are having a crush or are falling love you should read Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose, one of the best love advice books ever written.