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 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. 


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.

3 Ways to Keep the Conversation Flowing On a First Date

You did it! You’ve met someone great on Plenty of Fish, had amazing conversation online and are ready to meet in person, awesome. Unfortunately, sometimes the difficult parts about dating aren’t even in finding a person, but finding how to actually connect with another person. Witty banter, charm, and a relaxed flow of conversation are not things that can be faked IRL. Often times – even when you know you would hit it off with your date – your nerves inhibit you from carrying on a thriving conversation. But, here’s a secret, you can be yourself on a first date despite those inevitable nagging nerves. Down with the awkward silence!


The easiest way to speak freely is to speak about things that you like. Duh, right? I used to keep a self-serving question in my dating arsenal that would help me determine further interest in my date; It was arrogant, but worked. I would either ask “what are reading right now?” or “what are you listening to right now?” Books and music are topics of interest to me, finding out what my date is interested in helped me relate to them. If things are going well and the other person had an answer (probable) it would spawn another conversation and another and another.

Don’t feel shy to give anecdotes about your life. The idea is to get to know each other; you probably aren’t talking about yourself as much as you are stressed about talking about yourself too much. Giving specific details to the plot of a story you’re telling will create imagery that in turn helps the other person engage with you. Extra points if the story happens to be fun. Laughing is a great way to ease up.


Just as it’s easiest for you to speak about your own experience, it’s equally as simple for someone else to do the same, give them a chance to. Listen when your date is talking. No, not that half-listening we all enter into once in awhile where we are preparing the next thing we’re going to say while the other person is still speaking. Really listen. When you genuinely listen to another person speak it provides the opportunity to naturally fall into a more empathetic listening mode. Also, ask questions. Not only will this help in keeping the conversation rolling, you will learn so much about your date. And, isn’t that the point?


Dating should always be fun; make comments about your surroundings, poke fun (with caution) at yourself and your date, laugh, acknowledge that you’re nervous – it’s all ok. Remaining calm, cool and collected is a feat easier said than done, I know. Dating can be intimidating, especially when you feel there might be a spark. A good way to avoid getting caught up in your thoughts, and acting out of character on a first date is to remember: You are interesting! Take a second to give yourself a confidence boost. This person is on a date with you.

Simple Tips to Elevate Your Dating Game

Between work, hobbies, family and friends, it can be hard to find time to date. But when you finally get some free time, you can meet people anywhere these days. There is no doubt that asking someone out can feel gut wrenching, but once they’ve said yes, the rest is a no-brainer. The most important thing to remember while dating is to keep an open mind. Bad dates might happen, and probably will happen, but they’ll only help you figure out what you want and don’t want in a partner. Throughout the process you’re going to have some questions, and thankfully, others have been in your place and have advice to help build your confidence and success in the dating world.

Is it wrong to text or call before the first date?

Before the big date, make sure you’re still actively communicating with your match. There is nothing worse than being ghosted before the first date even starts. While the two of you are chatting, make sure you figure out each others interests. This will help determine where your first date will take place. First impressions go a long way, so we recommend choosing a public location that will allow you to feel comfortable, and act your natural self. If you’re having trouble deciding where to take your date, check out these 20 Great First Dates for some inspiration.

What should I wear?

There is no need to stress when picking out an outfit for your date. Determining the location of the date is the stressful part, so figuring out what to wear should be stress-free! If you’re feeling unsure about what to wear, pick out a couple options and ask for some opinions. What else is Snapchat good for these days? Your friends won’t let you down!

When figuring out what to wear, make sure you are comfortable in whatever you’re wearing. There is nothing worse than sitting for hours in an uncomfortable pair of pants or sweating under multiple layers. If you feel confident in what you’re wearing, you’ll be able to act comfortable around your date. If your first date takes place during the day, or err on the side of wearing something casual (but not too casual!). For the ladies, we recommend wearing a fun colored sweater, such as this one, with a pair of skinny jeans. Throw on your most comfortable pair of booties, and you’ll be ready for your date! For the men out there, try wearing a pair of stretch jeans with a nice long sleeve shirt. Add a pair of chukka boots to elevate your casual look.

