Norwegian: Forelsket - appropriate application in relationships


New Member
Hello. I am doing some cultural research and have some questions. I know discussion has been made about this and similar terms, but my question is less about translation and more about application. I am trying to understand 1) the emotions attached to the terms below and 2) the appropriate timing to feel them.

I have several questions so please bear with me.

Is it possible for a young adult to feel "forelsket" for a new friend (say after a week of friendship)? As in, yes, they are just friends, but they want to be more than friends, but haven't said so.
Or, would that be more similar to a (little) crush, "småforelsket"? Because one week is not a very long time (and "love at first sight" is "crush" territory).
Alternatively, would it be neither of these? Maybe it is much too soon and you should use "liker"? Because it is so new.

I have read conflicting accounts throughout the internet about precisely when a person can properly feel "forelsket". Because, as I see it, you can sometimes know if you spend a lot of time with someone, within a very short time even, that you want to get to know them better and maybe be in a relationship with them. Is it therefore possible to have something like this?
Day 1: liker
Day 5: småforelsket
Day 10: forelsket
Day 100+: elsker

Finally, which of these is more accurate? (if any...)
  1. småforelsket - "I maybe like this friend as more than a friend" (begins possible romantic/sexual interest) or
  2. småforelsket - "I very much like (little crush) this friend of mine and want to kiss them to see if it could be love" (thinking about them makes you happy);
  3. forelsket - "I think I am falling in love (big crush) with this friend but we've never kissed etc" (thinking about them hurts - "pining" for them) or
  4. forelsket - "I have already kissed this friend/partner and I want to be in a marriage/relationship with them" (certainty of mutual love feelings).

Thanks so much!
  • raumar

    Senior Member
    I can try to give you at least some answers, but I don't think you can find any exact definitions of these concepts.

    The way I see it, 'forelsket' is about the intensity of the feeling - the infatuation. It is not about the timing, or actions such as kissing. I would say that you can be 'forelsket' if you feel love at first sight. Some people can maybe experience intense feelings at first sight, others need time to let the feelings grow. I suppose there is much individual variation here, so I don't think that you can set up a timeline that fits everybody.

    It should also be pointed out that the feelings don't need to be mutual. You can be 'forelsket i' a person, and the other person might not even be aware of it. The expression 'avstandsforelsket' covers that situation - maybe we can translate it as 'in love from a distance'. So I think we should distinguish between a 'forelsket' couple and a 'forelsket' person. You would expect a 'forelsket' couple to kiss each other, and show other signs of affection. That is not necessarily the case if we talk about a 'forelsket' person.


    New Member
    Thank you raumar. That is actually an extremely helpful answer, and may be indeed all I need to know about the emotion. (Unless others have something to add, of course!)