Falling deeply in love with someone is an all-consuming proposition. You can’t stop thinking about the person; you can’t sleep; you have no appetite. Life without this person is unimaginable, and you would sacrifice everything to be with him or her forever. Studies confirm the devotion: people in love spend more than 85% of their conscious hours thinking about their love object.

So, if true love completely takes us over, is it possible to have the same feelings for two love objects at the same time?

Some people claim that it’s not only possible but necessary, because one mate can’t possibly give them everything they need. As Aaron Ben-Zeév, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at the University of Haifa in Israel, wrote in Psychology Today, “loving more than one person at a time may not be entirely unfeasible, as the additional love would be based upon a different set of characteristics, and thus the two loves could be considered complementary rather than contradictory.”

Love Crazy Is Very Much Like Crazy

While feeling romantic love for two people at the same time seems possible on a rational level, can romantic love ever be considered rational? After all, many people are blindsided by love, which results in a kind of temporary insanity that defies attempts to assess it objectively. A person in the throes of love can even behave like someone who is mentally ill or on drugs.

Love Is Blind…Probably Deaf, Too
In the movie Shallow Hal, Jack Black’s character falls in love with a woman played by Gwyneth Paltrow. Hal sees Paltrow’s character as a beautiful, slim woman—even though she is morbidly obese (Paltrow wears a fatsuit). While hardly backed by science, this movie is an apt metaphor for how true love can override our perception of possible flaws in the target of our devotion. True love has the capacity to conquer all, including potential concerns about appearance, a shrill voice, bad breath—you name it.

A landmark study called “The Neuroimaging of Love,” conducted by Stephanie Ortigue, Ph.D., who teaches psychology and neurology at Syracuse University, found that falling in love can result in a euphoric state similar to that induced by cocaine. Dr. Ortigue’s investigation showed that, when a person falls in love, the brain releases a number of chemicals that cause euphoria. Couples who had just fallen in love also had higher blood levels of nerve growth factor (NGF), a molecule that is associated with the mutual attraction between people.

An especially interesting finding was how different types of love are associated with different parts of the brain. A mother’s love for a child and romantic love are not triggered by the same parts. Romantic love is more closely linked to brain regions involved in reward mechanisms, as well to higher-level areas that control cognitive function.

According to findings collected by Helen Fisher, Ph.D., a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University and expert on the biological basis of love, falling in love involves three stages: lust, attraction, and attachment. Here’s a brief rundown of these stages:

1. Lust. This is basic animal attraction triggered by the sex hormones estrogen or testosterone. Cognition may have a very low profile once these hormones go to work, with the desire for immediate gratification overriding concerns about consequences.

2. Attraction. Now the head starts going over the heels, spurred on by neurotransmitters including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These hormones can render us temporarily insane, as we’re overwhelmed by desire for another that transcends mere sexual urges. Sleep, eating, jobs, and just about everything else takes a backseat to mooning over Mr. or Ms. Right.

3. Attachment. Relationships meant to last are forged during this crucial phase, and two hormones are key matchmakers. Oxytocin is released during orgasm to help promote bonding during intimacy, and secretion of vasopressin is important to long-term commitment. Suppression of either of these hormones can put a halt to one’s devotion to the love object.

Is Romantic Love a Finite Resource?

tearing paper heartObviously, we need to meet our basic survival needs and make a living, so we can’t devote every waking second to a love object. This devotion is therefore limited, and if there are two romantic love objects at one time, it would be difficult to determine whether that devotion were an even split between the two. Wouldn’t the one who gets the highest percentage of devotion, therefore, be the truest of the loves? And doesn’t being in love confer some exclusivity for one person over another?

There’s no clear-cut answer to these questions. My personal feeling is that you can have only one genuine romantic love at a time, but we’re in subjective territory here. If some people say they are in love with two people to an equal degree, how could we prove them wrong? At the same time, how could they prove they’re right?

