The Difference Between Love and Lust – How to Identify the Two

When it comes to love and lust, things are simple (well not really, but we’ll pretend they are for a second and try to simplify both by carefully inspecting their aspects). Lust is the animal instinct we feel towards someone, the feeling focused on the physical attraction and love is the sum of all your partner’s qualities that you adore, even when you don’t. Okay, let’s elaborate.

The misconception of what being in love, loving and lusting over someone means is what gets us confused. The movies we watch and the series we binge, lead us to believe that “being in love” is the ultimate condition to “loving” someone when the truth is quite different. Often interchangeably used, these three terms are oftentimes three different stages in a relationship, each with an individual significance and meaning, which should gradually evolve Here’s how:

LUST

Lust is often the first stage in a relationship when two people feel immediate sexual attraction towards each other. When in its beginning stages, lust has the same effect on the brain as a drug. The seemingly never-ending debate on lust vs love should end (or at least get a bit clearer) when we say that lust is a state of consciousness that is entirely altered by hormones, idealization and projection, which is why this stage in a relationship shouldn’t be taken as a measurement of the relationship’s quality.

When you’re lusting over someone, you may be more interested in hooking up, than having meaningful conversations. You also may not want to do the things couples tend to do, like cuddling or having breakfast the next morning. 

 BEING IN LOVE TO FINDING THE ONE

Oh the beauty of being in love! Similar to lust in some aspects, being in love is the rush and excitement we get when we’re around the person we are dating. Still hopped up on feel good endorphins, this stage can sometimes fall under an idealization: instead of objectively looking at the person before us, we are projecting and seeing someone we want to see in them. Wearing rose-colored glasses, the couple does have some insight into the other person’s qualities, and personality traits but we can be very forgiving, lust-driven and would rather focus on what they believe is true than seeing what actually is. As idealization is a very strong weapon with long-lasting effects, once the “real person” surfaces, we sometimes still refuse to see. 

Being the right fit for each other and finding that true love, is the holy grail of relationships. Although this type of love doesn’t exclude lust and being in love; it doesn’t necessarily depend on them. You build an intellectual connection with your partner based on shared values; mutual understanding, mutual support and emotional honesty. You love everything about your partner; their strongest qualities and areas of weakness. And, most importantly, real love is having someone love you for you, with the same impulse, always – even when the rose-colored glasses are off. When you start caring for your partner’s well-being, success and health (almost) as much as you care for your own – you’ll understand this type of love. 

Having a best friend for life doesn’t sound too shabby, does it? You’ll have a support system, a hand to hold, a caring soul to bring you soup when you are sick, a partner who shares your values, and someone you appreciate (and who appreciates you) from the bottom of your heart.

Posted by Will Sandford

Will Sandford is a Sydney based wood architect, blogger and contributor on interior design and ecology blogs. Besides that, he is also interested in home improvement combined with green technology. In his spare time, Will enjoys surfing and rock climbing. He is also a regular contributor to SmoothDecorator. Connect with him on Twitter @WillSandford1

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