If your date takes place in the evening, try to figure out as many details about where you’re going before picking out an outfit. If the date is a surprise, try to give the other person as many specifics about the location. There is nothing worse than showing up somewhere under or over dressed for the occasion. For the women out there, you can never go wrong with a great pair of black jeans. Dress your jeans up with a black blouse with some accent jewelry, or a leather jacket. For the gentlemen, spruce up your dark wash stretch jeans with a classy dress shirt. Add a blazer on top for a dressy casual look.

Is dating etiquette still a thing?

Dating etiquette is by far the most important aspect of a first date. Looking good in your outfit shouldn’t be the only reason to “wow” your date. Etiquette is by far the most crucial aspect to a first date, and when taken into consideration is likely to increase your chances of getting a second date. There certainly will be nerves at the beginning, but don’t let that be a reason to forget your manners. One of the biggest things to think about is disconnecting from your phone. It can be hard, but we highly recommend putting your phones away altogether to avoid any temptation to use it. There is no worse feeling than being on a date when the other person whips out their phone to check out their Instagram feed or Snapchat a picture of their dinner – don’t be that person. Make sure you are engaged in the conversation. Eye contact and good conversation can go a long way! Check out how to tell if your first date is going well here.

The first date ends, now what?

Like mentioned before, always remember to keep an open mind while dating. You might not feel a connection with someone after the first date, and that’s okay! There is no reason to feel bad or upset. It’s a learning experience. The best thing you can do at that point is to be honest with the other person. Don’t agree to a second date if you’re just going to ghost them or make up an excuse in the end. They’ll appreciate it and you can build up your confidence in making the right dating decisions.

Lastly, there is always the debate of waiting a few days to text your date or to contact them right after your first outing. If the date was a success, don’t let any doubts cross your mind. Let them know that you had a great time! Don’t feel timid, and confidently plan that second date. If both parties are interested, the other person should offer to make the plans this time. And if that’s you, don’t stress. After all of the great conversation from the first date, planning a second should be easy!

Best Vacation Ideas for New Couples

Ah, the start of a new romance. It’s a wondrous stage wherein you feel that you’re the first two people to have found love in the history of the world. You’ve taken all the first steps; stayed up too late talking about your childhood, meeting the parents, sex with the lights on. What a time to be alive! This may be well and good, but you’re ready to level up, dammit. You feel comfortable, secure in your newfound relationship bliss that the inevitable next step is to plan a trip.

Unbeknownst to the newly swooned, a vacation can be the best or worst thing for a new couple, it’s all in how you navigate it. You want to avoid testing the relationship, but it will surely be put to the test. You want to get out of your comfort zone, yet desire the effortlessness you feel with one another at home. From the honeymoon stage to falling in love to getting comfortable these tried vacation ideas are here for you.


Suggested for: The Hungry History Buffs

It’s true, Barcelona is as blissful as rumors suggest. A city that oozes charm, Barcelona is the perfect destination for a new couple. The views and the culture will amaze you! Stroll the streets of the Gothic Quarter, taking frequent tapas breaks. Shop with a gelato in hand on Las Ramblas. Revel in the pivotal, grandeur of the architecture. Go full tourist by jumping on a Hop On- Hop Off bus tour to see the city in its entirety. Be sure to take a night walking tour of the city where you will learn about Barcelona’s history, with a few ghost stories sprinkled in for good measure. And, definitely end off an evening by drinking cheap wine accompanied by fantastic live music at the Harlem Jazz Club. If you needed any more convincing, Barcelona is also a city that believes in the siesta, need I say more?


Suggested for: The Adventurous Couple

Remember those early first dates? The time your SO treated you to the best pho in the city? Now it’s time to try the OG. Starting in the south of Vietnam, procure yourself a sturdy motorbike. Travel through the towns of the Mekong Delta eventually making your way to Ho Chi Minh city to take in the rich culture of Vietnam. Pick up new hobbies, like kiteboarding in Mui Ne, snorkeling or scuba diving in Nha Trang. Using a bicycle as transportation, explore the charming town of Hoi An where you can also drink snake wine by night and have clothes made by day. Let yourself get lost in the overwhelming, bustling streets of Hanoi. Put your motorbike to the test as you ride the ever winding roads that make up the Hai Van Pass. All this before completing your journey in the Northern town of Sa Pa, where you can trek in Lord of the Rings-worthy mountains with the opportunity to stay with a welcoming Hmong Tribe family.


