When we think of love – true, romantic, passionate love – we often think of two people who mean everything to each other, ultimately blocking out the possibility of anyone else entering into the picture. If a single person claims to be “in love” with two different people they aren’t currently dating, it’s easy to write off as just two separate crushes of similar intensity. For many people, the notion of being in love precludes it being applied to two people at once – to them, love is a feeling you can only feel for one single person at any given time.
But, is that accurate? Is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time? Can someone really feel intensely, madly and passionately about more than one person? To help answer these questions, we spoke to a handful of dating and relationship experts to see what they have to say about the possibility of loving two people at the same time.
Can You Love Two People At Once?
There is no one-size-fits-all way to experience romantic love, which means that loving two people at the same time is possible, according to NYC-based relationship expert, Susan Winter. “Yes [it’s possible], but the way in which you’d love each person is different,” Winter says. When it comes to being in love with more than one person, it’s not much different from platonically loving multiple people. Just as you can simultaneously care for multiple friends, parents, children and other folks in your life, you can also care for more than one intimate partner.
“Love is different from chemistry,” says Laurel House, a dating and relationship coach and host of the “Man Whisperer” podcast. “Chemistry is a short-term chemical reaction inside your body that actually 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 really you’re in superficial lust.”
But being in love with someone — experiencing, as House describes it, a “deep heart connection” — is a little bit different than either simply loving or being excited by someone. Being in love with someone implies not just a deep appreciation or a passing excitement for them, but a lasting, all-consuming passion.
Taking the difference between “being in love” or “having a crush on” into account, being in love with two people simultaneously is certainly not the most common thing. It requires a depth of feeling and investment in romantic relationships that can be difficult for most people to maintain for more than one person at a time.
That being said, according to 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, sexy 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 the two-person scenario is still something to call into question.
“You can be in love with one person because of who you see and honor in them, and simultaneously be in love with someone else for their very different yet equally resonant being,” notes House. “That being said, 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. Therefore, if you are in love with one person, it is up to you to choose to turn your red light on and turn yourself off to the possibility of being open to letting someone else in.”
Ultimately, even though experiencing passionate love for two people is possible, not everyone is open to sharing their partner with someone else. In the end, the most important thing is to accept your individual needs and decide what type of relationship you want to pursue. The good news is, you can totally change your mind and experiment with different love models until you find one that works for you and your partner(s).