In today’s modern day, millennial dating world, I’ve seen so many couples dive into relationships with the belief that they are deeply in love… Only to ask, “Apollonia, what’s the difference? How can I tell if it’s lust vs. love?”
It’s a pretty hot topic because of the fact that it’s happening so much in our day and age. We either don’t know how to love or we get misinformed about lust and love and the difference between the two. I’m going to break this down and it’s gonna get pretty deep and pretty real. It comes from years and years of my experience with growing into an adult woman but also my experience dating men, and my experience coaching clients in the 10 years that I’ve been in this business.
Lust Versus Love
Now, one of the biggest things that I want to mention before we get started is lust is the ultimate desire to be loved. Lust comes in many forms when it plays into dating, toxic relationships and hopes to have love. I’m going to break this down further along in this blog.
What is lust?
Lust is a powerful, physical attraction to someone. The make-believe reality of how a relationship could be. How people put others on a pedestal before they put themselves on the pedestal. I want to try to break this down as simply as possible so that you can understand because, at the end of the day, you know that I want you to have a healthy love life and be happy with yourself and in love. With this said, I reference the pedestal often because of the fact that a lot of us don’t put ourselves on a pedestal because we don’t know how to love ourselves.
We don’t know how to love ourselves sometimes because it was never taught to us when we were young, or maybe it was taught to us in our childhood but then we took on some bad habits as we grew up like drugs, addiction, empty sex, whatever it might be. Addictions to anything or perhaps something happened to you, and you were a victim at a young age to something that has happened. As a result, your idea of love has suffered and over time has morphed into lust.
Lust has a lot to do with someone seeking validation from another person in order to be or feel loved. This happens a lot in lustful relationships, and now physical attraction can be the barrier of lust where you’re like … “I’ve never felt this way before. I’ve never had this feeling before. This woman/man has never given me this feeling.”
You’re so attached to the feeling and the physical aspect of what this person is bringing to your life that you forget, intentionally and unintentionally, to pay attention to what they can offer on a deeper, emotional level. What are they offering to you and what are their behaviors towards you? When you’re in the thick of lust, it becomes easy to neglect how this person is treating you. How is this woman reciprocating with you? Are you just intentionally physically attracted to her?
Is it lust or love | 3 clues that it’s lust!
I’m gonna give you three reasons why lustful relationships hold so much power:
Lust or love | #1: You’re more focused on your desired outcome and the physical appearance instead of the actual person in front of you.
You are motivated by the feeling that this person is giving you. Now I’m not trying to say that you’re not motivated from a feeling when you’re in love because that does drive feelings but there’s a healthy balance between this, and it’s just not always about physical attraction.
Is it lust or love| #2: There is a strong desire to have sex but there are no emotional conversations.
Now I want to be clear about this because I’ve seen a lot of lustful relationships that have emotional conversations. Here’s the thing that I’ve not seen anybody say before and this is the real freaking deal! Lustful relationships usually form when there’s a lack of something in your life. So if there’s a lack of connection with another man or woman, and this person is showing up and connecting to you emotionally, because this is what she needs in her life and also needs the same emotional connection that you do, then this can turn into a lustful relationship as well.
Let me explain the difference because I know emotional connections form a lot in love as well, but when it comes to lust, with an emotional connection, you have to look into why this person makes you feel like this. The sex can be out of this world crazy and then the emotional connection comes into play, but I’m gonna be very clear about this here. When there is an emotional connection in a lust driven relationship, there is typically a reason behind it. Maybe that person is still married. Maybe that person has another partner. Maybe that person is an addict. Maybe that person … This doesn’t happen in healthy relationships, so if you have that emotional connection with somebody and let’s just say she’s a girl that’s just having fun right now and wants to have that emotional connection but doesn’t want to tie herself down, there’s a reason behind it. You’re ignoring it but you’re showing up emotionally because you’re giving that person what they need.
Am I in love or lust | # 3: You’re not friends; you’re just lovers
Even though there might be an emotional connection like I explained in tip #2, how can you be yourself around this person? In lustful relationships, you can’t be 100% yourself. So like I said, either there’s a problem, there’s a dilemma that’s holding you back because maybe this person has another relationship or another blockage, but there can be another reason why you can’t be yourself around this person. You can’t be honest, you can’t be yourself, you can’t show who you really are because you have a fear inside. Your intuition is telling you that this person really won’t like you if I show up completely 100% as yourself. When that happens, it turns into a lusting relationship because you’re both dating the idea of the other person.
What is the real difference between love and lust?
Now let’s talk about the difference between love and lust. So after this, in both lusting and loving relationships, comes attraction. Now attraction is built by thinking of that person when you’re away and getting your dopamine levels triggered. There’s still the “what if” in the relationship which causes a lot of lust because there is something that is holding you back, and as humans, we always want something more when we can’t have it.
Now let me explain what attraction does in these relationships with lust and love, and I’m gonna get into the love aspect of it as we combine everything. I just want to give you the inner-workings of attraction. Now what attraction does, both for men and women doesn’t matter. I’m gonna get a little bit more logical and factual with you. Attraction is when we spend hours of the day either daydreaming about them or are getting exciting and are happier because of them. Attraction is that feeling that you get when you really want something or when you have those butterflies.
