Love Vs Lust: 20 Simple Ways To Tell The Difference Between Them

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Love vs lust – the most confusing of emotions that often make or break a relationship. So what are they? Love is the strong feeling of affection you feel for someone. It connects you to the one with whom you can be yourself without any inhibitions. Lust, on the other hand, is the intense desire to gratify physical urges. It is a feeling that makes you want to be with someone who you think can satisfy your sexual desires.

The doorway to these two feelings may be the same, but they take entirely different routes. This common doorway causes the main confusion for some individuals. So, how do you differentiate between love and lust? The following are some of the most common differences between love and lust.

20 Differences Between Love And Lust

You may not be sure if what you feel for someone is love or lust, so here are some differences to help you tell the feelings apart.

1. Talk vs. No talk

When in love, you enjoy their company so much that you easily lose track of time. You never fall short of topics to talk about and wish to know more about them. In lust, you are more interested in the physical aspect of the relationship. You only enjoy conversations related to physical intimacy and are not interested in talking about other topics.

2. Butterflies vs. Sex

If merely thinking of your partner gives you butterflies in your stomach and brings a big, broad smile to your face, it means you are in love with them. But, if sex is the only thing that comes to your mind when you think of them, it is lust.

3. Cuddles vs. Sleep

After some fun in the sack, you may want to cuddle up and speak to your partner. If not immediately, then surely the next morning. You would prefer to have a good chat because you love them and are interested in them. But, if you prefer to bid a quick goodbye after you feel spent and satisfied, it hints at your lust for them and nothing more.

4. Compromise vs. Selfish decisions

Your partner may hint at moving to another city for better prospects. For their sake, you may move with them. And if not, you will at least consider their suggestion. In a relationship based on lust, if you see yourself not getting what you want, you will prefer saying your goodbyes and start looking for another partner.

5. Acknowledgement vs. Secrecy

When in love, you will want your loved ones to know about the special person in your life. You will introduce them to your family and friends. But in lust, you do not want your people to know anything about them. In fact, neither you nor your partner knows much about your respective private lives.

6. Care vs. Indifference

They message you and say they had a bad day at work. In love, you will worry for them and try to make them feel better. In lust, you will not care about their problems because you do not feel concerned about what happens in their personal life. You feel concerned only if they are unable to continue your meet-ups.

7. Public appearance vs. Private meetings

If you love this person and seek a long-term relationship with them, you will take them to official and family events so people know you are dating them. In lust, you prefer meeting them privately where not many people see you with them because you know your relationship will not last long enough.

8. Deep conversations vs. Short talks

You engage in deep, meaningful conversations only with someone you love and see yourself with in the future. In lust, you avoid having long or deep conversations as you are neither interested in knowing that person nor are you willing to open up about yourself to them.

9. Perfection vs. Imperfection

Initially, you may feel attracted to someone because you think they are perfect. But when you get to know them, you also learn about their imperfections, and slowly, those imperfections seem attractive to you. But in lust, when you discover faults in them, you start losing interest, and their imperfections bother you much.

10. Hard work vs. Easy work

Maintaining a relationship requires a lot of work. There will be ups and downs, and if you love your partner, you will be willing to go through all of it with compassion and patience because of your devotion to the relationship and each other. In lust, if a physical relationship is not meeting one’s expectations, the attraction fades, and there is nothing to work on.

11. Vulnerability vs. Guardedness

In love, you do not mind letting your guard down and being vulnerable with your partner. By doing so, you manage to strengthen your bond with them. In lust, you are afraid of exposing your weaknesses and are not comfortable letting your guard down. You do not desire to connect deeply with them.

12. Long-term vs. Short-term

A relationship based on love persists for a long time. You and your partner are willing to tough it out to be together. This does not happen in a relationship based on lust. It will eventually fade as quickly as it starts because lust does not involve deep feelings and emotions.

