The 8 Major Differences Between Being 'In Lust' And 'In Love'

Lust and love are two *very* different things.

man on top of woman - Yuri A/ Shutterstock

Lust vs. love: it's easy to confuse the two, especially in the early stages of a relationship.

Both emotions make you feel a kind of bliss that you’ve never experienced before — which is wonderful and joyous and something to celebrate — but make sure you know the difference between the two.

Need a little help? Here are a few clues.

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Here are the 8 major differences between being 'in lust' and 'in love:

1. When you’re in lust, you dress to the nines — maybe even the tens

Obviously, there’s no harm in trying to look good for your significant other, especially when you're first courting each other. But we all know dressing (and looking) like you’re going to Fashion Week each time you step out for a date takes a sh*t-ton of effort, not to mention money! 


When you’re in love, you might forget to wear pants.

Are you wearing a shirt? Check. Shoes? Check. Pants? Oops! On those exciting Friday nights where you end up pacing the aisles of Costco to stock up on frozen pizzas and Lucky Charms cereal, comfort = love.

2. When you’re in lust, you look past their foolishness

Things are so hot and heavy, it's easy to look past minor "annoyances" (that laugh, that money problem, that MOTHER) that may turn into larger issues down the road.

When you’re in love, you point out their mistakes.

You love them, which is why you want them to be a better person. And if they love you, they'll accept the (constructive) criticism and try to be a better person not just for you but for themselves, too. 


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3. When you’re in lust, you say what they want to hear

You constantly aim to please. When they ask you a question, you're more apt to reply with a "safe" answer, even though it might not fully express how you feel. (You figure you'll get to that later, right?) 

When you’re in love, you keep it real.

You don’t agree with everything they’re saying and you clearly state that. Having different views and opinions from your significant other doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not a good match; it just means that you're different people. And that's okay. Healthy debate is good and normal and helpful for seeing things from another perspective.


4. When you’re in lust, the person you're with is a Greek God/Goddess

Or rather, try this analogy: a perfectly-shaped cookie with no dents or chipped corners. But hate to break it to you: even perfect-looking cookies have burnt sides (even if they're not visible at first).

When you’re in love, they're more like a Greek God/Goddess statue missing its arm.

Perfectly imperfect, just like you! Pretending to be anything other than that is exhausting and a LIE.

5. When you're in lust, you don't really know them

Sure, you know their favorite color is blue and their favorite food is macaroni and cheese. But that's surface-level stuff. You haven't dug down deep — and girl, that tunnel is LONG.


When you're in love, you know small insignificant details. 

Their favorite color is blue because when they were little, it was their mother's favorite color to dress them up in. Their favorite food is mac and cheese because it's the comfort food their Grandma always made them when they went to visit.

These small, seemingly insignificant details are intimate parts of their past and who they are. And you know all these little, beautiful factoids because you took the time to really get to know them — and better even, you still want to know more.

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6. When you’re in lust, you don’t feel comfortable talking to them about your problems

Talking about your problem can help ease stress and tension. But you prefer to talk about them with someone you trust. And let's face it, you're just not at that ride-or-die stage yet.


When you’re in love, you’ll talk to them about, well, basically everything. 

You know you love someone when you can trust them with the most minor (and major!) issues you're having, no matter how weird/trivial/embarrassing they are. You know that they'll listen without judgment. That's love.

7. When you're in lust, silence is awkward

Which is either filled with rambling or make-out sessions. No objection to make-out sessions, of course, but the fact that you both find the silence awkward is a sign of discomfort.

When you're in love, silence is welcomed.  


When you run out of conversation topics, you don't feel like you need to fill the silence with something else. You just let the silence sit comfortably. The void is welcome.

8. When you're in lust, the future is unknown

Yes, you're enjoying every moment you have with them right now. You love their attention, the dates, and the feeling of pure bliss. But when you look at the long run, you have absolutely no idea what the next few months (or years!) will hold. It's a little scary.

When you're in love, you welcome thoughts of the future.

Whether you marry or not is up to you both, but can you see yourself sitting side-by-side on matching rickety rocking chairs? Does the idea of that give you something to look forward to? Do you picture bad vacations, fights over trivial things, and (gasp!) babies, and can't imagine anyone else taking this journey with you?


Then, you're totally and utterly in love. 

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Caithlin Pena is an editor and former contributor for YourTango. Her work has been featured on Thought Catalog, Huffington Post, Yahoo, Psych Central, and BRIDES.