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How Can One Differentiate Love and Lust

Updated on December 22, 2019
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Heather has a Bachelor's Degree in English from Moravian College and has been freelance writing for more than 14 years.

How do you keep your relationship alive once passion fades?
How do you keep your relationship alive once passion fades?

Love and lust. Can they be considered two separate elements of a relationship or are they doomed to co-exist in chaos?

Relationships are doomed to be a complicated mix of passion and intimate affection. The kicker always was how both people in the relationship can handle that harsh reality. Love never entered the relationship lexicon during the first date, which was always an exercise of social awkwardness. Stepping over landmines to see if there will be a second date let alone a relationship. Sometimes a date only concluded with a drunken fling or a quick brush off to something better. How do you determine if it's love or lust? Do you trust your heart, your body or your mind? Unfortunately, neither love or lust never takes the clinical approach. Emotion can't be controlled no matter how hard you try. It's just not possible.

Passion allowed a date to be more than a passing fancy. It's the spark needed to be more than "just friends." Love was more of a supporting accessory that happened after a certain amount of time passed and a couple gaining complete trust in each other. An intimacy beyond the base physicality of lust. It's an unbreakable bond that can't be torn apart despite any odds against the relationship. Define the relationship clearly with a general set of rules for the couple follow and break whenever necessary.

Forget all romance and sexual stereotype Hollywood created to sell their entertainment goodies and baddies. According to some movies I've seen, love and lust seem to go hand-in-hand. Girl meets boy. Girl hooks up with boy. Love comes after and they live happily ever after. What movie hogwash that is. Life, and love, is never so cut and dry. Complications run fast, furious and rather frequently. Once you find your life partner, the happiness and chaos never ends. You're basically Indiana Jones searching for the Holy Grail on a daily basis in small or grander scale depending on the day.

Love is a marathon while lust is a 100 yard dash. Lust is an itch that goes away once it's been scratched. When your mother told you boys have only one thing on their minds, she was right. Guys sometimes think with their other brain instead of a rationally romantic approach. I'm not putting on all the blame squarely on the male species. I'm not that mean. Don't get me wrong girls can be naughty too if we want to be. Hugh Hefner gave men and women magazines to objectify and oogle each gender. Now that's what I call gender "equality."

There's nothing wrong with having a little lust in your life. It's lets you know that you're human and have certain desires. Just watch how you handle those wanton desires that should concern you. Make sure you're happy enough not to let your lust push you to doing something you'll regret. Look at David Duchovny's sex addiction scandal. He projected the image of the happy family with his wife and kids when he was anything but behind closed doors. Romantic love coupled with physical intimacy makes a relationship work best instead of ignoring one or the other.

The downside to love and lust was that the potential relationship went outside society conventions. Take for instance a young man or woman learning about their sexuality for the first time. The shock of being in love with the same sex might be daunting because love was always defined in black and white tradition instead of in living color. (Well, I mean to say that society wasn't always so kind about different kinds of love, but I say more power to anyone willing to fight for whoever they love regardless of gender.) Celebrities in older Hollywood were the greatest casualty because they had to cover up their sexuality in order to preserve their image. Nowadays, a celebrity's image can evolve due to their identity for the better. Look at Ellen Degeneres. She's a success story of having a career and being proud of who she is. A shining example to everyone of any sexual orientation.

As the old saying goes about living better through chemistry, you also need to realize that love is not as organic as physical chemistry. A relationship doesn't live better than chemistry alone. Sparks fade and interests wander. Love is an endurance sport where both players have to be prepared for the long haul. Passion is an important part of love because it shows your partner you're connected to them on an instinctual level. Romance allows you to travel up the elevator to a more influential bond with your partner where you talk about your hopes, dreams and share important adventures. Without this bond, your relationship is only based upon short term lust alone. Some people can build some connection based on their mutual attraction, but that always leads to disaster.

Learn how to connect with someone without going straight to the bedroom. Lust can be a strong motivator, but what do you once the morning after arrives? Try to base your relationships with all your strengths and weaknesses gradually. Don't frighten your partner by letting everything hang out. Keep a little mystery in order to entice them to want to have a 2nd, 3rd or 20,000th date. Perform that little experiment on your next dating venture and see how the results either work for or against you. If not, you always have your lust to fall back on.


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