Lust vs. love: the eternal battle.
For eons, homo sapiens have existed on Earth.
And for eons, homo sapiens have mistaken lust for love.
Cavelady Clara thought she loved Caveman Carl. After all, he brought dinosaur meat home and gave her some beautiful unibrow Cavebabies. But after a few years, she realized those were the best things about him.
While we might feel so evolved compared to Clara and Carl, the fact is: women are still getting it wrong when it comes to lust vs. love. And throw in online dating…and the water just gets murkier.
When your hormones and emotions are raging, it can be difficult to know who’s really controlling the ship, so I created this video and article to help you figure out the difference between physical attraction and love.
P.S. If you keep finding yourself in lust vs. love situations, you might need a little guidance finding the one. For a limited time, I’m offering my Find the One training to help you get the right man to pursue you. Sign up while you still can!
Introduction: Understand The Differences Between Lust vs. Love
If you’ve never been in love, how can you be sure it’s not just lust?
Just like love, lust feels pretty fantastic. It lights you up inside. Gives you a reason to get up in the morning. And yet…lust and love are quite different.
Let’s look at characteristics of lust vs. love so that you can learn to separate them.
Lust tends to be present in the early stages of a relationship and is fueled by physical attraction and/or sex. You may have nothing in common with a man, but you have an inexplicable attraction to him. The sex might be fireworks…but general conversation isn’t all that exciting.
When you’re in lust, it’s like your brain is on drugs. MRIs have shown that the same part of the brain that lights up when an addict takes a hit of cocaine as when someone is in lust. You can’t get enough of this guy…but truth be told, you haven’t really gotten to know him on a deeper level. It’s been superficial so far, and that’s okay with you.
Because when things get real, you either end up in love or you realize you have no deep attraction to this person. Maybe you see what he’s like angry or depressed and it sends you running for the hills.
On the other hand…if it’s love, you’re willing to accept a man with all his flaws. While sex is important, it’s not the focus of your relationship. You enjoy spending time with him, but you also continue to do the activities you enjoy outside of your relationship.
There is balance.
So that’s a basic explanation of the differences between lust vs. love. Now the question is: is it a bad thing to be in lust?
Is Being in Lust a Bad Thing?
Absolutely not. In fact, most healthy relationships begin with a large dose of lust. It’s where things go from there that matter. As long as you’re willing to open up to this guy and see if there’s something of more substance you can build on, lust can be part of a solid relationship.
And ideally, 50 years from now, you can still feel lust for this man, even though you’ve been in love for decades and experienced a ton — both good and bad — together.
The only time I can think that being in lust vs. love might be a negative thing is if you know that he’s falling for you and you know you will never feel the same. Consider how you would feel if the role was reversed and he let you keep thinking that he felt the same when he didn’t.
So if you know that you’ll never fall for a guy, give him the respect of letting him know, even if it means things are over.
7 Differences Between Lust vs. Love
You know you dig this guy…but sometimes you like him more than others. Sometimes, frankly, you’d rather be home alone.
So what’s the deal? Are you in lust or in love? Here are 7 ways to figure it out.
1. The Relationship Revolves Around Sex
Man. Things are freaking amazing in the bedroom with this guy. It is quite possibly the best sex of your life. That fact alone is enough to make you hope that you’re in love rather than in lust but…
You know his favorite sexual position…but you have no idea if he likes dogs.
You know the nickname he likes you to call him in bed…but not his last name.
He’s been up close and personal with every inch of you…but hasn’t met your friends.
Now, on the one hand, it may just be too early in your relationship to expect to know each other better. And sex is definitely one way new couples get to know each other. But realize that sex is tricky. It can force an emotional connection when there isn’t one, thanks to that cocktail of hormones and pheromones. You can avoid this confusion by simply waiting a while to have sex.
If you resist the very large temptation and then realize that the guy is a complete jerk, you’ll be glad you never slept with him.
If you’ve already been sleeping with him, ask yourself whether you truly enjoy spending time together outside of the bedroom…or if that’s the one place you always enjoy him. If it is, you’re definitely in lust vs. love.
2. Your Physical Attraction to Him Minimizes All His Flaws
You stay awake at night fantasizing about his biceps.
“Ooh, I love those tattoos he has on his arms. And the way he picks me up. Not the way his breath stinks, though. Focus on the arms!”
When you’re in lust vs. love, it’s easy to get carried away by your physical attraction to a man and ignore all the things that are wrong about him.
He’s got a chiseled chin and he smells fantastic…but he legitimately thought that Austria was its own continent.