Click here to see Rose’s tips for healthy and happy relationships


  • Maggie
    Posted December 3, 2015 4:19 pm 3Likes

    I’ve been in love with two men at the same time. I never cheated of course, but it was a difficult decision to make.

  • Veronica
    Posted December 3, 2015 5:06 pm 2Likes

    Don’t know how this is possible… I never experienced anything like this… I found the article very interesting though!! And I love the picture on top!!

  • Chrissy
    Posted December 8, 2015 1:26 pm 1Likes

    I have been in love with 2 people at the same time and it was such a stressful situation. I finally broke up with my then-boyfriend before we went too far. Both men were so different it was impossible to tell which love was truer…it was more a question of which one was stronger. I eventually realized that if I allowed myself to fall in love with someone else while I was already in a relationship, chances are that first relationship wasn’t the strongest one to begin with. I am much happier now with my new Boyfriend.

    • Silva
      Posted February 12, 2016 4:14 am 3Likes

      Then you where not in LOVE with both. You may have Loved them both

  • Sandra Wallis
    Posted December 8, 2015 5:17 pm 1Likes

    wow… I dont understand how this is even possible to love two people equally…. Glad you broke up with your boyfriend before you went too far @chrissy

  • Corinne
    Posted December 8, 2015 5:22 pm 4Likes

    Is it just me or am I the only one who is distraught by the thought that my husband could love another female as much as me??

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  • Lasandra
    Posted January 12, 2016 2:04 am 2Likes

    I’m in love with two men..my now fiancé and I have been together for 9yrs now and at first i felt horrible but now not so much. I had met my the other guy at work and we became great friends I have known him for 3yrs now. My now fiancé and I broke up about 2 years ago and my friend and I became closer. Now over the years its been almost 2 years now that we’ve been on and off and I can’t seem to let him go. Now also my fiance and I are trying to move forward and get over the hurt past, I don’t want to hurt either one of them. I’m literally in love with two men and I don’t know what to do!

  • Tyler
    Posted January 12, 2016 9:24 am 1Likes

    i have the same situation happen to me i have been in a committed relationship for 2 years could tell this girl all my secrets and everything i am in love with her i know. then a girl i met at work in another department that also has a boyfriend and is committed as well has me falling for her and i think i am almost certain shes falling for me but we both are unsure of leaving who we are committed to honestly holding her in my arms i couldn’t help but want to kiss her but at the same time not feel guilty about my girlfriend i have already its a very hard situation and trust me i feel love sick for the girl at work and i cant get her outa my mind if she goes for it and makes a move i am unsure i can help myself around her, but once i come home i still feel in love with my girlfriend like before either its these girls or my mind or heart need to pick one

  • Mia
    Posted February 12, 2016 5:01 am 1Likes

    This is a true story. I became intimate with this gentleman and it was a magnetic bedroom experience. I knew that I loved him, but I never felt the type of love that I was destined to have something was missing, I wasn’t in love. I was almost willing to marry this man because of financial security. He had this group of friends that he hung around all the time and to my surprise I fell madly, completely in love with his friend. His friend felt the same, it was a spiritual love like no other. We knew how each other felt without a touch, we hurt for each other from a distance, we can feel one another’s pain from other countries. I know for a fact his love saved me from a tragic mistake because his friend was a narcissist, God knows he put his love in front of me to rid me of destroying my life. He knows how I truly feel about him and he has never been dishonorable to me, never crossed that line. Do I hope one day, YES!!! Im a 46 year old women and he his my Prince and if not in this life I pray we make up for it in the next. Miserable everyday without him.

  • Sarah
    Posted May 2, 2016 6:48 pm 3Likes

    The author would have done well to actually interview a polyamorous person, or at least look up a polyamory reference, before writing this article. Many people do love multiple people at the same time, and maintain ethical romantic relationships with them! We aren’t unicorns, and we’re not lying to ourselves or our partners. This sounds about as silly as a straight person wondering if gay people actually exist, and then quoting skeptical scholars about it!