13. Normal behavior vs. Unhealthy behavior

When you love someone, you try to be as truthful as possible with them. You avoid lying because you are in it for the long haul and do not wish to jeopardize the relationship by lying. Lusting is concerned with how your partner physically perceives you, and you will go to any lengths to maintain that fancy image. You will lie and fake things for as long as the relationship lasts.

14. Lack of judgment vs. Judgmental attitude

Loving someone is about understanding them and accepting them for who they are, and not being critical of their choices. Lusting does not work this way, you are easily judgmental of the person you are with, and you may find them not up to your standards.

15. Support vs. No support

Perhaps your partner needs help financially or for any other reason. If you love them, you will offer help and support in any way possible. But when connected by lust, you may feel reluctant to help the person in a relationship that most likely will not last long. You do not wish to invest your time, energy, or money in them.

16. Quality time together vs. Only time for sex

When you are in love, planning for vacations, dates, or simple outings makes you happy, and you connect with your partner on an emotional level. However, if you find yourself only in a bed with your partner and nowhere else, it means it is lust that is keeping you together.

17. Inner beauty vs. Outer appearance

Love may start as a physical attraction, but it gradually moves on to an emotional connection where the outer appearance of your partner becomes secondary. Lust starts with physical attraction and does not move beyond it. You like your partner for as long as they look attractive to you.

18. Commitment vs. Non-commitment

Committing to a person is the biggest sign of love. You love them enough to wish for a future with them; hence, committing to them seems natural. But when you are interested only in the physical aspect, commitment is never in the cards for you. In fact, you run far away from it.

19. Love for you vs. Love for themselves

When you are in love, you are more concerned about your partner’s happiness and well-being. You even work hard to make them happy. In lust, you are more self-centered and are only concerned with the gratification of your senses and the fulfillment of your desires.

20. Problem-solving vs. Unchallenged issues

Disagreements happen in every relationship. But a couple in love will try to resolve them amicably. The couple won’t let an issue slide until it is mutually solved. In lust, you aim to ignore the situation so you can go on without any extra stress. You ignore their mistakes because you feel it is a temporary relationship and there is no point in correcting and improving each other.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is lust more powerful than love?

Although lusting about someone might initially feel like an intense emotion, it is not long-lasting. Moreover, romantic love is more potent than lust, as it is a feeling that has the potential to last longer than a temporary desire, such as lust, attraction, or infatuation.

2. Does lust go away?

Although lust might feel like an obsessive, intense desire, in most cases, it may not last for more than a few days to a few months. However, it primarily depends on the individuals, their outlook, and also the intensity of the feeling.

The debate between love vs. lust is complicated, and at times, it might become difficult for one to understand the difference between the two in a relationship. It is vital that you have a good understanding and communication with your partner and figure out your relationship’s foundation. Love is a feeling that grows with time and also becomes more robust with it. However, it is just the opposite in the case of lust. Be on the lookout for the following signs and proceed accordingly.

Key Pointers

  • Love takes you away from selfishness and identifies inner beauty, whereas lust is related to physical intimacy.
  • You will enjoy cuddling and deep conversation when in love, but not in lust.
  • Lust has no place for honesty, acceptance, or support, but your partner’s happiness means everything to you when in love.

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Ratika Pai

Ratika has experience writing in various fields including finance, education, lifestyle, and entertainment. After her masters degree in Commerce, she acquired a PG Diploma in Communication and Journalism from Mumbai University. She is inquisitive about human relationships and likes to study people and how they manage their relationships, during her freetime. At MomJunction, Ratika writes insightful and informative articles on... more

Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill

(Ed.S., LMFT)
Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and family business consultant, who has earlier been a graduate instructor/advisor, an organizational learning consultant, and hospice volunteer. With experience working in the private as well as corporate setting, Sharon helps her clients think creatively and build upon their strengths. Previously, she trained Russian psychiatrists in Moscow in the skills... more