A Jewish Matchmaker’s Answers the Question; Is it Love or Lust?
The beginning of a new relationship can be so exciting and distracting that we often get caught up in the whirlwind and lose our ability to look objectively at ourselves, and at the other person. A lively mix of chemicals is released in the brain, and that mix of chemicals can lead to feelings of love and desire for the other person, or only desire. When you’re caught up in the euphoria, it’s not easy to tell the difference. So how can you be sure that what you’re feeling is love and not lust?
According to biochemical studies, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin are the “love” chemicals. Do you feel like you’re walking on clouds? Have you lost your appetite? That could be the dopamine working. Can you spend hours hugging, cuddling, and caressing your partner? Those actions trigger the release of oxytocin, which creates feelings of trust and attachment.
Feeling of lust, on the other hand, are marked by increased levels of testosterone in both sexes and activity in the hypothalamus, which controls your hunger and thirst drives, and the amygdala, the primitive emotional center in the brain – all of which stimulates sexual arousal. The brain on lust is like a drug addict getting a hit of cocaine – it’s very powerful.
There are easy ways to determine if what you are experiencing is love or lust:
Are you genuinely interested in what your partner has to say? Do you want to spend time together outside of the bedroom? Do you plan non-romantic outings together? Do the two of you talk for hours about everything? Do you think of little ways to make each other happy? Do you want to be a better person for your partner? Do you see yourselves as a team?
If you answered yes to these questions, it may be love- or at least, the beginning stages of it.
If not, ask yourself these questions:
Am I more focused on my partner’s looks than on his/her thoughts and dreams? Is every meet-up about sex? Is there a lack of emotional connection or depth of feeling before, during, and after intimacy? Do we go our separate ways shortly after sex? Do we avoid talking and sharing deeper thoughts and feelings? Is cuddling and affection mostly exhibited only during sex?
If you answered yes to these questions, your union may be based on lust. Lust is based in our primal urge to procreate. It has nothing to do with the real person in front of you, you usually see only what you want him/her to be.
Love, of course, will also contain feelings of lust but if you notice that your connection is a lot more about sex and attraction, and very little about emotional depth, then you may want to re-evaluate your motives for being in the relationship and make sure that they align with the outcome you desire.