Though they sound similar, there is a stark difference between love and lust. While love is often defined as an intense feeling of attraction toward another person that leads to a strong emotional attachment, lust is thought of as desire based on physical attraction. Most people will experience both in their lifetime, and depending on your personal goals, there is room for both.
It’s always in your best interest to know where you stand in a relationship. A lustful connection isn’t wrong, but it can be painful to find out that’s all you have if you thought the other person was in love with you. And if you’re just dating somebody for fun, you’ll want to know if they’ve fallen in love with you so you can stop leading them on.
Few people will be honest enough to tell you straight out whether they’re in love or lust, and they may not even know the truth themselves. But luckily, there are a few hallmark signs of each that are fairly easy to spot! A person who’s in love naturally leans towards certain behaviors, and similarly, a person in lust tends to act in a certain way that’s pretty obvious.
Check out these signs of being in love and being in lust. Do you recognize any of them in your partner?
16 If He Can't Be Faithful And Has A Ton Of Excuses, It's Not Love
If you really love someone and you agree to be in an exclusive relationship with them, you generally don’t cheat. The majority of the time, if your partner is struggling to remain faithful to you, they probably don’t love you like you deserve to be loved.
Every situation is different, and a one-off slip up might not signify that there’s no love there. It’s up to the people in the relationship to decide how to move on from that, and whether that means that their union is loveless. But generally speaking, a person in love doesn’t cheat on their partner even when the temptation to do so is strong because they know how much pain it would cause. They certainly don’t cheat and then make excuses for their behavior rather than owning up to it and facing the consequences, whatever they may be.
15 When He's In Love, He Puts Your Needs Above His Own
The affection that you feel for somebody makes you want the very best for them. In most cases, they become your priority, so it’s only natural that you get to a point where you’re putting their needs above your own. If your partner always thinks of you first and makes sacrifices that inconvenience him for your benefit, it could be a sign of love.
Of course, that’s not to say that when you’re in love you have to give up your whole life to serve someone else. Most people in love look out for each other and think of the other first, but that doesn’t mean they lose themselves or put themselves through any significant pain or trouble for the benefit of the other person.
14 He Loves You If He Values You As A Whole Person, Not Just A Body
Since lust is based on physical attraction, one of the surest signs of it is when your partner sees you only as a body, and nothing else. You’ll know this is the case if they’re only interested in the way you look and spending time with you when you can be physically intimate. Most of the time, a person in lust probably isn’t that interested in hearing your opinions or how your day was, and finding out how intelligent you are.
A person in love, on the other hand, might care about the physical side of things too, but still values you as a whole person. They’ll value your mind, your spirit and beliefs, what you do for a living, the other people in your life and the way you add to their life in more departments than the bedroom.
13 A Man In Love Isn't Afraid To Gaze Into Your Eyes And Your Soul
One simple sign of love is consistent eye contact. Recent research from the University of Chicago suggests that eye movement actually has a lot to do with how you feel about another person. In the study they conducted, they had participants concentrate on strangers. It was found that those who viewed the strangers as potential romantic partners focused on the face and in the eyes, whereas those who were only physically attracted looked more at the body. It does make sense!
Eye contact can be quite intense, so it’s common for people who aren’t interested in getting that serious with their partner to avoid it completely. Paying attention to how often your partner actually meets their eyes with yours can reveal a lot about how they’re feeling!
12 It's Love If He Prioritizes You And Is Always There When You Need To Vent
It can be draining to listen to somebody vent when they’ve had a hard day. Particularly if they’re going through a rough period and they’re venting frequently, it takes patience to sit there and listen (especially if you’ve heard the story before) and maybe give advice. But if you really love someone, you’re more likely to listen to this venting without complaining.
Part of being in love with someone is being there for them because the thought of them falling flat on their face doesn’t sit right with you. A person in love will be there for you when you need them, be reliable and show you that they care about your wellbeing. If it’s just lust, they’re more likely to want you around for the physical side of things, and then quickly bounce before they have to deal with emotional baggage like this.
11 If You're Having Arguments, It Doesn't Mean He Doesn't Love You
Many people believe that arguments in a relationship signify that the end is near. That might be the case some of the time, but total silence on the argument front isn’t a good sign either. Arguments usually show that someone cares enough to speak up, and that’s the kind of person who’s in love, not lust. If they love you, they’re likely to want to bring up issues with you so you can sort them out together, so there are no secrets between you. Real couples in love fight, whether they like it or not.
At the same time, fighting doesn’t definitely indicate that love is in the air. You might just be with an argumentative person, or an angry person who’s taking it out on you. Generally speaking, though, arguments do indicate that somebody cares enough to get heated.
10 It's Probably Lust If He Doesn't Want To Talk About The Future With You
It’s only natural that people in love envision a future together. That future looks different for everybody—some visions might include marriage, some traveling or some moving in. But if you love someone, you want to stay with them. It feels wrong to make plans without them and it can even hurt to picture a future in which they have no part. So your partner mentioning the future to you could be a sign that it’s love.
Timing plays into this as well. In the beginning of a relationship, don’t panic if your partner isn’t talking about the future. It’s actually more normal if they’re not, and doesn’t mean that they won’t grow to love you one day. But if it’s been enough time and they still refuse to include you in their future plans, it could mean that they’re in lust-ville.
