It’s helpful to apply self-awareness to improve emotional response to relationships. Glenn Stok studies this and discusses his research.
You're in a new relationship with a powerful sexual connection of lust. You already have strong emotional feelings and you're wondering if the lust will die away as more loving feelings for one another develop.
The only way to avoid losing the lustful interest is to share those feelings with your partner. Communication is the key. It means you want to be committed to the relationship.
If you both feel the same about one another, and you both are committed to a lifelong relationship, then work on it together to keep it alive. Remember, you are on the same team. Functioning as team players with a mutual goal will keep it alive.
I'll give you a series of questions you can discuss with your partner, along with my views on each issue.
Is Lust Good to Have in a Relationship?
Relationships begin with all types of feelings. In some cases, lustful feelings cause the initial attraction. That isn’t a bad thing. It’s natural. It’s a result of our primal urge to procreate.¹
If two people love each other, care for each other, and enjoy being together, then wouldn’t it be fantastic for the lust to last for the remainder of their lives together?
Love can keep a couple together, and lust can keep the relationship alive. There’s nothing wrong with this type of passion as long as it’s balanced with other necessary feelings that add strength to a partnership.
If you have a healthy respect for your partner, then you might have trouble keeping the lustful feelings alive. If you find this happening, try to get in touch with your overall emotions with acceptance and trust. It’s essential to keep the attraction associated with lust alive for the benefit of a lasting relationship.
Can Lust Alone Be Enough to Sustain a Relationship?
If sensual feelings emerge before devotion and trust occur, then I think that love and affection may fail to materialize.
Erotic interest will only make a couple feel close prematurely without regard to personal values that can make or break a relationship. I can attest to that. Been there—done that. It had always worked better when a foundation of trust, with mutual respect, was part of the relationship.
If lust is the focus, the partners will have nothing else left to get through tough times and misunderstandings? It's important to understand the difference.
How Do You Know If It's Lust or Love?
Lust is brought about by immediate, passionate attraction while love develops over time. Young people tend to confuse one with the other. They feel they are in love because they have those strong feelings of attachment that is only a result of lust.
Love is considered by many to be related to spiritual goals. Lust is more related to physical or sexual goals based on an intense physical attraction.²
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If you base your interest on physical appearance, and you fantasize about your partner without any consideration for intelligence or values, then it’s most likely lust that is guiding your feelings.
It becomes even more apparent when you can admit you have a strong sexual desire and you never give any thought to the faults of your partner that you might otherwise notice. That is a reliable indicator that it’s only lust.
If you lust after someone and you have no other emotional feelings, then you don’t care if your values differ or if you have different opinions about important issues.
Your relationship will eventually fail unless a meaningful emotional attachment develops based on the discovery of similar values and genuine concern for one another.
Is Lustful Fantasy Unhealthy?
In a relationship that’s based more on reality than just lustful fantasy, one eventually tends to notice faults in another person. Admit it, we all have flaws. The thing with true love, however, is that we look past those faults with a healthy attitude.³
When we have only lust, we look past any flaws in an unhealthy way. What I mean is, we could end up overlooking real red flags that would indicate significant reasons not to get involved. That tends to occur because we only focus on fantasy. We could care less about attitudes that bother us.
That sounds like a catch-22. After all, the ability to accept bothersome attitudes inherent in a partner is a good thing. It’s healthy. It’s what keeps people together. However, it’s not healthy when applied to a bad relationship solely for sensual gratification.
Can Lust Last in a Loving Relationship?
Love develops over time as partners get to know each other. It progresses into a meaningful and caring partnership with each one focused on wanting to make the other happy. If it’s true love, it can last.
Unfortunately, trials and tribulations in life can cause unforeseen conflicts to get in the way and destroy the continued bond of love. The outcome depends on the personalities of both partners. Some people know how to be team players in a relationship. They are willing to work things out when trouble pursues.
Lust can occur instantly based on physical attraction and sexual fantasy. It’s usually not based on any concrete reality. That’s unfortunate because, without the additional development of love that is triggered by emotional bonds, lust itself will fade and eventually fail to keep the partners together.
Without the bonds of love, changes that occur with aging can cause physical attraction to dissipate and hinder any lustful feelings. However, when two people live with each other and see each other every day, they hardly notice one another aging.
More importantly, if love is a significant in the relationship, and if its bond is stable, the partners can either continue with romance or even find ways to keep the lust alive as well.
