By Rashmi Chakravarty

From time-to-time, we all fall in and out of love, seldom if ever knowing what exactly it is. Each one has his/her own subjective interpretation of this ethereal concept.

For some, it is the personification of the romantic movie scenes and sugar-coated love songs, for some, it is a date by beach-side or a crimson sunset, for some it is random chit-chats and carefree giggles over hot cups of coffee, and while for some others, it is an overwhelming sexual passion.

But often during these confusing and dilemmatic endeavors, we end up mistaking certain other feelings and emotions as ‘love’.

Perhaps, we could all save us a few heartbreaks by keeping in mind few points and facts before we tumble head-over-heels into someone. Here’s shedding light on the major distinctions between love and all of these close-knit concepts.

1. Difference between Love and friendship:

As it is crystal clear, a deep-rooted friendship is a pre-requisite for any relationship. But, any deep-seated friendship cannot be termed as a relationship.

 (i). A very obvious difference between friendship and relationship is that the latter involves sexual attraction and physical intimacy at least of some certain extent.

However, the level to which the sexual attractions and feelings are translated into behavior depends upon several factors, biggest of which is the cultural and societal norms the two individuals reside in.

(ii). Another significant difference is the level of attachment to the other person. Usually, we are able to sympathize, at the most empathize with a friend who is hurt.

Whereas in a relationship, the attachment to the partner is of a much deeper level, wherein, the individual himself/herself feel pained if his/her partner is hurt and vice versa.

(ii). One may have a plethora of friends, but definitely ONE lover/partner. There is an intense feeling of emotional/physical arousal and attraction towards one’s lover.

Also, one forms and sustains friendships often on grounds of similarities, mutual benefits, characteristics, social status etc. These aspects often (not always) go uncared for when people fall in love.

(iv). Friendships mostly are of a mutual or give-and-take nature. Business friendships, college friendships, etc. work on the consensual basis or a give-and-take one.

Whereas a relationship can be said to be a platonic sort of friendship, which is unconditional in nature. Relationships do not sustain on conditions!

2. Difference between Love and Lust:

Lust is an overwhelming desire of a sexual nature and is based primarily on the physical characteristics of the object of attraction (rather than love).

No doubt that some level of lust does make a relationship exciting and spiced up, but it is noteworthy that lust, with lack of a deeper level of love, is venomous to a relationship.

So here are the differentiating parameters separating lust and love in any given relationship.

(i). Decoding “love at first sight” (or rather, “lust” at first sight): Well, it is an absolute subjection answer, whether or not one believes in the captivating stomach-churning magic of first sights.

But let me tell you, it isn’t always love that happens at first sight. Love is an emotion with unfathomable depth. It thus happens and sustains in layers. So, what we often term as “love” at first sight, is not love, but different from other emotions. Most of the times, that emotion is lust.

What captivates us at the very first sight are the physical features of the person-glittering eyes, hair rustling in zephyrs, muscular physique, charming smiles and what not. That my friends are beginning signs of lust, and not love.

(ii). You feel more comfortable with hugs, kisses, cuddles, and sex. Conversations, getting to know the likes, dislikes, interests etc. of the other person occupy the secondary and much less crucial value. Sharing of real feelings about one another is not given much of an importance.

(iii). Perhaps you both get along quite well, share likings of genres of movies, enjoy candlelight dinners and hangovers. You savor high levels of intimacy and love being close to one another.

Well, full stop. That’s the limit within which you and/or your partner wishes to stay. In other words, you are good lovers, but not friends.

(iv). Your ideas about them are more of a fantastical nature. You dream fantasies about your lover and his/her physical characteristics, which might or might not be true.

You are obsessed with them and being in close proximity to them. Real love is possessive, yet holds on loosely so as not to suffocate either of the two.


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3. Difference between Love and Admiration:

As is already known, admiration is a strong feeling of respect or adoration about someone. We definitely admire as well as adore the one we love, but do note, that our mere admiration for someone doesn’t mean the heart loves them.

(i). When we admire someone, we are impressed by certain (physical/emotional/behavioral) traits of a person. We look up to him/her and subconsciously desire to acquire at least one of their revered traits.

