Written by: Lauren Steeves
Can you really be in love with two people at the same time?
There was Carrie, Big and Aiden. There was Katniss, Peeta and Gale. Then, my favourite, Olivia Pope, Fitz and Jake. Not only do these groups all create great relationship drama that keep us binge-watching for weeks, but they all showcase the complications that can come from loving two people at once. Looking at all these groups got me thinking – can these scenarios actually carry out in real life, or are they only reserved for the screen?
Watching this past season of The Bachelor (don’t shame me, you know you were watching too) brought this theory to the forefront when at the end Bachelor Ben found himself in love with two women, Lauren and JoJo. Ben did something that made women’s jaws drop all over North America, when he exchanged “I love yous” with JoJo after already professing his love for Lauren the day prior. Viewers like me were shocked thinking – Can he do that? What is he thinking? He can’t possibly be in love with both of them, can he? Even Ben’s mom couldn’t wrap her head about the idea about her son loving two ladies saying, “To know that Ben could possibly be in love with two women… that’s disturbing to me.” Preach, Momma Higgins.
If you tuned in you’d see that Ben’s feelings for both women did seem very real. He cried. He prayed. And he did some serious soul searching, and ultimately made up his mind when he was choosing an engagement ring. Unfortunately for JoJo, he may have loved it but he didn’t put a ring on it. But if you truly love someone with all your heart, how is it that you have any room left to love someone else?
Although I’ve never been in love with two people at the same time, I can imagine that it’s not impossible. For example, just think of all the friendships you have. You know you have specific friends that fulfill certain aspects of your life. People have their party friends, their sweat pals and their ugly-Kim-K-cry-with friends. And you hit the friend jackpot, when you find a friend that helps fill all the voids. You can laugh, cry, sweat and down 20 tequila shots with them – and sometimes all in one night.
So when you compare love to your friendships, it isn’t so hard to believe that you could be in love with two people at the same time because they each fulfill different needs of yours and they each bring out different sides of yourself.
Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D, clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at UCLA explains, “We are complex and complicated beings, and it’s very possible that two different traits in two different people can both appeal to us. As you grow and develop as an individual, you might find yourself drawn to people who complement different aspects of who you are.”
A couple years ago, one of my best friends found herself in trouble when she struggled between a former flame and her current love. It was hard for her to distinguish between the two of them because they each knew her at different points in her life and she cherished each of them for many different reasons.
So what’s a girl to do?
Well it’s all about taking a step back and taking some time to reflect. It’s important to ask yourself tough questions like:
- When things are falling apart, who would you rather have beside you?
- Who do you feel more yourself around?
- Who do you envision a long-term future with?
- Who challenges you the most?
Hopefully these answers will bring more clarity and help you distinguish between Mr. Right For Right Now and Mr. Right, so you can make a decision that’s best for both your head and your heart.
Durvasula goes on to explain that there actually is a prime time for cupid to strike you twice, and it’s actually when you love yourself the most.
“When you’re going through a positive transition – anything from an exciting new job to a physical transformation – and are feeling happy with yourself, you’re more open to new experiences and new people,” says Durvasula. “The more you embrace who you are, the more likely you are to explore and celebrate other people for who they are. So the more you fall in love with yourself, the more you fall in love with others.”
This helps explain how Ben could have legitimately fallen for both JoJo and Lauren because he was riding high from being America’s Bachelor. But it also shows that you need to be careful what you wish for – Ben thought he was “unlovable” and ended up with more love than he could have ever expected. Further proving that when it comes to love, there are no rules and it’s simply best to expect the unexpected.