Love or Infatuation?


Is there a “Right Time” to Say “I Love You”?

Two women in my life “fell in love” rather quickly. I put quotation marks around those three words because I’m not sure about the truth behind them. Let me explain:

Woman #1: Is divorced with a young son. She met a man, they went out on dates, and two months later they’re exclusively boyfriend and girlfriend. Okay.

Having a convo with woman #1 one day, I asked, “Have you two said I love you?”

Her response: “So what if we have?”

My conclusion: The answer is yes. And to many this may not sound out of the ordinary, but with me knowing woman #1, I know she has the tendency to “latch on” quickly and proclaim her “love” for a man.

On to the next…

Woman #2: Is in her early 20s. No children, no baggage. She met a man and they’ve been in a long distance relationship for almost one year.

Having a convo with woman #2 one day, she tells me: “I know he (her boyfriend) is going to propose by the end of the year.”

My response: “What?”

She went on to explain how so very deeply in love the two are and he has stated many times that he wants to marry her. Not to mention the fact that he’s in his early 30s and is now looking to settle down.

My conclusion: Oh Lord.

So here we have two relationships: One whose couple fell in love after one month, and one whose couple knows they are soul mates after one year.

And then you have me, who just isn’t buying it.

Now all of you may think I’m a “hater” or being unsupportive, but hear me out. I have a hard time believing in the “love at first sight” concept. How can you truly and honestly say you love a person who you just laid eyes on?

Then we have the scenarios of the two women above (as well as countless others). So many people date a person for a few months and automatically “feel” that they are in love. Yet, I believe there’s a major difference between love and infatuation.

Life isn’t like the movies: You don’t meet a person, two dates later fall in love and feel head-over hills-consumed-I-just-want-to-spend-every-waking-moment-with-you-for-the-rest-of-our-lives. Please.

Anyone who is in or has been in a relationship for an extended period of time can attest to this (I myself have been in one for the past 4 years). Sometimes you cannot stand your significant other and don’t want to be around him or her. Every day is not butterflies-in-my-stomach-I-wanna-jones-all-night-on-the-phone type of feelings. That’s how you normally feel when you first enter a relationship, but give it some time…it’s bound to wear off.

But love? Love remains when those “feelings” fade away (and I’m not saying they cease to exist, they just aren’t every single day anymore). Love is a commitment. It’s seeing a person at his or her worst yet still making the decision to stick by his/her side. Love is sacrificing your desires for the benefit of the other person. Love is service, the decision to serve your significant other/spouse no matter what.

Love is a multitude of things and I believe it takes time to develop and grow. I don’t believe it happens automatically, but what do all of you think, sistas?

Woman #2 told me she believes everyone is different and not every person needs a long time to know they love someone. I can understand this, yet I still think most people confuse infatuation with love.

When you date someone, you’re always going to learn more and more about that person (and that extends into marriage), yet I still believe a significant amount of time is needed to truly learn enough about who a person is before you can conclude that you love him or her. I mean, how can you honestly believe you love a man after 3 weeks (hypothetically) of dating when you’ve barely tapped into all that makes up who he is in that time?

Prime examples, woman #1 loves her boyfriend, yet learned he is separated and she’s not sure of the real reason why. Woman #2’s boyfriend is supposed to be a deacon, yet, after almost a year she’ surprised by this news because his actions don’t reflect his “role.” Again, case in point of hardly knowing someone, yet being sure you love the individual.

I’d like to know your thoughts, ladies. While I don’t think there is a “set” time you need to be with someone to say “I love you,” I do believe the truth behind these words takes time to develop. But maybe I’m wrong? Does love always take time to manifest or is there truly such a thing as love at first sight?

Service is her passion, writing is her platform, women and the Black Community are her avenues. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Through her work, Marks aspires to demonstrate “The Craft of Writing, and the Art of Efficacy.” She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Connect with her at:




  1. Why you be content to let others define love for themselves?

  2. I dont think we as people have the right to say what is love and what isnt ?! These days you just dont know and what may work for you , may not work for someone else. As a woman we are so precious , often we get abused and mislead , disrespected and mistreated. At times we might be doing all the above , but you live once and its not in anyone best interest to give their heart away or walk into a situation blindly , however you have to live and experience , seek and find. Never put a time or limit on love , it may come in different shapes and sizes , a different height or different colour but love yourself and when you have met someone one that truly respects you , allows your heart to smile and skip a beat , uplifts your spirits and make you feel differently , give it a shot because you never know. Sometimes you are in a relationship and your just existing , other times your living. So if you find that love at any point in time the allows you to go from BLACK AND WHITE to COLOURS OF MEANING !!! cherish it , embrace it and love it even if it happens 2 months from now or two years from now because you never ever know !!!! xoxoxo

  3. I personally think that these days people use the words “I love you” freely not only in intimate relationships but in day to day conversations and I believe they don’t have a clue what that really means because the next week they are onto the next person saying the same thing. I don’t believe in placing a time limit but I believe that people need to really reflect on the true definition of “love” and treat the word as a sacred word that only escapes the tongue when there is a greater connection and not as often as we use the word “the” in our everyday conversations.

  4. yeah you are wrong. Stop hating and worrying about your friends love life and focus on finding a love of your own.

  5. I think finding love happens at anytime, when your able to open your heart and meet a person with that same quality you attract who you are, which leads into strong love.

  6. No one can say how long it takes to fall in love, and it’s no one’s place to judge that. Just because you’ve been in a “relationship” for 4 YEARS, and doesn’t sound like you’re married, doesn’t mean it takes everyone that long. My best friend met her husband when she was 14 and fell instantly in love they’e been HAPPILY married for 10. I agree with “wrong”… someone is sharing their personal story of happiness and your thought is “Oh Lord”. People are too negative about love, sure there are a million stories of love gone bad…it’d be nice to see some of love gone right. Maybe the constant cynicism is partly the blame. You’ll never know everything about someone, and you’ll never know what two other people share because it’s no one’s business but their own.

  7. You’re right and if anyone watches the show who the bleep did I marry you will see that most of those fly by night love affairs usually lead to people realizing they didn’t know their partner before saying I love you.

  8. There’s a million definitions that could define that one word: love. It’s alot of things we do that sum up love. Mutual respect is the first thing that comes to mind. Just meeting someone who makes your heart skip a beat doesn’t mean that person will respect (and/or love) you. Since running game’s so popular, they (male or female) could be sharpening their ‘playa’ skills.

    The quicker you recognize love, infactuation, or whatever the better.

  9. Seems to me that infactuation’s a temporary condition. A man sees a woman and likes the way she wears her hair. May turn him on just by looking at it. Somewhere down the road he finds out it’s not real. Now, he must make a choice. Should he place some distance between them? Or, should he continue his pursuit of her even though he’s not fond of weaves, wigs, and such?

    It may not be the best of examples, but men are infactuated w/ a woman’s hair.

  10. @RNOEL…you are absolutely correct. I noticed that back in the 90’s. It was like the ‘love bug’ bit ’em and they caught the “i love you” disease. If that wasn’t bad enough, folks (especially guys) started calling each other baby, darlin’, and sweetheart. Every other word was baby this, baby that. Nobody was gonna call me baby and I let it be known that I had a first name. Plus, the guys would call women baby in order to get into their panties. And females didn’t mind being called baby, darlin’, and sweetheart ’cause they craved the attention of men.

  11. I really believe that you cannot really love a person until you see them at their best and worse. If all you have seen during the honeymoon phase is his best, you cannot truly love the entire person. It can take years to see the person at their worse. The marriage vows say for better or worse for a good reason.

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