Hi, It’s Taylor Snow Romance, author and owner of the brand-spanking-new Digital Romance Blog: https://www.taylorsnowromance.com/.
This article will discuss LOVE and whether it’s possible to LOVE multiple people simultaneously romantically (this should be fun.)
But first . . .
OK, let’s ROCK . . .
“Taylor, I don’t know what to do. The man in my life has cheated on me to the point he thinks he’s in Love with both women. He says the woman he cheated with has a lot of qualities that attracted him to her, as did I. In my mind, simply not possible to LOVE two women at the same time. I believe he confuses desire (sex) with real Love. He desired her (crazy sex. She was more open in bed), but the day-to-day intimacy was always with me. Is it possible for a man to love two women? What should I do?”
Thanks so much for your question. I want to say that I completely feel for you and the situation you’re in. I’m just going to give you an email hug right now. Come here. There you go. Ahh.
OK, there’s a LOT to cover in your question, so let’s do what we always do and break it down into bite-sized chunks . . .
Chunk 1: Can “Love” more than one person at a time?
OK, I know this concept of being “In Love” with more than one man or woman at a time sounds downright UNNATURAL to most folks. The very IDEA that the person YOU love could LOVE somebody else makes your stomach do backflips of nausea and your heart explode with wave after wave of FEAR OF LOSS and inadequacy that they might like this other person “Better.”
And I get it.
I’ve been in this “relationship advice” game for a while now, and I know better than anyone how our culture builds up LOVE as this be-all, end-all MAGICAL force that can conquer ANYTHING . . .
And if LOVE is insanely powerful and MAGICAL, how could ANYONE LOVE more than one person? How could they have the capacity? Isn’t love a limited resource like oil or compliments?
In our culture, we’ve built romantic LOVE into this awe-inspiring, infallible force that CONQUERS ALL (Including the bodies of millions and millions of people who get “Love Conquers All” tattooed all over themselves.)
But . . .
Well, a few things:
A) Love doesn’t conquer all. As I always say, “Love isn’t enough. You have to LIKE the person too.” I hear from couples every day who genuinely seem to be in LOVE but are utterly AWFUL for each other because while there’s insane CHEMISTRY, they don’t share the same values or get along. (Heck, a ton of research has been done that shows folks who enter into arranged marriages are happier long-term than those who get married for Love.)
B) LOVE isn’t a limited resource. Now, I know in English, we use the word “Love” to describe a crazy and wide array of emotions, but the fact is that LOVE isn’t something you “Run out of” when you use it. The more people you LOVE, the more you increase your capacity to LOVE and be LOVED.
C) Expectations about what LOVE means are toxic to a relationship. This is too big of a topic to fit in here, but so many folks enter relationship thinking. “They love me; therefore, they will do anything to make me happy and calm my insecurities. Forgive my sins and generally fulfill every fantasy I had when I was a kid about what my partner is supposed to be.”
These are the people who say things like “I just thought if you loved me, you would . . .” in a sad voice when somebody forgets to take the dishes out. And then there’s a fight. And dishes get thrown.
All of which leads to me saying as plainly as I can:
Yes, it’s possible to LOVE more than one person at a time. I’m willing to bet you already do . . .
It’s a different “tone” or “color” of Love than what you have (or want) with your man, but you ALREADY LOVE your kids (and do you love one of them more than the other? How awful would it be if you could only love ONE of your kids?); you already love your siblings, your parents, your friends . . .
And even though the whole concept might give you the willies to think about it. Millions of people worldwide are in polyamorous relationships (relationships between more than two people) who (and they’ve done brain scans for this) genuinely love EACH of their partners.
So yeah, it’s possible. But that is in no way meant to say that your man is genuinely IN LOVE with more than one woman.
This brings us to CHUNK 2:
Chunk 2: LOVE Versus Infatuation
Your man says this other woman has many qualities that attract him, as do you.
And that’s undoubtedly true, but it doesn’t mean he LOVES her. I’m shooting in the dark here, but I think you’re on the right track when you say this has more to do with SEX than true Love and intimacy for him.
And that happens. Over a long-term, serious relationship, folks can easily drift away from each other sexually. And if you’ve felt that sexual part of yourself wither or even die over the years, it’s very, very easy to think you’re “in love” with whoever comes along who happens to wake it up.
It sounds like your guy is INFATUATED with this other woman way more than he LOVES her. This means he’s thinking about her constantly, fantasizing about her, and looking at her through obnoxious rose-colored glasses (while seeing you as an actual human being. Not fair, huh?)
What your guy is saying when he says he “Loves” both of you is that he doesn’t want to be in a monogamous relationship. Heck, in his head, probably thinks having both of you in his life is the “Perfect” situation because he gets domesticity and true intimacy with you and headboard-shattering sex with her.
(Tangentially, I can’t even tell you how many women write to me asking when their “boyfriend” is going to leave his wife . . . and how confused these women are when I say he NEVER will leave his wife; he’s just enjoying the attention and the sex and you should NEVER wait for a man.)
So What Do You Do?
OK, Kelly, this is where the rubber meets the road, and you must make a hard decision.
It sounds like you do LOVE this man, but it also sounds like you are utterly miserable because you don’t feel like he’s giving you the attention or Love you deserve.
Honestly, whether he loves this other woman is immaterial in your situation. How YOU feel about your situation and your position in this guy’s life is important.
He cheated on you, and while it probably started as “just sex,” it’s developed into something more. However, I don’t know if this other woman has any feelings for your guy.