At this stage, our hormones play a really specific role when it comes to attraction. It influences the dopamine and serotonin levels in our brain and that’s what links happiness to the attraction. Then if you’re in lust with somebody, it’s hard to distinguish the two because of the serotonin levels that are physically in your brain, and the dopamine that your brain is being fed. They make you consciously think that this is the person for you. Your happiness, your trust, and your decision making are all being sparked in your brain, and this is what influences this decision.
Now let’s go into a deep love and how it plays into the attraction. Deep love and attraction are similar, but it’s important that you understand how to disassociate lust and love and be able to diagnose your relationships. If you are someone who falls into lust with people easily, it typically happens right away and does not take time to build. When you fall in love with someone, it’s built over time, and the love continues to go deeper and deeper and deeper and then it turns into a feeling that you’ve never felt before.
I want to be clear, for those of you that have found love and are thinking, “I found my partner and I knew he was the one instantly…” I mean, I’m gonna be honest with you, it happened to me. I knew he was the one instantly, but I wasn’t lusting over him like I was in my other relationships. I didn’t feel like it was somebody that I needed. It was more than physical; it was a physical but also a mental attraction. It was something out of this world that I’ve never experienced before, and we can say lust is ‘out of this world’ but it’s more of the physical presence of the picture, the visual aspect of what we’ve implanted in our minds of what we think this relationship can be and it’s not the actual reality. Remember that.
What is the difference between love and lust | Signs You’re In Love
I want to give you signs of true romantic love so you can see the difference here. True romantic love has no pressure, right? You’re not stressing about “What I need from this person. What do I want from this person?” This is because of the fact that you take your time to get to know each other. Yeah, probably the attraction is there instantaneously the first day and you’re like, “This is the one, I know it,” because of such and such reason. I’m not disqualifying that because of the fact that it has happened, but it has to be for legitimately healthy reasons. In addition to this, we look at possessiveness as such a negative aspect of relationships, but I want to make possessiveness a little bit positive in this article.
Now I’m talking about deep love. Like you only want that one person. You only want her and the feeling is mutual. In a lust relationship, the feeling is not mutual. I’m not saying that it can’t be in the future, but it shows that there needs to be work done because one of you needs to reciprocate more.
The next sign is that you sincerely care about each other’s feelings. You’re honestly listening, and your honesty is the foundation of the relationship because you are who you desire to be in front of them. You’re your own person, you’re real with them, you 100% show up for you because that person doesn’t try to force you to be someone else. This person gives you a feeling that “I am okay with me.”
The next tip on love is that there are no barriers, there’s nothing that you have to do to be together. I say this because there are so many relationships out there in which people end up falling for someone else when they’re unavailable (married, for example).
When something like this happens, it is because there is a barrier – someone’s trying to find themselves, there can be another barrier if they have an addiction problem, or it can be that they don’t love themselves.
The one similar thing that comes to my mind when it comes to these barriers is the person that you’re dealing with never became skilled at being alone, loving themselves, dating themselves, and falling in love with who they really are. I say this because this is the true meaning behind why love has been so toxic in our day and age. People don’t know how to truly show up for themselves and love themselves without another person. When they try to cultivate a healthy relationship, they don’t find love, and when they do find the desire, the actual non-reality of love, they think that that’s enough and that’s efficient. But then as the relationship continues, problems arise because they never healed themselves and never learned how to be alone. That’s why there are so many broken marriages, and that’s why the divorce rate is so high in our day and age.
The reason why I say this is because it’s so important that you start a love with clear barriers. When I say clear barriers, let me explain further. There should be no barriers at all, and you should know that your intentions are good. If there are barriers in the relationship and you feel like this person can be someone that you can love in the future, then have them cross their own barriers first and then come back to you. Whether it’s lust or love, if someone loves you, they’re going to try to challenge you and come back to you. Have faith in that. We’re so used to making things happen for ourselves, but you have to understand that when you start showing up for life and being okay with not knowing what the future brings, it is the best thing that you can do for yourself. But let’s be honest, it’s the hardest too, right?
One last thing I want to give you before we end this article on love and lust. The last tip when it comes to love is this person will motivate you to become a better person. In real love, not only are you honest with yourself and who you truly are, but this person motivates you to become a better person. In addition to that, they don’t play off your shortcomings. They want you to be a better person even if it means spending two weeks away from each other so you can go pursue your dream. They motivate you to do those things because there are no barriers, there are no lacks in the relationship and this is what the true meaning of love is. Also, this can be applied to family and friends. They take the time to really get to know your family, your friends, and this is really, really important when it comes to love.
I hope you understand the difference between lust and I always enjoy your comments. If you have any questions feel free to comment below.
Apollonia Ponti, an international certified coach and founder of apolloniaponti.com. She works with men to attract the woman they desire, build confidence, master their attraction skills and helps rebuild relationships.
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