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Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines love as, “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties,” and defines lust as, “an intense longing”. These two conflicting definitions help to separate love from lust. By definition alone the two differ in that, love is based on an affinity while lust is based solely on desire. The two also differ in how they affect a relationship but sometimes it becomes difficult to separate the two because lust can exist in the presence of love. Analyzing a loving relationship and a lustful relationship separately will help us to learn to distinguish love from lust.
Love has a positive affect on a relationship because when love exists in a relationship both partners hold the happiness of the other in a high esteem and place the happiness of their partner ahead of their own desires. Love affects relationships in a myriad of ways including how the couple interacts, the leisure activities they participate in and the longevity of the relationship. In a loving relationship the couple behaves thoughtfully towards each other and is mindful of their partner’s feelings.
In this type of relationship, each partner places their partner ahead of themselves and they strive to treat each other lovingly and with respect. Also, in a loving relationship the leisure activities that the couple participates in are based on a mutual love and respect. Activities are chosen with careful consideration to the partner’s feelings. In a loving relationship the partners typically engage in activities that they either either strongly agree on or those that are a compromise.
While a couple in a loving relationship may not always be in complete agreement regarding leisure activities, they strive to compromise to ensure that both partners have the opportunity to engage in their preferred activities. Finally a relationship that is based on love is usually long lasting. The presence of love in the relationship enables a couple to work through any problems or difficulties that arise in the relationship and helps the relationship to endure. The thoughtfulness and caring that exists in a loving relationship helps the relationship to grown and endure.
Conversely a lustful relationship may not necessary have a negative affect on a relationship but it also may not be as positive as a loving relationship. Similarly to love, lust also affects a relationship in regard to how the couple interacts, the activities the couple participate in and the durability of the relationship. The primary difference between a lustful and a loving relationship is that while in a loving relationship the partners place a high value on the happiness of their partner, a lustful relationship is one in which the partners are consumed by their own desires.
The partners in a lustful relationship place their needs and wants ahead of their partner’s desires. This alone is enough to make their partner feel disrespected and to not place a high value on the relationship. The fundamental selfishness that exists in a lustful relationship trickles down and affects the activities in which the couple participates. While those in a loving relationship strive to compromise and find activities that they both enjoy, those in a lustful relationship are more prone to insist on participating in activities that they enjoy regardless of whether or not their partner will also enjoy this activity.
One final characteristic of a lustful relationship is that it is typically short lived. A lustful relationship is driven by passion and desire and once a goal is reached the partner becomes no longer desirable. With nothing else to drive the relationship it soon begins to wane and the couple often separates. Lustful relationships are characterized by a selfishness and lack of respect that typically results in a short and tumultuous relationship. Complicating the issue of separating love and lust is that it is often possible for lust to exist within a loving relationship. The existence of lust within a loving relationship is often driven by a desire to become closer to the partner.
This is a natural occurrence as a physical relationship is extremely important in a romantic relationship. When lust exists within a loving relationship it is not necessarily detrimental to the relationship. As long as the lust does not take over the love and become the dominant characteristic it can be a healthy part of the relationship. The opposite is not true, however. A lustful relationship can not also include love. The primary characteristic of selfishness does not enable love to factor into a lustful relationship.
Placing your own desires ahead of your partner’s precludes the formation of a loving bond. While it’s not possible to have a lustful relationship with the existence of love a little bit of lust mixed into a loving relationship can lead to a closer connection and stronger bond for the couple. Separating love from lust can be complicated but the key factors to remember is that a loving relationship is one based on selflessness and thoughtfulness while a lustful relationship is characterized by selfishness and thoughtlessness. These fundamental differences often affect whether or not a relationship will be long lasting and will endure the test of time. The separation of love from lust is further complicated by the fact that lust can exist in a loving relationship.
The opposite, however, is not possible. Understand that lust can factor into a loving relationship and have a positive affect on the relationship is key to understanding the differences between love and lust.
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