All those feelings you have at the start of a new relationship—the fluttering feeling in your stomach, the need to see him again, the way he makes you feel so wonderful—can be quite overwhelming. You might be very happy and excited about the way you feel. But you know from experience that lust can be just as powerful as feelings of love and they can sometimes get confused.
If you’re trying sort out how you feel, here are 15 clues that will help you know whether it’s love or lust. You can look for the same things in him to find out how he’s really feeling about you or take a look at “How Do You Know If He Loves You?” for more on that.
Test of Time/Flash in the Pan
One of the surest ways to know if it’s real love is to give it time. Don’t jump into anything too fast if you’re not 100% sure, but do go with the feeling. Often, those feelings of desire can turn into deep love, given time. You might just be infatuated now, but love can grow from it if you’re a good match.
Loving Him all the Time/Feeling More in Love After Sex
Do your feelings for him reach a peak right after you have sex and tend to fade at other times? If you don’t meet up for sex, do you actually miss him or do you just miss the feeling of being turned on? One question you can ask yourself is, “If I have to go for the next few months without having sex with him, will I still want to see him and be around him?” Lust is very much fed by the high that comes after orgasm and a good sexual experience. Love is fed by common need to be together and enjoyment of the time aside from when you’re in a sexual situation.
Complete Trust/Wanting Only to Show Your Best Side
When you first meet, you will most likely put your best foot forward. However, as time goes on, if there is real caring and even love for your partner, you’ll trust him enough to open up and allow him to see the real you. When lust is your guiding factor, you don’t want him to see you without makeup, when you’re unwell, or if you’re going through a rough time. When love is involved, you trust that he’ll like and love you as you are, imperfections and all.
Acceptance/Wanting to Change Him
When you love a guy, you love who he is, without trying to get him to change. With lust, you have this ideal in your mind about him and you’re disappointed when he displays his more human side. You may even try to change certain habits or personality traits in order to make him fit into your “perfect” mold. Or, you ignore the stuff you don’t like, because even subconsciously, you know you’re not going to be around him long enough to be bothered by them. You’ll know it’s more than lust when he can do those quirky things and you still like him; you don’t try to change him, neither do you pretend he doesn’t have any faults at all.
In a lusting relationship, you want him to be all yours, you demand that his attention and time be given to you. In a loving relationship, you want him to know that you’re his—you are sure to give your time and care without much effort. Of course, if you’re both in love, you’ll both be at the receiving end of that love—it is give and take, after all. However, you’re not demanding from him, you’re more concerned with what you can give.
Sharing Emotions/Everything is Physical
Do you want to share parts of your day with him, talk about how you feel and find out what he was up to since you last met? Or do you just want to get physical every time you meet? Lust centers much more around the sexual aspect of your time together and not so much on emotions. If you’re in love, sex is important too but it’s in balance with the other aspects of your relationship.
When you love each other, romance comes naturally and wanting to put in more than just turning up is something you look forward to. Romance isn’t a chore, it’s fun to find new ways to express how you feel and make him feel special. If you’re just in it for lust, turning up and heading straight into sex pretty much dominates the way you look at the relationship.
Waking Up Together/Leaving After Sex
When you’re not in love, there is no need to spend the night, unless you’ll pulling an all-nighter, in which case, you’re not sleeping anyway. When you love someone, you will want to stay the night so you can enjoy waking up next to each other. Of course, it happens that people will stay the night even when you’re just dating and there’s no love yet. However, it’s about the comfort level. Do you want to stay the night and find yourself staying over naturally, or is it something you feel funny about the next day and can’t wait to get back home as fast as you can?
More Than Chemistry/Physical Attraction Is Everything
Physical appearance usually has a role to play when you first start dating, but when there is love, you click on many levels, not just sexually. When there’s love, you pay less attention to looks. Although you will still want to be attractive to each other, there are other reasons why you want to be together. In lust, looks are the main focus of his attraction.
When you love him, you value his character and therefore you trust him. If he’s not trustworthy, is it really love? While someone in love can feel jealous at times, you’re not obsessively jealous of his every move. True love is secure in the knowledge that he’s chosen you and wants to be with you as much as you want to be with him. If you’re jealous of every girl he looks at, suspicious of how he spends his free time, or jealous of all the time he isn’t with you, you’re probably not really in love with him. You want to keep him in a cage so that only you can get your hands on him.
Future Oriented/Living in the Now
There is nothing wrong with living in the moment, even in a relationship based on love. When it’s lust, however, you won’t be interested in discussing the future or making long-term plans together. When you love someone, it’s natural to want to spend time thinking and planning for the future. You make time to discuss what the future holds, rather than only living from moment to moment. In lust, the future is simply when you’ll meet up next.
There may be reasons why you can’t meet the family yet, even though you’re in love. On the other hand, you might have a lot of mutual friends, but still just be friends with benefits yourselves. However, once love is involved, introducing each other to close friends and family comes naturally and is something that you’ll want to aim for even if you can’t achieve it right away. Secretly meeting for quickies and booty calls is usually lust based and isn’t the foundation for a solid relationship. The longer it goes on in secret, the more excuses given for not meeting family and friends, the more likely it is to be lust rather than love.
Solving Problems/Ignoring Them
When you love someone, you don’t want problems or issues to build up. You want to solve them keep the relationship sweet. When it’s lust, ignoring problems is easier to do. You might just walk away from conflicts and come back together only if the subject doesn’t come up again. Another way to “resolve” issues in a non-loving relationship is through sex. If sensuality is the answer to everything, there isn’t true love involved. Of course, good makeup sex is a part of a loving relationship, but it comes after the issue has been resolved and you’re both feeling satisfied with the conclusion, not as a way to avoid discussion altogether.
Good Communication/Not Listening
When you love someone, you want to know what he thinks and feels, so you listen to what he says and try to understand his point of view. When it’s just lust, talking is often perceived as superfluous. Often the excuse is, “it’s hard to pay attention to what you’re saying because all I can think about is kissing you.” This happens when you’re in love as well, but the desire to listen and communicate is stronger and the desire for physical contact is kept in perspective.
Wanting to be a Better Person/Feeling Stifled
When you’re in love, you feel you want to be a better person. You’re not under pressure to change and you certainly don’t lie to be something you’re not. But you adapt and change things that might be irritating to him and he does the same for you. You change your schedule around if needed and make time for each other. When there’s no love, you feel boxed in and stifled if change is needed. You see any comments about change as a threat to what you have. You’re just in it for the high you get when you’re together and not for the effort you have to make to keep a loving relationship going.
Over to you: How do you distinguish between love and lust? When did you know for certain you were in love (or that he was in love with you?) Please share in the comments below