Fairytales and movies lead us to believe that happily ever after means that everything is always wonderful between guy and girl. In real life, here is one of the more common scenarios:
Guy meets girl. The guy has fun with the girl but wants to date others. The girl just wants to date that guy and tries to keep his attention, so the girl stays too long with a guy who isn’t right for her.
Or, if the guy decides that he wants a girl, fears and insecurities that surface from both individuals keep things from becoming the happily-ever-after portrayed in fairytales and movies.
Projecting unrealistic fairytale expectations onto your own love life when your reality is so different for all of us makes it hard to answer the question: “Am I in love?”
How do I know if it’s love or lust?
If you believe happily-ever-after means everything always flows wonderfully when your own relationship ebbs and flows, you may not realize you’re actually in love with a wonderful guy.
Additionally, having strong feelings for someone can make you think you’re in love, when you’re actually in lust or are simply infatuated.
There are two important distinctions between lust and infatuation.
Lust is a physical emotion and a reaction to someone else’s physical appearance. It’s when you’re sexually attracted to someone and want to be with them only for sex.
Lust tends to be short-lived and is more about immediate gratification. If it’s just lust, you might have sex in the heat of the moment and only feel physically fulfilled.
Infatuation is an even more intense, all-consuming feeling that arises when you’re attracted to someone’s appearance or are attracted to them sexually. Infatuation happens early on and tends to become obsessive.
When you’re infatuated, you see them through rose-colored glasses based on who you imagine them to be. You put them on a pedestal and don’t acknowledge them for who they really are — good or bad. You may behave irrationally and become caught up in your feelings of what you think love is rather than living in reality.
The intensity of feelings that come with lust or infatuation may cause you to think you’re in love.
Then, when the guy you’re lusting after or are infatuated with doesn’t feel the same way, disappointment and heartache ensue. As a result, these experiences don’t work out and cause you to believe love is hard, painful, and uncertain.
The reality is that love isn’t any of those things. If you’re experiencing love to be hard, painful, and uncertain and are therefore asking yourself if you’re in love, the answer is probably no, you are not.
Lust and infatuation are usually fleeting and short-lived, and neither tends to turn into true love. When you’re in love, you will have intense feelings for a guy, and be attracted and connected to him on the level of mind, body, and soul.
What are the signs that it’s lust, not love?
You should first look for the physical signs of lust like sexual attraction, sexual touching, and evaluate how often that occurs. If there’s too much of it in the relationship, that’s a red flag.
However, it’s tough to decipher if a guy is just very touchy and cuddly versus if he only wants you for sex. If your relationship focuses solely on sex, rather than normal relationship qualities — communication, planning a future together — it’s most likely lust.
If you have more of a sexual connection than a romantic connection, that’s another sign that your relationship is based on sex and you don’t know each other that well. If you have a stronger emotional attachment to your partner than he does to you, consider it a sign that you aren’t really in love.
See if he wants to spend time with you doing things other than sex; if he’s not interested, your relationship is based on lust, not love.
If you aren’t sure where you stand, your answers to this am I in love or lust quiz will reveal the truth.
Instructions: Answer true or false with the first response that comes to mind. If you find yourself over-thinking or rationalizing your answers, stop answering. Pause, take some deep breaths, and relax. Then, begin again when you feel able to respond from a place of inner calm.
1. I am attracted and connected to my partner physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
2. The thought of my partner makes me happy.
3. I feel happy about myself when I’m with my partner and when I’m without them.
4. I am free to be my true self in my relationship.
5. I like who I am in my relationship.
6. I love myself just as much as I love my partner.
7. I feel good about who my partner is.
8. If my partner were to lose their material possessions, I would still love them and want to be with them.
9. I appreciate my partner and their quirks.
10. I’m happy for my partner when good things come their way.
11. When difficulties come up for my partner, I’m here to support them.
12. I feel good about the way my partner and I interact and resolve issues.
13. I choose in favor of our relationship; my decisions are for the greater good of our relationship.
14. When I have good or bad news or a challenging situation, my partner is one of the first people I call.
15. When we have issues, my initial response is to resolve them, not to leave the relationship.
16. When our relationship isn’t flowing as smoothly as I’d like, I’m able to be with what is and trust that things are and will be fine.
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17. I feel content and fulfilled in my relationship.
18. I know my partner feels the same way about me as I do about them, i.e. we both like and love each other.
19. There’s no one else I’d rather be with than my partner.
20. I mostly approach our relationship from a place of love.
You are most likely in love if the majority of your answers are “true.” If most of your answers are “false,” you’re not in love. You’re approaching love from fear and under the belief that love is hard.
No matter how you answered the love or lust quiz, here are my perceptions and experiences of what love truly is:
Love is a feeling.
Feelings are the most common way that people learn about and experience love. When it is true love, you will feel good about yourself when you’re with and without him. As a result, you will also feel good about him.
Since you’re only human, sometimes you may not feel so good about yourself or him. This doesn’t mean it’s not love; it just means that things are ebbing, and change and growth are taking place.
Love is an inside job.
We tend to look for love from someone else, not realizing that love is actually within. Love is about loving yourself first so you’re whole and not looking for someone else to complete you.
The quality of your love life is a direct reflection of how much (or little) you care for and love yourself. The more you love yourself, the more you attract a guy who will love you just as much.
Love is a way of being.
Love is experienced in the present moment. When you’re present, negative thoughts and feelings fall away, making space for gratitude, kindness, and loving energy.
Being present with your partner lets you see him through fresh eyes and keeps you in love. Being present helps you express yourself more openly, building a deeper connection.
Love is a choice.
It’s easy to choose love when things are going really well. And when insecurities and fears come up, choosing love is where your greatest growth happens.
Love is choosing us over me (unless you’re in an abusive relationship). It’s being considerate of your partner and making choices for the greater good of your relationship.
Love is built on a strong foundation.
Building a strong foundation of love happens by being the best version of you, taking the time to learn about each other, appreciating and accepting each other’s qualities, quirks and differences, being there through thick and thin, resolving differences in a respectful manner, and letting him be who he is without trying to change him.
The bottom line is this: if you’re in love with the right person, love won’t be or feel hard.
You will feel uplifted and loved for your true self. You will know how he feels about you. Your relationship will flow with more ease, and when difficulties arise, they will be resolved respectfully.
Janet Ong Zimmerman is the founder of Love for Successful Women, and creator of the Woo Course: 9 Juicy Ways to Bring Out a Man’s Desire to Woo You. She helps successful women experience love with ease and clarity.