Is it Love or Lust? 11 Ways to Tell the Difference

There are no hard and fast rules, but there are a few ways you can tell the difference between love and lust.

Mistaking lust for love is not a new thing. The younger you are and the earlier you find yourself in a budding relationship, the more likely you are to confuse one for the other. But don’t worry: there’s no shame in it. With your hormones raging and your mind floating into a euphoric fantasy during the throes of romance, the line that divides the two gets pretty blurred… along with your sense of judgment.

How do you know when it isn’t just physical attraction at its finest? There are no hard and fast rules, but there are a few ways you can tell the difference between love and lust.


1. You’re dressed to impress

You are always looking your best with them. You eyebrows are waxed, you are invariably dressed to advantage, and your Brazilian is immaculate. Whether you’re a man or a woman, the point is that you take particular care in your appearance each time you meet them. In a relationship that is based on more than just the superficial, you and your partner wouldn’t care if your hair wasn’t perfect some day because your relationship is much more than all that lies outside.

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2. Every aspect of the relationship revolves around sex

When your relationship is built on lust, your primary motivation for sticking with that person is to have sex. That means that everything you do–all the sweet and romantic things you give away–has an ulterior motive that will lead toward the bedroom. True love is different. People in love value moments and experiences they share, even if they are mundane and boring to most.

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3. You say what they want to hear

You constantly aim to please. When they ask you a question, you’re more apt to reply with a “safe” answer, even though it might not fully express how you feel. When you’re in love, you keep it real. You don’t agree with everything they’re saying and you clearly state that. Having different views and opinions from your significant other doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not a good match; it just means that SHOCKER: You’re different people. And that’s okay. Healthy debate is good and normal and helpful at seeing things from another perspective.

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4. You live in a fairy tale world where the other person is flawless

Being in lust dulls your judgment, because you tend to idealize both yourself and your partner. While it is normal to put your best foot forward to make an impression, a more stable relationship requires you to put all your cards on the table so that the other person can know who you truly are—be it good or bad.

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5. The future is unknown.

Yes, you’re enjoying every moment you have with them right now. You love their attention, the dates, and the feeling of pure bliss. But when you look at the long run, you have absolutely no idea what the next few months (or years!) will hold. It’s a little scary. When you’re in love, you welcome thoughts of the future. Whether you marry or not is up to you both, but can you see yourself sitting side-by-side on matching rickety rocking chairs? Does the idea of that give you something to look forward to?

Read Also: 11 Tips for That Special Bond of Love: Strengthening The Relationship

6. You don’t really know the person

As mentioned, being in lust makes you put up a faà§ade and live a constrained life because of the other person’s expectations. Since the bulk of your moments together are spent tangled, naked, in bed, you don’t get to have real bonding moments where you can get to know who they are.

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7. There’s little intimacy in lust

While the two of you may spend most of your waking moments having sex, it does not automatically mean that you have achieved intimacy in your relationship. Intimacy doesn’t always mean having sex. Intimacy is being able to let your guard down and having complete trust in your significant other. When you are truly in love, you are at ease when you’re together and you find yourself emotionally invested.

Read Also: 8 Things You Must Never Ever Do Immediately After Sex

8. You don’t connect on an emotional level

Your communication is stunted. You don’t identify your feelings or discuss them, and neither does he/she. You don’t lead to discussions pertaining to how he/she makes you feel or vice versa. Frankly, feelings don’t come into it, unless they are about sex.

When you connect with someone on an emotional level, you draw comfort from silence. You aren’t bothered by lying on your sides and gazing into each other’s eyes till 4 in the morning (oh, trust me, it’s quite the novelty at the outset of love). But the fact that silences are awkward, and your communication is based solely on sex and which bit you enjoyed most should be a neon sign screaming it’s pure lust.

Read Also: 15 Non-Sexual Things a Guy Can Do To Drive a Woman Crazy

9. Your memories are associated with the bedroom alone

Each time you think of the moments you’ve spent with him/her, you don’t think of the movie you watched or the meal you shared, or the walks you took. Instead your thoughts are instantly routed towards all the titillating moments you spent in each other’s company…only. And those memories alone stand out in your mind each time you think of him/her.

Read Also: How to Make Sex and Relationships Work When Only One of You Is Interested

10. You did not have a “friendship” stage

Most people in romantic relationships started out as friends. People who skipped the whole friendship ordeal and brought it straight to bed *yes, it happens* could just be in lust. Friendship is the stepping stone to a deeper relationship, as it tests your compatibility, allows you to get to know each other, and even takes you to difficult moments where you can come out stronger. This type of relationship becomes the foundation of romantic love.

Read Also: Decoding Women’s Flirting Styles

11. Eventually, sex will get boring

The greatest irony of a lust-based relationship is that your sexual escapades will get boring in due time. When that time comes, you’ll be off and about to find the next person to satisfy your sexual desires. People in love enjoy every moment of their love-making. They will not tire of it, even if age has weathered their physique and taken their stamina.

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