Matters of the heart are often difficult to decipher. Humans learn about love before they learn to talk. Yet, we spend an entire lifetime unraveling the mystery that love is. Can you be in love with two people at the same time? Traditional society’s answer to this would be a glaring ‘no’ because we believe that the universe has created one, and only one, person for us. The pursuit of life must be dedicated to finding that one person and giving your heart and soul to them.
The myth: You can only love one person at any given moment. The truth, however, is not as simple. To answer the question, “Can you be in love with two people at the same time”, we must understand what love is and how it can be a different experience for different people.
This article isn’t another listicle about love but a manual to help you decipher matters of the heart with the help of Shazia Saleem (Masters in Psychology), who specializes in separation and divorce counseling, dating, and premarital counseling.
Is It Possible To Love Two People At The Same Time?
Even when you are in a monogamous, happy, and committed relationship, it is impossible to deny that from time to time, you will find yourself sexually attracted to someone other than your partner. You might see a man with ripped muscles or an alluring woman with sexy legs and start to feel a heat rise in your body. This is defined as lust. It is a basic human emotion and not to be confused with love.
Great poets and authors have, for centuries, tried to give love a definition but it is almost impossible to confine this complex emotion to the walls of mortal words. However, for the sake of clarity for my dear readers, here’s the dictionary meaning of love: “An intense feeling of deep affection.”
Related Reading: How To Move On When You Are Still In Love With Your Ex?
When you feel connected to a person, you are attracted to their ideas, their values, their experiences, and not just their body. Shazia says, “Being monogamous or polygamous is a personal choice. It’s not good to be judgmental about another person’s choices. Most people misunderstand love but it has many forms. It needs to be supported by many other things like personal space, respect, trust, and healthy boundaries in a relationship. If a person has multiple partners, there might be a reason or story behind it. It’s better to be neutral and respectful of personal choices.”
Here’s a scenario for you: You go to the mall to eat ice cream. You enter the heavenly-smelling ice cream parlor and are placed in front of a long menu of options, each better than the other. You have a favorite, chocolate. You love chocolate, always have, always will. It gives you joy, it brings you comfort, and you have many memories of enjoying chocolate ice cream. But then, you turn your head toward the newly launched flavors and your eyes fall on smooth, silky Nutella.
You decide to go for Nutella. You take a bite and it brings you joy, it brings you comfort, not in the way chocolate does, but very similar to it. You fall in love with Nutella, too.
In a world with endless options, one also has endless access to diverse people. Today, the world is your ice cream parlor. So, the answer to the question, “Can you be in love with two people?” is yes, you can.
It is completely normal. Whether you want to act on it or not is your choice. Being in love with two people can be confusing and baffling, but if you find yourself feeling these emotions, maybe you also need to ask yourself if monogamy is the way of life for you. Perhaps, you are more suited for flexible or open relationships that allow you to be with more than one person.
In Love With Two People? How To Choose?
By now, you would have understood whether you are the person who is devoted to chocolate for eternity or whether you’d like to juggle between chocolate and Nutella. If you are the latter, things may seem slightly more complicated for you. What do you do when you are in love with two people? How do you choose between two people who occupy your heart?
It would have been easy if emotions could be kept on a weighing scale and compared with each other. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be an option. Fortunately, there are other things you can do to choose between the two loves of your life.
1. Be honest with yourself
Can you be in love with two people? Yes, you can. We have already established that. However, when deciding how to choose between two people, it’s crucial, to be honest with yourself about your feelings. You also need to be honest with your partners. If you’re dating one of two people or both of them, you need to come out and say it. Two people in love need to be honest with each other.
Tell them the truth about your current circumstances. If you haven’t been honest in the past, you may lose one or both of them. One of the most important aspects of sustaining a strong relationship is honesty.
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Shazia advises, “The fact is no one can lie to oneself so do a thorough introspection to understand your feelings for both people. Love has many forms and we need to identify exactly what we feel and if we are feeling the same kind of love towards both people. These questions might help us get clarity. Ask yourself which one is more intense? What is the basis of this love? What are you looking for? What are your expectations? Where do you see yourself a few years down the line?”
2. Get to know both people at a deeper level
By now, you should know both people pretty well. Make certain you have a thorough understanding of each of them. This does not simply imply that you know their preferred colors or foods, but more about their beliefs and values.
When I asked one of my friends, “Can you be in love with two people, and if yes, how would you choose between them?” She said, “It is important to know them deeply and ask yourself some important questions like do you want the same things in life 15 years later? Are you a better person when you’re with them? Do their strengths complement your softness? Do you argue the same way with both of them? Do you respect their families and friends? Self-inquiry will also help you get to know them better.”
