Cosmopolitan Column: Lust VS Love and How to Know the Difference

Cosmopolitan magazine column on how to know the difference between lust vs love written by Athena Laz

Lust VS Love and How to Know the Difference

(This Q&A was originally featured in the #AskAthena  Self-Help Column in Cosmopolitan Magazine)



Hi Athena,

I have fallen for my sister’s boyfriend. We all spend a lot of time together and it just sort of happened. I find myself getting really irritable with my sister and I think it’s because she gets to have him in a way that I can’t. I want to tell him how I feel. What do you think I should do?- Anonymous



Dear Anonymous,

Sounds like you’ve found yourself in a tricky love triangle. You can’t help who you fall for but you can take responsibility for how you feel and following that make empathetic decisions. Put yourself in your sister’s position. How do you think she would feel? What do you think the quality of your relationship with her would be like after your disclosure? From the way you’ve worded your question it sounds like the three of you are close and spend a lot of time together. What do you think it would be like between the three of you if you did disclose? Either way, both revealing how you feel or keeping it a secret will result in specific consequences. You have to weigh up what you believe is best for everyone involved. No matter what you decide just know that the best way forward is by maintaining your integrity. Maybe that means saying something to both your sister and her boyfriend. Maybe that means keeping how you feel to yourself.  Whatever it is, if you come from a place of empathy you’ve done the best you could do.

It is also helpful here to reflect on your love history.  What have your previous boyfriends been like? What do you find attractive in a partner? Have you ever fallen for another person who was unavailable? Getting clear on your love history can help you gain awareness into why you attract certain partners. It can also help you get to get clear on how you want to feel. 


Some resources for you:

  1. Watch this conversation on how to create real love in your life. 

  2. Read this post on how to stop self-sabotage.

  3. Download my free audio course designed to help you gain clarity and confidence to move forward in your relationships and life.


Athena Laz is the founder of, where she uses her skill as a licensed psychologist, self-help author & columnist to help others find their inner power.

P.S. Have you ever fallen for someone who was unavailable? Tell us what happened in the comment section below.

P.P.S.  I love answering your questions. In fact, it’s the best part of my day so if you have a question for me you can, e-mail or DM me on Instagram.



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