Love or lust? How to tell whether the special feeling we have for somebody is merely lust, or… is it love? Are there some ways to discern them?

Love and lust are closely intertwined to each other. The feelings that love and lust bring are very powerful, often make the ones who experience it overwhelmed.

And the attraction factor that exists in both love and lust adds the complexity. It makes the feelings involved – in both love and lust – very similar, hard to differentiate. No wonder many people misunderstood their enthrallment as love while in fact it is lust, or vice versa.

If the interest requited and the relationship has been going for some time, problems will occur. If the relationship was based on love, they will do their best to maintain it and to fix things up. But if it was only based on lust, the desire to keep it alive will not be there, at least in one of the parties involved.

But at that time, the relationship have gone far. Ending it is no longer an easy thing to do. Damage will occur, to both parties… and even to the families/relatives involved if the romance had gone farther.

Love and Lust – The Characteristics

Definitely, lust is not love, and love is not lust. Love is greater and has broader scope than lust. While lust is always a part of love, the opposite is never true.

Although love and lust have attraction as their common factor, love goes deeper than lust. While lust is mainly sexual in nature, and its attraction is primarily in the physical aspects, love is more complicated.

The one who is in love cares very much about the well-being of his/her love interest. If he is a man, for instance, he will be attracted to her, not only physically, but also to the wholeness of her as a person.

He will want to know more about anything related to her: her hobby, family, her favorite food, favorite color, favorite places, etc. He will try to do the things that he knows can make her happy. And he will have great attention on those things. On the other hand, he will do his best to not do anything that can make her sad or gloomy.

In theory, it’s easy to differentiate between love and lust. But in practice, we hardly have that luxury, especially in the very early stages of relationship. But still, if we are willing to step back a little and examine our heart and mind, we should be able to know whether our enthrallment to that special one is love or lust (or just an infatuation).

Love or Lust – How to Tell

So, how to tell if the feeling of attraction that we feel is love or lust? Here are few tips to discern them.

It’s lust if: (although all these apply to both sexes, some might be more applicable to men regarding bigger capacity in men to have sex without bond)

  • What interests you is only her looks and body.
  • You’re already fantasizing about seeing her naked and/or having sex with him/her.
  • You have no interest in anything she has to say.
  • You don’t enjoy being with her without sex.
  • If, for some circumstances, you can’t have sex with him/her, you fantasize having sex with other partner.
  • You try to find every excuse to not meet her and/or spend time with her if you know that in that meeting you won’t get sex.
  • She’s your booty call: you call her for sex at midnight after having fun with your buddies.
  • Love or lust? If after sex you look for every excuses to leave as soon as the situation permits, then it is lust!
  • He demands sex from you. And if you don’t give it, he threatens you (subtly or blatantly) to end the relationship.
  • He takes chances over your expenses.
  • He estranges himself from you if you’re no longer willing to satisfy his sexual desires.
  • He becomes suspicious and jealous if he sees you with other guy. It is because, unlike love, lust knows no trust.
  • He doesn’t really care if you’re happy or not. As long as his desires met, he doesn’t give a damn to anything else.
  • He rarely shows his respect to you. Only when he needs you to satisfy him he may show a little respect.
  • You slept together for the first time on the first date, or very shortly after that.

And it’s love if:

  • You enjoy your conversation with her very much so that hours pass like minutes and minutes like seconds. You enjoy listening to whatever she has to say.
  • You always want to be with her, to spend time with her.
  • Love or lust can also be seen from how you make your plans. If you love her, you will include her in your plans. Either they are long span future plans, or just a simple one such as going to the library tomorrow. If you love her, you will want her to be there in your plan.
  • You find her beautiful even when you find her just woke up from her sleep without makeup.
  • You can’t imagine your life without her. You even find yourself thinking about marrying her.
  • You become more romantic. You listen to more romantic songs and even tried to make your own love poems.
  • You introduce her to your family and the ones that are close to you. You will also want to get to know more about her beloved ones.
  • Knowing her and being close to her make you want to be a better person than you are now.
  • You always take on her side. When somebody talks bad about her, you will immediately rise to defend her.
  • Love or lust? Like lust, love also knows jealousy. You might feel jealous sometimes. But even when you feel it, you know that she will not betray your trust.
  • You feel secure with her, more than with anybody else.
  • Nothing else can make you feel more serene as when you and she together.
  • When you fight with her, it won’t last long to make up. Both of you know that nothing is more important than being able to express each true feelings, even if it can ignite conflict.
  • Neither you or she ever feel the need to test each other loyalties.
  • Sex may or may not be part of the relationship. But even if it is, it is committed by mutual desire and agreement without the slightest hint of threat or oppression.
  • Love or lust can also be seen in this: Unless there are very strong reasons for it, you never think of demanding her to choose between you and her family/friends. You know, she will always choose you if it is needed without you have to ask her for it.
  • You respect her and always want the best for her.
  • You can forget relatively easily her wrong doings to you.

Okay, that’s all the signs that I can tell you about how to differentiate if it is love or lust. But remember, they’re only signs, indications. The more of the signs you see, the bigger the chances if it is love or lust.

But because love and lust are closely intertwined, where lust to some degree always included in love, it’s very likely you will find mixed signals.


Anna Perkins is a relationship writer who offers her own forthright opinion over the worlds of dating, romance, relationships , marriage and friendships. She loves cats, traveling, spending time with her son and husband.

1 Comment

  1. I have a hard time differentiating love and lust, but this post was very helpful with that. I now have a better idea of the distinctions and how to separate the two. Thanks!

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