In the words of Dr. John H. Sklare, knowing if you are in love is easy for some but difficult for others. I also have a strong professional inkling that, since this is a feelings type of question, it’s an issue that we men struggle with more than women do. Let me begin this discussion, however, with a simple statement that I always use to help people think this love question through. I think there are basically two reasons why people are drawn together. If I can be so bold as to greatly oversimplify, it’s either because of want or it’s because of need. In my opinion, relationships based on want are the happiest and most satisfying. Those that are based on need tend to be more emotionally volatile and a lot less gratifying. In short, love is healthiest and at its very best when it is framed around two people who want to be together.
Another issue that makes this difficult arises when one tends to confuse love with lust. There are definitely some tangential elements of love involved in lust, but lust is primarily a physical longing, whereas love is a much deeper and comprehensive emotional experience. In short, lust is often what draws people together, but it’s love that keeps them there. Love involves a deep and genuine respect and caring that only comes after you get to know that other person very well over time. On the other hand, since lust is primarily a physical matter, it doesn’t demand any personal knowledge of that other person at all, and it certainly doesn’t require respect or commitment. I believe that you know it is love when you truly think of that other person as a dear friend that you can’t imagine life without and would gladly, as they say, take a bullet for. Love is about the daily realities of respect, commitment and compatibility whereas lust is a much more fleeting experience that takes place more in one’s fantasy life than one’s real life. So, I suggest you ask yourself whether you need this person in your life or you truly want this person in your life. If you can’t bear the thought of not having this person in your day and you want to spend the rest of your days together, I suggest it’s time to admit that love is in the air! So what do you think? Is it love or is it lust? Only you know the answer to that question!