Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Can you really love two people at once?(56 Posts)
I don't understand men?
If your in a perfectly good LTR (12 years), clearly still love your partner, have a very affectionate, loving and caring relationship... Whats the need to have an emotional and physical affair?
Not my personal experience, but a male friend that I work with. The way he talks about his DP he clearly loves her and they have a good relationship, however I know he is having an affair and its not just for the sex. He is very emotionally and sexually attached to this other woman. I only know because the OW is my friend and as much as I've tried to make her come to her senses, she loves him so she just wont listen and the thing is I really do think he might love her too.
But it got me thinking... can you really love two people at once? I don't think so but I'd like your opinions.
and also why would a man start an affair when he already has a good relationship which he has no intention of splitting up? I could kind of get my head around if the relationship wasn't very good but from everything I've seen and heard there are a lovely couple.
Yes, you probably can, but you it's not ok to lie to either of them. He should move out of his LTR by the sounds of it.
He's having an affair because a) he secretly wants LTR to find out and bin him b) he thinks he can get away with it.
I don't think many want to be found out, Corygal. I agree some people behave badly so that they are dumped and become the victim, but if they are found to be cheating, they are automatically not the victim.
I think your friend is going to get very hurt, OP.
I think it's possible within the context of an an open relationship - I've been in love with, and together with, two people at once (all in the open and no lying or sneaking around or anything). I guess it's like friends - you get different things from different people and don't expect to get all your needs from one friend.
Within the context of an ostensibly monogamous relationship though, then it's problematic.
I think its possible.
But the man in your example doesn't. He doesn't love his DP enough to be honest with her and let her make her own decision about if she wants to be with him or not.
He doesn't love her enough to tell her he has brought a third person into the relationship without her consent.
He doesn't love her enough to let her go and find someone who would be faithful to her (I assume thats what she wants and thinks she has)
Nor does he respect her.
I doubt he loves the OW either. But justifies it to himself by saying he does and tells the OW regardless.
I pretty sure he doesn't want to be found out, and he does think he can get away with it although he is very wary, and does feel guilty apparently.
Imperial yes I know she is going to get very hurt, she is very naive, I have tried everything to make her see how things are.
brady yes that's why I don't think in a situation like this you can truly love two people. Because if he truly loved his DP he would never have embarked on an affair. I don't think you can truly love someone and do something like that. And I don't think he can love my friend either because he wouldn't have started something like this when he's not capable of giving her everything.
It'll all end in tears.
It usually does end in tears. But its hard to guess whose.
Hopefully your friend will come to her sense and ditch him.
Yes I think it's possible (for some, not all) no matter what sort of relationship you're in.
I can probably guess it'll be my friends tears... or if his DP does find out everyones.
I love loads of people!!! Different sorts of love admittedly ... child, parent, family, friend. When it comes to lovers (and the clue is in the title) there are at least two men in my life that I love very dearly and in different ways, both being nothing like each other. I'm committed to no-one, however, so I don't have to choose....
"The way he talks about his DP he clearly loves her"
Really? Talk is cheap. His actions aren't very loving, though, are they?
What does he get from the affair? An ego wank, I'm guessing. In a kind of "look at me I have two women who adore me" way.
Yes you can, I love my 2 kids for example. But it's different because most relationships expect exclusivity and honesty. The man is lying to someone he loves and doing something he knows will hurt her and that action is not at all loving.
Why is he automatically lying? Conventional morality and the norms of our society dictate that, once we've committed to someone exclusively in a sexual relationship, we are then not supposed to express love (especially not in a physical sense) towards another person. That's the convention.... but people are notoriously inconsistent and don't always neatly obey the rules.
It's a cyclical argument, therefore, to say that if you love Person A, you cannot possibly love Person B ... because loving Person B (which risks seriously upsetting Person A if it is discovered) automatically means you don't love Person A. Often all that distinguishes Person A from Person B in reality is a wedding ring or the signature on a shared flat rental and the idea that Person A gets dibs because they were there first.
So he could be lying to one, or other or even both women. Or he could be entirely genuine and love both of them for different reasons. No way of knowing.
Of course he is lying. He is cheating on his DP.
I am sure the OP (friend of the OW) if it was a poly relationship.
