Question: Yangki, I have been 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’s a good partner and has been by my side through some really difficult times and I consider her my soulmate. We have marital problems like most couples, but nothing that would lead to a divorce. But this other woman is also my soul mate, in a different kind of way. She brings out something in me, and I like who I am when I am with her. Can a man love be in love with two women at the same time? Please respond. I have no one to talk to who will understand what I’m going through.
Yangki’s Answer: Yes, it is possible to truly love and care about one person and be happy in and with the relationship, but have love or have strong feelings of love for someone else.
That said, there is being “in love” or “feeling in 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 time, energy and resources.
This means that even though we can love more than one person at the same time, it is impossible to have a happy and fulfilling relationship with both people because of our limited time, energy and resources. It also means, you will have to choose one person to be in a relationship with .
1. Think of what is most important
What is most important 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 to look beyond your individual desires, needs and wants is the measure of the strength of your character and person.
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 determine 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 without experiencing a growing sexual attraction and desire/need to have sex with her. Even if you manage to suppress your desires, the suppressed sexual attraction will create feelings of deep sadness (or depression), and this will create sexual intimacy problems in your relationship/marriage.
So think very carefully about what you are doing — or are about to do.