Is it Love or Simply Lust?

Is it Love or Simply Lust?


If common sense is no longer a common occurrence, chances that lust, not love, has altered your perception.

Lust or love

Andrey Popov / 123RF Photo

Most of us have felt it. That jangling, wiggy, heady attraction that has more raw power than a mighty magnet. Poetry extolls it. Songs have been written about it. Wars have been fought over it. Reality shows have imitated it.

Lust is that look — that “some enchanted evening when you meet a stranger across a crowded room” and you just know. The hair on your neck salutes, your pupils dilate, and “meant to be” becomes your new mantra. You know a “but” is coming, and here it is: Lust isn’t love. Love requires more than a bed (or tabletop) and sweat. If the latter is all you crave, jump, leap, and (safely) enjoy! But if you’re confusing the two, know that love requires real commitment to a relationship. While it’s nice to have both at the same time with the same person, if “lust” alone has hot-wired your hormones and trumped your brain, there’s a problem. Let’s look …


Dear Marnie: I’m a divorced mom with three children. Two years ago I moved into a new house with my kids, ages nine, seven, and five. Well, my neighbor next door was a handsome single man and we clicked immediately. The “can’t eat, can’t sleep” syndrome hit us both. I wanted to be with him more than anything. He said he wasn’t into children, and I respected that. I also felt it might change in time. The attraction was huge and we stole as much time together as possible to honor his feelings and respect my girls. This went on for over a year. Then he started dating his ex-girlfriend. She became pregnant and he married her! I’m miserable. I still want him more than ever, and I get the feeling he still has feelings for me! Please help me. What do I do? – Desperate in San Dimas

MARNIE SAYS: Sit honey. Get chocolate. Got it? Good. Now,get a “For Sale” sign. Stick it on your lawn. When somebody inquires, tell them you’ll throw in the drapes. Do whatever it takes to flee the zip code — better yet, the area code. For you are in a passion-frenzy that’s so bad you’ll need an exorcist … or better yet, truth.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

* The truth: He didn’t want to get into a relationship with children? You bought it, and played in his sandbox while your youngest was playing in hers — but she had a shovel. Neither respect nor honor prevented you and the neighbor from playing more than “convivial pursuit” over the backyard fence. You leaped into the lust abyss. It hurts me to tell you that Mr. Fantasy Man had no intention of filing a joint tax return with you.

* The Proof: I’ll concede that raging, quaking “can’t-eat-sleep-think” lust can shake many a stalwart soul. But whether for him it was just lust, or he truly had no intention of being daddy to three, Mr. Fantasy Man feathered his own nest two feet from your kitchen door while you were pouring Ovaltine for your kids.

* Get on with your life by recognizing these truths — and by calling a moving van. During the drive, ask yourself what you truly wanted and expected from this deal. My hunch is you loved the rip-roaring roller coaster ride. Now the ride has ended. If so, you got what you wanted. See it?  If you wanted more, next time don’t let lust fog your vision.


DEAR MARNIE: I am an African-American female, and I’m crazy about this man who is white. We met in a chat room and have also talked on the phone. Though we haven’t met in person, I feel so attracted to him. All we have done is talk on the telephone. He wants to meet and have sex, although he doesn’t know about the race difference, and I don’t know how he would feel about that. He has told me what he would do and it sounds pretty exciting. I want to, but do I tell him about me? Just show up? Or forget it? — SexyLM

MARNIE SAYS: Leapin’ lust! You’re asking me if you should swoop like a wanton she-rabbit upon the loins of a total stranger merely because he swears ecstasy. (Promises, promises.) And you wonder if he cares about race? Angel, race is hardly his issue. If this guy’s phone spiel is all X-rated, I strongly doubt he cares whether the person on the other end of his libido is even conscious.

Getting It! Your Personal (Life-Saving) Strategy:

* Who is this smarmy stranger? He could be pond scum. Foul chewing gum on the bedpost of life. He could command a bounty on “America’s Most Wanted.” Or, he could be a widget salesman with a Mrs. Widget and 12 little widgets. Are you willing to open your portals to a male who may pick his teeth with a machete?

* As for you, discrimination should be an issue. But I’m not talking about bigotry. I’m talking about discernment, health, safety … taste. That means demanding more from a lover than his desire to whirl you from the handlebars of a Harley.

* Ask yourself why you’d even consider a strange drone in heat whose resume consists of “can talk dirty − will travel”?

* You know he’s white, he knows nothing. Ask yourself what this race issue is really about − for you. (The heck with him.)

Get into counseling this instant, or I’ll fly out and confiscate your hard drive. I suggest a therapist who is sensitive to cultural and racial issues. You need to get OK with you, inside and out, to access more of that common sense that prompted you to write before hitting the pedal − and the wall.

Copyright © Marnie Macauley / 2014 Singular Communications, LLC

Marnie MacauleyAdvice guru Marnie Winston-Macauley — therapist, author, speaker — has been a radio, TV, and syndicated advice columnist and counselor for over 20 years. Witty, wise and totally irreverent with a self-professed loathing for psychobabble, she’s written over 20 books and calendars, along with  hundreds of relationship columns and features for prominent publications.  She has her MS degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work.  In media, her work has garnered her Emmy and Writer’s Guild Best Writing nominations. She is widowed and now living single. For personal advice, you can also find Marnie Macauley on or on Presto Experts. She invites you to join her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 
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