Love, on the other hand, is accepting whatever and however imperfect or crazy your object of love is, yet you recklessly are head-over-heels about them.

(ii). Note that, we admire those qualities in others that we lack (or perceive) in ourselves. Therefore, in a manner, those qualities or admired characteristics of that person unconsciously fills the gaps in our own selves.

We begin to feel that the person completes us in one way or another. Love, as opposed to that, is not about the compulsion of someone completing you but is about sharing your completeness with them.

(iii). Take for example: intellect. It is something you admire in another person. In that case, you both would love having discussions and debates about intellectual topics, but not so about emotions and feelings.

(iv). But once the facade of perfection around your partner starts shedding or shows even the slightest cracks of imperfection, you feel unlucky or caught up in the wrong relationship.

The emotional bond that was established when you both were at your peaks of perfection, starts eroding gradually. Love on the stark opposite hand stays and sustains on the peaks of perfections as well as downfalls and failures.

4. Difference between Love and Pity:

Okay, let me ask you, do you ever or often feel that your love isn’t like before, something seems terribly missing, but he/she would be ruined if you leave him/her?

Or, do you feel that your only role is to heal them, and not love them? If yes, then surely you are in “pity” for that person, and not necessarily love. Below is a clearer distinction.

(i). Pity means a deep feeling of sympathy for someone who is hurt or suffering. You might feel bad for them and provide them with suggestions for recovery and/or betterment.

But, you might not be able to put yourselves in their shoes and feel what they are going through. In other words, true love has empathy, not mere sympathy. You feel not just ‘for’ him/her, but ‘with’ him/her.

(ii). Most relationships begin with healing and/or uplifting the other person out of their life crisis kind of situations. You apply your love’s balm on your partner’s wounds, in attempts to heal him/her.

But after your partner’s healed thoroughly, do you feel a diminishing love between you too? If yes, then surely it wasn’t loving, and mere pity.

(iii). Supposedly, it is already visible to you both that the love between you is on a decline. It’s almost as if the two of you can feel it in the air that things aren’t as lovely and loving as they were some time ago.

Yet, you hesitate to backout from the relationship, fearing it might lead to your partner’s emotional/physical destruction or deterioration. Know then, that the remnants are of pity, not love.

(iv). Love on the other hand, is lively, jovial and cheerful and cheering. Barring some sudden traumatic events and happenings, your lover stays in optimistic spirits and does not require your daily doses of healing potions, just your constant love and affection!

5. Difference between Love and Infatuation:

This could be a bit tricky. Try answering these questions. Do you often find yourself weaving gilded castles in mystical lands and living in there with your lover?

Or, are you lost daydreaming about your partner’s flawless deep blue eyes and perfect curves? Do they seem like an angel descended from Heavens, and you might not necessarily deserve his/her divine charms? Check out mate, maybe its just infatuation, and not real love!

(i). Infatuation does have a tendency to develop into true love, but not always. When you are infatuated with someone, your mind engulfs itself into a beguiling haze, which is filled about often unrealistic fantasies about the object of ‘love’.

If one is able to break free from these hazy illusions and see the other person for whom they really are, perhaps then, love can develop.

(ii). Much like ‘lust’ at first sight, infatuation is also the sparkle spread in the air at the very first sight. True love, on the other hand, takes its own sweet time to germinate between two individuals.

(iii). Infatuation happens instantaneously, and so it is short-lived. Your mind might be thoroughly wrapped around the alluring physical features (or maybe the mental/emotional characteristics) of that person.

This high-intensity euphoria cannot sustain itself for longer durations of time. As opposite, love is calmness and is stable, thus lasting much longer periods of time.

(iv). And finally, infatuation means being in love with the idea of someone, or maybe with the idea of love itself. It is very much possible that your heart is attached to romantic dates, fancy outings, and hand holdings.

Real love sustains even in the absence of each of these love-accessories, with just the pre-requisite of you and your partner!

Dear all, do remember that while friendship, lust, admiration, pity, and infatuation are some charms crucial in love’s potion, none of these individually make up the wide horizon of love!


Image Credits: Google Images


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