Ever wondered if you were truly in love, or truly in lust?
Did you know that falling in love actually happens over time, and the journey from initial attraction to deep romantic love is a predictable course that depends on many different factors?
Love is an intense feeling of affection toward another person. It’s a profound and caring attraction that forms emotional attachment.
On the flip side, lust is a strong desire of a sexual nature that is based on physical attraction. Lust can transform into deep romantic love, but it usually takes time.
Two individuals will transform their lust into love when they get to see the whole individual (their strengths and weaknesses) and get past the “fantasy level.
Dr. Helen Fisher, a well-known researcher on the topic of romantic love, has identified three stages to falling in love in her excellent book Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love and I’ve been inspired by her research in writing this post.
Which stage are you at?
Stage 1: Lust
Lust is the first stage of falling in love. It’s driven by desire. The sex hormones play an important role in this stage. According to experts, this stage may begin immediately and can last up to two years.
Signs that you’re in lust:
- You’re focused on the physical appearance of the object of your desire.
- There is a strong desire to have sex, but not deep emotional conversations.
- You’d rather keep the relationship on a fantasy level, not discuss real feelings.
- You are lovers, but not necessarily friends.
Stage 2: Attraction
This is the “love-struck” phase. When you spend hours daydreaming about your lover; when you lose sleep or your appetite, you know you’re in this phase. The neurohormones that play an important role in the attraction or infatuation phase are dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These are the hormones that send our heart racing, and might actually make us feel like we are going insane.