As I was enthusiastically describing to a friend my fondness for my newest gentleman caller, she asked “Are you smitten?” I pondered, then replied, “No, enamored.” We then discussed the difference.
The dictionary describes smitten as “To affect sharply with great feeling; marked by foolish or unreasoning fondness.” Enamored: “To inspire with love; captivate.”
“Smitten” seems school-girlish, a giggly crush; all reasonableness vanishes. When I’m smitten I ignore glaring red flags that say “Warning, Will Robinson. This is not a good match.” When I think back on my smitten experiences, none of them have been good choices, but something strong pulled me in. When you are smitten, you put your good sense on the back burner and do spontaneous — and sometimes stupid — things.
“Enamored” feels more grounded, more mature, longer lasting. I still think about him throughout the day, look forward to our talks, am strongly fond of him. But I also know his foibles and have decided they aren’t deal breakers.
So if you find yourself caught up quickly in romance, feeling swept away, intoxicated, and hearing yourself say “I’ve never done this/felt this way before,” enjoy the spontaneity and excitement, but put the brakes on before you do something you’ll regret.