Real Love or Toxic Lust?

By Jenise Jackson
Blog Content Contributor

“Everything that glitters isn’t gold.”

When I experienced my first “heartbreak”, my mother made sure she gave me those words. For some reason, those words have been replaying over and over again in my mind lately. As a young, single woman, there are times when I find myself wishing for a relationship. But my mother’s words keep me hesitant of love. Why is that? Because a lot of what we think is love is sometimes a disguise for lust. And unfortunately, lust can sometimes have you chasing something that isn’t, and will never be, real.

Can you actually say you know what love is? You may or may not have experienced it in your lifetime so far. Some say love is when you want to spend quality time with someone for more than just having sex. Or you could say it’s getting lost in conversations for hours and forgetting time has even passed. Love is making each other genuinely happy and actually caring about each other’s feelings. It’s looking past the physical and wanting to be more in tune with the inner being of your partner. And most importantly in my opinion, love is motivating each other to be a better person because you want to grow together.

I’m pretty sure my idea of what it meant to be in love with someone was misconstrued when I was younger, mainly because I was a girl who believed in fairy tales and happy endings. Love was always supposed to be a simple walk in the park and it would always make me happy. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized I couldn’t have been more wrong. Truth is, love is not always a pretty picture. In fact, love is overcoming obstacles and facing numerous of challenges. Don’t get me wrong, love has plenty of wonderful times, but the beauty of love comes from going through the rough patches and knowing that neither you or your partner wants to let go. You both are willing to fight for each other, and your relationship, because you share a love that is true.

But then there is lust. Lust will have you fooled. If you’re not careful, it might even break your heart. I like to think that lust is loving the idea of someone rather than actually being in love with them. Lust is seeing someone more for their physical. You rather spend your time having sex with them instead of anything else. There is a lack of an emotional connection and the “relationship” is really just a fantasy. It’s almost like your hormones and idealization are in control of the whole thing. Lust leaves you blinded and you only see what you want the other person to be or what you need them to be instead of who they really are.

I would hope that more people know the difference between real love and toxic lust. Understand that love is selfless, while lust can be selfish. Now if there is a mutual understanding from both individuals when it comes to lust, then I wouldn’t necessarily see it as a bad thing since they both know that the future of their relationship can take several directions. In our generation, there a lot of people who end up in relationships that are based off of lust because they choose to ignore the signs in hopes that they have found the love of their life. A lot of these relationships fail because their foundation wasn’t authentic and this can be toxic. I’m no expert, but I would say that it is important to get into a relationship for the right reasons. It’s best to know that your happy ending may not be the ideal fairy tale. Don’t go looking for perfection in people. No one is perfect, but there is someone perfect for you. Remember that it is okay to have standards, but don’t get caught up in trying to be too picky because you might end up choosing the wrong person. And know that just because you see a lot of other people in a relationship, it doesn’t mean you need to be in one as well. Everything in your life has a proper time. So when you are meant to be in a relationship, you will find yourself in one.

The journey to finding real love can be a rocky one. We all run into obstacles along the way, but those obstacles teach us lessons. Not every relationship will work out and you may find yourself in a lustful situation, but the best thing you can do is learn from those experiences and hopefully prevent it from happening again. However, never forget that self love is the most important love of all. To be right for someone else, you must first be right for yourself. Somewhere in your future, you will attract someone who can match your self love and you can live that happily ever after. It all takes time.

Featured image by Jenise Jackson.

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