Love vs. Lust: 12 Differences You Should Know

How do you differentiate love and lust? You might be too consumed by your relationship now that you actually cannot identify what you truly feel for your partner.

If the reason why you wanted to be with the person was because you were attracted to his/her being ‘hot’, then maybe it was not really love that brought you together. Probably, it was only the thrill of owning someone that could satisfy your needs and fantasies.

Here are 12 differences between love and lust that you should know to find out if you’re really in love with your partner or just physically attracted to him/her. 

1. Love is person-centered; lust is pleasure-centered.
With love, fulfillment comes from giving what you have for the betterment of a person. You are fulfilled when you see that person happy and doing good in life.

With lust, you just want to be with the person for the gratification of your needs. This fulfillment comes from committing sensual activities to quench your sexual desires. You feel fulfilled when you experience pleasure through these acts together with that person.

2. Love does not depend on physical appearance; lust depends a lot on it.
Even if the person you love gets fat or s/he grows old and is not as good looking as when you first met, you would not think of leaving because of it. Your affection for your partner is not skin-deep. It goes beyond what your eyes see.

Nevertheless, lust is based on physical attraction. When the other person is not appealing to your eyes anymore, you eventually decide to leave.

3. Love is long-lasting; lust is momentary.
Love is a long term commitment to cherish and care for each other that is built stronger through time. You and your partner work together to resolve conflicts that can end your relationship. This is all because you do not want to lose each other, but instead you want it to last forever.

On the other hand, since lust is only focused on gratifying selfish needs, making the relationship last is not in your priorities. For you, parting ways with that person does not really matter. Anyway, you only see your relationship as something temporary—and that you could always find someone ‘hotter’ than him/her.

4. Love desires long-term commitment; lust is a no-strings-attached transaction.
Like what has been discussed in the previous number, love is about making your relationship last. You dream of having a family—in short you envision sharing the future together. This involves commitment to stay faithful and enduring throughout the years.

However, if you cannot imagine marrying the person in the future, but you enjoy doing ‘fun’ things together now, then it is lust. You are not committed to each other. You have an open relationship. Meaning, both of you can look for another partner if you want to.

5. Love sees the other person as a partner; lust sees the other person as a sexual object.
When you love a person, you see him/her as your other half (if you are in a relationship or you are married). In anything that would involve your relationship, you do not act on your own. That means when you make decisions, you always consider his/her views. Your partner is more than a need-gratifier.

A partner’s needs and wants must be respected and honored, but lust usually violates these in order to fulfill the other person’s own desires. You do not care if s/he does not agree with your decisions, because for you s/he does not have the right to meddle with your life. S/he is only there, because you both benefit from each other.


6. Love builds; lust destroys.
Love builds up a person in all areas of life. It inspires you to excel in whatever you do, because you want to be the best for your partner. This also drives you to help him/her be successful. You want the person to achieve his/her dreams, because you want him/her to be happy and fulfilled.

If your relationship is making you messed up, then probably you only stay for its physical benefits. Lust, although it can gratify sexual needs, will tear you up emotionally and spiritually. As you both engage in carnal pleasure—and you know there is nothing more to it—you gradually lose self-respect. In the long run, it makes you unmotivated to reach for your highest potentials.

7. Love gives; lust takes.
Love is sacrificial. You sacrifice and give a part of yourself—sometimes everything of you—to your partner. You want to contribute something that can help him/her in a way, never mind about you getting anything in return.

On the other hand, lust takes from your partner. It is centered on you taking and using whatever you can from him/her for your personal gain. You are focused on fulfilling your desires even at the expense of his/her needs.


8. Love produces joy; lust produces thrill.
A relationship that is based on the firm foundation of love produces joy despite trials or even when being together has become a usual task. It does not depend on the circumstances and adventures. The presence of your partner is enough to make you feel good.

However, with lust, you enjoy being with each other, because of the thrill of attraction. You stick together, because of the ‘fun’ that keeps your days from being boring.

9. Love waits; lust is now.
Patience helps us find the right person to spend the rest of our life with and be who that person deserves. Therefore, in love, we do not rush things—especially engaging in carnal activities—that can ruin the future of your partner. You work together to preserve each other for the right time, because you do not want to cause him/her emotional scars, STD’s, or an unplanned baby.

Lust and its desires quickly consume us to get our needs fulfilled at the very moment. When lust hits you, you would not care what would be the consequences of actions, as long as you get satisfied now.

10. Love respects; lust gets disappointed.
When you love a person, you respect his/her principles and decisions. You would not force the person to do something which s/he does not want to, even if it means depriving yourself from something you want.

On the other hand, if what you feel for the other person is only lust, you get disappointed and mad when s/he does not give in to what you want. Your primary concern is having your needs and desires met.


11. Love sacrifices; lust seeks for other means.
This is in connection to # 10. Since you respect the decisions of your partner, you are willing to sacrifice your own demands just to honor his/her rights.

Lust does not focus on any person. It is all about your sensual desire. If your partner does not give you what you need, then you look for someone else who can satisfy it.

12. Love involves trust; lust does not.
When there is love in a relationship, there is a commitment between partners to remain faithful to each other. For this reason, you invest trust in your partnership—which is a necessary foundation for a long-lasting relationship.

Lust does not require trust. You hate it when the other person demands loyalty. By the way, please do not mistake jealousy as an indication of love. In case you feel jealous when you see the other person with someone else, it is because you feel your pride is stepped on.


Evaluate your relationship right now. If you realize all you are in is a lust-founded partnership, then you better ponder on what could be its long-term effect on you. If you let it go on for a long time, it would be hard for you to let go (because of attachment) and find the right person to love.


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