Not all relationships end up in true love.
We may be very much into a person, feeling attracted to them physically, emotionally and spiritually. And we may be able to have deeply meaningful and fun connections with our new partner. But how do we know when it’s progressed to the “falling in love” stage?
Many times, in truth we are simply lusting after someone.
I’ve dated many girls in my time on this earth. I get caught up in the moment easily. I feel as if the person I am currently with is always the one. They always pass the eye test—the eye test is certainly a sign of lust.
How could we truly be in love with someone based solely upon outer appearance? I’ve known some beautiful looking girls with rotten souls. I could never love someone whose soul isn’t pure.
Lust is selfish, love is selfless. If we lust after someone, it’s because we want them. We want to have some sort of claim over them.
If we love someone, we always want what is best for them, no matter what the price. We feel more of an inner need to be with them as opposed to the selfish “want.”
So how do we know if it’s lust of love?
If person is physically appealing to us we tend to begin to act more passionately towards them and treat them well. We share common interests and are willing to go above and beyond for each other. But is that true love? Getting closer…
Looking back, I now see that I was just lusting after many of the girls I felt I loved. If we truly love someone, we honor them while maintaining our needs. It’s balance and equality. My old relationships were unbalanced. One of us was usually the focal point of the relationship and we would focus on either my needs or her needs only.
True love is equally reciprocated. Lusting is when one person feels deeper for the other or the timing is wrong for an equal and deeply meaningful connection. Lusting may even entail the crossing of boundaries.
It’s possible two people may equally lust after each other. Two people may have a fantastic physical chemistry but their lives do not complement each each and they don’t “fit” well together. This is prevalent if two people spend time together only with the aim of physical intimacy in mind and no attempt at a deeper emotional connection is made.
I’ve been in relationships where we carelessly tossed around those three words, “I love you.”
However, we didn’t genuinely mean it because we didn’t know what it meant to truly love at that point in our lives. Ultimately all those relationships ended. Beyond the details, they ended because it wasn’t love, it was lust. Most were rooted in physical attraction and the desire to be intimate without a desire to connect on a deeper emotional and spiritual level together.
So how do we know if we are in love with someone?
As mentioned before, the love is balanced and equally returned. We choose to live “with” each other and not “for” each other. We are inclusive and our lives are completely open to one another. We still have our boundaries and they are respected.
We are able to communicate meaningfully and we understand each other without having to battle each other to have our needs met. Again I’ll say it, it’s an equal partnership where we are living “with each other and not “for” each other. I say it twice because that needs to be emphasized.
My partners are always my first choice to be with…always. I would always try to include her. If we love someone, we always want them around.
Another big sign to me that I was in love was that I would dream about that person even when I was sleeping next to them. Waking up from a dream about the one you love to see her/him right next to you is an emotional heart moving experience. Controlling your dreams is difficult, but if your mind and soul are set on a particular person, your thoughts will be of them even when you least expect them to be.
Finally, you aren’t the same person when they aren’t around. We patiently wait while they do their thing and then when we see them, we go out of our way to make them feel special, no matter how corny or insignificant it may be. If we love our partner, we have no limit to what we will do for them.
The one time I felt true love, and my life felt as if it was on pause when my partner wasn’t around. I would still honor my responsibilities and do my duties, but something always felt missing until she returned to me. That’s true love. Feeling complete and whole when your love is around you. You feel as if you are yourself again.
Love and lust are easy to confuse. I’ve lusted after many I’ve been in relationships with. I just wanted to skip the deep emotional connections and get straight to the physical intimacy, and once that ended, I was content to leave and regroup at a later date. True love? I think not.
When I love someone, I want to be intimate with her and then some. I want her by my side always. I want to dream of her while sleeping next to her. I want her to love me as much as I love her. I want her to meet my family and be involved in all aspects of my life, and I want to be involved of all aspects of her life. I want to share love equally, walk beside her and not in front of or behind her.
Lastly, when we love someone, we “know.” There is no doubt in our minds. There are no questions remaining. It’s a slam dunk, no brainer. I love this person and everything about them. I accept and cherish all their flaws and embrace all they have to share with me.
Author: Adam Wilkinson
Editor: Renee Jahnke
Image: Katie Tegtmeyer-Flickr