Lust vs. Love: 5 Ways to Tell What You’re Feeling

A couple who is wondering if it's lust vs love laying together and looking into each other's eyes passionately.

Are you in love or is it lust? Sometimes it’s hard to tell because both emotions feel really good. And both create a connection with your partner that feels exciting and blissful. But for all their similarities, they are most definitely not the same. When it comes to lust vs. love, there are a few things you should know.

Lust vs. Love: Lust is an intense physical attraction. You desire your partner due to a strong sexual connection. Love is attraction and affection. You profoundly care for your partner, which creates an emotional attachment in addition to your sexual connection.

It’s important to know the difference, especially in the beginning of the relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in the heady feelings of a new love interest, and mistake your early feelings of lust for love. Want to know how to tell the difference?

Here are 5 things that help you tell if it’s lust vs love:

1. How perfect you think your partner is.
If You’re in Lust: You think your partner is perfect. You think nothing is wrong with them. Everything about them is shiny, bright, and new. They can’t do anything really wrong in your eyes because the pedestal you put them on is that big.

If You’re in Love: You know your partner isn’t perfect—and you choose to love them and be with them anyway. In fact, it’s your partner’s imperfections that you cherish the most. You know you aren’t perfect, so you value and welcome your partner’s flaws.

2. How much care you put into your appearance.
If You’re in Lust: You dress up each and every time you see your sweetie because your physical attraction to one another is huge. You’re obsessed with looking your best for them because you still feel like you need to impress and entice them.

If You’re in Love: You wear sweatpants and no makeup. You don’t care how you look in front of your partner because you know that they like and care for the real you—whether you’re wearing a bold lip or zit cream. Your level of comfort with one another is that strong.

3. How often do things other than have sex.  
If You’re in Lust: You spend most of your time in bed. You have a super intoxicating desire to have sex all the time, but not necessarily to connect in other ways. Chances are you don’t engage in much pillow talk and you might not even cuddle.

If You’re in Love: You have sex, but that’s not all you do. You want to connect with each other in other ways, like trying out new hobbies and activities together. You might not even have sex for a few days or weeks and you don’t freak out about it because you know life happens and your relationship is not all about sex anyway.

4. How deep your conversations go. 
If You’re in Lust: You love living the fantasy. This might mean spending time in hotel rooms and engaging in sexting and superficial chatting, but you don’t want to discuss real feelings or any plans for the future.

If You’re in Love: You talk for hours about anything and everything, including deep feelings. You care and respect how your partner feels as well as their perspective on the world. You both feel motivated to support one another and be a better person for each other.

5. How much you challenge each other. 
If You’re in Lust: You are so infatuated with this person that you ignore things that actually bug you, including red flags. You don’t like how they handle money or how they speak to servers at dinner, but you ignore it because you don’t want to rock the boat. You just want to keep things nice.

If You’re in Love: If you don’t like something your partner said or did, you call them out, lovingly. You know a solid relationship requires honest and open communication, and because you want your partner to be the best they can be, you want to offer constructive criticism to help them.

Lust vs. love is hard to differentiate at first, but the biggest difference between the two staying power. Lust is all about the present moment. The attention you receive, the fun you have together, and the butterflies. Ultimately, lust fades. Sometimes it fades into a breakup, and other times, it can transform into love. Love is about the present moment AND the future. It’s wanting to have this person by your side through thick and thin, and experiencing the journey together.

 

Brianne Hogan

Freelance Writer

Brianne is a Canadian freelance writer who’s been writing about dating and relationships longer than any of her relationships. She applies a “do what I say, not do what I do” approach to her articles, and believes you can find Your Person mostly when you aren’t looking. So enjoy your life, and eat lots of cheese (at least that’s her motto). Her byline’s been featured on Thrillist, The Huffington Post, HelloGiggles, Elle Canada, Flare, Awesomeness TV, among others.

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