    • Kyle Schlapkohl
      Posted May 3, 2016 9:37 am 1Likes

      I believe this article was written more to provoke discussion of what is love, or not love. As you can see from the ending of the article, the definition is left, purposefully, ambiguous as it’s impossible to define or to call one thing love and not another thing because it’s a feeling that 2, or more, people feel between themselves.

  • Brit
    Posted June 17, 2016 2:47 pm 3Likes

    I am in love with two men currently and it is the most stressful thing I have ever gone through. I was with man #1 for 1 month short of 6 years when I met man #2. Me and #1 had been having some issues and when I met #2, it was immediate. We were just drawn to each other in a way I’ve never felt. I’ll admit, yes, I cheated. I told #1 and we broke up. I then was solely with #2, planned to move in with him (to another state!) within a couple of months, and we were planning a family- the whole 9 yards. Madly in love. The 2 men are polar opposites in literally every way. Ones compassionate, the other just straight passionate. One is very affectionate, the other not at all. One is the epitome of calm in all situations, the other very quick to anger with a bad temper. What I love about one, I hate about the other. But together, their good traits would be the perfect man. During a very rough time in my life, I reached out to man #1 for help. I needed someone and I knew he would be there. We ended up started talking again and it turned into me dating/sleeping with both men, trying to split my time between the 2 until I could figure out what I want. Whichever one I choose, it breaks my heart. I wish I could have both. I love both crazily and would consider a polyamorous relationship, but they aren’t so keen on it. I never actually believed in it before, but now I totally get it.

  • Annie
    Posted June 21, 2016 3:01 am 3Likes

    I think it is definitely possible to love two people at once! I’m currently dating a girl and I think I love her, and she also has a boyfriend of two years. I’m not dating the boy because I’m gay, but both of us are ok with it. She has a lot of affection, and rather than it being divided between us, it’s been multiplied.

  • Jessica
    Posted August 17, 2016 9:04 am 4Likes

    It’s possible… it’s happening. I have been married to my husband for 17 years and about 3 years ago I met someone through work and all of a sudden everything was different. I love my husband. The devoted, family, history and caring kind of love. The kind that feels committed. For years I’ve gone back and forth with this second relationship and we try to let go but he makes me feel like the world simply has life and color and brings about a completely different side of me. The thought of letting him go makes me feel loss like I’ve never felt before. Like I’m settling and losing someone who completes me and if this dies a part of me will die with him. I feel guilty every day, I’m torn in a million pieces and don’t know how to move forward. I’m completely split in two and feel like I can only compartmentalize my life so I can have both. I don’t regret this 2nd love, I only regret the hurt I know it would cause my husband if he knew. We each have families and commitments that mean something but loving each other means something too. So now what…

  • Pixie
    Posted September 10, 2016 1:39 am 1Likes

    I can totally relate. I have been secretly in love with my work colleague for 6 years. I kept my feelings to myself because he is in a long term relationship. However we have always been close and in the past a lot of people have mistaken us as a couple. Recently after a work event, and many drinks ️we ended up sleeping together. Then I admitted my feelings for him and he did for me. He told me that he would eventually leave his partner. But for financial reasons it’s going to take time. We fell deeply in love. I told him that I could not have a physical relationship with him until he leaves his partner. But, we are so drawn to each other. I always feel sad that we can’t be together, but I understand why. Then I met another man (single this time) who I immediately had a connection with. I didn’t feel the intense love and passion that I have for the first guy. It was a different type of love. He warms my soul and he brings out a softer side of me. 6 weeks later and I am being intimate with both of them. I have strong feelings for both guys. But I feel guilty that I am not being 100% honest with them. The thought of losing either of them is devastating! Any advice for me?

