How to Know if it’s Love (or Lust) at First Sight.

Via Ingvild Carmen
on Feb 14, 2016
get elephant's newsletter

Spicy love

Love at first sight. We love it—or we love the idea of it.

But if someone says they have fallen for us after one meeting or conversation, can those wonderful feelings be love?

Can they truly love us, without knowing who we are?

I remember when I first heard those words from him: I’ve fallen in love with you.

It felt so good. My ego loved those words.

Yet my heart—fragile and skeptical—said it from the start: No, something is not right. See those red flags?

I did not pay attention to the flags nor my heart. And now I know they spoke the truth.

Love at first sight is a sweet, sweet lie; an easy and thrilling way to achieve instant gratification. To feel good.

Built on our darker desire for drama and destruction, it fools us—it fooled me. It lures us into a web of illusions and fiction.

It broke me. But now I know better.

Love takes work. Love takes effort.

If someone knows only bits of information, yet still claims this is enough despite our cries for patience, for space, for time; if someone pushes, rushes, runs in at 100mph; if someone says they need us, want us, lusts for us, longs for us—does that not reduce us to existing only as what we have shown them up till now?

Somewhere along the way, I stopped, paused, told my heart to breathe. I connected to the rational part of the brain. I tried to answer the question that was spinning in my mind, creeping up on me, filling me with fear each time he went hot and cold:

If I am a book of 1000 pages, how can he love me after having only read one?

When we are reduced to brief first impressions, does that not mean we must always live up to the first page, in order to still be loved?

I finally realized what had happened and I felt foolish, ignorant. So sad and broken.

He wanted me, yes.

But he never truly loved me. He didn’t even know me.

What he loved—with good or bad intentions, with awareness or ignorance—was not me.

It was his illusion of me.

Because they don’t love us when they stop at the first page.

They don’t love us when there’s no space for taking things slow, for a friendly break when things are bad, for standing up for ourselves and protecting our boundaries. This is control, as are the gifts, the love-bombing, the idealization.

What they see is merely a projection. They take the bit information we have given and fill in the gaps with their hopes and dreams.

We’re simply a blank canvas. Until we mess up the image of perfection. Until we spill our own paint onto the white. Until we fill in the gaps ourselves. With our own opinions and preferences, our own hopes and dreams.

Yes, it feels good to believe that someone sees something in us that no one else saw—especially if we’re insecure. Finally, we get recognition without having to put ourselves out there. It feels amazing to hear confessions of love and devotion; to be put on a pedestal; to be idealized and praised. It’s a real kick, for a while.

The problem with this indulgence, this glorious need for approval, this false idealization, is that what goes up, must come down.

If you wish to fly by holding onto someone else’s wings, be prepared for a fall.

Because love at first sight cannot exist.

Lust at first sight, however, is real. And for an uneasy heart, it can easily be confused with love.

Lust craves, desires, possesses.

Lust is beautiful and creative, the source of all life.

But when confused with love, it is painful and destructive and dark.

Where love is generous, lust is greedy and selfish.

Lust is control—rush, self-fulfillment, instant gratification.

Love is freedom—patience, respect, deep appreciation.

Lust says “Me.”

Love says “We.”

And now, I see the difference. I know better.


Author: Ingvild Carmen

Editor: Nicole Cameron

Image: NatKar26/Pixabay



About Ingvild Carmen

Ingvild Carmen is a Norwegian truth-seeker, illustrator and writer. She lives to express the mystery of life through passion, imagination, creativity and a tiny touch of good madness. You can find out more about her work on her website, or connect with her on InstagramTwitter or Facebook.


4 Responses to “How to Know if it’s Love (or Lust) at First Sight.”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think this describes how someone engaged with me. I really did believe it when he told me he loved me and sent me non-stop adoring words starting about 1 and 1/2 years ago, but then he would punish me with harsh words whenever I spoke my mind or disagreed with him. He set ultimatums and kept pushing, rushing and needing. I understand that I did drag it out too long, but I kept asking for his patience. Interestingly, even if he never loved me, I did fall in love with him. I am sad to think that his love was not real, but I should have known better.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I feel you! The intense desire to settle with the one we like is not malicious, it is natural and beautiful..But putting pressure on another person to get it our way is lack of respect, and becomes destructive. Louise Hay said that love is ‘deep appreciation’. And the deeper we know someone, the more we can appreciate them. Wish you a lovely week x

  3. Alex says:

    Super well written Ingvild!!

  4. Kelly says:

    I needed this today. Thank you so much.