What Do You Do When You're in Love With Two People?

Loving two people at the same time can be confusing and stressful.
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If you're experiencing strong romantic feelings for two people at the same time, you have some choices to make. You may want to commit to one of your two love interests and you're just having trouble deciding which one to choose. You may prefer not to give up either one. You'll also need to decide what, if anything, to tell each person about the other.

1 Spoiled for Choice

If you really want a committed monogamous relationship with a single partner but you feel like you're in love with two people at the same time, you need to pick one and stick with your choice. In "The Guardian," Dr. Luisa Dillner says this situation is emotionally complicated and not uncommon; she suggests that the best thing to do might be to refocus on whichever relationship is more established and end the other relationship before it goes too far.

2 How to Choose

Not everyone means the same thing by the words "in love." If you define the phrase as complete mental and emotional focus on one person, it might not make much sense to say that you can feel that way for two people at once. Ask yourself if it's really true that you feel such an intense emotion for both people. If the answer is yes, the best way to decide is to pick the one you think you have the best chance of long-term happiness with.

3 Not Choosing At All

According to psychology professor Barbara Fredrickson writing for CNN, the feeling of romantic love is more short-lived than most people realize. Fredrickson writes that love is mostly a succession of short but emotionally powerful moments in which you feel truly connected to the other person. As such, it isn't necessarily exclusive to one person at a time as many people assume. Because the experience of loving more than one person is so widespread, polyamory is becoming increasingly common, according to Deborah Anapol, Ph.D., author of "Polyamory in the 21st Century." In "Psychology Today," Anapol defines polyamory as an attitude of being open to love without the restrictions of exclusive monogamy. However, polyamory is definitely not for everyone.

4 Keep It Honest

Whether you want to pick one partner over the other or pursue your feelings for both, the most important thing is to be clear and honest about your choice. If you pick one partner but continue to pine after the other, you'll be unhappy. If you pick one but keep seeing the other secretly, everyone involved will be unhappy, and in all likelihood you'll eventually lose them both. If you decide to keep seeing them both, be honest with both of them about the situation. If you pick one over the other, commit to your decision and never look back.

Scott Thompson has been writing professionally since 1990, beginning with the "Pequawket Valley News." He is the author of nine published books on topics such as history, martial arts, poetry and fantasy fiction. His work has also appeared in "Talebones" magazine and the "Strange Pleasures" anthology.