He makes you scream in bed…but he laughs like a hyena.
You may be building a fantasy world around this guy, in part, because you know you have to create fiction to make up for his very real flaws. You’re willing to overlook what would ordinarily be rather large warning signs because you want him on a very basic and physical level.
Now, this isn’t the same as being in love. Yes, when you’re in love, you accept a man’s shortcomings. But you don’t completely ignore them. You’re aware of them and love him anyway, whereas, with lust, you simply bury them so you can focus on the physical connection.
That might work temporarily, but eventually, the fairytale will burn off and you’ll be left with a man who talks with his mouth full. Ug.
3. You Skipped the Friendship Stage
I always encourage my coaching clients to be friends with someone first, even if they’re dating. What do I mean by that? Just spend time getting to know one another and doing activities you enjoy, like you would with a friend.
But if you went straight from sleeping together a lot to meeting his parents, you didn’t really have that friendship stage. Something happened that sped up this relationship from being a casual one to being a serious one…and yet something feels missing.
You can’t force a relationship. I know you might want this guy that you lust after so much to be The One, but if you’re researching lust vs. love, I’m going to have to call it: he’s not The One.
4. You Don’t Really Want to Open Up to Him
You’re willing to show him the most private areas of your body, to be incredibly intimate physically with this guy, but you are absolutely not willing to tell him anything that makes you feel vulnerable.
As a relationship develops, you should both be opening up gradually to one another as you get to know each other’s personalities and issues. That means you need to feel comfortable talking to him about your fear of commitment, your traumatic relationship history, or even your discomfort in talking about all of this!
I’m not saying you need to open up after two dates, but you should at least want to let him see who you are inside, and not just in the bedroom. This is a classic example of you being in lust vs. love.
5. You Don’t Really Know Him
So you’ve been dating this guy for a few weeks or months and you meet some of his friends for dinner.
“So I’m sure he’s told you about Veronica,” says one friend, “Man, she really changed his life.”
Wait…what? Who’s Veronica? Why don’t you know about someone so important to your boyfriend? Is she a sister? An ex? A dog?
One of the signs of lust is that, even if you’ve spent a decent amount of time together, you still know virtually nothing about him. You talk about easy things, like sports and the weather, but you never dive into the level of, oh, say, Veronica.
If this bothers you, then talk about it. Open up more and ask him more questions about his life and his past. If you don’t really care, acknowledge that you’re in lust.
6. You Don’t Feel Committed to Him
You’re at a time in life when you want to find love and have put a ton of energy into looking for it…but you don’t want to spend longer than an hour with this guy, let alone a lifetime with him.
And yet…you stay.
My dear, you’re in what I call a Good Enough relationship. There are some things you like about this guy (mainly his body and performance), and you figure there’s not enough negative to want to leave. And yet, you find yourself making excuses so you don’t have to hang out with him…or only see him when you know you’ll end up in bed together.
If you’re both acting casual about it, it’s fine. But if he seems to want more from you than you do him, cut him free.
Also, be honest with yourself. If you’re looking for love, aren’t you wasting time with him? You’re not single and so aren’t truly open to finding The One. It’s better to be on your own so that you can focus on attracting love, not lust.
7. You Have a Hard Time Making Plans For the Future
You want to invite this guy to that wedding you were invited to in six months because you’ve been sleeping together the past six months, but you legitimately don’t know if he’d go…or if he’ll still be around…or if you’ll even want him to be.
When you’re headed toward love, you can see making plans because you see a future together. When you’re in lust — with no possibility of love — it’s hard to see beyond today.
If you’re trying to figure out if you’re in lust vs. love, ask yourself: “can I confidently make plans with him six months out? What about three? One month?”
If the answer is no, it’s bound to be lust.
Knowing whether what you feel is lust or love is incredibly helpful because you can know where to go from here. If you’re genuinely okay with having a casual relationship right now, keep doing what you’re doing. I get that, even if you are looking for forever with a guy, sometimes you want to keep things light. If you truly enjoy his company but can’t see a long-term future with him, just live in the moment.
On the other hand, if you thought you were in love and now realized that it’s just lust, back up a little and reassess what you want and need right now. Is this relationship preventing you from finding true love? You bet. Realign your actions with your goals and get back on track.
In part 2 of this article, I give you the 3 words he says that tell you he’s only in lust with you. Trust me: you’re going to want to read this. But it’s only available to Sexy Confidence members. Ready to join and start reaping all the benefits of this exclusive community? Subscribe now.