Are you feeling head-over-heels? Can’t get them off your mind? Are they your first thought when you wake up? Then you, my friend, are probably in love.
But what if you feel just as obsessed with someone… but aren’t experiencing any of the above? You, dear reader, may just be in lust, and there’s a big difference between love and lust.
How exactly are you meant to know if what you’re feeling is purely sexual or actually the real deal? What are you meant to do if you’re genuinely confused because you have no idea whether you want to get inside their head — or just inside their pants?
There’s no doubt about it: the line between love and lust can oftentimes be — or at least feel — blurred. Either way, this newly found attraction is something you want to vehemently pursue, but there are ways of discerning whether it’s love or lust — if indeed you want to know. So, let’s take a look at the difference between love and lust.
If you’re not sure whether what you’re feeling is love or lust – start by asking yourself these questions:
1) Are you open to new experiences with them?
When you’re in love, you’re excited to try new things with your partner, either activities that neither of you has experienced or something that one of you is introducing to the other. An inclination to do so is a surefire way of demonstrating investment in, and commitment to, this nascent dynamic. When your brain is stimulated by the prospect of spontaneity and adventure with your partner, it’s likely that you’re ready for this relationship to become a whole lot more serious.
2) How much do you share with one another?
If you find yourself erring towards keeping things casual and not delving too deeply into more profound, sensitive, meaningful topics of conversation, you might be in the territory of lust. Sure, the sex is unreal, but once that’s over do you find yourself struggling to know what to say? Perhaps you feel fundamentally uninterested in pursuing any discussion with them, period. If so, you’re almost certainly not in love. If you were, you’d feel comfortable, active and engaged in any and all subjects of your chats.
3) Do you ever think about them non-sexually?
Make no mistake, sex when you’re in love is seriously important. However, if you don’t find yourself longing for a deeper connection when the two of you are physically apart and instead dream only of the joys of the flesh, you’re lustin’, not lovin’. On the other hand, if you desire a profound emotional connection with your new beau, then yeah, you’re probably in love!
4) How much do you fantasise about them?
Fantasies can be broken down into 2 broad categories: sexual and emotional. If you’re conjuring up images of all the naughty things the pair of you like to get up to but then quickly losing interest and focusing instead on your tax bill, you’re probably in lust. If, however, you’re fantasising about spending time with them, going to new places, laughing, flirting, cuddling, ironically cycling a tandem around the park, then you’re probably in love.
5) What would you sacrifice for them?
The stakes just seem so much higher when you’re in love. You’re willing to give up more of your time, money and effort in order to make them happy. In fact, feeling truly, profoundly in love can genuinely entail an acceptance of the fact that you really would give up almost anything for them — to the point where it could inconvenience you, even put you in harm’s way. As long as the other person’s health, wellbeing and happiness are paramount, you don’t care.
6) Do you want to meet their nearest and dearest?
If you’re lustin’ after your partner like a dog in heat but feeling decidedly turned off by the prospect of meeting their friends and family, it’s looking unlikely that things are going to develop much beyond bonking. If you’re in love, however, you’re probably really excited at the idea of getting to know those who mean the most to your beloved!
What’s more, you can tell a lot about someone by the friends they keep and a huge amount about their history and upbringing from their family. If things get serious as you hope they do, their family and friends could well become a massive part of your life. Being in love means yearning to build bridges between you and these people. Being in lust means you might want to just run a mile at the very idea of it!
7) Is it I or we?
Lusting means that the other person’s thoughts, feelings and goals don’t really come into the equation when you’re considering the grand narrative of your life. Being in love, however, means that you find yourself accounting for your partner when you think about your plans for the future. Your friends have noticed that monumental — yet oh-so-tiny — word creeping into your everyday conversations: we. It’s no longer a future for just you. It’s a vast span of excitement and possibilities just waiting for you both.
Know where you stand
It can be difficult to understand the differences between love and lust, but doing so will benefit you in the long run. You can save yourself from unnecessary emotional upheaval and, of course, not lead someone on if you realise that they’re feeling far more invested in this dynamic than you are. Being in lust is totally fine and can be extremely exciting, but only if both of you are entirely on the same wavelength and cool with it.
If you’re in love, you want to invest in your partner’s heart, mind and soul. If you’re in lust, you wish to invest only in their nether regions. When you’re in love, my friend, the fun doesn’t stop once you’ve come. Know the differences between love and lust, then go out and have a blast!