I am catching some strong feelings for a person, but I don't know if it is really love or not?
Do I really love them? Or is it just the attraction speaking? Am I with them because I really love them or because I just want them? How do I know if it is actually love and not otherwise?
These questions surely had twirled in your mind or something similar if you have been in a relationship. Or are you still in one?
There is a very thin line between both of them, and these feelings are often misunderstood. Or one does get confused between these two. These are definitely hard to differentiate. When you misunderstood lust for love and thus are in a relationship on the basis of that, the chances are high that you will regret it eventually.
In order to avoid this, it is a must that you make sure about your feelings. That you understand that this is not lust but love, even if it is difficult to differentiate between these two, there are few points from which you can realize if it is really love or lust.
How To Differentiate Love From Lust?
The literal difference between these two feelings is in the nature of its occurrence. Lust is an intense feeling one feels for other(s) in terms of physical and sexual attraction. However, love is more about emotional attachment and caring about your partner.
Lust can be a part of love, a significant one at that. But it is not just that. Love is far more than just physical or sexual attraction.
Let's understand this more with an example.
You are at a public place, let's say a bar. You are sitting beside someone whom you find extremely pleasing to the eyes and attractive. When you have skin contact with them, you feel an "electric jolt passing through your body" type of feeling, and you wish to hook-up with them temporarily. That feeling is called lust.
You are not yet emotionally invested with them to care about them. You don't love them. You barely know them to be in love with them.
Lust is far more instant and readily comes fast from love in most cases. On the other hand, it takes time and effort to develop feelings of love between two people.
There are high possibilities that lust can turn into the feeling of love. But it is not always necessary that this happens. And it is also possible to feel such feelings after you fell in love with someone because it is a part of the feeling of love, as stated before.
In this case, for such people, it is a compulsion to feel safe and connected before having a sexual connection. And that is only possible when they are emotionally connected. Meaning they first need to have the feeling of love for their partner.
Lust is the projection of our own desires and is influenced by the idealization of people by us. In other words, lust is the version of what we want to see rather than what actually is. And it is never a base or reason enough for a long-lasting relationship.
Whereas love is a more complex feeling. It takes time to develop. And also, there is no definite form of love. You are going to find it in basic attachment, security, safety, care, etc.
In fact, more often than not, lust is the first stage towards love. As mentioned before, lust can lead to love eventually. But it is not always so. And when your relationship does not proceed further from this stage, then it is not loved at all. It never was.
This question of love vs. lust is, in itself, an indication. Why is there a need for you to even question this? If you ask yourself if what you feel for your partner is love or lust, you are more likely just feeling lust for them and not love.
So now we know that it's difficult to discern between both these feelings. We might as well have a look at the number of factors that make it easier to help us to actually separate lust from love.
Signs To Concentrate On For Distinguishing Between Love & Lust
There might not be a definite way to identify if this is love or lust. But you can pay attention to certain points that can do the trick.
You Feel Physical Attraction For Others
It is a sign of lust when you feel and wants physical attraction for other people. You probably won't be satisfied with just having your partner. Instead, you will look for physical attention from them.
Maybe your heart quickens also when other people touch you. You will crave more for their touch. It is a clear enough indication that what you feel is lust and not love.
You Care Less On How Their Day Was
Generally, when two people are in love, they always are concerned about how their partner's day was. Was it good? Or did something happen? Did they have a good or a bad day? When couples meet each other after a day's separation, the first thing they will ask each other is, how are you? Or how was their day?
But if you find yourself not caring about how their day was, even after giving you signs or outwardly telling about it. Then it is more than possible that what you feel for them is lust and not love.
You Don't Particularly See Them In Your Future.
When two people who are in a relationship feel love for each other, it is normal for them to fantasize about their future with each other. They always dream of having a family and happy life together. They are planning for their happily ever after with each other.
But if it is lust, then this won't be the scenario. You like them, love to spend time with them. But this is temporary for you, even in your imagination. You do not even think to be with them for the rest of your life. If this so happens then, it's probably lust rather than love.
