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  • Writer's pictureWillow Network

Love, Lust, and Attraction…and the Difference Between the Three

“I love you.”

My boyfriend’s words hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity.

What should I say? We’d only been dating for a month. Was what I felt was love, lust, or simply attraction?

“ you too” I choked out, unsure if I truly meant those powerful words.

Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a similar situation. Maybe you, too, have told someone you love them because it was expected or because they gave you butterflies only to later question your declaration. How do you know if what you're experiencing is love? What does the fruit of giving and receiving love look like?

Love, Lust, and Attraction


Attraction occurs when you are romantically drawn to another person. The gravitation could be based on the individual’s looks, heart, personality, or a combination of the three. Although attraction is a necessary element in a relationship, it can’t be the only reason for a relationship. You can be attracted to someone who is not a good fit or someone you’ve never met ( I see you, Nick Jonas). When I was 16, I was attracted to one of my coworkers. He was tall, hilarious, and had eyes the color of chilled Yoohoo. However, his values and lifestyle choices were incompatible with my own. Pursuing a romantic relationship with him would have been unhealthy and destructive. Before you confess your love for someone, take your time and ask yourself questions about the relationship. “Is this love or simply attraction?”


Lust is a selfish sexual desire. Whereas attraction admires someone’s beauty, lust objectifies their body. Lust is marked by greed and will often masquerade as love to get what it wants. Rather than choosing the highest good for another, lust grabs what it craves in the moment. Lust continually asks the question, “what can I take?”


Love seeks the highest good for another person. It is marked by selflessness and sacrifice. Love views its partner as a soul to be tended rather than a body to be consumed. Love continually asks the question, “What can I give?”


Love seeks the good of another

Love is selfless

Love gives

Love protects

Love follows through

Love commits

Love deepens and matures with time

Lust seeks self-gratification

Lust is selfish

Lust takes

Lust wounds

Lust makes empty promises

Lust flakes out

Lust loses interest

Closing Thoughts

1. Attraction is an important element in a relationship, but it can’t be the only reason for a relationship.

2. The heart of love and lust will produce different fruit.

3. Love is worth the wait!

As we learn to differentiate between love, lust, and attraction, our relationship choices will improve and the world will become a healthier place. Save your “I love you's” for the moments you really mean them. You won’t regret it!

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