The Great Gatsby
The Hunger Games
Sex and the City
These are all stories that include one character torn between two lovers. And of course, there’s more where these came from.
It’s a tale as old as time: Who to choose when you’ve got two great people in front of you?
Before we can dive into the details, we first we need to examine if the question is even a legitimate one. After all …
Can You Be in Love with Two People at Once?
By: Faye Roberts
In other words; Is this whole being in love with two people at once thing just a crock of crap made up by someone who wants to “have their cake and eat it too?”
Well, yes and no.
Basically, it depends on your definition of love.
Let’s start with the naysayers.
There are people who say it’s impossible to love two people at once. And why do they say this? Because their definition of love dictates that when you’re in love, you truly care for one person so much that loving someone else would be impossible.
In this scenario, you could be in a relationship with one person while loving another person, but you can’t actually love them both. It’s one or the other. Whomever you love, you are totally devoted to that person, and having feelings for a second person means literally taking away some love from the first person.
By its own definition, love to these purists is something exclusive. It’s a one-person only thing.
And what about those who say that being in love with two people is possible?
Let’s just come right out and say this: Those who think that loving two people at the same time is possible are usually the ones who have been in this position before.
It can happen lots of ways. Perhaps you find a really nice and wonderful guy who you start dating. You can see he really loves you. You’re happy with him, and he’s a truly good person who is good to you. But maybe it’s not very passionate. Or maybe he just feels more like a friend sometimes.
Then you meet him. The guy you’ve always dreamt of but never knew was real. It’s instant chemistry. And many people in this situation will feel that they love both individuals. From here, you have two paths.
If monogamy is not something you or your partner(s) care about, well then, you can continue on both of these relationship paths with two loves.
But for most people, feeling and saying that you are in love with two people—and acting on both of these loves (i.e. Telling both people you love them)—well that’s cheating. Adultery.
Most people don’t want to be in this situation.
So … Who to Choose?
This is the question at hand. Who to choose? How to choose?
The bottom line is: No one can tell you.
You may ask your mom or dad, your friends, your sister or brother, your therapist… but no one can tell you who to love and who to let down. All we can do is give you some advice.
So, without further ado, here are some important pieces of advice for making this big decision in your life.
- Start here: Don’t be the villain in a romantic comedy.
There are a lot of lessons we all need to learn where relationships and love are concerned. One of those lessons is that it doesn’t feel good to get cheated on. It doesn’t feel good to have someone you love canoodling with someone else.
In other words, we don’t know your particular situation. We don’t know how you came to be in love with two people. Maybe it was a shock to you, and you really tried to avoid it. Regardless, don’t get a big head about having two people love you. And if you start to get a little like this … just remember that you’re going to look like the villain guy or girl in a romantic comedy. Which leads us to our next point …
- Choose quickly … but think hard about it.
Ok, you’ve realized you’re in love with two people. They both love you back. You have to choose. You must do this as quickly and quietly as possible. Do not drag it out.
That being said, you obviously have to make a big choice here, so you should think hard. Maybe take some time away from both of them to ponder it. Maybe see a therapist to get some guidance and feedback.
And when you make your decision, let the other person down easily.
- Understand the difference between Eros, Philia, and Pragma.
To help you make your decision, we’ll just leave this here … three “Types” of love as deemed by the Ancient Greeks.
Eros – Sexual Passion: This is the most fiery type of love. It’s often irrational and can be very dangerous. It’s strong, but it may not be able to last like Pragma.
Philia – Deep Friendship: This is a valuable type of love, but it’s only based in comradely friendship. You can have it for the opposite sex. It’s based in loyalty and sharing emotions.
Pragma – Longstanding Love: This type of love lasts. You make compromises, you work at love, and you help it stand the test of time … past Eros.
- Don’t put anyone through hell.
In the situation you’re in, the worst thing you can do is drag this out for both people (and for you). Above in #2, you’ll remember that your goal should be to choose quickly to cause the least amount of pain.
In a similar way, avoid excess pain by not discussing your choosing-between-two-people-problem with these two people. If you can keep this information from them altogether and simply make your decision quietly and break it off with one person while pursuing the other person, this is the best option.
Debating and pondering and talking about one person with the other is not cool and very disrespectful.
- Imagine who you want to be with in ten or twenty years.
Finally, if you’re having tons of trouble, a last piece of advice might be to consider how you want to be in two or twenty (or more) years. What do you want to be doing? Where do you want to be living? Kids? Hobbies?
Ok, now who is by your side? Maybe it’s that wild bartender who you had that passionate one-night stand with. He shares all your music and art interests. He wants to be a fiction writer. Or maybe it’s the boyfriend who works a steady, good paying job, who makes you soup when you’re sick and likes to iron his jeans.
Honestly, either one could be great. Not everyone wants to play it safe. Not everyone wants a lot of drama.
The goal is to stick to what your gut is telling you and never forget that these two people are real people with feelings. Treat them well. Treat the situation well. And trust that you’ll make the right decision if you follow your heart.