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LOVE VS. LUST: HOW TO SORT THROUGH YOUR FEELINGS

flame Feb 09, 2021

Aww...you’re head over heels in...love? Lust? What’s the difference and why does it matter?! We’re not here to bring you down off that cloud you’re floating on, but it’s important that you can spot the difference so that you’re not blinded by lust in the pursuit of love. When all you see is sunshine and rainbows, it’s easy to get caught up in your feelings for that special someone. We want to help you make sure that the joy you’re experiencing is the real deal so that you can bring the healthiest, most fulfilling relationships into your life. 

 

LET'S TALK ABOUT LUST

Some psychologists consider lust an almost primal instinct of ours and say that the influence on our brain (and decision-making skills) is comparable to the effects of drugs. Are we seeing why lust is considered one of the seven deadly sins? Lust hits us like a tidal wave--engulfing us in some very intense feelings of attraction, an intensity that is difficult to maintain over time. 

 

Lust is:

  • Physical: Feelings of lust are often intertwined with a physical attraction, which results in a relationship dominated by physical activities. Now, if physical touch is either of your love languages, then place an asterisk next to that, because that’s an exception. The physicality of these relationships is worth noting because it’s unlikely your relationship will have the deeper conversations it takes to develop a more emotional connection. 
  • Perceived as Perfect: Because lust is rooted in desires more than reality, your perceptions of your partner can be a little wayward from the truth. In this arena, your partner can do no wrong, and you’re probably going to ignore any red flags. Meanwhile, you’re likely to set a pretty high standard of perfection for yourself in these relationships. Lust makes us want to keep things pretty and neat, so we idealize our partner, ourselves, and the future of the relationship. 
  • Impermanent: It’s extremely difficult to keep up the perfection and idealism that comes with lust. Also, because these relationships lack strong foundations built on deep, emotional, and intellectual connections, they lack longevity. As much as lust gives you a high, it can’t endure the lows that life throws at you. 

 

NOW, HOW ABOUT LOVE?

There’s a reason that love is the theme of so many movies and books--it’s hard to define and even harder to understand, and yet we are willing to go to the ends of the earth to find it or experience it. 

 

Love is: 

  • Comfortable: When you’re in love, you reach a point in your relationship where both you and your significant other are completely comfortable being your true, authentic selves with one another. Not only can you spend time together sans-makeup and in your sweat pants, but you are also able to express yourself and be your most vulnerable self. A loving relationship isn’t afraid to dive into deeper conversations and tough topics, because navigating those waters helps you get to know each other more completely and honestly.
  • Caring: Love drives you and your partner to care for each other in a very selfless way. When you’ve reached this point in your relationship, all you want is for good things to come their way, and you’ll do what you can to help make that happen. It’s this giving mindset that cultivates growth for you both, individually and as a duo. 
  • Committed: Lust may be sparked by your initial interest in an individual, but love endures. It takes work and experiences ups and downs, but it transcends the imperfections in a way that gives it the potential to last far longer. This is because love is built on a much more solid foundation that holds you both up during difficult times. When you’re able to appreciate even the imperfections of your partner, in a place of love, you’re in a much more secure and stable spot. 
  • Complex: Due to the deeper bonds you develop while navigating love, love is much more complex. Yes, that can mean it may be messy and face adversity, but that complexity is the defining difference between love and lust. Love is both emotional and physical, it’s attraction and affection. Something that multi-faceted is certainly more complicated but also has more potential.  

 

MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL

Make sense of love? Yeah, right. It seems impossible, especially when attraction is notorious for making even the most clear-headed people get a little foggy in their decision making. But it’s important that you can connect with your feelings in a way that helps you think through situations and lends you the self-awareness to make the decisions that are best for you. 

 

Both love and lust are ways we connect with people we’re attracted to. They can both be blissful and thrilling in their own imperfect ways. However, it’s worth checking in with ourselves by asking, “Is this the type of relationship I want in my life right now?” If the answer is yes, then great! But if your gut is telling you you want something different, then listen to that. There’s no blueprint for relationships, but if you can identify your feelings you can make the healthiest and most empowered decisions.

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