Suggested for: The Relaxation Seekers

Three syllables: treat yo-self. The all-inclusive exists for a reason, take advantage! Beaches – like the people – in Cuba are some of the best around. Enjoy Cuban cocktails with a side of clear water and more sun than you know what to do with. But, don’t hesitate to leave your resort. While iconic towns like Havana are worthy of a lengthy visit, Varadero is also a wonderful place to stop by. You can look forward to unexpected live music, handmade artistry, and the coolest car sightings. Bonus: if you catch wind that the Buena Vista Social Club is playing at a city nearby, take it as a sign that that is what you are meant to do that evening.


Suggested for: The Nature Lovers

The second largest country in the world, but the most beautiful. OK, yes, I’m completely biased. One of the (many) amazing things about Canada is the difference in scenery from province to province. Equally beautiful, the West and East Coasts vary in basic culture. If you are looking to see some of the West, the Canadian Rockies are a must. With an expansive opportunity to hike and see wildlife, explore in awe the jaw-dropping natural beauty of Canada on the Icefields Parkway. Banff is home to some of the most electric blue lakes in Canada. If you get your energy from nature, the Canadian Rockies will definitely excite you. A stunning, romantic vacation for the nature loving couple.

What’s Next After Valentine’s Day?

February 14th creates mixed emotions for people: some celebrate their love for their partner, while others celebrate being single with friends, some enjoy the day alone with wine and ice cream and there are some don’t celebrate at all.

But what happens after Valentine’s Day?  Where do we go from Cupid’s celebration?

Here are some suggestions to put a spring in your step:

1) Pamper yourself.

It’s super important to have “me time.” It can be anything that gets you feeling spoiled.  Take a break to curl up and read that book that you keep eyeing but never get a chance pick up.  Put the headphones on to listen to the tunes that you have recently downloaded.

Have a spa day. If you don’t have time for an entire day, maybe a facial or just a pedicure. Also a hot rock massage helps melt away any stress that you might be holding in from the winter blues. It’s all about taking care of yourself.  

2) Take a class or volunteer.

Spring is the perfect time to start something new.  If there is a class on your bucket list, move it over to your accomplish list. It doesn’t have to be a full semester course, there are one night classes or classes for 6 weeks.  There are all kinds of classes out there: from cooking to photography; music to languages.  Have a look at the local colleges and any online programs in your area.  

Volunteering is all about your passion. It also flexible to work around your schedule.  The opportunities are everywhere: from dog walking at the local shelter, to reading to seniors to helping out at events. Whatever your interests are, there is a volunteer job that matches.

Both of these activities promotes self-confidence and is also a great way to meet people with similar passions.

3) Spend time with friends and family.

Nothing bond friends and family like a potluck or an afternoon out at the bowling lanes. Dust off pictionary, charades or the family favorites to spark healthy competition.  It’s relaxing and fun to be around people that have been with you through thick and thin. Enjoy the time to just release stress and be yourself.  

4) Enjoy the great outdoors.

There is something about Mother Nature that is refreshing and invigorating. For those who may not be hiking enthusiasts, there is lots to do outside.  In the winter, there is snow shoeing and skiing, also there are some local attractions that are opened all year round.  You could also play tourist for an afternoon and explore your town on foot.   The goal is to disconnect from the everyday routine to help reset and energize.

5) Spring cleaning.

Nothing helps moving on better than letting go.  Take on that one closet that you look away from every time you walk by it. Donate the clothes that you have not worn in a year to a non-profit group.  Recycle old electronics that are sitting around collecting dust. There is a sense of accomplishment and closure when you clear things out of your home that you no longer need.  

Valentine’s Day may be over for another year, some enjoyed the love and passion of it while others maybe not so much. Spring is just around the corner and it’s the perfect time to release, energize and let go.