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Love, Lust and Dating in Los Angeles

What is the difference between love and lust and how that’s related to dating in LA or finding a partner? How do you know the difference between love and lust? They’re actually very closely related. There's not a lot of difference if you just kind of look at it from a general perspective. Sometimes it's really hard to tell because often our idea of what love is gets convoluted by media. When I think about love, I think about having a very strong attraction and a very strong affection towards someone. When I think of lust I think it’s more of a physical reaction; a really strong or intense physical reaction to being around someone. Sometimes at the beginning of a relationship when you're dating or when you first meet there's a lot of lust because you don't really know each other. To figure out if you are emotionally attracted to someone it takes some time but having a strong physical connection could be a really good thing too. Having “love and lust” is a real bonus but sometimes that doesn't happen. Long-term relationships rarely last when based solely on lust because unfortunately as we grow older our views on life change. We can, through time, become less physically attractive to our partner. So if our relationship is built solely on lust then it can fizzle out and oftentimes that fizzle out happens within the first three to five years of a relationship or even sooner.

Understanding The Difference Between Love & Lust

Understanding the difference between having love for someone and having lust for someone can be really helpful at the beginning of a relationship. It will help you decide if this is a relationship to stick with or if it's something that is kind of fleeting and fun and you take it as it is. So what is the difference to you? The difference is a personal thing. If I decide “oh that relationship you're in; that just seems lustful” That's just from my perspective. Maybe there is a lot of love, attraction and affection in the relationship that I just don't see. It really is up to you. This is your choice and it's your life. In order to make a good choice for yourself think about whether or not you're in love or if this is something else. I had mentioned earlier that when love is portrayed in the media it really kind of messes things up for us. Love in the media (movies, books, newspapers, any kind of social media, advertisements) is often portrayed as lusty at all times and that is unrealistic. Love gets highly romanticized into this fantasy that is really unobtainable. To have the level of love that is portrayed in the movies or that is portrayed through books a lot of times it's just not real; it's unobtainable. This type of “Love” is not sustainable. You can have moments in a relationship where you have pure and ideal kind of fantasy love. But to have that every day 24 hours a day 365 days a year after year after year after year is not realistic.

Deciding What You Want In a Partner

When you're deciding to date and you're trying to figure out who you want your partner to be it’s very important to understand what is your definition of love and what you expect from your partner. A really great example of a movie that has ruined the concept of love for many, many people is “Pretty Woman” starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. Richard Gere is a wealthy business man and he finds Julia Roberts who is a prostitute and he takes her in. He buys her anything she wants, he takes her to these amazing places, and he can do no wrong. He brings flowers when he's supposed to have flowers. He has dinner set up just perfectly. He says all the right things and Julia Roberts is swept off her feet. He is the complete knight in shining armor. When this hyper- romanticized perspective is put out into the world as “this is love” or “this is a relationship” it really makes it tough for the rest of us. If I go through my life thinking love is like what Julia Roberts got from Richard Gere I'm going to be forever disappointed. I may overlook a really wonderful opportunity to be with someone that actually loves me and that I actually love because it's not exactly like Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. Or maybe I think this guy could be my Richard Gere and I'll make him be that. He will grow into it and develop into my Richard Gere. That also is not a great way to go into a relationship. Love is organic. Love is not something you can force. It's not something that you can push along. It's organic, it just happens when it happens. When you're dating, think about being patient. Think about “what does love mean to me? How do I know when I am loved? Have I ever been loved in my life? Do I even know what it means to be loved? Where am I getting my definition of love? Is it for “Pretty Woman” or it from some other kind of media? Is it from what I witnessed in my household, in my own family, between my parents or my grandparents or siblings? Do I feel safe with this person? Feeling safe with someone is a huge component of being in love. If you can feel safe and vulnerable with someone and not ever worry about feeling scared, being treated poorly or heaven forbid feel abused that could be a loving relationship. Also can you rely on this person for support? Sometimes people say “I have your back; don't worry everything's good.” But the reality is that just not there.

Are You Being Challenged To Grow

And then asking yourself “am I being challenged to grow in this relationship? Is my partner helping me to be the best me possible?” If you can answer most of or all of these questions with a “yes, I think this person meets all of those qualifications” then that could be a very loving relationship. You can almost always create lust in a relationship. That's something you can actually create. It's really hard to just muster up love. It has to come from your heart. It has to come from you as a being for it to be authentic and for it to be felt by the other person. In closing I'd like to encourage everyone out there either dating in Los Angeles or already in a relationship that you might be reevaluating to think about the difference between love and lust. To think about what love really means to you and try to tease out lust as one of the defining factors of whether or not you stay in relationship with this particular person. I think that with more people being mindful and aware of what they want and what their needs are dating in LA can be a lot easier than it's been.

(transcribed from a 6/13/19 Facebook Live)

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