Monday July 28th 2014

Help! I’m In Love With Two Women

Question: We have been happily married for 9 years and have two wonderful children.  Four months ago I ran into my high school sweetheart and my first love and now my life has been turned upside down.  My feelings for her have not changed at all.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife very much.  She is my soul mate. We have a good marriage and we’re very happy together.  We’re both God-fearing (not religious). But this other woman is also my soul mate, in a different kind of way.  Is it possible to be in love with two people at the same time?  Please respond, I have no one to talk to who will understand what I’m going through.

Answer:  Yes, it is possible to truly care about one person and be happy in and with the relationship, but have love or have strong feelings of love for someone else.

Of course this is not how most people in mainstream North America are programmed/conditioned to think when it comes to love. And unless it has happened or it happens to them, most people can’t even imagine it possible to be torn between two people you really love and are in love with at the same time.  People who have never stood in these particular “pair of shoes” will tell you that you are being selfish, that the feelings you have are just infatuation or a phase (mid-life crisis), and will even accuse you of being immature or something worse.  But until it happens to them, they really don’t know. They’re simply reacting to something they have no clue about or have a programmed/conditioned aversion to.

That said, there is being “in love” or “feeling love” and there is being “in a relationship”.  These are two very different things.  Just as you can be in a relationship and not be in love, you can also be in love but not necessarily be in a relationship with that person.  And because love happens at a sub-conscious level, we do not have control over who we love or feel love for.  We however, have control over who we choose to have a relationship with.

You did not ask me what to do with those strong feelings of love.  I am assuming you already know, but for the sake of someone else in the same situation reading this and wondering “what do I do with these feelings for this other person?”, I’ll add this.

A strong and healthy relationship is founded on trust, honesty, attention and lots of sacrifices including putting aside our “individual good” for a “greater good” (beyond self).  These “relationship foundations” are important not because it’s impossible to love two people at the same time, but because of the limitation of human nature — which has a limited power of attention (time, energy and resources).  This may explain why knowing that God loves you and me, and every other single creature below and above, we don’t feel jealous that He loves all of us.  We actually rejoice in that knowledge.  God has infinite/unlimited power of attention He can bestow on each and everyone of us equally.  Except for a few “chosen ones” who’ve achieved that God-like level of love, we’re limited by our human nature.

1. Think of what is most important — this should include respecting your partner enough to protect her dignity and shield her from emotional pain and hurt.  The “respect” you have for your wife/girlfriend/partner and the courage and maturity of mind to stand up and on the side of “greater good” (beyond your individual desires, needs and wants) is the measure of the strength of your character and person — not that you love or have strong feelings of love for two women at the same time. 

2. Be emotionally intelligent/mature about it.  You do not always have to act on all the feelings and emotions you experience. Feelings and emotions are our access to our inner world and guide our thinking and actions. Emotionally intelligent and mature people have the ability to discriminate which information (from our emotions and feelings) to act on and which not to.  In other words, it’s not “wrong” to have those emotions and feelings (and you’re not a “bad” person” for having them), it’s what you do with those feelings and emotions (if they hurt/damage another person) that makes them “wrong” or “bad”.

3.  Keep a distance between you and the other woman. You cannot have daily intimate contact with someone you have feelings for — love and care about — without experiencing a growing sexual attraction and desire/need to have sex with her. Even if you manage to suppress your desires, unexpressed and unacknowledged sexual attraction eventually creates tensions, anxiety, conflict and sometimes feelings of deep sadness — some of these emotional states will create sexual intimacy problems in your relationship/marriage.

Readers' Questions and The Love Doctor's Answers...

17 Responses to “Help! I’m In Love With Two Women”

  1. Yes, I believe that you should tell your girlfriend 1) because strong relationships are founded on honesty and trust and 2) this looks like something that may be headed to a bad end — with the other woman. The tricky part is how to tell her. Different people react to this kind of information differently, but direct honesty is always the best bet. Ask her to hear you out, tell her you don’t expect “instant understanding” and make sure you promise — and keep the promise on whatever she asks you to promise with regards to the other woman. That will reassure her — at the very least.

    Talk to the other woman as well — if you haven’t already done so. Make it clear to her that you are not leaving your girlfriend and although you have these feelings for her, you have decided you are not acting on them. I hope this helps.

  2. Mojdhe says:

    I have been with a married man for 3 years and despite the fact that he says he loves me he does not want to leave his wife. Their marriage has not been a good one. They have lived separate lives in the same household for the last three years. I’ve begged, pressurized and even threatened to break it off if he does not file for divorce but he’d rather lose me who he loves than her who he does not love. If I had known how hard this was going to be I’d not have allowed myself to fall in love with him. I’m so in love with him and can’t imagine my life without him in it. He takes very good care of me and pays all my expenses. What makes me very sad is that I have to give up my dream of a wedding, kids and my very own husband.

  3. Hades says:

    I cannot believe I found this information and quite relieved to see someone else dealing with it. I am married and have been for 11 years to a woman who is totally devoted to me. My hardest fall from love was with this woman I was with that ended a year before I met my wife. We recently reunited and the fire and spark that was once there is here again. There was never a bad day with this woman until we split, then I was crushed, I figured I would never see nor hear from her ever again and held a place in my heart for her since she totally showed me what love was and I experienced it with her. But I love my wife and we are happy and I know she will stay by my side forever till the end of days, how do I control the emotions and not act on my feelings for the woman I am reunited with? We are currently quite a distance apart but if we were closer or to meet I dont know if I could control or hold back the strong held up feelings I had for her that were inside me for so long and its like I have another chance to release it. It kills me inside to be in this position and not knowing what to do or know if I will be able to do. I really do think I love them both on two different levels. If I play Pro or Con of each one obviously the one who crushed me would lose out and there would be a trust issue or risk of getting hurt again if the greatness from the past didnt last the second time around. But since it is two totally seperate levels of emotion I am torn in how to handle it and how to respond to each one. Please any information or guidance and thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  4. I hear you! Emotions are there to speak to us what we are trying not to hear. The more you try to control/fight emotions the stronger they become. So let then unfold and grant you a greater freedom to yourself. What is it that your feelings for this other woman are trying to tell you about yourself and/or your relationship with your wife? How can you use that knowledge to give yourself (and your wife) the positive feelings this woman symbolizes? This does not mean you’ll stop loving this other woman, it just means you will understand your feelings better and thereby be better able to handle them. You might also want to read my article, How Do You Stop Loving Someone?

