Is It Lust Or Love? How To Recognize True Love

Some people fall in love quickly. Some people fall in love slowly. Some people are somewhere in-between. Every couple is different, so how do you know when you’re really in love, or if it’s just lust?

By Juliana Stewart3 min read
Shutterstock/Olena Yakobchuk

When you first “fall” for someone it can feel exciting, exhilarating, and even overwhelming. You’re obsessed with each other, and you’re smitten. It can certainly feel and look like love, but how do you know if it’s the real deal?

Some people claim to have experienced “love at first sight” — is that even possible? And what about relationships that are slow burners? What’s the difference between lust and love, and what “signs” should you look for to determine whether he or you are really in love? 

What Is Lust?

Many people often mistake lust for love, because it feels so real and intense. Lust is strong sexual desire — and nothing more. When people are driven solely by chemistry and sexual attraction, it can cause them to rush into a relationship that burns out too quickly. They’re infatuated and get bamboozled by the physical high only to realize it was a false start.  

Lust is strong sexual desire — and nothing more. 

Sometimes lust can even happen before you enter a relationship, such as a secret crush. You lie awake at night thinking about them, you stalk their social media, and you conjure up all kinds of fantasies. This can quickly turn into an obsession that you’ve created all in your mind.

That’s the thing about lust — it’s all feelings, emotions, and imagination before there’s any proof it’s the real deal.

How Is Love Different from Lust?

Love encompasses lust and emotions, but it doesn’t stop there. When you love someone you have their best interest at heart and you do acts of loving. 

In order to do loving things for a partner, there has to be a personal knowledge, deep connection, and trust that you’ve built over some time. Lust is limited to one aspect of the person — their sexuality — whereas love sees the whole person. He has your back and you have his, and you want to do good things for each other because you’re a team. 

Lust is limited to one aspect of the person—their sexuality—whereas love sees the whole person.

So what if you’ve just started dating a guy and think you might be falling in love with him? What are some signs to look out for to determine whether it’s lust or love?

How To Know When HE Loves You

They say actions speak louder than words, and this is so true for men. Men are action-orientated so if you want to know whether he loves you or not, observe the things he does for you.

The opposite of this are men who are all talk and no action — the casanovas. They will tell you all the things you want to hear, only to disappear once they’ve gotten what they wanted. Don’t get sucked in by sweet talk if he hasn’t proven his love to you through his actions.

Both his words and actions need to demonstrate love.

Examples of things a man does when he’s in love:

  • He introduces you to his friends and family. He's proud to be seen with you and wants everyone to know you’re his girlfriend

  • He’s there for you when you’re sick. He’ll either send you a message to make sure you’re okay, or he’ll visit you with some food or a gift to cheer you up.

  • He never makes fun of your insecurities. Whether you’re insecure about your looks or something that happened when you were young, he will never use your insecurities against you (which is a form of manipulation btw). Instead, he’ll build you up and help you to love the parts you feel embarrassed about.

  • He makes an effort with your friends and family because he understands how important they are to you.

  • He buys you flowers or special gifts. He indicates that he’s willing and able to provide.

  • He’s there for you when things are tough.

How To Know When YOU Love Him

Same as above. You want to DO good things for him because you love him, and your words reflect that too.

Examples of things women do when they’re in love with a man:

  • You’re there for him and won’t leave him high and dry soon as things get tough. Instead, you stand by him and help him get back on track.

  • You’re faithful and loyal.

  • You act kindly and build him up instead of tearing him down.

  • You make an effort with his friends and family because they’re important to him.

  • You accept him for who he is and don’t try to change him.

  • You respect him.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, there’s a huge difference between lust and love, and “true love” can take a whole lifetime to build. Ask any couple who has been married for over 50 years. Their marriage might not be perfect, and, yes, they could have quit a thousand times, but they made a commitment to stick it out through thick and thin. True love is about showing up every day because you love each other. You’ve created a bond so deep that you know each other inside out. You’re soulmates, and you’re perfect for each other.