If you're someone who only speedreads or skims and you want the bottom line of what I'm about to share, it's actually a two-fold answer as to whether you can truly be in love with two people at the same time. First, love comes in levels and secondly, it is pretty difficult to truly be in love with two individuals simultaneously. For those of you who are already sayin', "You're trippin'. I've done it before", while I know it might feel that way, just hear me out for a sec.
No matter how old you are, what relational status you currently hold or even what your values are based on/in, I'm pretty sure that, if there's one thing we all can agree on, it's the fact that love is something you learn more about as you evolve as an individual. Just think about it—the way you thought about love in your teens is very different than the way you think about love now. Different people and experiences play a direct role in that; so does how you feel about yourself as you maneuver through those situations.
Take my first love vs. the last man who I profoundly loved.
At 19, my brain hadn't even fully developed and honestly, because I was still reeling from childhood abuse, I was looking for someone to tell me what love was all about; someone who would define it for me through their actions towards me. So really, more than anything, I was "in love" so to speak with him showing me what he thought romantic love was all about because, for the most part, I had absolutely no clue. Was sitting on the phone all hours of the night love? Was singing "Weak" to one another every chance we got love? Was having sex love? Was letting him drive my car, giving him money and forgiving him for every time I found out about some random chick that he was messing with love? Was allowing him to enter in and out of my life for years to come…love?
The last guy? Chile, there was so much praying, fasting and implementing of I Corinthians 13 (the Love Chapter) that, in hindsight, I realize that more than merely being "in love" with him, I was in love with him being a tool that taught me how to love God and myself more (when someone keeps you on your knees in prayer, you learn more about God's grace and mercy than ever!). Plus, after that particular journey? Listen here—if I don't know nothin' else, I know that I know that I know how to love a man. When you can come out of something long, revelatory and sometimes even emotionally painful and you only respect love and the Source of Love more because of it, on some level, you come to realize that it served some good. No matter how hard it was to go through—or get over.
And that's just the thing. I've been with 14 guys. 80 percent of those partners, I was really close friends with. While pondering what I know about the stages of like, love and being in love now, I believe that while I liked all of them and even loved some of them, I have been in love with four men. In some ways, I still love them (when you've been truly "in love" it doesn't die; it transforms). At times, as I was still trying to figure out who belonged where in my life, it felt as if I was in love with a couple of them simultaneously. But time and wisdom have brought me to the convicted conclusion that that is not even remotely the case.
In the article "Like, Love & in Love: How to Really Know the Differences" that was published on the site earlier this year, something I shared is the reason why I believe that "in love" is ill-defined and misused a lot (which is why a lot of us can end up being so-called "in love" all by ourselves) is because of the two prepositions that come up whenever we say "I'm in love with so-and-so." Did you catch 'em? IN and WITH. As I said in the article, "The word 'in' means to be in a place, position, or type of relationship. The word 'with' means to be accompanied by." What's my point?
Something that my male friends and I discuss fairly often is the emotional resilience of a woman. While we're out here "falling in love" (I'm not a fan of that phrase; it makes me think of something that Albert Einstein once said—"Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.") multiple times throughout our lives, men may do it three tops—and that's pushing it. They tend to have a first love, a wife (or long-term companion) and someone in between or following her. Other than that, they're good. Whenever I ask my male friends why that is the case, most of them say something along the lines of love is really serious to them, sometimes almost scary to them and so they are not open to doing it a ton of times.
It's not that they don't love love, it's that they take it more seriously than a lot of us give them credit for.
This means that since they are not out here running and rushing to be in love, it's rare that they will ever be in love with two women at once time. I mean rare like a UFO sighting! In like (to take pleasure in; find agreeable or congenial)? Sure. In lust (intense sexual desire or appetite)? Absolutely. In interest (something that concerns, involves, draws the attention of, or arouses the curiosity of a person)? Of course. But in love? The answer is simply "no".
How can I say that so confidently? Because in love is not something that should be treated casually. For a man, I venture to say that once he reaches the in love portion of the program, he's got courtship on the brain. Courtship is not to be confused with chivalry. Courtship isn't about opening doors and turning off cell phones on dates. Courtship, by true definition, is about seeing someone as a partner for life and putting the steps into place to make that happen. And no, I don't personally know any man who has done that even a handful, let alone dozens of times. Also, of the men I know who take courtship seriously, two women did not overlap either. They may "have love" for someone other than who they are in love with, but actually in love with the other chick? No.
So, if the only way that any of us can be in love is if someone accompanies us in that type of relationship, this means that in order for any of us to be in love with two men at one time, they have to be along with us for the ride. In other words, they have to be exactly where we are mentally and emotionally. Oh, and relationally. Two men who are doing exactly that, at the same time, with one woman is highly unlikely. There's more though.
I'm pretty sure most of us have heard a variation of the quote "If ever I am just an option, don't choose me." There's not enough time or space today to get into the fact that if you're truly in love with yourself, you would never allow someone to tell you that they are in a duality with you and someone else (and if someone else is in love with themselves, they wouldn't settle for that either). But there's another reason why I'm bringing that quote up.
When I sit and reflect on the four men that I loved—that I really and truly loved—at the time when I felt as though I was in love with them, there was no confusion going on. If I had to choose anyone else on the planet, it was only one of them, period. I believe it's because when you're in love and someone is in love with you, that experience is so consuming that it's hard to even consider someone else sharing that space.
What about the times when I wondered if I was in love with more than one of them?
Remember how I said at the top of the article that love comes in levels? My first and last love are two men whom I've loved more than just about any other human being on the planet. Both journeys lasted for several years. In fact, my first love came back into my life for the billionth and final time while I was still caught up in the last guy. Because of how much I once loved my first love, because he and I discussed where we were now and what we should do with those feelings, on the surface, it could appear as if I was in love with two men. But here's the thing—if I had to choose between him and the other guy, there really was no contest. Something being tempting doesn't mean that you're "in love". Something that you may reminisce about doesn't mean that you're "in love".
The one you would choose, above all others, no matter what? That's who you're truly in love with.
And what if you can't decide between two guys? Do yourself and them a favor and replace "in love" with "love" because that's actually where you're at. And, real talk, if you're somewhere in the headspace of "If I could create a hybrid of the two, I'd be so happy", there's a chance that you should play Outkast's jam "Prototype", take the pressure off of yourself and wait for the one who wouldn't have to compete with anyone else. Including and especially those two fellas. Because another thing about being in love is you are all in with someone and you can't do that fractionated.
Being in love keeps you with a singular focus. It's designed to be that way.
So yeah. Whenever someone tells me that they are in love with two people, if their heads are out of the clouds enough to listen, what I'll typically suggest is they consider that what's really going on is they love two folks and they are in confusion about what to do next. How do they get out of that confusion? One way is to decide who they would choose if they had to choose (someone always has the upper hand). Another way is to discuss with both individuals how they feel about them. Because there's no point in contemplating over being in love with someone who isn't thinking about choosing to be in love with you.
Bottom line, saying that you're in love with two people may be popular but it's not really accurate.
Now that you see things from this perspective, who are you truly in love with?
Featured image by Getty Images