Let's get straight to the point: Yes, you can fall in love with two women at once. One is your actual partner, and the other, a third party. It happens. We talk to Dr. Tyler Ong, Doctor of Psychology and Master of Science, to walk us through this phenomenon.
According to Dr. Ong, there are four factors why you can develop the same feelings for two different persons simultaneously: family background, complementarity, personality, and presence of problems in current relationship.
He attributes this to a behavioral concept called "intergenerational transmission." This pertains to the influence of parenting attitudes and behavior towards their offspring.
"It means that the kind of relationships we tend to form now is patterned after the original relationship template of our parents to which we were exposed," explains Dr. Ong. "For instances, if you were exposed to your parents having—or even being suspected of—extramarital affairs (sexual, purely emotional, or both sexual and emotional affairs), you are most likely to engage in one yourself despite knowing it is an unwise decision. The original relationship of your parents can tell you a lot about what tendencies you might have when you form your own committed relationship."
The difference in personalities may be another thing to blame. The good doctor says: "Incongruence of personalities can also make each partner feel like he or she is not understood by his or her partner, and consequently, seek such understanding with more complementary people." That's how complementarity works. You develop feelings for another woman because you feel like she understands your insecurities and problems better.
But where do these insecurities and problems come from? From the relationship you have with your partner. "People who tend to fall in love with multiple people are usually in relationships with people who allow it and play the role of the archetypal 'martyr,' suffering but unable or unwilling to leave for various reasons," expounds Dr. Ong.
In other words, you may fall for another woman when there are problems in your current relationship because human nature dictates we avoid negativity and seek pleasure. The affection may not be completely gone, but the other options become more luminous. Our psychologist explains, "Even if the love for the partner is still there, the partners involved may subconsciously wish to restart their lives with a better and less messy partner. Renewed attractions for ex-lovers then come back in force at this time."
Ong adds that marriages entered into without full consent and planning, with incongruent expectations of married life, and force or threat applied regularly on one partner are some of the reasons that create fertile ground for seeking love and romance outside of the committed relationship.
Asked if you should let your girlfriend know that there's someone as important as her in your life, Dr. Ong says: "It depends on what kind of relationship you have with your partner, and what kind of partner you have. Another issue to consider is how far your attraction has taken you. Attraction to another person ranges in a continuum, varying in intensity."
He, however, noted that secrets are never good for the relationship in the long run. Understanding that your partner has the right to be told about important happenings as it impacts the relationship is only fair to your partner.
Prepare yourself for negative consequences in case you decide to confess. "There are situations where letting your partner know you have fallen in love with someone else might lead to extremely negative consequences such as physical fights and legal threats. Some people have even attacked their partners with weapons like knives and guns. Physical safety is then compromised," he says.
The best way to resolve the issue is to sit down with your partner, explore each other's expectations and self-imposed rules about your relationship, and open up about being attracted to other people outside the relationship. That's where you need to be a calm communicator. Dr. Ong sheds light on the reality: "Couples need to know how to communicate properly not just by choice of words but also body language. In the heat of the moment, with this heavy topic of conversation, couples tend to be unable to regulate themselves. So instead of solving the problem among themselves, they create new problems." Listen when it's your turn to listen, talk softly when it's time to talk.
If after that talk you still want to preserve the relationship, one can also opt for couple therapy. Talking to a relationship professional can open you and your partner up to new perspectives—a way of looking at things you wouldn't be able to see by yourselves because you're so close to the issue. In the end, it might boil down to one question: Do you still love the person? If you do, you'll want to fight for it. And one way you do that is by stopping yourself from falling in love with another person.
Is it possible to fall in love with two persons at the same time? Certainly. Is it smart to do so? Not quite. Your resources—both emotional and financial—are limited. During times of crises, a new person can seem like an attractive choice. But be fair, and make a choice soon. Stay or leave. There is no middle ground.