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Lust or Love? How You Can Tell

Ah, the eternal questions asked by those who are pumping with emotions too numerous to name - and maybe even a few that can't be expanded upon in polite company. "Is this it? Have I gone and fallen in love? It feels like love, but then again it felt like this with Marcy, too, and that only lasted a few days. Oh hell, just how is a person supposed to know the difference? Hey! Who's that over there talking to Larry? She's a hottie. I might just have to go over and say Hi."

Well, maybe your internal dialogue isn't exactly like this, but I'm sure you have had similar conversations with yourself countless times, maybe even every time you meet that new special someone. More often, than not, though, our rosy feelings of anticipated love are replaced with disgust and anger - disgust at ourselves for being so gullible, and anger at the person who made us throw caution to the wind and jump right on in.

So, how do you know if the relationship you are in is really based on lasting love, or fleeting lust? While nothing short of a crystal ball can tell you what feelings your partner is feeling, there are a few easy signals that you can look at to see if she really cares about you. But that's not quite as important as sorting out your own feelings. Don't worry; we're going to talk about that, too. On second thought, let's talk about that first.

When you first meet someone that you think might be the one to steal your heart forever, you are full of conflicting emotions. Since the emotions connected with love and lust are equally strong in the beginning, it can be hard to sort through them and put them in their proper place. But by concentrating on these emotions, and being honest with yourself, you can tell if what you are feeling is love, or lust.

Let's look at just a few emotions and see how each one is displayed in lustful and loving relationships:

· Joy - Oh, sometimes it seems like your heart is going to burst with joy when you've found that perfect someone. If your joy is tuned into your partner's happiness, and you exult when they exult, and if you remain on cloud nine all through the day, you might be dealing with love. Lust, on the other hand, is characterized by short spurts of joy only felt when your precious someone gives you that bauble you wanted, or gives in to your wishes.
· Fear - If you are afraid that your significant other will think another person is more attractive than you, or not get that big raise that she's hoping for, you're in lust. But if your fears are focused on your partner's well-being, then it's probably love. For example: If you're more afraid of not being able to spend your life with your partner because of a tragic accident than you are of her leaving you, it is love. You see, if you really love someone, you want them to be happy and healthy - even if it's not with you.
· Romance - Lust is characterized by intense romantic interludes of which the primary focus is your own satisfaction. Often, after the deed is done, you can go on about your business oblivious to what's going on in your partner's life. Love, on the other hand, is a very giving emotion. If you would give your last breath to see that rapturous look on your partner's face without ever getting anything in return, you might be in love.
· Jealousy - Bottom line: There is no room for jealousy in loving relationships. Jealousy is an attempt to own your partner's mind, body and emotions so that you won't get hurt. Ownership and love do not go hand in hand. When you love someone you want to share their mind, body and emotions - not own them.

Remember, these are just a few guidelines - and since every relationship is different, you might have to take these basic rules and apply them to other parts of your relationship to tell for sure.

Now is the tricky part. How can you tell if your partner really loves you? Here are a few signs:

· She can anticipate how you would react to certain news, or events, and offers just the right support when it is needed.
· She always waits for you to finish speaking before butting in, and you can tell that she is really listening.
· She is just as happy cuddled in your arms as she is romping in the sack.
· You can see empathy in her face and actions when you are not feeling well, or have had a horrible day.
· She works with you to create a future that is beneficial to you both.
· No matter what you want, she wants it for you, too.
· She does things she doesn't even like to do because she knows that you enjoy it so.

Red Flags! These signs point to lust:

· She whines when she doesn't get her way.
· Every time you go out, it is to somewhere that she has wanted to go.
· She makes coffee/smokes instead of cuddling after sex.
· She doesn't remember that important thing you just told her three minutes ago.
· The TV is more important than you.
· You reaching orgasm is not required and seldom achieved.
· That little black book keeps getting thicker.

In addition to these signs for both you and your partner, there are some things that you can watch as time passes to see if your relationship is going in the right direction. While all relationships will mellow out physically over time, loving relationships will see a replacement of the physical activities with connected activities like watching movies, taking a walk or playing cards. Lustful relationships will simply fall apart when the physical part slows down. Yes, you may stay together, but you will be home alone while she will be out playing pool.

So, hopefully I have better equipped you for sorting through those feelings in the tumultuous time of new love. I know how infuriating it can be to spend a great deal of time on a relationship that's going nowhere. I also know how fun it can be to be in a dead-end relationship with your eyes wide open just enjoying the ride.

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