“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves."
~ Victor Hugo
You lock eyes from across the room.
Feel a tingle of excitement, an intense sexual attraction that makes your heart pound and your legs feel wobbly. You fantasize and picture the two of you embracing in a sensual kiss and it only gets more intense from there. You find yourself thinking and almost obsessing about the other person. Time spent together is filled with physical pleasure and desire.
You've just entered the lust zone.
A place filled with intensity, passion, electrifying and sizzling need. Lust can show up any place or time. While at times intense and exciting, lust tends to be superficial, focused on physical attraction and sharing sexual energy with another person. It is the opposite of intimacy and connection. While physically satisfying, a relationship built only on lust, after time, feels empty and shallow.
Love develops and deepens over time.
Love happens in stages with the initial phase being infatuation. Sometimes this stage is filled with lust and obsessive daydreams about another person. It is intense and feels similar to lust. But as the relationship grows and a deeper connection develops, love blossoms.
Love comprises of mutual respect and deep concern for another. It is gentle, intimate and at times complex; for to be in love, you must be vulnerable.
Intimacy forms when two people allow themselves to share not only their physical selves but emotional connection and thoughts and feelings.
Love grows over time and deepens with true connection and intimacy. It is not a whirlwind ride, but a steady, growing and deepening bond.
A person can be in love and still have sexual attraction, desire and physical fulfillment. But to be in "lust", typically a deeper love does not exist. For a more fulfilling and deeper relationship, love is the way to go!
Megan Logan, MSW, LCSW - www.meganloganlcsw.com
“The desire of love is to give. The desire of lust is to get.” – Anonymous
When we enter into a new relationship it is often done out of lust.
This new person lights us up and makes us feel special in ways we have never felt before. We can’t keep our hands off each other and they are on our mind all day. We can’t wait for the next call or text. We are high from the feelings they cause in us. In other words, this is about what we are getting from them. Whether it is someone to talk to, someone who makes us feel special, or someone who makes us feel sexy. This feeling can lead to love, but it is not love.
When feelings of lust become feelings of love we are more concerned with what we give than what we get.
We want the other person to be happy. We want them to feel appreciated and loved. It becomes less about meeting our needs and desires and more about meeting theirs. Not in an unhealthy way of course. We are still two individuals who need to put ourselves first sometimes, but we now do it knowing that it will serve to enhance our relationship, not take away from it.
A great way to figure out if you are in love or in lust is to think of the last time your partner had a bad day.
Was your first thought to avoid and hang out with someone else because you didn’t want to deal with their sour mood? Or, was your first thought about how you could help them and make the rest of their day a little brighter? The first thought is lust and the second is love.
Love has a deep rooted desire to be there for your partner through the good and bad times.
It allows you to hold space for them when it is needed. It allows you to grow and expand by building each other up. So when you are trying to determine if it is love or lust, look at what you are willing to do for each other for the long term, after the mask of the honeymoon has faded away and you are left with the real life.
Kimberly Speer, CLC, ELIMP - www.destinybydesignlifecoaching.com
If it’s love, you feel it.
Your heart and your mind are focused on him and how important he is to you. He has all the qualities you are looking for in a partner and you can be yourself and feel accepted. He makes you feel special and “number one” in his life. You share many of the same interests, values and philosophies that are important to you both. You talk easily, communicate well and don’t have disagreements that are major or hurtful. In fact, you trust and respect him for being there and he is someone you feel comfortable sharing your intimate feelings, hopes and dreams. That is real, true love.
On the other hand, the relationship can be based on pure chemistry.
You enjoy each other’s company and the physical aspect is very satisfying. There may be things about him you overlook, because he says the right things and has the right moves at the right time. Physically, you adore him; emotionally, you’re working on it. Basically, you’re probably feeling lust. This doesn’t mean that lust can’t turn into love. It can and often does, but if it doesn’t, it’s important to understand why.
The physical aspect of a relationship is very important, as you should be compatible in the bedroom.
But you know that the most important aspect of a healthy, solid relationship is the emotional connection. While chemistry may bring you and your partner together initially, it doesn’t keep you together permanently. Like interests, good communication, respect, caring and trust are the tools that build a strong foundation and a life-long commitment. So whether you are interested in true love or exciting lust, at least know your intentions and what you are willing to accept. In that way, you won’t be surprised if the relationship blossoms or falls apart.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
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