When dating, you are looking for that special connection with someone, a spark or some chemistry. When we do meet someone who we click with at this level it can be exciting. Sometimes, just the mere thought of seeing them again can cause your heart rate to speed up. It would be easy to interpret these feelings as love, and they could certainly develop into that, but the physical sensations you experience are also the signs of pure animal lust.
There is nothing wrong with lust in the early stage of your relationship. Lust has an essential role to play in developing long-term, intimate relationships. It is the foundation from which love can grow. While lust is necessary, it can certainly become a problem if it is all that you feel towards someone rather than part of the connection you have with them. Love needs to be present in order for a meaningful relationship to develop and strengthen.
So how can you tell the difference between love and lust?
Love deepens the more you get to know someone, you have a desire to know everything about them and that takes time-time you are happy to give. Lust can be almost instant (often mistaken for love at first sight) and is about physical attraction, fantasy and idealisation.
Love makes you want to have conversations. When you love someone you want to talk all night and find out everything you can about each other. Lust makes you want to have sex, it is as simple as that!
Love is selfless and makes you want to share your life, and to give generously of all you have with that person. Lust is selfish, you want that person to yourself and you may find yourself wanting to keep your relationship secret from your family and friends.
It is important to remember that neither love or lust can exist exclusively in a healthy, romantic relationship. If a relationship has love, but no lust it will be more like a friendship or a family relationship. If there is lust but no love the relationship is highly likely to be short lived and hurtful if one partner thinks that the relationship is more meaningful than it really is. As long you maintain a healthy balance of lust and love there is no reason why your relationship can’t be deep, meaningful, and long lasting.