Lust v Love
Never Mistake Lust for Love: Hearts are not meant for Chains
It may seem like simple advice, and to others it may make no sense at all. Though they are both intrinsically linked, the reality of the situation is that lust and love are not one and the same. Please keep in mind that there are also different types of love, the love we are discussing here is the kind of love you feel for your life partner, not the way you feel about your child, pets, or other family members. To keep this brief, let’s just define the type of love we are discussing as “romantic love.” The reason for using life partner, rather than sexual partner, is because we need to differentiate between who we find sexually attractive/arousing and who we are genuinely in love with. So, before moving on, let’s lay down a couple of definitions:
- Lust: The dictionary definition of lust which is of the most value here is “intense sexual desire or appetite,” which is exactly what is often mistaken for love.
- Love: The most valuable dictionary definition of love for this discussion is “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person,” and serving to prove the point of this discussion further, love is also defined as: “sexual passion or desire.”
Herein lies the problem, lust and romantic love are so deeply entwined from a cultural and social perspective, they even share similar definitions.
Who’s at risk?
The tendency to mistake lust for love, for the most part, is not more pervasive among one gender. Some might think men are more likely to settle on a relationship with someone to whom they are intensely attracted, but share nothing else of value. My personal opinion, which I tend to dismiss as biased, is that women are more likely to confuse sexual desire for romantic love. I tend to base my opinions on personal observation and experience, and it’s been my experience that a woman will overlook more honest displays of love and devotion and confuse a waning sex drive for emotional apathy. I’ve also known women to believe that when a man obsesses over her sexually that he is, in fact, deeply in love with her. Again, I would like to state that I’m dismissive of my opinion when it comes to the world at large, because I realize that I have not been with or spoken to enough women to form an accurate enough opinion to make generalizations. When reading statistics and looking at the culture, however, it’s obvious that men and women are equally affected by this confusion.
So, on to the big question, what’s so bad about mistaking lust (or intense sexual desire) for love (a profoundly tender and passionate affection)? In this day and age of sexual freedom and exploration, there’s really nothing wrong with lust at all. It only becomes a problem when a person loses track of what they are trying to accomplish. Dishonesty is not something that only occurs between people, it’s also something we do to ourselves. When it comes to romantic love, the experience should be uplifting and liberating. You and your partner should be comfortable sharing all aspects of yourselves with one another. Additionally, there should also be shared interests and values.
Mistaking lust for love will have individuals making unnecessary and unhealthy sacrifices in order to maintain empty and meaningless relationships. The lack of a genuine emotional and intellectual connection in place of intense sexual desire will lead to jealousy, possessiveness and resentment. This is primarily because at the core of the relationship, there exists nothing of substance and more often than not, the personalities we develop to establish these relationships are contrived in the first place.
When we pretend to be someone we are not in order to appear attractive to a partner we only desire for sexual reasons, we are not just being deceptive, we begin to lose sight of who we really are. This is especially true if we perpetuate the illusion. When we find someone so desirable it makes us feel we are beneath them, we will often overlook aspects of their personality that make us miserable in order to maintain sexual intimacy. In all honesty, mistaking lust for love does not always have to end in misery, but one thing is certain: you will never experience the complete bliss of truly being in love.
When you find Love, the satisfaction is never fleeting. Being in love is a truly rapturous and life-changing thing, you will find yourself inspired to live life to its fullest. Sharing a relationship with a romantic partner you are truly in love with does not mean you have to sacrifice your lustful desires at all, it just means putting more effort into being honest and getting to know your partner. In fact, sexual gratification is even more satisfying when shared with a partner you love. Life may be hard, but love never is. True and complete intimacy means being comfortable sharing every aspect of yourself with your partner. It means that you will find every facet of your partner endearing and special. Lust should never be mistaken for love, because when it comes to relationships nothing is more freeing, comforting and wholly transformational than sharing your life with someone you truly love.
My guest writer: Jake