There is no seemingly clear-cut way to distinguish between infatuation and love, at least not in any measurable or quantifiable way. However, there is one sure-fire sign that will most likely tell you whether the feeling you or someone else is experiencing is closer to love or infatuation: time.
Infatuation, on the one, hand, is defined as a short-lived passion. Think of infatuation through the analogy of the stock market: It is unpredictable and has the tendency skyrocket and then proceed to crash and burn in the blink of an eye.
One day, life can be normal, the next day, your bursting through the roof with emotions of intense desire and enthusiasm. By definition, infatuation is something short-lived and fleeting, although, often times, necessary to spark the initial stages of what can unfold overtime into love over the long-term.
Love, on the other hand, is more like a steady interest rate: overtime, the more money you have in your bank account, the more interest you earn. Love is a long-term investment that accumulates wealth slowly, over time, and is not going to suddenly make any drastic increases or decreases overnight. It is more predictable, sustainable, constant, yet always evolving.
Real love is something that takes time to develop. Even if you experience “love at first sight” with someone, the test of this love can only be proven over the long-term. What I mean by this is, although love can be known immediately, it cannot be verified without surviving the test of time.
In sum, love is complex; t is based on a multitude of factors; it is forgiving and accepting. Infatuation is simple; it is passionate, anxiety-inducing, and full of unreasonable passion. The main commonality between the two terms is that they require emotions.