Can you be in love with two people at once? This is always a question that people can feel strongly about either way. True love, romantic love, and passionate love are often associated with two individuals who mean the world to each other, and the thought of a third party doesn’t cross your mind, ultimately blocking out the possibility of anyone else and forgetting any emotions associated with anyone from the past.
If a single person claims to be “in love” with two people they are dating, it’s easy to write that off as two people they lust for with the same amount of passion and intensity, but the concept that they “love” both isn’t accepted until they’ve got past a certain stage of dating.
There are timelines and rules that society, friends and married couples put on love, while it’s a deeply personal experience and feeling. It is essentially different for everyone; love itself comes in vast amounts of shapes and forms, so therefore the concept of having romantic love for someone else is plausible.
Related: Can you ever stop loving someone?
But is it accurate to share the same kind of burning, romantic and passionate love with two people at the same time? To help get to the bottom of this, we will be delving into what psychological research, relationship experts and the general public suggest is the real answer.
What Is Loving Someone?
It’s important to understand what love is before establishing if being in love with two people is possible. Love is a huge concept that we all, as humans, crave. We want to love and be loved. Everyone around the world has a term for love; no matter how small or strange the feeling, we are all capable of it.
“It is certainly possible to love several people at once,” says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., a psychotherapist and author of Dr. Romance’s Guide to Finding Love Today. “Think of family members, children, and dear friends; you hold all of them in your heart at once.” So while it’s possible to share platonic love with multiple people, the answer to romantic love still goes untold.
Meanwhile, it’s possible – and, again, easy – to be attracted to multiple people at once.
“Love is a different chemistry,” says Laurel House, a dating and relationship coach. “Chemistry is a short-term chemical reaction inside that creates an intensely felt drug that makes you lose sight of clarity of thought and can trick you into thinking you’re in deep love, when you’re in superficial lust.”
Still, that doesn’t mean those feelings won’t feel just as intense as love in the early going.
Jess O’Reilly, PhD, a sexologist and host of a popular podcast, says, “Feelings of ‘falling in love’ can exist even if you don’t know the person,” and follows with, “So you may have passionate feelings that are associated with your perception of this person—as opposed to reality. Just because you feel excited about seeing someone or intensely attracted to them doesn’t mean you’d be fulfilled having a relationship with them.”
“So, for example, if the feelings of ‘being in love’ are a matter of having a crush on someone, oftentimes getting to know them can quash some of the intense feelings. This is because much of the passionate love we experience when we meet someone new is associated with the unknown, the mystery and the fantasy image we create in our minds; once you get to know them, the excitement can often dissipate.”
Professionals clearly state that a lot of people, when they are feeling lust or love, may not be able to distinguish between the two immediately, as while these feelings are both intense, you may not actually know if you’re in love with two people at once, as one might just be purely lust, mysterious and something you are curious about.
Ultimately, only time will tell if what you’re experiencing is genuine love. We’ve all been there while we were dating someone who wasn’t right for us. You are convinced that we are destined and love is in the air, but as soon as the smoke clears, we are rid of all emotional attachment and you sit wondering what the hell you were thinking. Then you thought it was love and now you know it was purely love and attraction at the time.
Is it Possible To Be in Love With Two People at Once?
Now to the main event, the topic that is much more open for debate; can two people be in love at once? Taking the difference between “being in love” or “feelings of lust” into account, being in love with two people with the same amount of passion and romance simultaneously is by far not a common thing.
It requires a depth of feeling and investment in a relationship that can be difficult for people to get to with one person, mind two. While dating shows such as “Love is Blind” and “The Ultimatum” stretch the limit of this question When people are in situations where they have to get deep and are not faced with real-world limitations, they might be able to love two people almost simultaneously.
Closely agreed with NYC-based dating coach Connell Barrett, it’s far from impossible.
“You can absolutely fall in love with two people at the same time,” he says. “Walt Whitman was right—you contain multitudes. Someone might bring out your confident, romantic side and you’ll love them for it. A second person might make you feel safe, loved and deeply connected, and you’ll also fall for that person. Suddenly, your brain is cranking out dopamine for both of them because they make you feel special and loved in different ways.”
However, the accidental-seeming aspect of the phrase “fall in love” when it comes to just a two-person scenario has always been a term that needs questioning.
“Love is a choice. You don’t ‘fall’ in love. Instead, you choose to open your heart and see the beauty, feel the vulnerability, allow your guard to drop and your heart to open, and give yourself permission to feel and be in a state of love.”
There are clear logistical considerations to take into account. While you can still have some sort of love for a romantic partner from the past, the passion and romance are no longer there, so it cannot be love.
To love someone, there has to be some sort of effort and relationship; therefore, if you seem to be forming that while with a partner, O’Reilly suggests that “you may not feel fulfilled by monogamy. You may feel held back by having to limit your love for other potential partners. You may discover this by accident when you begin to feel love or attachment to multiple people at the same time.”
If you’re sure to be in love with two or more people, it might be time to sit down, crack open a premixed cocktail, and really consider if polyamory relationships are for you. Figure out what exactly that means to you and speak to your current partner about it.
Polyamours come from the Greek root “poly,” meaning “many,” and the Latin root “amor,” meaning love. Quite literally, it means “many loves”.
So Can I? What Is The Answer?
To wrap it all up, in the case that you’re happy to be monogamous and that’s how you want to choose to love, the ideology that you can be in love with someone is still something people are debating to this day.
Research suggests that lust causes great misinterpretations, so to figure it out, really sit down and think, What do I love about this third party? What does this relationship mean to me? What does it bring to your life? Are they just really hot? Are they a celebrity? These are all questions you need to ask yourself before falling in love.
Love is a complex feeling, but to share a passion, be romantic and truly know someone for their soul is the result of a multitude of factors. I would suggest you cannot love two people at once; however, it’s a deeply personal thing and everyone is different and life is fluid.
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