Other pointers to guide you: Know what they’d grab in the event of a fire at their home. Know what they despise the most in the entire universe. It’s important to have a strong sense of knowing each one of them on a personal level. If you are already in a relationship with one person and are wondering how to choose, understand that you are with them because of the love you feel for both of them. There might be things you know about your current partner that you should also know about the new person in your life.
3. Consider a future with both of them
When you are in love with two people and can’t decide how to choose, consider your future with both of them. Give it a lot of thought. Can you truly make a sound decision about who to be with when you’re divided between two partners? Is it possible to decide, especially if you have no idea what you want in life or where it’s going? Most likely not.
Shazia says, “This is something serious. Three people are involved including yourself. And you have the tough task of deciding between the two people you love. If you can understand the kind of love you feel for both of them, it will help you choose the one you wish to grow old with or spend your life with. Thinking long term may help make your choice easier.”
Let’s say, you are in love with Chris and Adam. Your plans for the future are to stay in your hometown and not move to a new city. Adam also shares this plan but Chris wants to move abroad. In this case, you might end up choosing Adam because your plans for the future are aligned. And if, while reading this, you are already feeling disappointed about not choosing Chris, then my friend, you already know what your heart wants.
4. Remove physical attraction from the equation
Before you know if you can be in love with two people, it is important to determine whether it is love and not infatuation or lust. For the moment, don’t think about how either of them looks.
Think as if you were blind but still had the same feelings for each individual and then make your decision. The reason for this is that you may be attracted to one merely because they are more good-looking than the other who actually might be the better match for you. So, who would you select if you couldn’t see either of them?
Shazia says, “As mentioned before, love has many forms. We don’t feel the same physical attraction or intimacy toward all the people we love. So self-realization plays a key role because no one except you can understand why you love two people and in what way.”
When you think you are in love with two people, it’s advisable to see them as someone you have to wake up with for the rest of your life (you don’t have to but that’s what you need to think about right now). Will their appearance be enough to sustain a relationship? Who are they beyond their physical charm? This is an important question to ask yourself when deciding how to choose.
5. Observe your personality around each individual
People possess the power to bring out the best or the worst in us. When considering how to choose, observe yourself around the two individuals. Two people in love will bring out the best traits of each other and form a relationship that is wholesome and enriching.
Does your personality alter in front of one person but not with the other? Is it possible for you to be more yourself around one of them? If that’s the case, you should be with that person rather than the one who forces you to change your personality.
Also, pay attention to how you interact with each of them. Are you happier and can you laugh more easily with one person? If that’s the case, that’s the individual you’ll want to choose. Choose someone who will bring out the best in you.
Related Reading: How To Get Over Someone You Love Deeply – 9 Steps To Follow
6. Decide whose lifestyle compliments yours
Can you be in love with two people and not know who is more suitable for you? Maybe, but it helps to know who has more in common with you. This is critical because being with someone who lives a completely different lifestyle than you may simply not work for you, even if you like them. You’ll need someone whose life is remarkably similar to yours.
Does one of them prefer to share in your regular activities, while the other would rather skip these and do something they enjoy and you tolerate?
You don’t have to agree on everything, but you should have a similar way of life in general.
7. Consider their morals and values
You might be in love with two people but you do not want to be with someone who is disrespectful toward others or has an arrogant personality. Two people in love are going to share life and it is important to know each other’s values and principles.
You must understand where both parties stand on major topics. You must determine whether your morals and ideals are compatible. If they don’t match, you obviously can’t be with them since you’ll have serious problems later.
“Always remember that love is an emotion and can change anytime. It will never be static. So when choosing a partner, rise above love and see what value and belief systems the person has, what is his or her moral values and integrity because that is what matters,” says Shazia.
You don’t need to share many interests with your partner for your relationship to work, but you do need to share ideas and values. Learn about theirs and make an informed decision.
8. Consider an open relationship
Gone are the days when monogamy was the way of the world. If your heart belongs to two people and you cannot decide who to choose, maybe you should consider being in an open relationship.
An open relationship is when one or both partners have a desire for sexual relationships outside of each other. This, however, requires the consent of both partners. They should be comfortable with being in an open relationship. You cannot force them to be with you if they do not wish to do so.
Shazia says, “Being open is the best thing to do instead of living in fear of getting caught or being labeled a cheater. Accept your feelings and be open about your relationship. It’s your life and you are responsible for your words and actions. Respect yourself and the choices you make.”
Love is a unique experience for everyone. You do not need to be limited by rules as long as you don’t hurt anyone, including yourself. Can you be in love with two people is a question that you need to ask yourself more than anyone else. Is it possible to love two people is a subjective question? You can be in love with two people, but what you decide to do about it is completely your choice. Just make sure that if you are already in a relationship, you are being honest with your partner and not hurting the sentiments of another person.