Is it true love, or infatuation? Brain researchers say there are glaring clues that can help you decide.
- Step 1: Describe your partner. If you can't find any flaws – duh! You're infatuated. If you recognize your love's shortcomings but find ways to put a good spin on them, you're in love – and you have a good chance of staying that way: Research shows that successful couples see each other in the best possible – but realistic – light.
- Step 2: If you've figured out that you're infatuated, proceed cautiously! Brain scans show that one of the few areas _not_ activated when people first become enthralled with someone is the area responsible for good judgment!
- FACT: Teenage marriages are two to three times more likely to end in divorce than marriages between people 25 years of age and older.
- TIP: Research shows that romances that proceed in a slow but steady way are more likely to succeed than fast and furious courtships.
- Step 3: Describe your relationship. Is it most often like a train chugging along at an even pace, or more like a roller-coaster ride? Relationships that move from infatuation to true love may no longer enjoy the extreme highs of the beginning, but they don't have as many lows, either.
- TIP: Researchers have found that the brain scans of people in the first throes of romance resemble those of a drug addict on a high!
- Step 4: Describe your courtship. If you think of your romance as a fairy tale, and feel you and your love share a bond like no other, you may be right – but you're likely still in the infatuation stage. When a crush turns to real love, we become less starry-eyed.
- Step 5: Gauge your mood. Are you deliriously happy? Do you have tons of energy? Can you think of little other than your beloved? Then you're probably still in the infatuation stage, even if you've been together for a while. This stage can last up to four years, though it's usually much shorter.