- Judith Orloff M.D. (August 15, 2011). “Lust vs Love: Do You Know the Difference?”. Psychology Today
- Koshal. (May 23, 3015). “Difference Between Love and Lust”. differencebetween.com
- Natalie David. (May 31, 2017). “How To Not Ruin Your Relationship In The Honeymoon Phase”. Huffington Post
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Glenn Stok
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 12, 2019:
Karla Domanski - It sounds like you communicate well with your husband and that you understand what to focus on. That's great! Thanks for your comment.
I actually wrote another article discussing exactly what you just mentioned about respecting each other. You can find it here: https://pairedlife.com/relationships/lust-love-and...
Karla Domanski from Cadillac, Michigan on July 12, 2019:
Well said. I just remarried at 48. My husband and I have both been married before. When we were dating and decided that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, one of the first things we did was discuss this issue and how we would go about keeping the lust alive. I'm happy to say that we not only love each other, we like and respect each other. Part of the way we show our respect is to honor each other's needs. When you know your partner wants to please you both in and out of bed, it is much easier to reciprocate. I believe it helps to keep both love and lust alive.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 28, 2019:
Dora Weithers - Yes, It’s crucial and healthy for love and lust to be balanced in a relationship, as you pointed out. Thank you for that positive review of my discussion.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 28, 2019:
The discussion is well-balanced in the views on love and lust, just like it should be in a healthy relationship. The conclusion is right on. Great presentation!
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 26, 2019:
Brenda Arledge - Thank you Brenda. You clarified the subject well.
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 26, 2019:
Nice article. Love and Lust are both wonderful. If you are lucky enough to be in love with someone who truly desires you in a lustful way, your relationship can blossom into a relationship few ever know.
Love develops over time as the couple gets to know one another over time...i like this sentence.
Your love either gets deeper or disappears. If it gets deeper then you are in a loving relationship and can work on the lustful part if you do not already have it.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on June 26, 2019:
dashingscorpio - I totally agree with you — the most important thing in a relationship is the sharing of similar values. You also added an important point that I may not have made clear, and that is: A relationship requires considerable attention to sustain itself. One should never focus on just one thing. Thank you for adding that.
dashingscorpio from Chicago on June 26, 2019:
"Can Lust Alone Be Enough to Sustain a Relationship?" No.
However there is nothing (alone) that will sustain a relationship!
Too often people choose to downplay the significance of passion and romance in relationships. They act as if you have to choose one thing over another instead of striving to have a complete relationship.
Ultimately it comes down to choosing a mate who shares your same values and wants the same things for the relationship.
If you (choose) not to make something a priority it will fade away.
It's easier to maintain a fire than it is to reignite a spark!
manatita44 from london on June 26, 2019:
Loosely speaking, Love is the very pulse that pushes us to our destination: happiness. It exists in the basic desires … in the downtrodden and the dispossessed. It rises in the addict, the family life and is the quest unseen in all things. In its highest form it is Divine but is equally in the lowest also. Finally, this is still semantics as Love is by nature free, we cannot cage it. Peace.
manatita44 from london on June 26, 2019:
Interesting. Thought-provoking. We see love according to where we are at any giving moment... our individual evolution. Some will tell you that lust is full of complications - although you seem to say it isn't.
Remember it has an object, it is not necessarily self-indulgence in an individual sense … in fact it is equally collective.
Some will also tell you that unconditional Love in humans are very rare. We are always wanting something: security, friendship, financial reliance; appeasement of loneliness, power or possession, even if subtle.
Is it the love of Jesus dying on the cross? wait till a wife or husband walks out or dies, then you will find that the attachment re-surfaces.
We are where we are on this human circle of births and rebirths and the old will tell you that long after the physical is tired, that lust/desire remains, ask the T.V, the computer, the adverse forces of summer on the streets … chats with friends. God Himself has deemed it so. Saints are many, yet few.
You are trying. Commendable. But like a scholar trying to be an authority on scriptures, it can sometimes be dangerous, even without intent, to write seemingly without inner wisdom or mystical knowledge. Peace.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 26, 2019:
This is an interesting article where you contrast love and lust. As my husband and I have aged we love each other dearly, and lust is not quite the same as it was at the beginning. That is just fine for us as we are affection and our 23 years of marriage is stronger than ever. Good article Glen.