    • Kaitlin Vogel
      Posted September 12, 2016 10:28 am 3Likes

      Pixie, I understand it’s hard when you are being torn in two directions. I think the best question you can ask yourself is “Do I like myself more when I’m with guy #1 or guy #2?” Because when you are with the right guy, he makes you happy and brings out the best in you. While an intense passionate love is wonderful, it could end up leaving you feeling empty and crushed in the end. You also need to have a foundation of friendship in order to balance out the intense intimate part. This will be hard to say goodbye to one of them, but you will know what to do when the time comes. When in doubt, follow your intuition and trust your gut.

      • Kimberly
        Posted January 9, 2017 6:29 pm 2Likes

        You know that is a great questions to ask oneself. “Do I like myself more when I’m with guy #1 or guy #2?” , but what happens when your answer is the same?! Meaning my answer would be my heart belongs to both and I have journey through my life be blessed with them.

        • Kaitlin Vogel
          Posted January 10, 2017 12:36 pm 1Likes

          Hi Kimberly,

          If you feel the same toward both of them emotionally, then ask yourself to think more logically. Do they both want the same things you want? For example, does guy #1 want kids and guy #2 doesn’t? To have a real future together, you have to be on the same page about a lot of things–marriage, kids, religion, etc. That may help with your decision.

  • Erin
    Posted February 23, 2017 7:34 pm 1Likes

    I am married no children. My husband is a Jehovah’s witness. I am not. I don’t totally agree with everything they do and believe or how they go about things. I don’t see myself going door to door witnessing. We are both spiritual, although that is something I love about my husband. My new love interest and I have recovery in common. We are both recovering addicts working a twelve step program. He has 20+ years and I have 10 months. I feel that we have so much in common. He makes me laugh and I feel safe with him. One of his daughters embraced me like family and it just feels right. I can’t bring myself to telling my husband about my affair. Part of me wants to save my marriage the other part of me is tired of fighting for happiness. I had a quaint ceremony when I got married. But every women wants a fairy tale wedding or dream wedding. And so do I. In fact, I deserve it. I know that my husband loves me but I don’t think that he’s in love with me. And the same goes for me. I am my husband’s second wife and we did not date long enough to really get to know one another. I feel that my husband is no longer emotionally committed to the relationship, which is most likely for reasons such as finances and religious factors and so forth. It has been difficult for me to stay emotionally and physically committed to my husband. Three months into our marriage, my husband confessed to cheating and I choose to stay and work things out. It hurt me so badly that I eventually tried to even the score. But revenge cheat, didn’t make the situation any better. Before the rebound, I told my husband that we should consider counseling to prevent it from happening again. But it never happened. So, here I am feeling attached to another man. Only this time it’s emotional. He wants to be my prince charming and walk me down the aisle. He wants to date before we get married but I think I like myself when I’m with him. I really like him. I can’t stop thinking about this man. And I think I’m falling in love with him. I’m not looking for a savior. I’m looking for true love and passion which is lacking in my marriage. This man is very compassionate and passionate. Practical, spiritual but a simple man. I like how genuine and kind he is. I am just so scared to make any decision. I’m not happy in my marriage but I’m afraid of leaving. I’ve been trying so hard to salvage my marriage, but he just isn’t willing. His beliefs are against seeking outside help. I think the recovery factor is what’s making feel that much more attached to man #2.So, here I am dating man #2 and I don’t want to stop seeing him. And I’m not ready to just up and leave my husband either.

    • Kaitlin Vogel
      Posted March 1, 2017 1:37 pm 1Likes

      Hi Erin,

      Thanks for reaching out! I completely understand why you’re confused. In this situation, I think you and your husband should have an honest conversation about what you both want in the future because it sounds like there is unhappiness on both sides. The key to resolving conflict is to be compassionate and understand that it’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong—it’s about finding a solution together that works for both of you. Whether that’s committing to making the marriage work or moving on with man #2, you will get more clarity after an honest discussion with your husband. By communicating your needs honestly, you’re less likely to have any regrets and also your conscience will be clear because everything will be out in the open. Hope this helps!

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