I’m in love.” How many times have you heard one of your girlfriends say that only for them to turn around six weeks later and say “Well, I thought I was”?
Love is a beautiful experience. It’s actually so powerful that it can change your entire life—and yes, for the better! But if you don’t take the time (hopefully beforehand) to know the difference between love and lust, you can look up and realize that what you’re feeling is more like being a thirsty person in the desert. They think they see water, but the desperation is really just all up in their head. It’s a mirage, not the real thing.
Hey, nothing like a dose of reality to bring things back into perspective. If you want to spare your heart an unnecessary break, here’s how to tell the difference between love and lust—just in time for next time.
1. Lust is driven by the physical. Love is motivated by emotion.
When you’re talking to your best friend about the person you’re into, listen to the words that you use. If you’re saying things like “fine”, “hot”, “abs”, “sexy” but “smart”, “funny”, “sincere” never come up, that sounds more like lust than love. You need to be physically attracted, but if that’s all you’re interested in, that spark is gonna fizzle fast. Couples who’ve been together for many years will tell you that there are gonna be times when lust ain’t enough; when you’re gonna need to like your partner in order to stay in love. No time like the present to see if there is any real substance between the two of you.
2. Lust has a lot to do with sex. Love has more to do with affection.
Oxytocin is one heck of a drug. Literally. It’s called the “happy hormone”, one that reaches its intensity during an orgasm. It’s also what causes people to bond; especially women. This is why a lot of folks can have great sex and totally confuse it with true love. If all the two of you are doing is hooking up, you’re on a sexual high, not a love journey. But if you have moments you can share together holding hands, cuddling on the couch and just being together (clothes on), you just might be onto something.
3. Lust is selfish. Love gives.
LUST IS SELFISH. And yes, that needed to be in all caps because it’s an important point to remember. All lust truly cares about is its needs and satisfaction; even if it’s at the expense of others. Lust makes people manipulate, lie and hurt feelings. Love on the other hand gives. It is just as concerned about the object of its affection as its own. The person you’re seeing, how much do they invest in the relationship? Sit on that for a minute. Then be honest with yourself about whether you’re in a “love relationship” or not.
4. Lust focuses on the present. Love thinks about the future.
This one right here can spare you all kinds of drama if you take it to heart. If you’re getting late night sex calls, if last-minute dates are something that you’re used to, if when you bring up questions like “Where is this going?” they try and make you feel guilty for asking, those are red flags. Instant gratification is all that lust cares about. Meanwhile, love wants a commitment and a future. It cares about titles, meeting family and friends and sharing holidays. Living in the moment is cool, but love wants a whole lot more than that.
5. Lust is unstable. Love makes a commitment.
Please don’t confuse passion with instability! Orgasms have peaks, but your feelings shouldn’t be on a constant emotional roller coaster ride. If you’re always upset, don’t know where you stand and can’t expect what you and “they” are doing in two sentences or less, that’s not love; that’s confusion. With commitment, comes stability and that’s what love seeks to offer. No one’s saying you should expect one immediately, but if it’s been a year and going to the next level hasn’t even come up, hate to break it to you…sounds like the two of you are “in lust”, not love.
*Credits: Article by Shellie R. Warren