Singer Mary Macgregor may not be a love guru but she sounded like one in her hit single, Torn Between Two Lovers. The song describes a woman in love with one man who allows another into her life to fill a void. This scenario happens all too often.
Some say it takes a certain person to love two people, such as a narcissist or commitment phobe, and while this may be somewhat true, the reality is that anyone can fall in love with multiple people. We do it all the time. We love our parents, brother, sister, grandparents, and even our crazy uncles. While these are all examples of asexual relationships, there are also plenty of examples of polygamous societies. Our heart takes up a pretty big space, sometimes so big we feel like we have more to give than receive.
Falling for Two People?
Settling for Mister/Misses good enough is something people do. Perhaps he/she wanted a sensitive poet, and a strong financial provider. Let’s say the provider wins, the next thing you know they’ve got several beautiful children. Their kids eventually move out, leaving the two of them. One day at the park they meet the sensitive poet-type he/she has always dreamed of. Think it couldn’t happen? There are stories like this all the time, featuring a love struck wanderer, wondering how it’s possible and what they should do about it.
While it may be difficult to love two people who are the same type, it’s possible to love two opposing types. In a sense, our mind blends the complimentary portions of their personality into one ultimate, perfect partner. Another common scenario is falling into an early stage of love (infatuation) with a new love interest, while remaining in the same late stage romance/passionate love with a current partner.
Love is not always selective or faithful. Science has shown us that love is initially created by a dopamine flush, traveling through the alleyways of our brain each time we meet someone attractive. This can be described with the same elation as a heroine addict injecting cocaine into their vein. Considering this immense power, many scientists regard love among the same biological drive as water, food, and sex.
Who is Most Drawn to Love Triangles
Nobody knows for sure. A 1970 study reported that 27 percent of undergraduate men experience feelings of love within the first four dates, while only 15 percent of women have these feelings. Another study in 1981 found similar results, asking 231 undergraduate couples about their belief in “love at first sight.” Men were much more accepting of this fairytale scenario, while women were more skeptical.
Taming Your Inner Casanova
Armed with this knowledge, we are now aware of this powerful drug called love. The best way to stay clear of the confusion of multiple lovers is to avoid all temptation. It is normal to have feeling for multiple people we meet in our lifetime, but acting on them is a different story (with often a different outcome). The fact that in some circles adultery is now only considered a mildly criticized marital transgression, it has weakened our stamina to just say no when such opportunities arise (and they will).
One thing that seems to work, is to put yourself into your partner’s shoes and think how you would feel if they allowed to fall in love with someone else. While most people involved in these early stage love triangles express enjoyment, they also admit they would not want to be on the receiving end as “the other lover.” Many of these complex relationship arrangements end up unhappy once all parties realize the jealousy, fear, humiliation, and trust issues that go along with it.
Based on investment alone, it’s usually better to continue to invest in your current relationship and find new ways to fill the voids, rather than try and divide yourself between multiple lovers. Sometimes adding that shiny red Lamborghini to your collection is much too high-maintenance and costly than just getting a tuneup on your old Ford!