9 There Is No Need For Games When Love Is In The Picture
We’re not speaking for all relationships, but most of the time, games aren’t a good sign when you’ve fallen in love with someone. Though real love isn’t perfect and it’s not like it is in the movies, it still shouldn’t be endless hard work. Even if somebody is nervous or busy, sooner or later you should know for sure how they feel about you. It’s not fun to be kept guessing and decoding their mixed messages, and we’re sorry to say, it usually means that you don’t have the real deal.
Aside from a few hard-to-get games very early on, there’s just not room for mixed messages in a loving relationship. When people put their hearts on the line, they don’t like to gamble like that, and they tend to want everything out in the open. So if the person you’re dating is keeping you guessing, they might not see you as a serious partner.
8 Talking About Real Things Together Is A Sign Of Real Love
As we’ve mentioned, when you’re in lust the relationship revolves around the physical side. You might have a few light-hearted conversations that lead to a steamy night, but you don’t tend to pour your heart out to somebody who you only view as a source of fun. If you can never have a real conversation with the person you’re dating, it’s probably lust.
By real conversation, we mean talking about deep things that you don’t just share with anyone. That might be your beliefs, the things that scare you, what you want from life and how you feel about other sensitive issues. People in love often talk about those things with each other because the connection they have allows them to open up in a way that they wouldn’t do with just anybody.
7 If He Makes An Effort With Your Family And Friends, He's Probably In Love
It can be tough to get along with a person’s family and friends. But since they’re part of that person’s life, you’ll do it if they’re important to you. In other words, it’s a sign of real love if your partner always makes an effort to spend time and get along with the other people in your life. They know that this is something you want, and so this is another example of them putting your needs high on their priority list.
Somebody who’s in lust only, on the other hand, probably doesn’t see the point in getting to know your family and friends. Firstly, they don’t plan on sticking around forever and want to avoid the awkwardness that comes with that. And secondly, they’re probably not prepared to sacrifice a Sunday afternoon for lunch with your family when they don’t see you as a serious love interest.
6 It's Lust When The Only Affection Between You Happens In The Bedroom
Affection is part of all relationships, whether they’re based on love or lust. But if you want to decode how your partner really feels, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the nature of that affection. When it’s lust, the affection will generally be limited to the bedroom. Other than that, a person who doesn’t love you won’t feel that same urge to hold your hand or cuddle with you afterward.
Affection in the bedroom is still an important part of a relationship that’s based on love. But the difference is a person who loves you feels so pulled toward you that they’ll want to touch you all the time. They’ll want to cuddle, hold your hand in public, randomly hug you and just be close to you without getting in your pants.
5 The Way He Acts When You're Sick Reveals A Lot
The upside to tough times is that they often reveal a lot about the people in our lives. It’s at times like these when you find out who’s really there for you and who’s not based on how they act. When you’re sick, you should find out whether your partner really loves you or not.
If they do really love you, they’ll want to do whatever they can to minimize your pain through that time. They’ll bring you things, look after you and stay by your side. By comparison, a person in love will have no use for you, since you won’t be in the state to get physical with them. A person in lust will disappear until you’re ready to go again, whereas a person in love will be by your bed with hot soup.
4 It Could Be Love If The People In His Life Know About You
Being in love stirs up a lot of excited feelings, and most people can’t contain them. That’s why it’s so hard to keep being in love a secret! Because of that, a person who loves you will often not be able to help themselves from telling the important people in their life about you. They might not tell you they’ve done this, but you’ll be able to tell when you meet said people if they’ve heard all about you or not.
People in lust are much less likely to tell their family members and friends about the people they’re seeing. They might do it just to brag, but they won’t go on about you until their friends tell them to shut up. Again, you’ll be able to tell what’s been said based on the way their friends and family act when they meet you (if you get to that stage at all).
3 Spending All Your Time Behind Closed Doors Might Indicate Lust Only
Identifying whether your partner is in love with you or is only in lust often comes down to simple logic. When you look at your relationship as a whole, where do you spend most of your time? What are you doing? If you’re always inside where other people can’t see you, doing things you wouldn’t want other people to see anyway, it might mean it’s just lust. On the other hand, a couple in love is more likely to do a range of things together, because they’re looking for a life partner rather than just a buddy in bed.
That said, introverted partners might want to stay indoors with you all the time, and that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Pay attention to what you’re doing indoors to find the answer—are you splitting your time up between watching movies, talking, cooking and other things, or are you always doing one thing only?
2 A Man In Love Still Wants You When You Don't Look Your Best
When you love someone, you become emotionally attached to them, and their physical appeal becomes less important. No one’s saying that you should stop looking after yourself just because you’ve hooked someone in and they’re emotionally attached to you, but it’s this connection that helps couples to stay together even after their looks have left them. You can’t always look your best, and someone who’s in love with you knows that and still wants you just as much.
When a relationship completely revolves around the physical attraction, it obviously suffers when the physical attraction diminishes. So if the person you’re seeing is turned off when you don’t wear makeup and wants nothing to do with you if you’ve put on weight, you have to ask yourself how strong that emotional connection is.
1 It's Love When He Supports Your Goals, No Matter What They Are
One of the strongest elements of true love is undying support. It’s not always easy to have someone’s back, especially if you disagree with what they’re saying or doing, or everybody else does. But when you love them, you can’t stand to see them unhappy and you want them to succeed in whatever they do, so you support their goals and dreams. A person who loves you will do whatever they can to help you get to where you want to be, have faith in you and pay attention to the major journeys in your life.
Someone who doesn’t really love you won’t be nearly as supportive. They might distance themselves if your dreams set you apart from the crowd, and will have no problem shutting you down if they think your goals are unrealistic.
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