This is the age old question, or maybe a more recent question with the likes of social media, online dating apps and catfish realities. How can you tell the difference between lust and love? Now I am no love doctor but I have experienced being in love and being in lust and there are some key differentiators to look out for, to determine (in my bee-gees voice) how deep is your love.
- What do you talk about
When you are in love with someone you can spend hours talking to them about everything and nothing while lust leaves you more physically attracted to someone, mainly engaging in shallower conversations like how your day’s been, what you did with your friends etc. When you are in love you want to share everything with that person, your secrets, issues with your family and real life pain. When you are in love your walls are down with that person and they make you feel like just listening can help.
2. Do you recognise their flaws
We are all quick to notice if someone’s nose it too big or hairline is receding, but when I take about flaws I mean their weaknesses. Whether they have trust issues because of their past or they are really bad with communicating things, or they simply just have a bad snoring habit. Recognising all of this will take time, which is why I always find it skeptical when people say they have fallen in love with someone after 3 months of dating… because you really need to know someone for a while to see how they react to different situations, how they deal with certain challenges etc. If you see their person for who they really are and you can accept that or help them work on things that they WANT to change, then that is love. Lust on the other hand focuses on their physical flaws.
3. How long have you known each other
In most instances, lust is the primary stage in a relationship before the more intense, emotional connection takes place. Most of us are first instantly physically attracted to someone and this is known as lust. This can happen the moment you meant someone, so love at first sight is a myth, it is lust at first sight. Like I mentioned in the above point, the length of time you’ve known someone does tend to have a stronger correlation with how well you know that person. Some may disagree saying they knew their partner for a short amount of time before they knew they loved them, and I am not saying you are wrong, but this is the general truth for majority of us. And many who think they know someone, find out a few years down the line that they were blind sighted by something they didn’t see before.
4.How often do you have sex
The sexual and physical interaction plays a much larger role in lust than it does with love and it is very compulsive. However, according to expert Judith Orloff, M.D, the longer the period and higher the frequency of your sexual activity, the more likely that the lust turns into love. You are more likely to have sex every time you see each other when in lust.
5.How easy do you find it to commit to them
Because lust is such a physical connection, it means that you are more easily attracted to other people based on their physical appearance. Whereas when you are in love, you WANT to commit to the person you are with. In my last relationship it was so clear how easy it was to stay committed to someone. You learn to appreciate someone else that might be good looking but you have no urge or desire to get with them. That being said, this is a very controversial point. There are many who will say there are people that can love you but then make a mistake and be disloyal, then coming to regret what they did. I won’t disagree with this, sometimes you get into situations where you make a bad judgement or do not think of the consequences of your action – but that is a topic for another day.
6.What do you do for/with that person
Do you want to make them happy and do things for them that they would appreciate more than you would? When you are in love you are willing to go out of your way to make your partner happy. You want to see them smile and be their support system.
In lust, there really isn’t anything more that you think about doing than having that physical, sexual contact.
As mentioned by myself and actual experts in the field of love, lust and love aren’t always separate things. They are in many instances just different stages in a connection you have with a person but it is important to distinguish where you are and stand in a relationship to ensure that boundaries aren’t blurred and you don’t fall into the common illusion of being in love.