I know you have certain views on monogomy Cog and I understand what you are saying. But he is deceiving his dp.
He certainly doesn't love her enough to let her chose if she wants to be in a poly relationship. He is forcing her into one.
And he certainly doesn't love the OW to not drag into all this shit.
If the question was 'my friend is in an open an honest poly relationship. Do you think you can love 2 people.'
My answer would be yes you can. But what he is doing isn't love.
How does anyone know how someone else defines love? What he's doing may not be your definition of love or my definition of love but it could easily be his. The Greeks had four definitions of love including agape or 'love for a spouse' and eros or 'erotic love'... they understood love wasn't a zero sum game. By keeping things separate and secret (although I'd argue how secret it really is as quite a few people seem to know about it ) that could be him rationalising his 'agape' from his 'eros'.
But his dp is not party to it. Which she has the right to be.
She is engaged in a relationship she actually knows little about. She doesn't know what's going on.
Ancient Greeks theories on love and affairs really has little to do with todays relationships. Greeks were very fond of having male lovers and being married.
Doesn't make it ok. Imo love and respect are inclusive a d she is certainly not being respected. We live in an age where a woman Should be allowed to chose the type of relationship she is in.
not have it forced on her.
"Ancient Greeks theories on love and affairs really has little to do with todays relationships."
I don't think people have fundamentally changed since ancient greek times really. We may have different rules, but the feelings are still there. Look at all the people enjoying quite emotional friendships with other people and then worrying that this makes them a bad person. 'You are wicked!!' we say 'You're not allowed to feel even a shred of affection for someone else because that automatically means you don't have as much love your partner'. No wonder they get confused.
I'm not arguing that this man isn't breaking the rules but it doesn't necessarily follow that he can't be sincere about feeling love at the same time.
Aside from whether having 2 relationships at the same time is right or wrong, of course you can love more than one person. Love and respect are 2 different things, and everybody has a different understanding of love.
I have to agree with Cog. I think you can be in love with two people at the same time. Unfortunately this isn't really accepted as a social norm and unless its accepted or kept hidden to all/some parties then most likely it will end in tears. I dont think loving person 2 negates the amount love you would have for person 1. It may affect persons 1 love toward you though itms.
I think we have changed. Especially since women are not married by their fathers instruction.
Women should be free to chose the relationship they want.
This woman is being prevented from doing that by a man who 'loves' her.
He doesn't love her enough to let her choose. He chooses to put his wants first.
I dont think loving person 2 negates the amount love you would have for person 1.
I am not saying that. I am saying that by forcing his dp into a relationship he chooses without her consent shows that he does not love her.
"Women should be free to chose the relationship they want.
This woman is being prevented from doing that by a man who 'loves' her."
The partner in this case is being prevented from choosing nothing at all because, if I read the story correctly, she has no reason to disbelieve she is his sole love and therefore has exactly the relationship she wants. She's quite happy with the reality as it is being presented..... and aren't we all actually in the same situation of taking a partner on trust until and unless we find out something to the contrary? In theory, if the truth is never revealed, she could die a happy woman many years from now, convinced she has enjoyed a faithful relationship throughout.
Now if the partner were to discover the truth next week she is again not prevented from having the relationship she wants. She is quite at liberty to reject the man and find a new relationship... or even forgive him his infidelities and welcome him back with open arms.
That's not true at all in most cases Cog.
Unless she's in a relationship with a compartmentaliser.
IME it's rare to encounter people who can truly compartmentalise their actions and emotions. The 'ignorance is bliss' belief is often very naive and ill-founded, but that sort of trade-off is often made by people who want to believe that their secret actions are causing no harm. It is made as frequently by OW/OM as it is by people who are having secret affairs i.e. that people only get hurt when they know about something.
What is more likely is that this man's partner is suffering changed and hurtful behaviour, without knowing its cause.
she could die a happy woman many years from now, convinced she has enjoyed a faithful relationship throughout.
But it would be a lie.
So are we saying that emotionally abusing someone is ok as long as they don't know?
If she thinks he is faithful doesn't she have a right to know he is not?
I don't agree with the 'ignorance is bliss' rubbish.
The relationship is not what she thinks it is and she is. As she deserves to know the truth.
Join the discussion
Please login first.