Love is both a feeling and an action. Loving two people at once is a little more complicated.
The feeling is simple. Meet somebody. Find them attractive. Find them funny. Find them quirky, find them refreshing, find them to be everything your partner is not. Call it lust, call it love. Call it something, because at the very least, it is something. You cannot deny that.
Lie awake at night. Picture their skin. Think of their body. Re-live each thrilling conversation in your minds eye and consider the thought of being with them. Fight down butterflies. Fight the urge to call them. Turn over thoughts in your mind that make you shiver with a strange electricity. Call it love.
The feeling of love is a simple one… in the beginning. It’s the one you felt years ago when meeting your partner for the first time. It’s the one that made you rip each other’s clothes off in their tiny apartment one Friday evening after drinks. It’s the one that peaked the first time you sat across from each other in a coffee shop and swore that you’d be there for each other forever. It’s the one that slowly faded as the day-to-day routine took over and the butterflies settled their feet.
The feeling of love is a simple one. The action is a little bit more complicated.
When you love someone, you choose them. You choose them over other people who pull at your heartstrings and play on your fantasies. You choose to remain with them, to stand by them, to find a way to fall in love with them all over again if you have to.
Feeling love for two people at once is not an excuse. It does not make you fall prey to breaking someone’s heart in half and leaving them out in the cold. Not if you’ve made a commitment to that person. Not if you still want to be with them. Not if the future you envision still belongs in part to that person and all that they bring to your life.
Loving two people at once is a fork in the road that takes the brave and enduring in one direction; the fearful and flighty in another. If we were to choose the more alluring path each time that we faced this fork, we would lead a life rife with passion and excitement, but devoid of so many things that build the cornerstones of lasting relationships. Things like patience. Diligence. Understanding. The acceptance that love isn’t always the way it’s portrayed at the end of a Disney film. That sometimes it’s messy or boring or hard but it can also be the firmest thing we have to hang onto when the rest of the world starts to shift.
Loving two people at once isn’t a matter of choosing the one who excites you over the one who has become commonplace. Loving somebody in a committed way means understanding that someday you may want to love someone else. May want to be with someone else. May want a lot of impossible things that you will simply have to turn over inside your mind then let go of. Because the choice to love one other person lives on long after the butterflies have died and the whirlwind has subsided. It is choice that keeps the passion alive. It is the choice that keeps love thriving no matter who or what else comes its way. It is the choice that has the power to renew a relationship over and over again. If – God forbid – we decide that we are willing to fight for it.