  5. Jay says:

    I’ve been married for 16 years. My wife and I got married after barely knowing each other and a lot of those years have been good. Within the last 5 years we have drifted apart. I felt like I could not do anything right and was constantly in the “dog house.” She is a good person and a great mother to our two children. About a year ago I met a woman who I was instantly attracted to. The relationship started off as friends and we talked a lot. It grew into something I never imagined possible. I feel like life without her would be unbearable. My wife has learned of the other woman and says she wants to make things work. I chose to stay in order to not hurt more people then neccessary, but I still can’t stop wanting and thinking of this other woman who makes me completely happy. Any suggestions?

  6. I don’t know where in the world you are, but if you live in a monogamous society, you know that you can’t have it both ways – if anything, trying to have it both ways may mean losing it both and all – ask Tiger Woods!

    Even if you think you’re “not hurting more people” being in a relationship physically but absent emotionally is hurting someone (your wife) and being in a relationship emotionally but absent physically is hurting someone (the other woman).

    My suggestion would be for you to first try and put yourself 110% in the relationship with your wife and give it a chance to work. You don’t know if this relationship has the potential unless you try to make it the relationship you want.

    More importantly, if your “complete happiness” is coming from someone else and not from within… something is not right within. The other woman may look like the one who makes you “completely happy” but it’s just an illusion of “forbidden love”. Will you feel the same way with her after 16 years of marriage!

  7. steel says:

    i have been in a relationship for about 5 years now i met
    this woman aboout a year ago she was in a bad relationship
    she left here husband and i left my girlfriend and we moved in together i strayed with my exgirlfriend then i moved out and moved back with my ex now the other womkan and i are hooking up and having sex and doing things together im still in love with her and it hurts she says she loves me but i dont know her husband killed himself shortly after she moved out so maybe she has issues i know
    but soome days im torn and kinda depressed about things

  8. From just the little info you’ve given me, this sounds like a very toxic attraction that has the potential of really messing your life big time. I’m not even sure this is about “love” though you use the word generously. It just sounds all so twisted.

    If I were you, I’d get out and far away from this woman as is possible. I’d also get professional help because your own behaviour in all this spells serious “emotional issues”.

    Not the nicest of answers — I know — but someone needs to say it like it is!

  9. John says:

    Its like reading my own story.
    I am in the same situation right now. I am married and work with the other. I see her almost every day. I want ro suppress this feels for all involved. My wife two kids and the other woman.

  10. joe says:

    I’m in quite the spot. I’ve got a lot of history with one, my wife. I’ve put myself through the fires of hell for her and the children. For 23 years I sweated the details and got it done for them. Now it’s done.
    I am so sweet on the other, I wasn’t even looking for someone else and she brought a new hope into my life.
    I dunno what’s gonna happen. I guess it’s all up to me, it’s my decision and I’ll have to live by it no matter what I decide.

  11. You are right about that Joe… it’s YOUR decision. I don’t think you are right on the consequences though. So many others are going to live WITH the consequences of the decisions you make, including the children. I’m not saying choose what’s best for the children, I’m saying, it’s not all about you.

  12. Manny says:

    Please bring polygamy back. It solves the problems for people who can love more than one person. Problem is, there is no solution when a woman loves two men but divorce or adultery.

  13. Although I err on the side of monogamy, I hear you!

    If you don’t mind roughing it, you could move to Africa… Google one of those “tribes” where women can marry more than one man, and have “divorce” parties after kicking him to the curb…LOL

    But shhhhh… don’t tell the “moral police”, they’ll send you to hell.

  14. Noelle says:

    that was a great and very insightful response. Not like all the other standard responses you normally would get in this situation.

  15. Craig says:

    My wife moved away but kept in touch. She didn’t want to seperate just insisted that she needed some time apart. After a year apart I found someone we are great friends and I wanted to have a more intimate relationship with her so I informed my wife that we needed to seperate. Appearantly this forced her to overcome whatever issues she had with our marriage she contacted me and we have resolved our problems. I still have very strong feelings for my friend. Can I save my marriage and still be friends with the other woman?

  16. Friendship with the other woman while you are trying to work on your marriage might not be a good idea for the simple reason that your loyalties, energies and emotions are split between the two. That is a lot of stress for anyone since you can’t focus on either relationship. You may even end up with neither.

    Part of being “an adult” is that you have to accept that sometimes you can’t have everything you want. You have to make tough choices.

  17. Brian says:

    I don’t think I would like some of the people who are writing about loving two women but that is just what I am doing. I live alone but spend a lot of time with each of them. They are very different . One is sensual, sexy and energetic, the other intellectual and very much on my wavelength and we share lots of interests.. I love being with both of them and when I am I feel this is what I want until I am with the other. Both feel I am holding back which I am. I don’t want to hurt either but I know that is what will happen. I keep putting off the decision and the painful action that would then follow. I should know how to deal with this..I am in my 50s. I don’t like myself for what I am doing

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