They Are A Part Of Your Important Life Events
If you always include them in all of your important life events and want them to be a part of it, then you are most likely in love.
Their presence in your important events matters to you. You look forward to seeing them present there. You want them to be a witness to your achievements and happiness.
You do not feel okay enough to be without them at these events. These are all signs of being in love. You are feeling love for them and not lust.
Their Emotions Affect You As Well
Do you feel happy when they are happy and sad when they are sad? Does it pain you as well when you see them hurting? If answers to these questions are positive, then you are in love with them.
When you are in love with them, seeing them happy doubles your own happiness. Their sadness saddens you even more. It is an indication that you are feeling love for them and not lust.
You Can Be Vulnerable
You will only be vulnerable in front of the person you are close to mentally and emotionally. That is not possible when you are just attracted to them physically and sexually.
This is not the case when you are feeling lust for them. This is only so when you are in love with them. Because when you are in love, then only you feel safe and secure enough to be vulnerable with them.
This point is related to the above point related to future life. If you have been in a relationship for some time but are not ready to commit for your lifetime, then what you have is lust.
Lust is just for the physical pleasure you get from them. This attraction will wear off with time, and you will no longer feel the need to be with them.
You will get bored of them, and their presence will either annoy you and you would be indifferent about them. This will happen when you feel lust for them instead of love.
Meeting Family & Friends
This point is also an extension of the above point and is related to your commitment. If you are reluctant to meet your partner's friends and family, then you might be feeling lust for them.
Meeting each other's parents or friends makes things look serious. It shows that you are serious about them and are thinking of taking your relationship further.
You will be okay by meeting them if you are in love with them. However, if you are not sure about spending your life with them, you may not be okay with this idea. You will feel scared, hesitant and might even have problems regarding this with your partner.
Note that it also depends on the time you have been together. If you have not been together for too much of a time, then demanding this thing is not practical. You don't even know them completely to make things serious.
It matters More How They Look.
If you are more concerned about your partner's physical appearance rather than their nature and personality, then it is possible that you are lusting over them and are not in love with them.
Their perfect face, skin tone, body type are more important to you. When they lose all these, you do not find them attractive, and you might not even want to be with them after this happens.
Even if beauty depends on the beholder's eyes, their good nature and personality make them attractive even without a perfect face. However, if you do not agree with this statement regarding them, you feel lust for them and not love.
When you are in love with someone, you are willing to sacrifice and compromise things for them. You are going to adjust or let go of many things for them.
Of course, this would be with boundaries and limits so as to not lose your identity in the relationship. If you are in; love with your partner, you will not mind doing such things for them.
But if you feel lust only, then you are not going to consider their wishes even.
For example, while living together, if you like a pet to keep but your partner may have some problems related to them and are not willing to let you have them.
If you guys love each other, then you will compromise things and get a solution for this. But if not, then you won't even think about doing so.
You Care About Them
When you are in love with your partner, you will care for them emotionally, physically, and mentally. You will see to it that they are doing good in their life. They are physically and mentally healthy.
You are also going to acknowledge their feelings and listen to them. Their opinions will matter to you. Their happiness and well-being are your priority. And you let them be themselves with you without any judgment.
But these things are not going to be present when you are in lust. You will, in fact, care about things that are physical and materialistic. You will always be just trying to look good and attractive. And all you will be concerned about is a pleasure when you are with them.
Things Other Than Pleasure Will Be Present Between You
When you love your partner, you will do things with them other than just pleasuring each other. You will share the hobby. You will do the house chore together. Or gardening, dancing, listening to music together, you get the point right. Or we will just sit together and talk about anything and everything. But when what you feel is only lust, you won't bother with these things. There will be no other activity other than sexual pleasure.
The thin line between love and lust should be recognized and must be understood by you. There may often be times when you realize some things but are not ready to accept them. Staying ignorant to the facts will not help you in the long run for you and your partner. Be clear about what you are into and what you actually thought about it.