Is It Lust or Love?
That’s the million-dollar question we can find ourselves asking after we first meet someone who takes our breath away. It’s normal to wonder because they can both feel the same at the beginning. Parts of our brains light up faster than twinkly lights on a Christmas tree, chemicals course through our bodies, we are mentally distracted, our emotions are on a roller coaster and our sleep patterns are interrupted. This is all documented science by leading love researcher Dr. Helen Fisher. She has written numerous books and conducted high profile studies on the subject of falling in love. Her research finds that it’s not the falling part that provides the answer to whether it’s love or lust, it’s what happens after the initial fall that reveals the truth.
Take Time to Recover from the Fall
It takes minutes for us to decide whether we find someone attractive, interesting, funny or sexy. But it can take months to determine if that person has the potential to be your person. In one survey by Ayala Malach-Pines, PhD, researcher and author of Falling in Love, Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose, only 11% of the 493 respondents said their long-term relationships started with love at first sight. So, what does that mean for the remaining 89% of us? The good news is that psychologists say if you even slightly like a person, the more time you spend getting to know them will either deepen those feelings or provide the opportunity to discover something that makes you realize they aren’t for you. The key here is that you need months, not minutes, to know for sure.
Signs You Might Be in Lust or Falling in Love
You’re in Lust
- You’re focused on their physical appearance.
- There is a strong desire to have sex, but after the sex there isn’t much to discuss.
- You’d rather keep the relationship light, you don’t really care to learn more about their desires in life beyond that moment.
- You are lovers, but not necessarily friends, you don’t have many common interests or shared passions (other than sex).
- Them lusting you makes you feel confident but doesn’t last after the sexual encounter.
- You hide them from your friends and family because you know they wouldn’t approve.
You’re in Love
- You are attracted to them and only them.
- They motivate you to be a better person.
- You want to spend quality time together other than sex.
- You want to honestly listen to each other’s feelings and make each other happy.
- Changing your life doesn’t scare you, you actually want to be part of their life, including their friends and family.
- You’re willing to do the work of building a future, because we all know by now relationships require sacrifice and effort.
At the end of the day, you need to know yourself and trust that what you are looking for is out there in someone who you can build a relationship and a future with. But it takes time and patience, don’t rush heart first down a path with someone who may be going a different direction than you. People without a purpose or passion can easily be lured into lust and end up lost. Trust that God wants you to be with a partner who values your gifts and talents in a committed and loving relationship. Remember too that keeping the fires of romance burning is just as important. The happiest couples maintain a balance between love and lust over the long haul.