Can you love two people at the same time?
The human capacity to love is boundless but when it involves being in love with two people at the same time, you may feel torn and confused. Can you love two people at the same time?
Affairs of the heart are rarely straightforward, but loving two people at the same time is enough to challenge the emotional strength of most people. While there are no easy answers, and every situation will be unique, here are some guidelines which may be useful if you find yourself at the sharp point of a love triangle.
Is it love?
There’s a distinct difference between love and lust. Love tends to develop slowly, over time, as you get to know someone. Lust is usually quite instant and can have a similar effect on the brain to cocaine as sexual attraction hormones are released into the body.
Lust is often confused with love because it’s so intense and all-consuming. When you’re in a committed relationship and develop a strong attraction to someone outside of it, you’ll probably feel very confused and question your commitment to your partner.
Before you act on your feelings ask yourself, is it love that you’re feeling or lust? Avoid making far-reaching decisions based on what could be a passing emotion.
Having your cake and eating it
In the world of online dating it’s perfectly acceptable to be dating more than one person at a time. Once a strong connection is developed couples will usually become exclusive. But what if you develop a deep affection for two people and can’t choose between them?
The reality is that different people will be attractive to you and each will bring unique things to a relationship. You may be dating someone who brings out your artistic and thoughtful side and then meet someone else who is more playful and really makes you laugh. If you’re physically attracted to them both it can be very difficult to choose between them. What are the qualities that you want in a long-term partner?
If both the people you’re dating are aware that you’re seeing other people, there isn’t a problem. Difficulties arise when things become secretive. The problem might not be that you are in love with two people, but that you are cheating on them both because you don’t want to let either of them go. Sometimes writing a list of pros and cons for each can help you decide but make sure neither of your dates finds the lists!
All healthy relationships are based on trust and in order for that to exist, each person must be aware of the boundaries of the relationship. If you and your partner have decided to have an open relationship, it’s important that you both agree on what that means. A third person coming into that relationship will need to be aware from the offset that you’re committed to someone else.
In theory, it all sounds very grown up and mature, but the reality is that many people find jealousy and insecurity dog these relationships and make them unworkable.
A good way to help you find out what you should do when you believe you love two people is to imagine yourself in the shoes of one of your partners. How would it feel to imagine them in the arms of someone else? How would you respond if they presented it to you as a reasonable situation? Would you be able to accept that their affection or sexual attraction to someone else didn’t take anything away from their love for you or would you be threatened?
…. letting go. If you can’t have both people in your life, perhaps the real measure of your love for them is to let them both go. Accepting that you cannot choose, you set them free and if one comes back to you it was meant to be. If neither come back then perhaps you are meant to be with someone new who you grow to love on such a deep level that you only have eyes for them.