It often happens that people confuse crushes and infatuation with love. And who can blame them, especially because feelings burn strong and intense?
On top of it, there are a million examples of when true love started as a crush, right?
Well, don’t start dreaming of a perfect Hollywood love story just yet, because there’s no such thing in reality.
There is a big difference between a crush and love, and here’s how to tell them apart.
Crush vs love: what are the differences?
Crushes and infatuation usually go arm in arm. By definition, a crush is a short-lived but intense infatuation with someone (often) unattainable or unavailable.
It is accompanied by strong physical attraction but lacks a deeper emotional and spiritual bond.
Unlike crushes, love takes time to grow and develop. It is patient and forgiving, and it is based on a deep emotional connection that later evolves into long-lasting romantic feelings and affection.
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 eleven tell-tale differences.
A crush happens suddenly, love takes time to develop
Love is a slow process. It comes unhurried and then hits you all at once, and you are a goner. This is because to love someone truly, you have to get to know them deeply, and that takes time.
But what about “love at first sight?”
“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.
A crush keeps you wondering, love gives you all the answers
“Do we stand a chance?”, “Does he like me as much as I like him?”, “Is this going too fast?”, “Who texted last?”, “Am I being too clingy?”, “Should I call her again?”
A crush will leave you with a million questions running through your head. The adrenalin rush you felt at the beginning is slowly turning into anxiety that’s driving you mad.
On the other hand, love will give you all the answers, and it won’t keep you wondering where all this is going.
A crush makes you weak in the knees, love helps you stand on your own two feet
A crush brings thrill and excitement, but it also brings uncertainty. One day you are up, and the next, you are down. You never really know where you stand when it comes to instant love. It just plays with your head.
Real love builds you up. It will show you your own strength even when you don’t believe in yourself. Love will never let you lose your ground.
A crush comes with an expiration date, but love is long-lasting
How long is a crush supposed to last?
Well, one of the key traits of a crush is that it’s short-lived. It often goes away as fast as it came, leaving you with not more than a few months to enjoy the fireworks.
However, true love takes time to develop and lasts a whole lot longer than a crush. This is because there is a lot of time, emotion, and intent invested in making it work.
A crush holds grudges, but love is forgiving
The nature of a crush is fragile. It’s easily irritated, quickly offended, it’s insecure, and codependent. It’s fast to jump to conclusions and full of assumptions and doubt.
And then there is love! Love is kind and compassionate. Love forgives. When you least expect it, love will turn a blind eye to the worst mistakes and transgressions. It’s that powerful!
A crush needs you close, but love can survive the miles
When you are crushing on somebody, you always want them close by. Why? It’s simple – you are afraid to lose them. Those butterflies you are feeling in your stomach can be quite addictive.
However, true love is unconditional. It doesn’t know of time and space. You feel safe and secure in your feelings even when you are thousands of miles away from your partner.
A crush is based on physical attraction, while love runs deep
With crushes, there really isn’t a distinct driving force other than intense physical attraction. You’re insanely drawn to this person and will continue to experience this 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.
On the flip side, 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.
A crush is possessive, but love is liberating
A crush is selfish in its essence. It completely consumes you, leaving you craving someone’s presence and attention so much that it stops you dead in your tracks.
Love, on the other hand, is selfless. Love is caring. Love is full of compassion and understanding and comes without terms and conditions.
True love is unconditional, and it has the power to set you free!
A crush makes you crave validation, but love seeks connection
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 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.
A crush is selfish, but true love wants nothing in return
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.
A crush only sees perfection, while love is accepting of flaws
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. It’s more about the idea of them and less about their actual personality. You idolize them (they can do no wrong) and the perfect life you could lead together.
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. It 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. It 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 is the difference between love and crush?
Well, you won’t find a precise and error-free crush vs. in love guide. People are unpredictable, and feelings even more so!
Firstly, love is a powerful slow-burning fire that consumes you and changes you over time. It just leaves you wanting nothing but the best for your significant other.
A crush, on the other hand, burns fast and strong like fireworks. It makes you feel 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.
With all the information offered here, it should be easy to understand love vs. crush and move things to the next level if you need to. But if you still can’t understand your feelings, read ‘Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose,’ one of the best love advice books ever written.